Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sage Says, Volume One: Lyre Leaf Sage

Lyre Leaf Sage
Salvia lyrata

Looking for something with colorful foliage, to bloom in shady areas? Lyre Leaf Sage has reddish to maroon leaves and pale blue blooms in early- to mid-spring. This low-growing perennial grows well in sun or shade, and often will reseed. Bargain! Multiple plants for the price of one! Lyre Leaf Sage is native to Texas, east to the Carolinas, north to New York. In our area it prefers drier conditions. Learn more at http://plants.usda.gov/, and search for "scientific name", salvia lyrata.

Sustainable, the Allen Way

Last Saturday -- in case you missed it -- was part two of City of Allen's Sustainable Landscape series. David was their guest speaker. His topic? Sustainable Design! About 30 folks turned out, I was told. (I was home caring for Salvia ilfreyanii, aka Sage Ilfrey. ;-) Part three is coming up mid-July.

Part III – Choosing Plant Material for Sustainability (perennials, shrubs, and trees)
Saturday, July 19, 2008, 10 AM to Noon
Guest Speaker: Brice Creelman, Shades of Green

Hope you'll be there!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fed Up!

We have experienced NUMEROUS losses of connectivity to email and internet services recently. The problems do not lie within our computers or network configuration. Once again, our webhosting company is having troubles. De ja vu. So...we have set up a NEW email address. Please use nativedaveinc@gmail.com for all correspondence. The info address is still active -- although it's been inaccessible for more than 24 hrs as of this moment. As soon as it's accessible again all messages to that address will be forwarded to the new gmail one.

If you have sent a message anytime in the past month and still have not received a reply, please resend to the gmail address. I will respond almost instantaneously...;-)

Sorry for the inconvenience, y'all. Plant on.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Whether drought or deluge, natives are best

Summer officially arrives next Saturday. What does that mean to Texans? In a normal year, not much. Usually at this time of year it's already been hot for a while. Last year, spring and summer were cooler than normal and we had near-record rainfall. The year before, it seems we had 12 months of heat without much rain (although I know I'm exaggerating...a little.) 2006 was the year of the drought; 2007, the year of the deluge. 2008 is shaping up to be the year of the downturn (as in, economic.) In all three cases, and more, native plants are the best choice for your garden/landscape. And why is that?

During The Drought, it suddenly became fashionable (and practical) to switch to low-water usage plants. Xeriscape and waterwise were the regional catch-words of The Drought. City officials were recommending we use Albuquerque's plant list. Many people (and contractors) began planting desert plants. Bad idea...unless you live in the desert. Sure, those plants worked well as long as there was no rain. But when 2007 rolled around, and The Deluge began, nearly all of those desert plants drowned and their roots rotted. Homeowners and contractors were left scratching their heads...

Here it is, 2008, and most of the country is suffering -- oh, what should we call it -- a recession? An economic contraction? Slowdown? I like "downturn" -- not as partisan or political. (I know, it's an election year, I can be political. ;-) Anyway...So those same people who planted desert plants because their "traditional" landscape died during The Drought, lost their desert landscape during The Deluge. They have lost two landscapes in two years and have to start on option #3, but they might be losing their job soon, or they are caught up in the housing credit crisis, or or or.

Go native, I say. First, when traditional (overused, non-native) landscape plants, like Indian Hawthorn and Nandina suffered because of The Drought, native species thrived. Native grasses (which make excellent substitutes for shrubs), such as Little Bluestem, Big Muhly, Gulf Muhly and Inland Seaoats performed spectacularly all year long. Whereas delicate perennials -- Gardenia, for example -- were intolerant of the sustained heat and lack of rainfall, hardy native perennials bloomed more profusely. Plants like Four Nerve Daisy, Giant Coneflower, Pitcher Sage and Lyre Leaf Sage proved that a natural, organic and native landscape can be colorful, low-maintenance and drought-tolerant. (And still look 'organized'.)

Many MANY clients called in 2006 just to say, "You were right!" Their native plant landscape had survived while their neighbors' plants had suffered -- or worse, died.

Then, when The Deluge of 2007 began, those same clients called again to say, "You were right!" Their plants had continued to thrive. To be sure, they prefer things to be a little on the hot-and-dry side. But, because they were established by 2007, they actually grew taller and wider, and bloomed longer, because of the additional rainfall.

This year so far isn't as hot and dry as 2006, or cool and wet as 2007. But the plants continue to grow happily, no matter what Mother Nature throws our way. Clients who plant the right plant, in the right place, lose fewer plants. And who can't use that cost savings, especially during an economic downturn.

Dallas WaterWise Tour Recap

Thank you to Caroline, Mathew, Sebastian and Lucas for allowing us to show off your award-winning landscape project. David walked-and-talked with visitors about our approach to this design, which was completed winter '06/spring '07. (Keith and his Appealing Gardens crew completed the installation in spring '07.) He met several new native plant enthusiasts and a few long-time customers who came out to support our ongoing effort to restore Texas. Sage and I stopped by for an hour or so. She met Betsy F. of NPSOT; Diane and Mike M. (design clients); Martha Ann and Charlie W. (design/install clients and last year's award-winners); and dozens of new faces. It was a big day for such a little girl.

The Dallas WaterWise Garden Tour was held on Saturday, June 7th, 9am to 3pm. Judging takes place in March or April (usually) and is open to residents of Dallas and cities that are customers of Dallas Water Utilities. Would you like to compete in 2009? Check this website -- www.savedallaswater.org -- for participating communities, submission requirements and deadlines. Please let us know if you enter, especially if you win!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Father's Day is Sunday, May 15th. Check your planting beds: they just might be ready for a fresh layer of mulch. Remember to maintain a blanket of 2-3" deep year-round, up to 6" deep during periods of extreme drought. Use a natural mulch comprised of shredded native tree matter. No need to scrape off previous applications of mulch. Next mulching should be done around Thanksgiving.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Native in the shade?

When we think of native plants, most residents of Dallas-Ft. Worth think of full-sun perennials. There are, in fact, multiple species of natives that will do well in sun or shade, or even mostly shade. One of our mostly-shade projects received an award from City of Dallas and will be on their Water-Wise Garden Tour tomorrow, Saturday, June 7th, 9am to 3pm. Our very own Native Dave will be on hand to conduct tours of and answer questions about the project. Dennis of Appealing Gardens Landscape -- one of our preferred installers -- will be there, too. Sage and I plan to help out briefly mid-day. For more information, visit http://savedallaswater.com/waterwise.htm We will be at the home on Tree Shadow Court, Dallas.

New photos, finally

I've added a few photos -- and there are many, many more to format and upload -- to our online portfolio. Check back early next week. More pics on the way.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Summer Hours

The end of June marks the end of our spring schedule. Throughout the month of June we will continue to meet on Fridays at 9am, noon and 3pm. We have events on the 7th and 21st, and have already filled our schedule for the 14th, so the only Saturday left is the 28th. On that date there are 9am, noon and 3pm appointments. Beginning July 1st, we will focus on our online services (see "ongoing greening of nativedave" post below) and limiting our availability for onsite visits. Following are dates and time we will be available for onsite services in July in Dallas-Ft. Worth:

Tuesday, July 1st: noon and 3pm
Wednesday, July 16th: 9am, noon and 3pm
August dates in Dallas-Ft. Worth and other markets will be added soon.

We will be closed for Independence Day and summer holiday Thursday, July 3rd, through Monday, July 14th.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ongoing Greening of NativeDave--Choose Online Design!

Fuel prices have forced American businesses, large and small, to increase prices for goods and services. Higher fuel prices have impacted us, as well. Instead of raising our fees, however, we have decided to actively promote our online design option in lieu of onsite meetings. Not only will we be able to keep our fees reasonable, we will be doing our part to reduce our consumption and contamination of natural resources. To encourage more new clients to choose the online option, we will be offering a 20% discount on online design fees beginning July 1st through the end of 2008.

How does it work? You gather the information and photos, we create your design. To get started we will need:
  • Completed new client questionnaire. You may download it from our "services and fees page", or request it by email (nativedaveinc@gmail.com.)
  • Your survey or plat plan. We must have an accurate, legible survey or plat plan of your property. The document must have a scale (e.g., 1" = 20ft) and must be an exact-size copy of the original. You may send a hardcopy by mail, as a pdf file by email, or upload the pdf with your photos.
  • Photos of the project site. The number of photos required will depend on the size and complexity of your property and project, respectively. For most suburban residences (less than 1/3 acre), 15-20 photos of the front yard, and 25-30 of the back yard, should suffice. Upload your photos to a free online photo service, such as shutterfly, snapfish, etc. Then, send us the link (to nativedaveinc@gmail.com).
  • Payment. Fees are determined by the size and complexity of your project. Generally speaking, fees for most suburban residences (less than 1/3 acre) are $300 for the front yard, $400 for the back yard, or $600 for the entire property. Please contact us about fees for residences with more than 1/3 acre and all commercial, industrial, municipal or educational properties. Payment may be made by mail or via PayPal using your credit card, debit card or checking account (a 3% processing fee will be added to all PayPal transactions.)

After we have received these items, we will begin your design. Turnaround time will be 7-10 business days; we will mail your design package. David will present your design by phone while I email photos of plants included in your design; together we will bring your design to life.

The process is easy, affordable and good for the planet. One client, who implemented the design herself, received an award from the Florida Native Plant Society. Others solicit estimates for the installation from contractors in their area. Whatever your situation, the online design is a smart choice.

June 5th is World Environment Day

How will you celebrate? Here are some suggestions, "80 Ways to Celebrate World Environment Day": http://planetgreen.discovery.com/work-connect/world-environment-day.html

Launching Planet Green

Tonight the Discovery Home network will become Planet Green, the "first and only 24-hour eco-lifestyle television network." A couple of nights ago (during Sage's late-night feeding) I watched an episode of the New Zealand version of "Wa$ted!" The American series is described as: "Wa$ted! attacks a spectrum of environmentally unfriendly households across the nation, auditing their waste, energy, water and transportation consumption. Not surprisingly, each episode unearths dozens of eco-horrors that are killing both the environment and the homeowner's bank account. Drafty windows, a television blasting around-the-clock to keep a pet company, spoiled food from over-purchasing -- you name the possible eco-crime, and these households have offended. But no matter how far gone the family, it's not as hard to change hazardous habits as one might think."

Other green programming includes "Supper Club", an on-air dinner party hosted by Tom Bergeron and attended by celebrities where the conversation has an environmental flavor. "Renovation Nation" explores green upgrades and improvements for your home.

Tune in this evening at 5pm CDT for the official "open house" of Planet Green!

The Green Interview

Co-op America, a not-for-profit organization encouraging goods and services good for people and planet, interviewed us recently for the June issue of their Faces of the Green Pages piece. You can read this online conversation on their website: www.coopamerica.org. Click on "Greening Texas, One Lot at a Time."