THE CENTRAL TEXAS GARDENER, LINDA LEHMUSVIRTA
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One of the aspects of the gardening life that I love is its hugeness and yet the universal connection within that hugeness. I felt this when speaking with Fran Sorin from Tel Aviv, Israel, or with Pen Pender from South Eastern Australia – we are all gardening under one sky in so many ways.
This week we speak with a gardener who lives and works beneath the great, big beautiful sky of Austin, Texas –one of many real gardening epi-centers in our country. Linda Lehmusvirta is a home gardener and gardening advocate in Austin, and as the longtime producer of a weekly program on KLRU-TV, PBS in Austin, she is most well known as the Central Texas Gardener.
"Part of cultivating place to me is that it's never static, it's always dynamic. You're not watching the weather on tv or on your computer, you're out in it." The Central Texas Gardener
Linda grew up in the big state of Texas on the outskirts of Dallas at a pretty pivotal time in gardening in the US. She happily documents some of the progress we’ve made as gardeners to better understanding, appreciating and working with the places we cultivate. She does this from a well-gardened place Austin, Texas – home of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and all that it symbolizes in terms of conservation and ecologically minded gardening in our country.
In our conversation, Linda talks to us about the gardening conditions of the great state of Texas – particularly from her location in Central Texas where the rich and fertile Blackland Prairie meets the rocky Edwards Plateau.
In terms of extreme gardening and the lessons to be learned from it, Texas has some and more. The state has the largest number of cold hardiness zones of any other state – ranging from 6 a – 10a, and precipitation can range from 5 inches per year in the west to 60 inches per year in the east. In Austin, Linda gardens with about 30 – 35 inches of rain a year. She has upwards of 8,800 native plants to her state, which gives her some options. She talks a little bit about a few of her favorites!