Don’t Overlook Ornamental Grasses

A balanced landscape requires many elements, and ornamental grasses are a great choice to fill the need for a structural variation in foliage. While everyone loves the plants that give us color, we also need to “break up” the landscape to avoid monotony, and give texture to our plantings. We have a wonderful selection of native ornamental grasses available to us, and not only do they fill a design void, but they are often quite heat and drought tolerant as well. Wait until late February to cut these grasses back, [...]

By | 2017-07-12T13:27:36+00:00 July 12th, 2017|Plants|

July Checklist

Vegetables:  Vegetable planting is still going on-just be sure to water new seedlings well and often! Don’t let them dry out while they are germinating and getting their “true” leaves, as moisture is critical at this stage. Fall vegetable gardening in many ways can be better than a spring garden in Central Texas. Believe it or not, we plant tomato plants for “fall” tomatoes in July!  We suggest choosing either a “determinate” type tomato (see info sheet), or a variety that has 60-70 “days to harvest”. I have also grown [...]

By | 2017-07-06T14:16:05+00:00 July 6th, 2017|Plants, Vegetable Gardening|

Tomato Variety Sheet

TOMATO VARIETY CHEAT SHEET Variety Days to Maturity Determinate/Indeterminate Fruit Type Notes Beefmaster 70 Determinate Large, 18-32oz VFN Beefsteak 96 Indeterminate Large, 16-32oz Better Boy 78 Indeterminate Large, 16oz VFN Better Bush 72 Determinate Medium, 8oz BHN 444 75 Determinate Large , 10oz Indeterminate Large, 16-20oz Big Boy 78 Indeterminate Large, 16-20oz Big Beef 73 Indeterminate Large, 12-16oz VFNT Black Krim* 65-90 Indeterminate Large, 10-12oz Red/Black, Very Sweet Brandywine* 88 Indeterminate Large, 12oz Bush Celebrity 67 Determinate Medium, 8oz Bush Early Girl 63 Determinate Medium, 6oz Caspian Pink* 80 Indeterminate [...]

By | 2017-07-06T14:04:44+00:00 July 6th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

My Crape Myrtles Aren’t Blooming!

Every year I get several inquiries about why someone’s Crape Myrtle is not blooming. There are several conditions that might affect a Crape Myrtle’s bloom period. Read the causes below to help figure out why yours aren't blooming. -Different varieties begin blooming at different times. Natchez (white blooms) is usually one of the first to begin blooming. Some varieties may not begin blooming until late June. - Crape Myrtles require at least 8 hours of direct sun to bloom. If your crape Myrtle receives too much shade, it will not [...]

By | 2017-06-28T13:04:47+00:00 June 28th, 2017|Trees|

How to Choose a Crape Myrtle

It may seem kind of silly to write about “Choosing a Crape Myrtle”. Don’t you just decide what color you like and buy that one? Well, maybe. But there are other factors to consider as well. We now have a plethora of varieties to choose from, some with dark colored leaves, different colors of exfoliating bark, brilliant fall colors from red to orange, and a myriad of flower colors.  While all of these are important, remember to first identify the mature height of Crape Myrtle that would be appropriate for the [...]

By | 2017-06-21T14:51:21+00:00 June 21st, 2017|Trees|

June Gardening Checklist

Annuals and Perennials: Some of the best heat-loving annuals are ready to be planted now! Vinca, Angelonia, Penta, Sweet Potato Vine, Coleus, Wax Begonias, Purslane and Portulaca will easily make it through our hot summer with attentive watering and monthly fertilization. Even Geraniums, when moved to dappled shade or part sun will produce abundant blooms all summer if dead-headed and fertilized monthly. Perennials should be establishing well if planted in the spring. If planting now, continue hand-watering daily for at least a few weeks. Watering deeply once or twice a [...]

By | 2017-06-07T12:42:32+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Lawn Care, Vegetable Gardening|

Crape Myrtle Aphids

It’s funny, we don’t always get the question “How do I control aphids on my Crape Myrtles?” More often, we are asked, “Why are my Crape Myrtle leaves black?” or, “What is dripping on my car from the Crape Myrtle trees?”  Both of these questions refer to an infestation of an insect called a Crape Myrtle aphid. Yes, they actually are named after the tree. That, in itself, tells us something. It is one of the most common pests of Crape Myrtles in the United States. Apparently it was introduce [...]

By | 2017-05-30T14:36:26+00:00 May 30th, 2017|Insects|

Insects in the Vegetable Garden

Do You Have Insects in the Vegetable Garden? As the temperatures warm, insects become more of problem in the home garden. We are seeing stink bugs hatching from their eggs, spider mites sucking sap from plant cells, and caterpillars munching on our crops! Stink bugs are most easily controlled when they have just hatched and are in the “nymph” stage. Actually, they are most easily controlled when they are eggs, and you can simply pick them off the leaf and place in a can of soapy water! The eggs are [...]

By | 2017-07-17T08:22:54+00:00 May 25th, 2017|Insects, Uncategorized|

Blossom End Rot

Blossom End Rot - What It Is and What It Is Not If you have ever had the “blossom end” of a tomato turn black, you have experienced blossom end rot. Caused by cultural conditions, and NOT disease, this malady can affect tomatoes, peppers, squash, watermelon and eggplant. Researchers agree that it is caused by a calcium deficiency in the blossom end of the fruit (yes, these are technically fruits, as they are actually formed from the ovary of a flower!) Now, why there is a deficiency is the real [...]

By | 2017-06-21T09:07:17+00:00 May 17th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

Is it CLEM-a-tis or clem-A-tis?

Whichever way you pronounce it, it is one of my favorite flowering vines, and I am excited to introduce it to you! Clematis, in nature, germinate their seed in the shade of other plants, and climb into the sun, keeping their roots in more cool temperatures. Hence, the adage “tops in the sun, roots in the shade”. This can be accomplished by planting a shrub to shade the roots (Liriope works well), or even by placing a large flat stone over the root area. A thick layer of mulch also [...]

By | 2017-05-11T15:51:13+00:00 May 11th, 2017|Plants|

Peach Tree Blues

Peach Tree Chilling? Some varieties of fruit, such as peaches, plums, apricots, and apples, require a certain number of “chilling” hours in order to bloom and set fruit. This is usually calculated between October 1 and February 28/29, and is either calculated as the number of hours between 32 and 45 degrees or hours below 45 degrees F...depending on who is doing the calculating!  When selecting a variety for your area, it is important to remember that a chilling requirement is not a hard and fast rule- it is a [...]

By | 2017-06-21T09:03:27+00:00 May 2nd, 2017|Fruit & Nuts|

Photinia Leaf Spot

My Photinia Leaf Has Spots? If you have Red Tip Photinia in your yard, you are most likely familiar with the red-purple photinia leaf spots that can appear on the leaves. This spotting is caused by a fungus, Entomosporium, and can cause damage to Photinia and Indian Hawthorn. Other plants in the rose family that may be infected include loquat, flowering quince, pyracantha and pear. We frequently see severe damage after periods of frequent rainfall, although overhead watering for lawns that hits the shrubs is also a factor. The disease starts [...]

By | 2017-06-07T07:50:13+00:00 April 25th, 2017|Plants|