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Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Silver Ponyfoot

The native Silver ponyfoot, sometimes called Silver ponys foot, is Dichondra argentea according to the Wildflower Center, but the plants at nurseries are frequently labeled 'Silver Falls'. Mine started out as the "Spiller" in a basket hanging near the wall at right about 3 years ago. Some strands landed in the granite below, rooting and gradually spreading. Last spring the ponyfoot trotted across the sidewalk to the decomposed granite area next to the patio and it kept going. Even in Austin's fairly mild zone 8 winter, this groundcover gets frozen back, but there are usually enough rooted knobs still alive to get it restarted.

Now it's gently lapping the rocks around the fountain.


Near the steps to the veranda a bowl of Silver Pony foot dripped down and has likewise spread to fill this area of decomposed granite. It will look better once the oleander leaves are removed!

Pam/Digging shows Silver Ponyfoot on a garden tour, used to fill in the spaces and soften an area of large flat stones.


Carol said...

I love when a plant like that, with little tiny leaves, makes its way across a crack, down a little wall, over a garden path. It makes a garden feel like a place where plants are quite a home, where they love it. It smooths out the sharp edges... and softens the garden.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Mmmmm. What Carol said.

Annie in Austin said...

Thank you, Carol and MSS - I fell in love with silver ponyfoot as soon as I saw it. I'm so glad it feels at home.


Wicked Gardener said...

It is a neat effect - it looks like water spilling out from the pot down into the ground. Very nice.

Entangled said...

Oh my, I started some from seed this year and just set out 5 plants last weekend. I still have one left over. I don't think it's hardy here, but if it is.... oh my.

Annie in Austin said...

Thanks, Wicked Gardener - I like that trailing effect, too. Anything that looks like water is appreciated here!

Entangled - is that "oh, my" a 'Yes, yes! or an "O, No!"? You do like the plant, right?


Entangled said...

Annie, I liked it in blogs and magazines, but haven't grown it before. I can imagine the carpet I'm going to have from 5 plants. I think it's a "Yes, yes", but I'll let you know.

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

Annie, I love it when you get "volunteer" plants like that. Beautiful! We had that happen to a patio at our first house. Lobelia from a hanging basket the previous year seeded. The next spring we had cheery little purple faces popping up between the cracks. Good luck Entangled with your new babies! Cheers Heather

tillandsias aéreas said...

Hello, nice garden :)
I was wondering if that dichondra can be used to cover walls, starting from the ground. Would they just spread downwards or will they climb up? i could provide some tutoring to help them.
Thank you

Annie in Austin said...

Hello tillandsias aéreas,

That's an interesting question. The strands of this dichondra fan out and lightly tangle with each other as they spread, but the plants have no mechanisms for climbing such as tendrils or aerial roots. They don't wind around strings to climb like beans.

The mass of the plant can pile on top of itself and lean against a wall - perhaps reaching to 1 and 1/2 feet (about 46 centimeters) but then its own weight makes it roll up and fall off.

Perhaps something like bird netting could give them enough support for a small wall. But if the weather is cold enough for freezes some of the plant will die.

Good luck!