Category Archives: 2018

What’s the Name of That Tree?

A common question of the fall season is, “What is the name of that tree with the rose-pink pods around town?” The tree, like many plants, goes by different names across the country but the most common are Chinese Flame or Bougainvillea Golden Rain (Koelreuteria bipinnata). Many people mistakenly refer to it as Golden Rain (Koelreuteria paniculata). I prefer the name Chinese Flame for the former to avoid adding to the confusion! The two species are quite similar, both producing clusters of yellow blooms followed by papery seed… Read More →

Fall Armyworm Invasion In Texas

Fall armyworms are an annual occurrence across much of the state. Like many other insect invaders fall armyworm populations are rather light in some years and heavy in others. This year’s invasion across much of the state has been quite heavy, but here in Harris County the reports haven’t been as high as in they have farther to the north and west. These late season pests can occur in numbers numbers high enough to strip a grassy lawn or pasture bare. They love bermudagrass but also will feed… Read More →

Greater Houston Plant Conference 2018

If you are interested in learning about new plants for the landscape, then the 2018 Greater Houston Plant Conference is the place to be. We will have speakers from the horticulture industry talking about annuals, perennials, bulbs, trees and more. We have a great lineup of speakers that will provide you with the latest information on new plants coming to the market and maybe a few forgotten ones that should be reconsidered. So don’t miss this opportunity to spend the day with fellow plant enthusiasts and meet new friends… Read More →

Is My Sago Palm (Cycad) Dead?

Sago palms or cycads are a popular landscape plant in the greater Houston area. There are several genera and about 200 species of plants referred to as cycads but the most common by far in our area is Cycas revoluta, which is commonly known as “sago palm”, even though it isn’t a true palm. These plants add a tropical look to the landscape and are generally considered cold hardy in our area. However, when temperatures dropped to 19 degrees (Houston IAH data) in mid January many plants were… Read More →

Houston Urban Food Production Conference

Join us for the 2018 Houston Urban Food Production Conference, which will be held at the University of Houston Downtown, July 27th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This year’s program features a Commercial Track, a Backyard Gardener Track, and a Business Start-Up Track. Betti Wiggins, Houston Independent School District Officer of Nutritional Services will kick off the event with a special keynote presentation on Food Literacy and Its Impact on the Food System. General admission is $50 and includes lunch. A discount rate of $30 is available… Read More →

Highlights from the California Spring Trials 2018 – Day 5

All good things come to an end, so here is my 5th and final entry for the 2018 trials. We covered quite a few miles starting in Los Angeles and ending in the Gilroy area. It’s always a great experience to not only see new plants, but also travel with a great group of people and see colleagues from around the industry. We made two stops today and saw seem good possibilities for Harris County. Let’s see what I found today. Salvia Farina Series This Salvia farinacea has… Read More →

Highlights from the California Spring Trials 2018 – Day 4

Coming into the home stretch for the 2018 trials, only 1 more day to go. We stopped at three different sites today and saw some innovative plants. The breeding companies continue to develop new programs and deliver solutions for both the greenhouse/nursery producers and the end consumer. Here are some plants to look for in 2019. Helianthus ‘SunBelievable Brown Eyed Girl’ A multi-branching sunflower that is a non-stop bloomer throughout the season. This hybrid is sterile so the plant puts its energy into flower production and not setting… Read More →

Highlights from the California Spring Trials 2018 – Day 3

We are halfway through our trip and now visiting breeders in the Salinas area. The weather has been great and the breeding companies have been displaying some awesome plants. Today we made 2 stops after driving 2.5 hours to the northern end of the trials. Take a look at what I found today. Sunflower (experimental) On our stop at Takii (Japanese breeder), we saw this experimental Sunflower that had height, flower size and flower quantity (an ornamental hat-trick). This plant would not be for the faint of heart…. Read More →

Highlights from the California Spring Trials 2018 – Day 2

Howdy from California! The trip has been great so far and we are seeing some exciting new plants. I’m traveling this year with colleagues from Texas Tech, the University of Arkansas and of course Texas A&M. Today we made three stops with some plants that should do well in the Houston area. Here are some potential winners from Day 2. Artemesia Makana Silver This Artemesia is native to Hawaii and comes from Terra Nova Nurseries. If you are looking to add a soft texture to your perennial border… Read More →

Highlights from the California Spring Trials 2018 – Day 1

It’s that time of year to spend a week traveling in California to see the latest and greatest in annuals, perennials, edibles and even woody ornamentals. Think of these trials as “Fashion Week” for the plant world. Breeding companies from the United States and Europe roll out their new introductions that we can expect to see in 2019. So, here are some of the top plants that caught my eye on Day 1. Salvia Big Blue A new interspecific hybrid with large flower spikes and a bold blue… Read More →