Publisher’s note: In our part of Texas, it takes special care to cultivate a garden or landscape that can withstand heat, occasional freezes, drought or monsoon conditions, and pesky critters such as armadillos. With a plan, and the help of trained and seasoned experts, you can dress-up your yard or outdoor living area to enjoy year-round. Many, many resources are available in the Roundtopolis™.
Planning a Cutting Garden
The Flowers husband-wife design team at Glasco & Co. Landscaping Inc. love to work with clients who want cutting gardens.
“When we work with a client on their garden, a cutting garden or any kind of project, we have several important questions to ask and understand,” says Melissa, designer and estimator.
“First, how much time do they want to devote to the garden. Second, what is the site like – sloped or level…and how much sun does it get, is it accessible, how is it to be irrigated, and what are the long-term goals.”
The Flowers say they then make recommendations based on the answers to those questions.
“Most cutting gardens have many annual flowers,” Melissa says. “Some, like zinnias, are easy to start from seed. Others, like tall dianthus and snapdragons are best bought as plants. A variety of plants work well in the area.”
Henry adds that a cutting garden, with annuals, can be integrated with a perennial garden as well… with many perennials like salvias, summer phlox, and rudbeckia also working in flower arrangements. He says vegetables and herbs can also be incorporated. A favorite of his is colorful Swiss chard, which is edible and a great ornamental. Melissa loves dill flower heads added to cut flowers.
Accessibility, says Melissa, is very important. Some people may not want to be on their hands and knees planting, weeding and switching out plants.
“We often do raised beds,” Henry says. “Beds made from wood or stone and galvanized water troughs with holes cut in the bottom work really well.”
Most cutting flowers, as well as herbs and vegetables, do well in raised beds, the team says.
A Word of Caution
“Armadillos love freshly-worked beds and will plow up your garden overnight,” Melissa says.
Henry adds that fencing may need to be added to keep armadillos and other varmints such as rabbits out…and that raised beds can often thwart these animals.
Deer can also wreak havoc on a newly installed or existing garden.
“There are plants that deer don’t like,” Henry says. “We just have to know the area in which the garden is sited.”
Glasco & Co. was started almost 40 years ago by Troy and Tami Glasco. The company offers landscape, design and maintenance services for the Brenham area.
Black Dog Cabins Welcomes With DIY Texas-Friendly Gardens
Dawn Gervais admits she and her husband Richard had no training nor expertise when it came to planning the outdoor living spaces for their lodging business in Round Top.
“We lived in Houston,” she says. “I’m in real estate and he’s a dentist. We didn’t know what to grow or what to choose.”
“We know those coming to Round Top want to be outside – sit on the porch, have a glass of wine,” Dawn says. “The outdoor living spaces are really important to us – and our guests. We searched Pinterest, talked to everyone, and made friends with smart locals – like Dee at DSG and Stevie at
“Shade and privacy were also important for us.”
As a result, Knockout roses, crape myrtles and native plants and grasses known to thrive and survive hot Texas summers have formed the backbone of their horticultural plan.
As does irrigation.
A sprinkler system was an early investment in the property they bought in 2017, where they have two cabins and an in-the-renovation-process Airstream trailer to house guests.
“We’ve added a greenhouse that my husband Richard made with reclaimed windows,” Dawn says. “We like it so much we may do another.”
The Gervaises path to Round Top and a lodging business began with a short visit around Easter one year – and they fell in love with the country.
“We kept coming back to this one house and eventually bought it,” Dawn says. “When the property next to us – with two cabins on it – came up for sale, we bought it. And we’ve built a new business, Black Dog Cabins.”
Dawn’s best advice: “Ask questions. Ask the locals. They know what works.”