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.

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|

Pruning Guidelines

Herbaceous perennials: These are plants which die back to the ground in the winter. They may be cut back to the ground as soon as they freeze back. Examples are: Mexican Bush Sage, Copper Canyon Daisy, Katie’s Dwarf Ruellia, Russian Sage and Turk’s cap. Evergreen perennials:  These stay green all winter, but benefit from either a light shear or a “rejuvenative” pruning, especially if they are old and woody. Plants requiring a light shear, or “ponytail” cut would include Damianita, Blackfoot Daisy, Mexican Oregano, and Pink Skullcap. Cut only into [...]

By |2018-02-21T15:33:35+00:00February 21st, 2018|Plants|

Growing Potatoes

The old-timers always said to get your potatoes in the ground by Washington’s Birthday. Well, now that Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays have been combined, I guess we’ll have to say to get them in by “President’s Day”! Plan ahead by getting your seed potatoes about 5-7 days before planting. You will want to cut them into pieces with each containing an “eye”, and put them in a paper bag with some dusting sulfur to help prevent disease problems. Shake the pieces around in the bag until they are coated with [...]

By |2018-02-14T11:47:48+00:00February 14th, 2018|Plants|

Spider Mites on Italian Cypress

Treat Italian Cypress NOW! I’ve often mentioned that we have these “windows” for controlling insects and diseases on plants. For those of you who have Italian Cypress planted in your landscape, don’t miss this opportunity to apply dormant oil to prevent spider mites from infesting your plants this spring. I have had great success with one application of All-Season’s Spray Oil in February on Italian Cypress to suppress this damaging insect which often shows up in March. There are a few guidelines to go by for successful results: Temperatures must [...]

By |2018-02-07T00:50:11+00:00February 7th, 2018|Insects|

Winter Lawn Watering

Many people are asking whether to water their lawns in the winter. In Central Texas, that can be a loaded question. Some winters, the temperatures do not drop low enough for a long enough time for our lawns to even go dormant. In that case, if we do not receive ½” of rain, we would advise watering about ½” every two weeks. During our colder winters, when grass turns brown and goes dormant, the roots still remain viable and grow very slowly.  In the absence of rain, a monthly watering [...]

By |2018-01-29T16:42:18+00:00January 29th, 2018|Lawn Care|

February Gardening

VEGETABLES:             All the crops mentioned in January may be planted in February as well.  Onions should be planted before mid-month.  Seed Swiss chard, carrots, turnips and radishes directly into the garden. Cover seedlings during hard freezes. The cool-season greens, lettuce, spinach, mesclun greens and mustard greens should be planted early in the month from seed. Potatoes are usually planted around President’s Day.  Choose varieties such as Kennebec, Red Lasoda or Pontiac.  Cut seed potatoes into sections with at least one “eye” per section. Lay them out to dry in [...]

By |2018-01-29T16:43:50+00:00January 29th, 2018|Lawn Care, Plants|

Remediating Freeze Damage in Plants

It is a “given” in Central Texas that certain popular varieties of plant material will sustain a freeze, eventually, that will cause extensive damage or even death. I receive many questions, daily, following an unusually cold period, about how to deal with plants that appear to have frozen and what to do with them. Here are a few that may have experienced damage, and some suggestions on how to deal with them. Little John Bottlebrush: Although this plant is rated for Zone 9, it is used extensively in this area, [...]

By |2018-01-22T17:22:25+00:00January 22nd, 2018|Plants|

Cabbage Loopers

Keep those Loopers off your cabbage! If you have ever grown members of the Crucifer family, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish or turnip, you have probably experienced the wrath of one of three hungry caterpillars. The Cabbage Looper, the Imported Cabbageworm and the larvae of the Diamondback Moth can all make your beautiful vegetable leaves look like Swiss cheese! Imported Cabbageworms adults are probably the most conspicuous of the three. They appear as a white to yellowish butterfly flitting about the garden laying their eggs on your plants! [...]

By |2018-01-15T14:01:22+00:00January 15th, 2018|Insects|