Amanda Moon: plants to pass-along and rustle-up

Amanda Moon had me at “lavender.” It was at the recent Zilker Park Garden Festival, when she helped me better understand the vascular wilt that is devastating my field of Provence. (That’s a story for a future blog post.) So when I saw that she was a presenter at Saturday’s “Trowel and Error,” the annual Mayfield Gardening Symposium, I got ready to take notes fast and furiously. Amanda, a horticulturist at It’s About Thyme nursery, spoke on “Heat- and Drought-Tolerant Plants You May Not Have Heard Of (Or Thought Of Using).”

Amanda Moon |

Horticulturalist Amanda Moon |

She began by urging the overflow crowd to “redefine what we can grow,” given our recent drought and cold blasts. And lest we get too extreme ourselves, she was quick to point out, there are alternatives to “Arizona-scaping.”

“Our kinfolk have been planting here in Texas for 100 to 150 years. Plants such as crinums and oxblood lilies have made it through both dryspells and cold weather, still looking lush.”

Amanda’s talk was a call to pass-it-along and rustle-it-up. By gardening with plants that have proven their ability to adapt, we’ll have beautiful, low-maintenance gardens. “I drove past my great-aunt’s house in Taylor as it was being put on the market, and the yard was lit up in red with oxblood lilies. It hadn’t been irrigated in years.”

One of Amanda’s favorite rustled plants — the coneflower — came from her 99-year-old great-aunt. “They’re evergreen and bloom continually and throw seeds everywhere.” The moral of the story: “make friends with people with old plants.” Because, in some cases, the rustled species are much more vigorous than the new ones purchased in nurseries.

Being xeric comes down to intimately knowing what you’re growing. — Amanda Moon

That goes for non-natives as well. Amanda asked her great-aunt where the tough-as-nails columbine in her garden came from. “Colorado” was the answer. It just goes to show, Amanda told us, “if it’s adapted, it will thrive.”

Other highlights from her suggested plant list:

  • Star grass
  • Salvia namaensis
  • Mexican mint marigold
  • Comfrey
  • Chinese ground orchid
  • Skeleton-leaf goldeneye
  • Dalea greggii
  • Sweet (Wood) violet
  • Columbine

“Being xeric comes down to intimately knowing what you’re growing,” Amanda concluded. “It’s trial and error. I’ve killed everything in the nursery at least twice. Also, know the micro-climate at your house. The north side, versus the west side. Because if you get plants in the right place, they’ll be happy.”


4 Responses to Amanda Moon: plants to pass-along and rustle-up

  1. Linda Lehmusvirta April 7, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    This is positively wonderful, Ann! Love your blog.

    • Ann Daly April 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

      Thanks, Linda! I’ve having lots of fun. Working on my photographs…

  2. karen cannatti April 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    Thanks for telling us that we CAN grow drought-tolerant plants that are beautiful and sturdy. And the pictures are fabulous.

    • Ann Daly April 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

      You’re most welcome, Karen! Add coral honeysuckle to the list. Mine made it through last summer without any additional watering from me, and through the repeated freezes. They are blooming like mad right now, attracting the hummingbirds. Such incredibly beautiful flowers. Photo to follow. (Don’t forget to sign up for the blog!)

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