My Go-To Plants

I’ve never had my soil tested but if I ever did, I am pretty sure it would get a big fat F.  It’s mostly clay and hard as a rock. It’s terrible and I hate it.

In contrast, the rich loamy Red River Valley soil of Northeast Texas where I’m from is like chocolate cake mix.  I’m so jealous.

I couldn’t begin to know how much good dirt I have paid for in the last twenty-five years trying to amend this awful dirt that I have. I just know it’s a lot.  And dirt is not dirt cheap, not when you need a lot of it, so whoever started that expression should think again.

I just added twelve 40-pound bags of it to this bed alone.

That’s 480 pounds for  just one bed.

Once the good stuff is added and worked in, though, I can plant what I want for a a few seasons–until I need to do it all over again.  The bad dirt always seems to come back unfortunately.

I could save money in the long run by purchasing good soil in bulk–and I’ve done that many times–but I don’t have a truck anymore to haul it home and the delivery fee is ridiculous.

Rather than give up completely, I have learned to rely on plants that do not care if they live in terrible soil or not.  Here they are, my go-to plants for crappy soil:

*lamb’s ears

*Wandering Jew

*monkey grass

*asparagus ferns

I have these plants everywhere in my yard.

I started with a six-dollar investment in two lamb’s ears plants years ago.  I divide them and spread the love around on a regular basis. Now I have maybe fifty times what I started with. What I love most about lamb’s ears, besides their fuzzy texture, is the color. They’re an interesting silvery green that compliments everything else, especially anything purple.

I was given some free monkey grass over twenty years ago.  It multiplies like crazy and takes the heavily shaded part of my backyard.  I weed eat it within an inch of its life in late winter before the new growth starts.  It’s a lot of work because I have so much of it, but once it starts to grow again I feel the rewards.

The Wandering Jew was free also.  It requires little water and will take hot sun and some shade as well.  I love the purple color.

I also have the green variety which likes the shade.  Again, free.  I love free.

It’s good to know that no matter how poor my soil may be, I can count on these plants year after year.  They’re keepers.




6 thoughts on “My Go-To Plants

  1. You are my kind of gardener! We are in Rockwall just east of Dallas. Our soil is definitely clay too. We have also spent a small fortune on “good dirt” but it t takes time and work to get there. Wandering Jew, asparagus fern, and monkey grass are musts!

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