From the Sperry Garden: February 25, 2016
I included each of these photos with my Facebook posts this past week, but many of you aren’t on my page, so at the risk of being repetitive, I decided to include them here, but with more written detail.
Purple wintercreeper euonymus
This is a large bed of purple wintercreeper euonymus that adjoins our driveway where it intersects the county road in front of our house. It’s hot and dry out there, so I needed something that could handle full sun part of the day and heavy shade the remainder.
I’ve been a fan of purple wintercreeper euonymus for 35 years. We have a ton of shade around our rural Collin County property, and groundcovers have become my best friends. I like Asian jasmine, and I’ve used a good bit of it, but wintercreeper is far more winter-hardy (clear to the Great Lakes, therefore anywhere in Texas), and it offers a really cool transition from deep emerald green in the summer to full-blown Aggie maroon in the winter. (Yeah, I grew up in College Station, but I also painted a wrought iron fence at my old office burnt orange to match the building’s brick color, so I’m able to see beauty in all colors!)
Plant purple wintercreeper anytime you can find it in nurseries. That’s probably most likely in spring and into the summer, but it can be ordered in at other times. Plant 4-inch pots on 16-inch centers (checkboard planting pattern) into well-tilled garden soil to which you have added an inch of compost or finely ground pine bark mulch.
The first year the wintercreeper will cover the bare ground. The second year, its stems will stand a little bit upright for a few months. Either push them down flat, or if you must, trim off their tips. They will gradually rest flat due to their own weight, and the planting will begin to thicken.
Wintercreeper grows to about 8 inches tall. It’s dense, so it discourages rodents and snakes (at least in my experience), and it holds the soil tenaciously on slopes.
Shrub-form euonymus is highly prone to euonymus scale. The only time that pest has shown up on my wintercreeper has been when it has climbed up the trunks of my trees. I didn’t want the wintercreeper up there, so I just kept it trimmed off. Other than that, I have never had one issue at all with this stalwart groundcover. If you’ve not tried it, it deserves your attention.
Lentz Landscape Lighting in the Sperry backyard
This past Sunday evening, as the daylight left our backyard, I looked out the sunroom windows to the north. It was still and misty, and the landscape lighting cast a magical glow across all our plantings.
This lighting was installed by my longtime friend Dick Lentz of Lentz Landscape Lighting of Dallas 25 years ago. I had tried a couple of DIY jobs, and they were, in a word, “terrible.” Somebody said to me, “Why don’t you try Lentz Landscape Lighting?” So I called, and I soon found that Dick not only knew what he was doing as well as anyone in America, but that he was (and is!) also a really fine gentleman. Dick’s climbers retrofit the lamps that illuminate this area with LED lights last summer, and they’re even better than ever.
There isn’t much I can say about the lighting that the photo doesn’t say for me. Oh, I guess I might add that my wife loves it for the security and peace of mind that it brings. I just like the way it transforms our landscape each evening. This night, however, with that fine mist in the air, was even more special.