Xeric and stylish gardening in San Antonio, Texas

Happy New Year to the Trees! xo

This year for Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the New Year for Trees, I was asked to help out on a project at the Jewish Community Center (J.C.C.) here in San Antonio.  Many Jewish children plant trees for this holiday, this year at the Block and Dreeben School for Young Children we planted a palm tree and a garden for wildlife and butterflies for the children to enjoy.  It was a wonderful project and the ceremony was lovely.  I am thankful I got to be a part of it.  We had to plant “friends” for the trees of course!  So thank you to nature loving director of the school, Alissa Levey Baugh,  the project expanded from planting a tree to a native and well-adapted garden full of texture and color.  This project, as all gardens, will continue to expand and evolve this year creating a little slice of garden goodness for the little ones.Working hard!Here are volunteers Nicole and Frank, who have beautiful and sweet little ones attending the school, working HARD breaking up and amending this well-trampled soil!  Go guys go!  (sorry about the dark picture y’all!)We have a garden folks! We have a garden, yay!  Look at the Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) waving at us!  Hello beautiful!  Lets take a closer look-see…2013-01-25_09-46-32Here you can see the fan palm in the background with mass planted Bat-Face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea) surrounding it.  The kids are going to love those cute little purple fuzzy bat faces!2013-01-25_09-47-28Another great plant the kids are sure to enjoy is irresistibly touchable lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) – it mingles well with the rocks and a little spreading sedum plant. 2013-01-25_09-47-34Quintessential Texas native plant, Yellow-Bells (Tecoma stans ), will create a gorgeous color-spot at the tip of the garden.  At it’s feet, Texas bluebonnets of course!  The children also danced in some sunflower seeds in the lower portion of the garden as part of the ceremony to add a whimsical element to this garden.  A 6 foot tall sunflower forest will be pretty neat here!  I wanted to choose plants the kids would love, that were touchable, and also would make them in awe of it all (giant sunflowers).planterI also planted up a little xeric planter as a pleasing barrier so that the kids don’t cut this corner trampling the garden – Fingers crossed!  In the planter, foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyersii‘), native red-yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)  which I will eventually move into the garden when it gets too large for this arrangement, and Texas native Stemodia lanata that will trail silver water falls over the side of the pot.

I will continue to post pictures as this little garden grows up…I hope y’all enjoyed as much as I did.

Happy Birthday Trees/Plants! xo


  1. What a wonderful project! that is so happy! It must feel really rewarding to be apart of something wonderful like that! looks great – especially that palm tree ;)

    • I knew you would love the Palm Louis! Thank you for all your palm advice – I applied it where I was not expecting! I love surprises…and yes, it is a happy little garden. -xericstyle

  2. Desert Dweller

    What a nice project to indoctrinate the little ones into the world of gardens…probably some future SA bloggers out there, too! Is that a tradition from all the reforestation in Israel after the 1940’s, or older?

    • As always David, you get me thinking deeply…..I need to get back to ya on that one!!!!! It was such a pleasure to do this for the kids and bond with the director of the school, the parents, Nicole and Frank, that made it all possible. – xericstyle

    • Okay…did a little research …probably true… more emphasis after the 1940’s to reforest Israel. But the holiday does pre-date that. It has a lot to do with dating trees for kosher eating practices. I know nothing about that though, we don’t keep kosher. I’ll try to ask a Rabbi ;)

      • That makes sense, like many things, the purpose is elevated in meaning by current events. Sorry, it’s a bad habit I have, but I always like to learn:-)

        You might enjoy the works of landscape architect Shlomo Aronson…Tel Aviv-Jerusalem freeway interchanges with basins (passive water harvesting) and citrus trees for public picking (food). Imagine that in the US?

      • I always appreciate you David – and I also love to learn always….so thank you for the engaging convo! I checked out a few things Aronson did online….WOW! You are right, I do looooove. Especially his use of functional seating areas everywhere! And so modern…loooooove! and if only in the US ….the function of the food areas…could be so…..progressive! -xericstyle

  3. Very nice. Looks like a wonderful garden for children to enjoy!

    • Thanks Steph! I can hardly wait for it to fill in! -xericstyle

  4. How nice! I especially love that you planted things the children could touch and feel. And the bluebonnets, too. It will not only be a beautiful garden to look at, but one that will have a lot of potential for history, biology, and many other subjects to learn from, too.

    • Thanks so much! I really wanted to keep it stimulating for the kids – they already seem to enjoy it. I saw a child touch the lambs ear when I was there watering today. – xericstyle

  5. Beth

    What an honor!! Lovely!!!

    • Thank you – it absolutely was an honor :) – xericstyle

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