No, it is not a swamp. It is the entrance to the Coastal Oaks Demonstration Garden. The drainage pond has been out of its banks for over a month and has kept areas in the Demonstration Garden under almost knee deep water.
Since it started raining in September, work at the Coastal Oaks Demonstration Garden has been limited to the upper gardens. The Children’s Garden Area, Granny’s Garden and the Office beds are doing well and all the rain has been making them look lush.
We have lost many of our drought tolerant plants and are uncertain about the fate of many of the other plants in the lower Demonstration Garden area. However, we have many plants that do equally well in drought and flood. For example, Tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) can withstand brief periods of water inundation and likes relatively moist soil, but is also one of the last to die back in extreme drought. The bright red flowers on this plant attract hummingbirds while being deer resistant. It grows in sunny or shady areas and it readily self seeds which makes it a great addition to any Coastal Bend Garden. Another example would be the groundcover known as Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora). A low growing member of the verbena family, frogfruit tolerates extended flooding and yet survives even our hottest, most extended droughts. It grows well in full sun and part shade and it’s white cylindrical blooms are a well loved nectar source of butterflies and other pollinators. It also has the added bonus of mowability. Gulf Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is a wonderful ornamental grass that tolerates both flood and drought. It is a clumping grass with beautiful pink seed plumes in the fall.
Be sure to stop by the AgriLife office and pick up a copy of “In Our Coastal Garden” for more information about which native and adaptive plants do well in our Coastal Bend gardens.