Consequences of Overspray

I aggressively sprayed the backyard with vinegar solution yesterday. This morning’s review of the backyard beds reveals the hideous consequences of vinegar overspraying on plant foliage. I believe that because this corner bed in particular was down at the bottom of the slope from where I began spraying, it incurred a lot of foliar damage.

Unfortunately this bed is host to new-to-my-garden plants such as Butterfly Gold buddleia, purple coneflower and salvia blepharophylla. Bronze fennel, blackfoot daisies, Nepeta Picture Purrfect, salvia reptans, Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum muticum), agastache and Mexican tarragon also bore the brunt of the damage

It seems most of the damage is concentrated on the south end of the yard. It may be that winds of 10-15mph swept towards the south side of the yard, carrying the 20% vinegar solution with it.

Most other beds including my raised grow bag garden appear spared most of the damage.

Mystery Skullcaps

Here in North Texas most gardeners are familiar with the ubiquitous Cherry skullcap, scutellaria suffrutescens. It’s such a popular ornamental here that it’s also known as Texas skullcap or Pink Texas skullcap.

As of this writing, I have two Cherry Skullcaps adorning my front yard. The second, I believe was a division from the main plant which is now about 8 years old. Both plants took a long time to bounce back from the hack job I performed but are doing quite well nowadays.

I also have a Violet Cloud or Dark Violet skullcap. I suspect I’ve had both types at one time and they both performed similarly, very robust and heat tolerant. They also reached a monstrous size given that they were planted atop driplines, nowhere near the 1×1 foot advertised height and width. I’ve killed one after moving it to a different bed. The current specimen is about 2 years old.

I have since added 3 species of scutellaria currently thriving in my backyard beds.

Scutellaria resinosa Smoky Hills: a heat loving plant that could likely be useful in xeriscaping. It prefers dry conditions and is situated on a west facing wall where it survives the brutal summer sun.

Scutellaria wrightii: a woody skullcap similar in appearance to Dark Violet, with which it shares a bed. I would almost consider them identical in bloom and behavior were it not for the shrubby, sprawl of scutellaria wrightii. But it’s only a year old and may need time to catch up with it’s neighbor.

Scutellaria ovata: heartleaf skullcap is an herbaceous perennial and said to prefer part shade. However in my experience it can take full sun with average watering. It spreads via rhizomes and thrives quite happily on the driplines where they are planted. Almost invasive if left unchecked, but easy to yank out as needed.

Then I count two more mystery skullcaps in my garden that I have trouble identifying. I suspect they are suffrutescens hybrids of some kind.

The lavender-blue flowered skullcap shares the habit of Cherry and Dark Violet.

The second skullcap is finer leafed, much more ground hugging–staying well under 10 inches in height. It puts out a profusion of yellow cream flowers especially in spring. It makes for a very tidy border or edging plant and seems to colonize along driplines. It’s been labeled in local nurseries as white skullcap, but I think yellow is more accurate.

Due to their performance here in North Texas skullcaps are a great addition to the gardeners palette. I have added a few more species of scutellaria to my wishlist in hopes of increasing the variety of ornamentals in my garden.

Plants I Wish I Had Started (Sooner)

Now that we are entering summer, I find myself reflecting on what I could have done better this year in terms of starting and growing plants. I’ve compiled a list of seeds/plants below that I hope to get started for next year.


  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Common chives
  • Variegated berggarten sage


  • Marigolds
  • Zinnias
  • Cosmos
  • Nasturtiums
  • Mexican hats ratibida columnifera and pinnata
  • Scabiosa
  • Coneflower


  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplants
  • Romaine/leafy greens
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Other ornamentals:

  • Salvia
  • Variegated lantana
  • Mexican oregano poliomintha
  • Skullcap
  • Asclepias
  • Yarrow achillea
  • Gaura
  • Variegated society garlic
  • Stachys coccinea pow wow or mountain red

I’m sure to amend this list throughout the year.

Take 3: Blackfoot Daisy

Included in my recent plant haul from shades of green Frisco were two Blackfoot daisies, melampodium leucanthemum.

I’ve grown Blackfoot daisies in my backyard garden for at least 2 years that I’ve counted. I know they have been in my front yard garden in its early days.

Talk about prolific bloomer. The blackfoot daisies put out a massive display of blooms during the summer heat, when other plants are faltering.

It makes an excellent border plant simply because of this display as it waterfalls over the garden edging.

My biggest challenge is getting it to return in the spring. I have bought and planted as many as four specimens in my big flower bed and it never seems to come back.

This year I am amending the soil to add perlite, sand and gravel in hopes of coaxing it back to life the following spring. Wishing me luck for these new specimens.