About Mary Kay Pope

Mary Kay is an asset to Backbone and a wealth of knowledge! Many customers come in and ask for her by name for all their plant questions. It's no wonder why, as Mary Kay has 43 years of experience in the horticulture field. She holds a B.S. in Horticulture from Ohio State University, and a TMCNP and a TCLP from Texas Association of Nurserymen, and a Specialist in Urban Trees Certification from Texas A&M.

Plumerias LOVE Texas!

Plumeria are best grown in pots here, as they require protection from temperatures below 33 degrees. Locate your Plumeria in a minimum of 6-8 hours of sun, with some shade from the afternoon sun, if necessary. A well-drained potting soil, such as Fox Farm Happy Frog potting soil, is a must for these plants. Their root systems will seem small for the size of plant, and repotting should be done only when the plants have filled their pots with roots. A 4”-6” jump in pot size is all that is [...]

By |2018-05-23T19:17:02+00:00May 23rd, 2018|Plants|

Daylily Culture in Central Texas

Growing up with Daylilies in Ohio, I remember appreciating their bright showy flowers everywhere. They were one of the many flowers I missed after moving to Texas 47 years ago. Now that I have a yard that is fenced-off from the deer, I can once again enjoy the day-long blooms of these beauties. Daylilies do best with full morning sun and full afternoon shade to dappled shade in the central Texas area. The morning sun helps the blooms to open. And, since each flower is open for only a day, [...]

By |2018-05-15T11:40:05+00:00May 15th, 2018|Plants|

Growing Citrus in Central Texas

There is nothing better than the smell of citrus blossoms in late winter and early spring.  The popularity of citrus has increased as many homeowners are creating urban backyard orchards in Central Texas. Commercial citrus operations are typically found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley where the threat of hard freezes is lessened. In fact, Texas is ranked 3rd in US citrus production.  You can have citrus in our area as long as you choose the right variety, put it in the right place, and pay a little attention to [...]

By |2018-05-09T22:46:09+00:00May 9th, 2018|Plants|

Trichogramma Wasps

Trichogramma wasps, despite their small size, are efficient destroyers of eggs of armyworms, bagworms, peach borers, squash borers, cutworms, tomato hornworms, cabbage loopers, walnut caterpillars and other leaf-eating caterpillars.  The female wasp deposits an egg into the egg of the pest species. After consuming the contents of the host egg, the adult wasp emerges within about a week. During the female wasp’s 9-11 day lifespan, she will seek out and destroy about 100 pest eggs by laying her egg inside of it. Release should be timed when the pest moth [...]

By |2018-05-04T14:07:33+00:00May 2nd, 2018|Insects|

May Gardening Checklist

Annuals and Perennials: Remove spent blooms on annuals such as Zinnias, snipping the bloom back to just above the first set of leaves. This process is known as “deadheading”, and if done as soon as blooms begin to fade will encourage repeat blooming. Deadhead Geraniums by bending the flower stalk away from the stem it is growing on. If you have your Geraniums in the sun, it is time to move them to afternoon shade. They will continue blooming all summer if given some shade, occasional pruning and monthly fertilizer. [...]

By |2018-05-04T14:06:30+00:00May 2nd, 2018|Plants|

Japanese Maples in Central Texas

Japanese Maples can be an attractive addition to almost any landscape. To assure trees that thrive, locate your Japanese maple where it will receive dappled sun under the canopy of trees, with no more than two to three hours of morning sun. Varieties with red new growth will benefit from a little sun to enhance the color when they leaf out in the spring. Japanese Maples will tolerate low winter temperatures quite well, but suffer from moisture loss from the leaves when exposed to our drying summer winds. A northeast [...]

By |2018-05-04T14:03:14+00:00April 25th, 2018|Trees|

Squash Vine Borers

I don’t know about you, but I consider squash vine borers one of my garden’s worst enemies! Just when my squash vines are beginning to produce well, they suddenly go limp and die! Luckily, there IS something we can do to prevent or minimize the damage from this pesky insect. Understanding the life cycle of any pest is key to its management. The squash vine borer adult is a small wasp-like “clear-wing” moth with a reddish-orange abdomen. The adult moths emerge from their pupating stage in the soil in late [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:07:19+00:00April 18th, 2018|Insects|

April Checklist

ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS:             Continue planting warm season annuals and perennials. Caladiums should be available soon and make a good combination with Impatiens in the shady landscape. Plant heat-loving perennials and hand-water for a few weeks until established. Remember, rain and/or irrigation do not do a good job establishing newly planted plants. Work compost into the beds before planting and apply fertilizer such as Ladybug 8-2-4 or MicroLife 6-2-4 after planting. Add large colorful pots of combination plantings to your landscape. Be sure to include tall, medium and trailing plants- [...]

By |2018-04-04T22:01:30+00:00April 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Texas Mountain Laurel

What’s that fragrance, you say? Does it smell like Grape NeHi Soda? That wonderful grape scent is coming from our native Texas Mountain Laurel. They usually bloom in March, and the blooming period may last 3-4 weeks. The Texas Mountain Laurel is an evergreen native tree that is quite drought tolerant, once established. Establishment can take up to three years, as it does with many trees. The old adage “the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap” is appropriate for this gorgeous [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:13:27+00:00March 21st, 2018|Plants, Trees|

Bougainvillea Madness

I am so fond of having Bougainvilleas in pots in my landscape. Nothing really compares to the riot of color that they can produce during the heat of the summer. Add the fact that they are so easy to care for, and we have a real winner on our hands. Simply familiarize yourself with their needs, and you will have an explosion of color in your yard, too! Bougainvilleas require at least 5 hours of sun each day in order to bloom well. Because they bloom on new growth, promoting [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:14:42+00:00March 14th, 2018|Plants|

Tomato Tips

Vegetable gardening in central Texas can have its challenges. You do everything right, then at just the WRONG moment Mother Nature comes in and throws a cog in your wheel. Ever so optimistic, I will plant tomatoes each year, and usually get a good crop, with occasional rainy years being the exception. So, let’s go over what it takes to grow tomatoes successfully in Central Texas - "Tomato Tips"! Timing: Plant as early as possible in Central Texas. Buy your transplants in February and transplant them to 1 gallon pots [...]

By |2018-05-07T08:43:09+00:00March 7th, 2018|Vegetable Gardening|

March Gardening Checklist

Annuals and Perennials Now is the time to be planting warm season annuals and perennials. Their root systems will have a chance to become established before the summer heat sets in, and you will not need to hand-water as long as you would if you wait to plant later.  Be ready to protect your newly planted/tender plants with frost cloth just in case we get a late freeze. The average last frost in Burnet County is March 15. Some of my favorite plants to add instant color to the winter-worn [...]

By |2018-02-28T15:36:38+00:00February 28th, 2018|Fruit & Nuts, Plants, Trees, Vegetable Gardening|