Home and Garden

Don’t you just love a surprise in your garden? It’s always a joy when just a few seeds hidden in an innocent looking mix of summer blooming beauties show themselves months or a year later. Each seed has its “time.” Some bloom almost immediately while others might need a year to surprise you. The standing cypress is a great example of a seed that you could have long forgotten that you even planted. What a surprise to see it yard long spire just spring up one day covered with vibrant red, tubular flowers!

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Local gardeners have had high hopes and entered the Jefferson County Fruit, Herb and Vegetable Show for 40 years running. This year’s winners did not disappoint. Jefferson County Horticultural Committee members and Jefferson County Master Gardeners deserve all the credit for another year of this wonderful event.

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It’s not often that a bush has both berries and blooms on it at the same time. A recent forage into a local garden center has reminded of the Durnata erecta. This sprawling tender evergreen plant can put on quite a show if you treat it right. You may know this showy beauty by some of its nicknames like Pigeon Berry, Golden Dewdrop or Skyflower.

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We gardeners are often looking for those plants that can give some structure and beauty and color to the yard but don’t grow as large as a tree. The wonderful Aggie Superstar group called “Woody Shrubs” might have just what you are looking for among its choices. These are plants chosen by horticulturists all over Texas for their drought-tolerance, lack of disease issues and beauty, among other things.

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We hear about superstars every day on the television and in our magazines, but did you know that there are superstars in the garden too? Our wonderful Aggies have designated a group of plants that are just that — superstars. The term “Texas Superstar” is a registered trademark of Texas Agrilife Extension Service. You can check their Web site for even more details on the Superstars and hundreds of other plants that we can grow in Texas.

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One of our most beautiful imports into the American plant world is the Princess Lily, which originated on the slopes of South America. They are found in Brazil and the Andes in Chile. The Princess Lilies are a series of plants belonging to the Alstroemeria family. We can consider these beauties hardy perennials. You can find them in pinks, rose, red and lavender shades.

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Big, bright and beautiful verbena is a great easy-to-care-for addition to your yard or patio. It thrives in our heat. It is enamored with the sun. And its continual color will make your garden sparkle until autumn’s frosty weather.

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In the quest to convert your yard from a water-hungry (albeit lovely) sprawl of green St. Augustine grass to one which is less demanding, you could consider growing edibles in a portion of that space. How about blackberries for a start? They are naturally occurring along fence lines along the walking path at the Chris Quinn Soccer Fields and in lots of rural fields around town. How delicious to pick and eat!

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Not a glamorous subject, but one close to the hearts of any true gardener is fertilizer. When should we “feed the soil”? When should we give a boost to those struggling vegetables in the garden?

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There are so many varieties of the poppy flower, and they are all gorgeous. This brightly flowering plant has huge blooms in red, pink, yellow, purple and shades in between. Most readily available in local nurseries seems to be the Oriental poppy and the California poppy.

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