Author Archives: khansen

Gardening Tips for September

September is a swing month in the garden, since summer has not completely left us yet, but the milder days of fall are around the corner. You could almost say this is a time of preparation because many consider fall to be the best time to be planting both cool season vegetable crops and trees and shrubs for our landscapes. September also has a couple of local gardening educational opportunities. The First Tuesday in the Garden series presented by Smith County Master Gardeners in their I.D.E.A. Garden starts… Read More →

Attracting Butterflies to Your Home Garden

One of the benefits of having a landscape full of flowers is the joy of seeing colorful butterflies flitting from flower to flower to feed on their sweet nectar. It is interesting how much of the summer may go by with only an occasional sighting of a butterfly. Then, suddenly, they seem to be everywhere. Some years butterflies are plentiful, others not so much. The weather and the environment play big roles in the annual abundance or scarcity of many species of butterflies. In some cases, human activity… Read More →

Not Your Common Groundcovers

Landscaping any yard presents many opportunities and challenges. Opportunities might include creating a design to facilitate movement from one place to another, or focus attention on a great feature on the home or special plant. Maybe it is to showcase a special plant. And there are always challenges, like figuring out the best plants for that spot that gets too much sun for shade-loving plants, but not enough for most blooming plants. Or, plants that will take constant wetness, dryness, deep shade, shallow soil, etc. Or, plants that… Read More →

Plumeria and Frangipani – Bring the Tropics To Your Home

  You don’t have to go to Hawaii to enjoy the State’s traditional welcoming fragrant leis which are typically made of plumeria flowers. That’s because this tropical plant is easy to grow and care for in our more temperate climates. You do have to protect it in the winter time, and if you’ve ever grown one, then you know why they are worth the effort. Plumeria, also commonly known as Frangipani, bears sweetly fragrant flowers. Even if they did not smell so good, they are also very beautiful!… Read More →

Gardening Tips for July

Happy July! It’s time for fireworks, watermelons and summer vacations. Get your wide brimmed hat and sunscreen out, and protect yourself from intense sun as you go about your July gardening chores. Drink plenty of water, and take frequent breaks. Don’t let heat exhaustion sneak up on you! And always wear mosquito repellent to reduce the chance of being bitten and contracting West Nile Virus. Check out the series of articles about mosquitoes on Citybugs.tamu.edu Vegetables. How is your vegetable patch doing? Some spring-planted types may be starting… Read More →

Overton Horticulture Field Day

Last week the rains didn’t dampen landscapers, Master Gardeners and industry reps from attending the annual Horticulture Field Day in Overton, Texas, where trials of a wide range of mostly annual flowers and foliage plants were planted in replicates to see which ones had what it takes to make a good showing in our hot, humid (and often rainy) East Texas climate. Of course, this is just the end of June, and it will be interesting to see which ones will still be going strong when it comes… Read More →

Crapemyrtle Bark Scale – A New Pest on Crapemyrtles

As a follow up to last week’s post about crapemyrtles, I want to provide some details about a new pest that has recently been messing with these beautiful plants. It is called Crapemyrtle Bark Scale (CMBS), an exotic scale pest that was discovered in the U.S. only 10 years ago first in the Dallas area. It is very similar to another scale that gets on azaleas and other woody plants, but was recently determined with pretty good confidence that this scale is different and is a newly introduced… Read More →

Crapemyrtles for Great Summer Color

You know summer has arrived in the South when the cicadas start singing and the crapemyrtles are blooming. Crapemyrtles are among the most popular of the small trees in the southern United States because of their beauty, long season of bloom, compact size, hardiness and longevity. It is common to find stately, thriving crapemyrtles well over 100 years old at old homesteads, abandoned home sites or cemeteries. Crapemyrtles have been called the lilac of the south, being cultivated in the U.S. since the early 1800′s. The common crapemyrtle,… Read More →