Yes, they were overplanted in years past. It’s true they’re subject to unsightly mildew. And my own patio has been the victim of the purple shit-astrophe that occurs every spring when packs of cedar waxwings descend on their berries. Most grievously, many consider them an invasive scourge. But when the holidays come around, ligustrum is the best freebie decorating resource around. Their bay-leaf shaped foliage is ramshackle lushness writ large. And the dusty blue berries, are gorgeous pendants of autumn abundance. Cuttings of ligustrum can be stuck in any container and look great. I have no ligustrum in my current yard, a rarity in a home built in the 40s. But it’s easy enough to find them in empty lots, alleys, and byways. Harvesting ligustrum for the home keeps berries from the birds (preventing them from being disseminated in poop and germinating new plants) and also fills your home with a beauty that rivals anything in the pricey floral departments at Central Market or Whole Foods.
After 10 years gardening on solid rock in Rollingwood, I moved into a 40's cottage in the North Loop area spring 2007. The little postage stamp yard is black clay and no one had ever dug a single flower bed. After visiting Key West a few years ago, I came back inspired by the little frame cottages, white painted railings, and rustling palm leaves. So the plan is: desert tropical cottage garden.