Home and Garden

Want to create a fantastic fall garden? By now, your yard might be looking a little neglected. We all think of spring and summer as times to make our yard and garden areas shine, but why not fall? Leftover and sad looking plants in mud-spattered, tilted containers and summer flowers on their last leg are easy to replace.

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People the world over love the aloe vera plant. There are more than 250 species of aloe. Surprisingly, the aloes are members of the lily family. Most of this healthy looking group are native to Africa. They are found in African deserts and the islands of Aruba and Barbados.

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Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange will celebrate the orchid, one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, from Oct. 6-13. At Shangri La, there will be daily tours of the Exhibition Greenhouses, classes and presentations highlighting the orchid, and a variety of orchids will also be available for purchase at Shangri La’s Garden Store.

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If it were to send out notices of a family reunion, the kalanchoe would have more than 125 envelopes to lick. An avid collector can find varieties from a few inches in height to a few feet tall. Some are creepers.

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We have a wonderful neighborhood right here in Southeast Texas that has “raised the bar,” as neighborhoods go. The Oaks Historic District neighborhood, which extends to all points like a compass from around Calder and Seventh Street, has activities all year for residents to get to know each other.

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Lots of us don’t think about planting a garden in the fall, but it’s the perfect time for cool season veggie growing. We probably won’t have to worry about frost until mid November or later, so that gives weeks and weeks of “grow time.”

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Do you see bees in your yard or garden? If the answer is yes, then you’re the lucky one. The value of bees in agriculture has been known for thousands of years. Bees are the most effective pollinators in the world. They are a valuable resource for gardeners, and you can help to increase their shrinking numbers.


The presence of bees can dramatically increase fruit and vegetable production. Without them, there would be limited flowers and even fewer fruits and vegetables. They make your garden a healthier place, and don’t you just love that subtle buzzing sound?

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The subject of garden soil is just not as glamorous or fun as going out and shopping for new plants for your yard. But just like building a home on a bad foundation, poor soil will lead to disastrous gardening. We have all had the heartbreaking experience of buying colorful looking plants only to bring them home, plant them, and watch them struggle for survival. And we had such high hopes.

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In gardening, you often hear terms thrown around like perennial, annual, biennial, hardy annual and tender perennial. Most seasoned gardeners have a pretty good understanding of all of the differences, but it might be fun to review and give new gardeners some helpful info at the same time.

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Looking for a perennial you can buy, plant and virtually forget? It might be that one of the sedums is just what you are looking for. Sedum is the name for a large genus of plants many call “stonecrops.” There are about 400 species to choose from. Some of the sedums like hot weather while some prefer cold. Some are yellowish in color while some are green or other colors. Some creep along the ground and quickly fill an area.

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