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|

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|

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|

Poinsettia Care after Christmas

With any luck, your Poinsettias have made it through the holidays unscathed, and you are wondering what to do with them now. Many people treat them as a “seasonal” florist plant, discarding them and replacing them next year with new ones. However, if you hate throwing perfectly good plants away, you might be interested in learning how to keep your Poinsettia growing until next Christmas, and how to make it bloom again. Here are some steps to help you succeed: Locate a sunny window to grow your Poinsettia in until [...]

By |2017-12-26T13:36:01+00:00December 26th, 2017|Plants|

WINTER FLOWERS? Yes! CAMELLIAS!

Central Texas has very few plants which bloom in the winter. Azaleas bloom spring and fall, with some new varieties blooming all summer. Loropetalum blooms in February, as does Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince and Texas Redbud. But what about winter bloomers? Camellias come to us from eastern and southern Asia. One species, Camellia sinensis, is the plant from which our tea leaves come. The ornamental Camellias which do well in our area are Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica) and Sasanqua Camellia (Camellia sasanqua). The most familiar of the camellias is the [...]

By |2017-12-18T14:52:44+00:00December 18th, 2017|Plants|

What Makes Onions Bulb?

Have you ever planted onions, only to be disappointed in the size of bulb produced, or even have no bulbs produce at all? Here are some guidelines to ensure bulb production of onions in your garden. Choose the right variety: onions are characterized by the length of day required for them to produce bulbs. “Long-day” varieties will quit forming leaves and begin forming bulbs when day length reaches 14-16 hours. These varieties do better in the NORTHERN STATES. They are often the little onion “sets” you find at the box [...]

By |2017-12-11T10:53:43+00:00December 11th, 2017|Plants|

Protecting Your Plants in the Winter

Do you have a plan for keeping your tender plants alive this winter?  Are you wondering which plants will need protection? The first thing you need to know is what hardiness zone your plant is classified in. Is it zone 10, like the Bougainvillea? Or zone 9, like Lemon Grass? The hardiness zone determines the minimum cold temperatures that a plant will tolerate. It is just a guideline, however, as other factors will also need to be considered. A tender plant that is well established going into the winter will [...]

By |2017-12-04T17:31:45+00:00December 4th, 2017|Plants|

Caring For Your Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus is a tropical plant native to South and Central America. They are not actually a cactus. They grow in similar environments as epiphytic orchids, in the forks of tree limbs, where they grow in decayed leaves and other natural debris that accumulates there. When you bring your Christmas cactus home, it will most likely be in bud and bloom. To prevent bud drop, locate the plant in a humid environment, or place water in a saucer with gravel under the plant to increase humidity. Do not place them [...]

By |2017-11-27T16:44:27+00:00November 27th, 2017|Plants|