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Armchair Gardening: Visit Jean Bassett's Garden

Jean's garden is tucked away on a quiet cul-de-sac in Plano. Every home in Plano has a tree in the front yard and (as usually happens) as the tree grew and flourished the garden changed, creating more part sun and shady areas. This clever gardener didn't despair as the grass faded away - she saw this as an opportunity to plant more gardens and buy more plants! You only have to have a casual conversation with Jean to realize that she's a plant person.

Jean says "my friend Becky Cavender says there's gardening and there's landscaping. I lean toward the gardening ... more plants than I'm supposed to have and the rainbow my color palette".

Jean is generous in sharing plants from her garden and cherishes the ones she receives. The beautiful blue iris are a pass-along from friend Sue White. The plum iris and the yellow/white iris are from her mother's yard.

Jean plants bulbs because they herald spring. The green of spring is beautiful and are the perfect foil for the bold and vibrant bulbs. The Hardy Red Amaryllis came from her Aunt's home. Jean has been involved with the Collin County Master Gardener Bulb Committee since 2010; the bright yellow 'Quail' daffodils were an early choice.

Even shady parts of Jean's garden are full of blooming plants. She loves the way the delicate flowers of 'Texas Gold' Columbine sway in the breeze and the blue-green foliage always looks fresh. Lyre Leaf Sage is a pretty, cool season plant with tall lavender spikes. This perennial re-seeds but is easy to control; Jean cuts it back in the heat of summer when the foliage starts to look tired. Foliage is important in shady gardens and Jean's experience shines through in choosing those that provide texture as well as color; look at this stunning combination of Variegated Hosta and Purple Oxalis.

Flowers are Jean's favorite and she tries always to have something blooming - even if only in pots on the front porch. She does this not only for her enjoyment but also for her neighbors. Choosing flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds is always on her mind - they are important pollinators and add movement and beauty to the garden. The red-spiked Cedar Sage was sold at the Perennial Mart one year and attracts hummingbirds. Pipevine is a larval food for Swallowtail Butterflies and she will check it regularly for the eggs that are invariably laid every spring. A sunny spot in the back is the perfect plant to tuck in a herb and vegetable garden. Innovative raised beds have a clean, modern feel and are functional.

I've been told that you can always tell a home that belongs to a Master Gardener and this is certainly true with Jean's home. The variety of plants and the abundance are proof positive that this home belongs to someone who loves to putter in the garden. Red, yellow and purple predominate in the spring garden, but that will change with the seasons. Thank you Jean for sharing your beautiful garden with us!

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