Home and Garden

Under an asparagus fern’s ‘delicate’ mound of bright green are tiny thorns.

When is a fern not a fern? Well, we all call this plant “asparagus fern,” but no, it’s not actually a fern at all. You can count on this plant with cascading foliage to be super hardy, green and lush even through our summers of relentless heat.

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Eileen Slater, Best of Show
Melissa Starr,  Best Fruit and  Tomato

At Central Mall recently, local gardeners got to show off. County Extension Agent Emilee Bean helped record all of the fun and note the winners at the Jefferson County Fruit, Herb and Vegetable Show. Truth be told, they are winners all. A total of 78 entries were judged for quality and uniformity. In my book, each and every one of those gardeners are champs.

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It was amusing to see a website entitled Dummies.com. One of their many subjects covered planting a window box container garden. We all love container gardening whether we have an apartment, patio home or a few acres. You can picture that most perfect window box garden if you just close your eyes. You imagine a well-tended home with decorative boxes under the windows with dozens of colorful plants just spilling out over the sides. Those lovely flowers and trailing ivy just give a home so much personality.

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Rosey

Rosey is a lovely little lady looking for a nice, new home. She’s as cheerful as a cricket and she would like to share her good spirit with you! Rosey is a 5-year old, 15-pound terrier mix. She has a white, scruffy coat and is quite adorable. Volunteers rescued Rosey from a local pound.

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onions

I don’t know about you, but I would really miss onions if they weren’t around. They are so great at adding flavor and punch to cooked dishes, and crunch and zest in their natural state. Raw or cooked, you can have your choice from a small group of “alliums,” or members of a family that include onions, garlic and chives.

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Cactus blooms

What a wonderful surprise I saw the other morning on one of the hottest, dustiest and driest corners in town: The cactuses were in bloom. Even on this inhospitable corner, these courageous beauties showed off blooms that were as pretty as a rose.

In fact, plants from the huge cactus group are pretty perfect for you to consider in some high and dry area of your yard. There are also striking varieties of cacti for a windowsill or sunny spot inside your home. Some like a little shade, while some want sun all day.

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Love tomatoes? We’re lucky here in Southeast Texas because in July, we get a chance to grow tomatoes again. We can grow them first in the spring and plant again in July to get tomatoes until Old Man Frost comes to visit.

Tomatoes planted now should be planted deeply and kept well mulched and watered. Tomatoes do love the heat, but they can even tolerate a little shade from that scorching afternoon sun. 

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the common daisy

There are few flowers that say “summer” and “American” like the daisy. Daisies are a super huge family with some blooms just for beauty and some blooms that you may decide to use in your kitchen.

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Have you ever tried to grow apples? Yes, it is possible. Do a little research and find the species of apple that will grow well here.

If you have tried to grow apples, you learned that you may have some competition from friendly birds and bugs and other pests. An interesting body of research has been underway at Cornell University Extension Service to experiment with ways to make our apple trees more “fruitful.”

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container gardening

You may want to try container gardening, or maybe just expand your ideas of what can be grown in containers. It is a genius way to grow plants if you don’t have much space or are new to gardening. Some expert gardeners just want the ease of container gardening and the beauty it adds to existing garden areas.

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