garden gate

Have you ever thought about changing the look of your home by changing the shape of the front yard landscape? Before you say no, grab your camera, head out the front door and take a few shots of your home. You can then go to the local drugstore and print out a dozen or so copies, as large as you can. Grab a new black marker, too, if you don’t have one.

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Put on your walking shoes because this Saturday, April 13, there is a treat in store for all plant lovers and area home and garden enthusiasts. The Magnolia Garden Club has organized speakers and home gardens to tour that “sing the songs” of organic gardening, adaptability to nature and dedication to outdoor beauty.

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I begged, yes, I begged. When I heard that Robin Powell, gardener and real estate agent, had a 70-year-old grapefruit tree next door in her son Eric’s yard, I really wanted some of those local grapefruit. The sweet, thin skinned, juicy grapefruit did not disappoint! The Powells live in the closely-knit community of Sour Lake. They discovered the tree years ago and have been enjoying these delicious grapefruit for years. Granddaughter Isabella Powell was the first to add that her daddy’s tree is the best grapefruit tree anywhere, and I’ll have to admit she might be right.

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You might know the lovely narcissus by other names such as daffodil or jonquil. You can count on them to come back year after year, giving you spring flowers from their bulbs. They are native to the meadows and woods in Europe, North Africa and West Asia with great numbers in the Mediterranean’s west side. Most of the literature agrees that without exception, the most common narcissus species found growing throughout America today were brought over from Europe by the early colonists and distributed westward by settlers from the East.

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Just because they are beautiful doesn’t mean they are difficult. The lovely cyclamen can be found at local nursery centers flaunting their flirty pinks, purples, white and fuchsia petals. They are so full of themselves that they also go by the name “Shooting Stars.”

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Think you don’t like beards? Well, think again. The bearded iris is truly a thing of beauty. This is an eye-catching addition to any garden. Their leaves are like swords and the flowers are oh-so-showy.

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Christus Hospital – St. Elizabeth was honored with an historic visit from Nancy Bechtol of the Smithsonian to the gardens of the Phelan Mansion last week.

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This time of year, we are all looking for some greenery to add to our vases for a little cheer in the house. Why go buy greenery when you probably have some in your own yard. How about using the classic greenery of asparagus fern?

The asparagus fern is the voluminous greenery we’ve all seen gracing large urns and pots in the South. If you don’t want to bring in the whole garden pot, just clip some because this fern will reward a good haircut with even more abundant growth.

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It’s that time again! Yep, time to get out there in the yard and begin the spring cleanup. Our winters aren’t so long or so cold, but they can be really messy. Chances are your yard and garden are full of half-alive or half-dead plants, wind strewn debris and maybe even some old damp sheets or things used to cover your most sensitive plants during a couple of chilly nights.

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Jackie Steen, Master Gardener president

Did your mama always say, “Can’t get something for nothing”? Well maybe you can after all. For the second year, the Campbell Forestry group has partnered with the Jefferson County Master Gardener group to supply tree seedlings to our county. There is no cost to anyone. Yep, the seedlings are free.

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