Growing Periwinkle in Central Texas

Anyone who has planted Periwinkle, or Annual Vinca, in the spring in Central Texas will tell you “that plant always dies when I plant it”. Well, there is a reason for that! Periwinkle, especially in the “old” days, before resistant varieties were available, was never grown until the cool wet weather ofspringwas behindus. It absolutely thrives in the scorching hot summers, but give itrain and cool weather, and disease takes over! Phytopthora fungus is the causal organism for both Aerial blight and Root blight on Madagascar Periwinkles. As mentioned above, [...]

By |2020-04-07T09:53:31-05:00April 4th, 2020|Disease, Plants|

Brick House Rose

Rosa ‘Meitraligh’, aka Brick House™ Rose, is the new “rose kid” on the block this year. BrickHouse™ sports dark red flowers on a Floribunda rose that only reaches 3’ to 3 ½’ tall. The smaller size will be a welcome plant to put in those beds that are only 3’-4’ wide. The Brick House™ has excellent disease resistance for its type and a slight fragrance. You can expect repeat blooms on this well-behaved shrub rose, and the dark red color contrasts nicely with both limestone and sandstone. This is one [...]

By |2020-03-03T09:43:39-06:00March 3rd, 2020|Plants, Uncategorized|

Geraniums in Central Texas

Growing up, I remember the “traditional combo planters” that were available at the Local Garden Center. I am sure that you have seen them. A bold, beautiful Geranium in the center of a pot with variegated Vinca major trailing over the edge of the pot. Larger pots would sport a Dracaena “Spike” in the center as the “thriller”, with the geraniums around it as the “filler” and the Vinca major as the “spiller”. Yes, I did say “thriller”, “filler” and “spiller”! To this day, the Geranium combo pot brings back [...]

By |2020-02-23T14:48:13-06:00February 23rd, 2020|Plants|

Planting Wildflower Seeds

Whether you have a meadow you would like to establish with wildflowers or just want to plant some bee and butterfly friendly flowers in your landscape, NOW is when we plant the seeds that will provide the blooms next spring.  Adding native grasses and wildflowers provides food for the birds, nectar and pollen for the pollinators, and can assist butterflies in migration. Are you ready to get started? If you have existing warm season grasses where you would like to seed wildflowers, mow the grass short and remove thatch, if [...]

By |2019-09-15T22:40:22-05:00September 15th, 2019|Plants|

Roots and How They Grow

It is difficult to know how to water plants if we do not understand how (and where) their roots grow. Do we water just at the base of the plant? How long do we water a plant, and how deep does the water need to go? These are questions that I hear almost every day at the nursery. Let us begin with tree roots. In the first year, when establishing a newly planted tree, apply water to the area above the original root ball and about 1’ beyond. This will [...]

By |2019-08-18T17:48:20-05:00August 18th, 2019|Plants, Trees|

Lavender Demystified

As you may have guessed, Lavender is a plant that mystifies many people. Which one should you plant? What conditions do they require? We are fortunate to have a relatively non-hostile environment for growing Lavender in Central Texas. If you have well-drained soil and a sunny exposure, you should be able to grow Lavender with ease. Humidity, poor drainage and heavy soils are the arch enemies of Lavender. Lavender is drought resistant once established, and to many people’s delight, they are DEER RESISTANT TOO! There are four primary species of [...]

By |2019-05-30T08:48:43-05:00May 30th, 2019|Plants|

Milkweed Seed Stratification

Milkweed Stratification Procedures, Courtesy Native American Seed NOTE:  George Cates insists that sterile rubber (latex) gloves be worn at all times and that containers and implements be sterile.   Otherwise, mold can grow in the vermiculite and damage the seeds. Mix seeds with pre-chilled distilled water and let soak for 24 hours in the fridge.  After 24 hours, pour seeds into strainer and rinse with distilled water. Moisten vermiculite with distilled water, the exact quantity required varies with different media, moist but not dripping is best.  Mix rinsed seeds into [...]

By |2019-05-09T09:38:39-05:00May 8th, 2019|Plants|

Poinsettia Care During the Holidays

Poinsettias are such a symbol of the Holidays, and can be kept fresh-looking longer with just a few easy care instructions. Locate your Poinsettia close to a bright window if possible. The bracts will continue to “color up” with sufficient light. If you are satisfied with the color, you may display the plant in a darker area, but be aware that the color might fade. Check the soil daily for water. When the surface of the soil is dry to the touch, or if the pot feels light, remove the [...]

By |2018-12-09T11:44:41-06:00December 9th, 2018|Plants|

Cyclamen Care

Cyclamen come to us from the Mediterranean region and North Africa. They revel in cool, but not cold, temperatures, and provide us with flowers for several weeks each season. Florist Cyclamen come in shades of red, pink, white, purple and salmon. Some varieties are fragrant, some reach 7”-8” tall, and others may reach 12”-18” tall. They are grown from a corm, which is bulb-like structure, and can be kept over as a perennial as long as they are allowed to go dormant in the summer season. (Or not, as you [...]

By |2018-11-28T11:15:34-06:00November 28th, 2018|Plants|

ESTABLISHING NEW PLANTS IN THE LANDSCAPE IN THE WINTER

PLEASE DO NOT RELY ON RAIN OR IRRIGATION TO ESTABLISH NEWLY PLANTED TREES OR SHRUBS. A DEEP SOAKING WITH A HOSE WILL ESTABLISH TREES AND SHRUBS MORE EFFICIENTLY. EVERGREEN TREES AND SHRUBS:Evergreen trees and shrubs will need to be watered more often in the winter than deciduous shrubs, as their leaves lose moisture to the wind and to the air during our warm winter Central Texas days. It is difficult to recommend a watering frequency due to our constantly changing temperatures. Remember, if it is warm, or windy, your plants [...]

By |2018-11-18T16:14:45-06:00November 18th, 2018|Plants|

Ornamental Grasses – Lots of Beauty with Less Effort!

Ornamental grasses are overlooked too often. 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. Even when dormant [...]

By |2018-08-20T17:24:08-05:00August 20th, 2018|Plants|

August Pruning

Central Texas has a lot going for it in the gardening realm, if you know how to play it. For one thing, we have fabulous fall weather, which our plants really love. As gardeners, we can prepare for that extra “push” the fall will give us. But, only if we prepare now, from mid to late August. Roses are looking stressed and tired from the long, hot summer. Pruning shrub roses back by 1/3 and fertilizing with an organic rose fertilizer such as Fox Farm Rose Food will bring on [...]

By |2018-08-13T11:34:32-05:00August 13th, 2018|Plants|