Category Archives: Favorite Plants

Anticipate Springtime with Early Bloomers

Like so many others, I’m ready for cold weather to go away and pleasant spring weather to arrive. Just be thankful you don’t live any further north where winter hangs on for what seems an eternity. I am also thankful for the many early bloomers that brave the cold to cheer the soul at this sometimes dreary time of year. You might find a spot in your yard for some of these to help chase away the winter blues. Deciduous Magnolias. What a gift these wonderful small trees… Read More →

The Winter Landscape

Winter is not the most favorite time of year for most folks when it comes to gardening and enjoying your yard. The bright flowers of summer are a faded memory, fall tree colors have dropped to the ground, and the days grow shorter as we approach the winter solstice, bringing chilly, often damp, cloudy and dreary conditions. Yet, the changing seasons also bring about transformations in the yard and landscape that cannot be appreciated at other times of the year. Now that trees are bare, their interesting branching… Read More →

Japanese Maples for Year-Round Interest

One of the finest ornamental trees for a home landscape is the Japanese maple. I should probably rephrase that, because there is not just one Japanese maple, but hundreds of different named varieties sporting different growth habits, with varying leaf shapes and colors. Here in East Texas we have all the right conditions to grow these wonderful trees, including acidic soils, abundant rainfall (usually), and four seasons that aid in good fall color changes. The term Japanese maple refers to a very large group of plants belonging mainly… Read More →

Fall Bloomers for the Garden

Fall is such a wonderful time of the year with the changing of the seasons, perfect temperature to be enjoying working or playing outdoors, and flashes of color we haven’t seen all year. Besides the turning of tree leaves into an array of hues ranging from yellow, orange, red, brown (yes, brown is a color), and everything in between, many flowering plants hit their floral stride at this time of year. Shorter days and long nights trigger plants to flower whose reproductive clocks are triggered by the lengthening… 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 →

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 →

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 →