I’ve always known Cherry Green is an avid gardener. Year round, no matter how hot or cold it is, she remains a gardener. Whenever I see her about town, she asks if we have this or that, and most of the time it’s not your ordinary ligustrum or Asian jasmine. A few weeks ago, she was in the store looking for pink gaura, one of my favorites, but again, not a typical Corpus Christi landscape plant. In conversation, I asked if I could come tour her garden. What a treat!
Cherry & her husband Hix moved from the Dallas area in their 20’s to a neighborhood off Ocean Drive and have been there ever since. Cherry immediately went to work designing the garden and Hix assisted her in creating her dream landscape. As with many, their original plant choices leaned toward the East Texas varieties. Through trial and error, and a few hot and humid summers, they’ve migrated to more natives, more drought tolerant, hardier plants. Interestingly, when she acquires a new plant, she enters it in her data base by common and scientific name. In addition, she photographs her succulents since sometimes they are difficult to differentiate. I also think that could be a great way to record plant performance, bloom cycles, etc…
Cherry & Hix’s garden is truly an amazing collection of plant species. Their front yard is anchored with oaks and Natchez crape myrtles; beds are filled with bird of paradise, foxtail fern, Red Wave hibiscus, jasmines, chrysanthemums, Japanese yew, yellow plumbago and more. Their side yard includes Drift roses, Mexican oregano, exotic day lilies including Black Ambrosia & King’s Point, plumeria, hamelia, a way cool groundcover periwinkle, hibiscus and a great collection of succulents in pots by the side entrance to their home. Their back yard has beautiful mesquites, one with night blooming cereus growing up it. There are crape myrtles, a mountain laurel and a grapefruit, specimen plumeria, durantas, firecracker plant, irises, altheas, pride of Barbados, porter weed, night blooming jasmine, Indian carnation, milkweed, a beautiful specimen white bird of paradise, beautiful blooming gomphrena and a nice assortment of vines on their back and side fence. Again, they have a great collection of succulents in an interesting collection of containers. She jokes that her lawn is disappearing as her garden beds get larger.
Cherry has no qualms, when a plant becomes too big in its current location, to move it or dispose of it. She’s all about trial and error. A few days before our visit, she dug up an iris that had gotten too large for its space, divided it, and was readying them for planting in a more appropriate spot.
I was most entertained by where Cherry has acquired her plants. I’m proud to say many of her plants have come from Gill’s, but I’m not sure it’s a majority. It seems many of her plants have been given to her by friends and family. Gloria Swantner has shared many, as well as B.J. Kershaw, John McKeever, Laurie Mintz, our dear John Anderson, Judy Henderson and on and on. Cherry has purchased plants from our South Texas Botanical Gardens as well as other non-profit gardens, taken a few clippings here and there from hotels (for instance, one of our favorites on Congress Street in Austin). Her daughter, Lacy, is always scouting for her mom in her travels. Bonnie Cohen even brought a suitcase of cuttings from her mom’s garden in East Hampton, New York. I’m sure these plants, given to her by friends and family, hold a special place in her heart. And you can be sure, Cherry has reciprocated in plant giving!
Cherry joked, toward the end of our visit, that she tries to garden the two days prior to trash pick-up so her neighbors don’t have to look at her yard debris for too long. I feel sure they are grateful to have her in the neighborhood (anyone would with such a beautiful landscape), as I am to have her as a friend and a member of our gardening community. Thank you Cherry!