Joette Reger

I hope that you have been saving up some plastic bags and other small waterproof containers. Why? It is almost time for the much-anticipated annual Tree Give Away, a project of the Jefferson County Master Gardeners. Prepare to make the short trip over to the Jefferson County Master Garden Test Garden at Jack Brooks Regional Airport on Friday, Feb. 19, from 8-11 a.m. to get your own trees.

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Another destination for superb garden inspiration is Normandy on the coast of France. Its rugged beauty and American-loving people make it a great place to visit. From the wind-torn vines and trees on the coastline to hidden interior garden spaces to Mont St. Michel itself with its marshy spaces and super interesting topography, it is a “must see.”

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Landscaping at The Grove Restaurant in Houston

When we have spring-like weather in February, I am reminded of my precious former mother-in-law, Mimi. Mimi was raised in a rambling country house near DeLeon, the real home of Dr Pepper. She was the oldest of 16 children. They knew their garden and they knew the weather. She warned every year to not be fooled by those balmy breezes in the midst of winter.

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If you have ever thought about growing fruit trees in your yard, you will be excited to learn of an upcoming workshop sponsored by Texas A&M Agri-Life Extension Office of Jefferson County. The Urban Fruit Tree Workshop: Growing Fruit on The Gulf Coast will be held Jan. 24. And we are in for a treat. Keynote speaker Tom Leroy comes to us very well suited to lead the program, along with our Local Citrus Expert Panel.

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Our master gardeners are keeping us busy this fall. Just a couple of weeks ago at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport, they set records with the number of folks who came to the annual Fall Plant Sale. And this is with good reason. Their plant options are numerous and varied.

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If you have never tried to grow citrus in your own backyard, you might be surprised at how much luck you could have. Yes, we can grow oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other citrus with just a little care, patience and knowledge.

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We are lucky to be in Texas this time of year. Some of our summer blooming plants like hibiscus and bougainvillea are still giving us a show, and we can add in gorgeous fall blooming annuals and perennials. Just for fun, how about we focus on some purple beauties and create an area that will not only draw you to the garden but butterflies, bees and birds as well? It seems that we all love purple.

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If you want a great place to spend next Saturday, Nov. 1, I have a suggestion for you! The Golden Triangle Rose Society is holding its Fall Rose Show at Tyrrell Park Garden Center at noon. They have invited the public to not only attend but to enter a rose in the contest Do you have a special rose in mind? Or you can just go and enjoy the Garden Center, which will be overflowing with the beautiful colors and fragrances of hundreds of freshly cut roses. How great is that!

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Want a great garden next spring? Now is the time to start improving your soil if you want those super healthy colorful blooms next year. Just remember that when Jack threw the bean out of the window that grew the beanstalk, that the soil it grew in was probably super fertile.

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Even if you do not often eat them, I’ll bet you would like the way they add elegance to your garden spaces. The oh-so-interesting artichoke is simply a showstopper in full bloom. It will spread into a huge silvery green fountain-shaped vegetable. And you could try dipping those artichoke leaves into some butter and then eating that tender artichoke heart. The artichoke is a goldmine of rich, earthy, hearty flavor.

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