“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

Gardening with Jannie Vaught

There is a saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and never is it truer than in natures garden. Some like ordered rows and clear lines of plants and some prefer natures tumble of flowers native grasses and low growing ground cover. And some of us like a little of both. Summer has stepped its hot dry foot right in the middle of a spectacular spring. The marginal garden veggies are fading, the wild places are looking a little dry and it’s just how it is this year. When you stand still and take a deep long look you will see that the Native to Texas plants, grasses and trees are hanging in there, patient and true waiting for the rain and cooler temperatures to arrive. While many of the non-natives and even adapted pants trees and grasses are suffering. This is a good case for designing with the plants that are true to this specific growing area. Let’s look at the native persimmon. Diospyros Texana is a species of persimmon that is native to central, south and west Texas, southwest Oklahoma and eastern and northeastern Mexico. Common name includes Texas persimmon, Mexican persimmon and more ambiguous “Black persimmon”. Multi-trunked, small tree or large shrub. A lifespan of 30 to 50 years. Usually grows 9 ft and some reaching 12 ft in ideal locations, (that means regular water). The bark is smooth and a light reddish grey and peels away from the mature to reveal pink white and grey. The leaves are ovate and dark green, the upper leaves are glossy while the lower leaves have fine hairs. They are male or female and will girls will flower from March to April, they are white and urn shape. The fruits are black and ripen in August. Here is some information I find interesting, the sapwood is of a yellow color while the “Heartwood”, found only in older larger trees is black(ebony) in color, it is hard and takes a high polish. Used to make engraving blocks, artwork and tools. The fleshy berries are edible and very sweet when ripe. Relished by birds humans and mammals throughout time. Traditionally used by Native American to make a black dye for hides and are still used in Mexico today. Of course being a native they are drought resistant. They are a larval host for the Grey streak butterfly. They are propagated from seed. After they are fully ripe, clean the seed of any fruit immediately, dry and store in a tight refrigerated container.  Lighty scar or nick the outer shell and plant in a small pot using potting soil in spring. They are also available from local nursery’s. This is truly a Texas history plant, everyone has a story about this persimmon, as you design a native garden don’t forget the native persimmon as the second story tree, shrub. They can be pruned into lovely sculpted designs and add that something extra to your garden. Plus you get fruit to make a delicious pudding or sauce, provide food for the bird’s bees and butterflies or any hungry critter looking for a tasty meal. We want all of Texas creatures to have something to eat. And this is where the quote from the beginning of this holds true. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Especially when you take a moment and consider the Native persimmon. Growing green Jannie

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