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10:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday

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Maas Nursery

A Little Something About Sun Exposure

By: Deb Pavlosky
Often times, when we are trying to help our customers select plants, we ask about sun exposure.  What is the sun exposure in the area?  I hear it and say it multiple times every work-day.  And, that’s because it’s important to know.  Before you can select plants for your home landscape/garden, one of the things you have to know is how much sun exposure you get in the areas you want to plant.
It sounds like a simple question, but often times the answer is very complex.  So, I hope you find this helpful…
First things first – Telling us the direction your home faces doesn’t give us the whole answer.  Yes, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West every single day, but we need more information than that your house faces southeast.  Is there a large tree that shades your whole yard most of the day?  Is the bed narrow and along the house and therefore shaded by the house most of the day?  We need you to actually look and see how many hours of sun you get and in what part of the day you get it.  Hours of sun – yes, it matters!

Plant Requirements:

Full sun – 6 or more hours of direct sunlight per day
Full sun + drought and heat tolerant – 6 or more hours of sunlight per day and it can probably handle our mid-day/afternoon summer sun
Part Sun – Between 3 and 6 hours of direct morning sunlight per day or filtered light all day
Part Shade – Between 3 and 6 hours of direct sunlight per day or filtered light all day, but needs protection from intense mid-day sun
Full Shade – Less than 3 hours of direct sun and needs protection from intense mid-day sun.  Many plants requiring full shade do well growing in filtered light, but can not take our mid-day intense summer sun at all.
Filtered Light – aka Dappled light, just refers to sunlight that is “filtered” by a shade tree or other plant or structure from above.  The plant gets some light, but never full-on direct sunlight.
Medium to Low Bright/Indirect Light – this typically refers to houseplants being grown indoors in bright light, but not being hit by direct sunlight through a window.

So, Let’s talk a little bit more about Full Sun:

Full Sun sounds brutal, but this is actually the amount of sun needed by most flowering/fruiting plants.  If a plant is labeled heat or drought tolerant, it can even handle mid-day to afternoon summer sun here!!!  If it’s not, it may still be ok (vegetables and citrus and roses and fruit trees will be just fine), but let’s hope you have full sun in the morning hours.  Some plants (and most people) need a little protection from our afternoon sun in the middle of the summer.  If you put a plant that needs part sun, part shade or full shade in a full sun location, that plant will probably burn and it most likely will not survive long.  So, in the converse, what happens if you put a plant that requires full sun in a less than full sun location?  Well, it will probably still grow, but it may not flower or fruit and may become very leggy as it tries to reach out to get the sun it needs.
So, here in lies the rub – You look at a plant’s tag to get information about the plant.  It says full sun, but does it really mean OUR full sun?  Sometimes not and this is where having a little plant knowledge and savvy goes a long way.  Many plants will grow here that will also grow in zones well to the north of us.  A good clue is to look at the zones on the tag to see how far north it grows.  The farther north the zones are, the more likely full sun really means full sun in the morning hours only here.  The farther south the zones go, the more likely you will have to protect it from freezing in the winter.  Of course, all generalizations are just that.  Ask questions if you aren’t sure.
As a rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to gradually move plants from one sun exposure to another even if you know they can take it.  Any plant can experience shock if moved from part sun (where you have been hoarding it along the side of your house until you have time to plant it) to full sun.  Make this move gradually, over a period days, to give your plant some time to adjust.
And here’s another thing, it does not matter whether the hours of direct sun are sequential or if the plant gets direct sun at different times throughout the day.  Many times there are structures or trees or fences or something blocking the sun at some point during the day.  But, as long as your plant gets the required hours of sun each day, it does not matter if it gets them all in a row or if the hours of sun are spaced out in some way through the day.
So can you have a single landscape bed that has different zones of sun exposure in it?  Absolutely!  Nothing is perfect in this world and often some landscape beds get more sun along one edge or more shade at one corner because of a tree or other structure.  Yes, you have to take that into account too!
And in the end, sun exposure is just one key factor affecting plant growth and performance – don’t forget about watering, drainage (different than watering), soil type, wind and salt exposure (especially important along the coast), nutrients/fertilizer and age.  Suddenly picking plants for your garden is very complicated.  Well, once again, that’s why we are here to help!

Thoughts from the Garden July 2018

Hi everyone, happy July!
So, the other day I was sitting at my desk minding my own business, working on a landscape design, when I accidentally looked at an email.
Ok so it wasn’t really an accident, I looked on purpose.
But it makes the story more interesting if I start it by accidentally opening the email, so let’s stick with that.
Anyway,  the email is from the rep of one of the pottery suppliers we like to buy from, I open the email.
“Jim, Would you be interested in a really good deal on cast iron planters?”
“Why yes I would”, I thought.
I decided to call and asked him what did it mean when he said I’d get a very good deal.
Sometimes it might mean free freight or a 10% discount which is not too exciting.
I had stopped carrying cast iron planters a few years ago because they had just gotten too darn expensive.
I like them a lot. They look cool, almost can’t blow over because they are so heavy. They almost last forever. I still see cast iron pots around that were made in the 1800s.
As I am talking to my sales rep I find out that they have decided to quit carrying cast iron planters.
He says he will send me a special offer from the company. I get the special offer the next day.
Yes, they wanted to quit carrying cast iron planters.
This kind of thing has worked out very nicely for us in the past so I read on.
They will give me a big discount if I buy way more than I need.
THAT HAS NEVER STOPPED ME BEFORE.
$ 24,000 retail for a big discount.
I do the math, that’s a lot of planters.
I keep reading.
If however, I buy their entire inventory I can get twice the discount. Now we’re talking.
Whoops, they still have over $150,000 retail in inventory.
I had to think about it for a minute. That’s really a lot of planters.
I made a counter offer a few dollars lower with free freight.
By the time you read this, they should be here.
I’m pretty sure we now have more cast iron planters than anyone else in Texas.
Care to guess what’s on sale this month?
If you guessed cast iron planters, you are right!
We are able to retail the new cast iron planters for a bit under what was once our wholesale cost.
BUT, I have a LOT of planters.
The July sale is 1/2 price. Remember our new normal retail price is less than I used to pay wholesale.
 So when we have them 1/2 off, you are paying 25% of wholesale.
 Now we’re talking.
Come check ’em out.
See You in the Garden,
I’ll be the one standing beside the big stacks of cast iron planters!

We All Need Water

by Kim Nichols Messer

          It is always a good time to add a water feature.  Our birdbath in a shaded corner of our yard is a very popular place to visit on a hot afternoon.  Each day we check the water level.  We add clean water daily.  The high temperatures increase the rate of evaporation.  Almost immediately after we add water, a Blue Jay or two will land on the edge, jump into the water and splish splash until clean.  They move up into a tree to shake off.  The little birds, like Wrens come by in a pack of ten or so.  They are very social and chatter while they bathe or wait for their turn in the water.

 

        The birdbath is like a beacon announcing open for business.  The birds drink and bathe.  The squirrels come by for a drink, but the bees are our favorite.  The bees seem to sense that water is being added.  They arrive in a small group and hover above the birdbath waiting for the water to stop.  Once stopped, they land on the rim and drink from the full bowl.  It is fascinating to watch.  And, you feel like you have helped everybody out with a cool and refreshing drink.

 

          The bees help pollinate my veggie plants and my citrus.  The birds bring the gift of song and sometimes a mystery plant from afar.  The squirrels give my puppy some exercise.  And by providing a water source, the squirrels, will leave my tomatoes alone. Most tomatoes are consumed in search of liquid.  The birdbath provides both a distraction and a water option for the squirrels.

           Add a birdbath to your yard… It is like a tiny waterpark that never closes.  Sit back and enjoy!

Hibiscus

By Kathryn Courtney

 

Like almost everyone in our area, I’m replanting my garden this year. I’m busy replacing plants that have been in my garden for years. The situation is sad in a way but also gives me a great opportunity to try something new. I’m planting several hibiscus. The nursery has some real beauties this year. The hard part is deciding which ones I want for my new garden. The big, showy Cajun hibiscus are calling to me along with some new Althea which are in the hibiscus family. There are the large Shirley Temple and variegated leaf hibiscus along with Texas star hibiscus. Perennial hibiscus have large dinner plate size blooms that are amazing. I could fill my whole garden just with hibiscus. And the fun part is growing them is easy. Hibiscus have a few requirements but nothing demanding.

Hibiscus need full sun to filtered light in our hot summer afternoons. Water them regularly but don’t let them get soggy. A very important requirement is fertilizer. Hibiscus really need their own food. These plants originate from volcanic regions which are high in potassium. Potassium is the third number on your fertilizer container. Maas carries food specifically for hibiscus to meet the unique nutrient requirements of these plants. I use granular food because it is easy. Water your hibiscus a little first, sprinkle the food around the plant and water again to start the feeding. Slow release fertilizers will feed the plant every time you water. Do this for your hibiscus every month or more during the blooming season. My hibiscus in potsHibiscus get fed every two weeks.

 

The only real issue with hibiscus is they are not freeze hardy as most of us found out this winter. Bring your hibiscus pots in if the temperature gets to the low thirties. For hibiscus planted outside use Insulate cover over the plants and secure it to the ground with rocks. Do not use plastic as this will burn the plants and bed sheets sometimes are not enough cover. One of my colleagues at Maas is very clever. She uses cotton backed plastic picnic table cloths to prevent freezing hibiscus. The cotton side goes on the plants. She says they work great. If after all your precautions your plants still freeze, do not pull them up immediately. I have had hibiscus come back from the dead several times because the roots did not freeze. In spring, cut the dead plants back to the ground and wait. Miracles do happen.

 

Sometimes hibiscus get pests or fungus. Treat your hibiscus with Triple Action when this happens. It is an organic pesticide and fungicide all in one that does the trick every time. Spray your plants when you first notice the problem, and continue spraying every 7 days for 3 weeks. This should take care of the pests. If the bugs, such as mealy bugs come back, keep repeating the treatment. In the hot summer spray only in the evening. Triple Action is oil based and can burn your plant in the hot sun.

There are so many beautiful pictures of hibiscus from the nursery. Here are some examples of the colors and varieties Maas carries. If you want a special variety, call before coming. Our stock changes daily. My advice is come to the nursery and see what we have. It’s a fun outing and the hibiscus won’t disappoint!

Hibiscus

Hibiscus
Hibiscus Hibiscus

Other Plants in the Hibiscus Family

Rose of Sharon or Althea
Rose of Sharon or Althea
Blueberry Smoothie Althea
Confederate Rose
Blue Chiffon Althea
Texas Star Hibiscus

A Patient and Joyful Heart.

 

By: Deb Pavlosky

 

This one time at band camp, no… Just kidding…

But there was this one time…   I was waiting in a long line to check in to a hotel after a very long day of driving.  There were only a couple of front desk employees and it seems everyone checking in for the night was showing up at the same time.  I don’t mind waiting and I do understand when things take some time, so I was just waiting patiently for my turn.  About 15 minutes in, a woman tried to skip the line and interrupt the clerk at the desk.  Of course, I couldn’t let her do that without saying something.  So, I did.  I asked her,” Why are you skipping the line?” Her response was that she had a very long day and only had a question to ask.  I looked at her and asked her if she realized that everyone in the line had a long day and we all had one question too, “Can I check in to my room?”  As it turns out, her question was not so simple and it took time and effort to get her an answer, but she DID wait in line for that answer.

I had another experience at a sporting competition.  I was waiting in line at the bathroom with my young daughter.  There were probably ten people in front of me and 5 people behind me.  My daughter really needed to go, but everyone standing in that line needed to go.  So, we waited patiently with our legs crossed and lips pursed.  Until, one mom ran past all the women and girls with her daughter in tow and took a stall before the next person in line had a chance to enter.  Upon exiting the stall she made comment that her daughter “really had to go”.  Well, we weren’t standing in line because we didn’t have to go.  Everybody in that line had to go.  Why was her daughter’s need more urgent than anyone else’s in that line?

If there is a line, more than likely, there isn’t a shortcut you can take without setting someone else back.

I have been noticing more and more people living in their own little world.  I am sure I am guilty of this myself occasionally.  But, I just want to remind everyone that we all have our struggles.  Time is always running short and there are always places we need to go and a lot of the time, we are already late.  So, it’s just that much more important that we remember to be courteous and patient and to try to find the joy in our heart in the midst of it all.

You may ask yourself why I am writing about this.  Well, it’s about to be full-on summer here at the nursery.  The heat and the humidity get to all of us.  Checkout lines do get long sometimes, computers do shutdown occasionally and sometimes we just can’t step away to personally show a customer something.  We always try our best to be helpful to our customers.  We really do want you to enjoy your visit, purchase some plants and/or other items and leave with a desire to come back and shop again.  However, our ability to help our customers is sometimes dependent upon the customer’s attitude and their willingness to be patient.

So, here are just a few things I considered when writing this article that some customers do seem to get a little miffed over, but really, there are reasons that things are the way they are.  Honesty and openness are always beneficial in any relationship, so I am going to be really honest about the way some things go here and maybe help you understand a little bit of why things happen the way they do…

Sometimes things on the nursery grounds aren’t priced and we can’t always get an immediate answer on pricing.  We do our best, but if:

A). A plant is fresh off the truck and waiting to be priced, we can’t tell you how much it is until it is actually priced.  You may have to wait just a bit for that price.

B). An antique item has lost its price tag and has been on the nursery grounds longer than most of the trees, it may take us a little time to get you a price.

OR

C). If you are asking for a discount due to perceived damage to an item, it may take us a little time to get you an answer.  And, sometimes the perceived damage is actually intentional artistry or if it’s a plant, it may be that it is currently dormant, but totally healthy and going to be beautiful in no time.

Also, there are only a few people that handle deliveries, scheduling appointments, etc. at the nursery.  If those people are out of the nursery or off for the day, we probably can’t tell you an exact date of when something can be delivered to you or when you can have your appointment.  It’s just how it works.  We will get back to you as soon as we can, but it may be the next day or two before we can give you an answer.  If you don’t hear from us in a day or two, give us a call or send an email and ask!

We only have so many designers and so many landscape crews working and in the spring especially we get VERY busy.  It’s not unusual for someone to wait weeks to get in for an initial consult and another few weeks to come back to review the design and then even more time before they get on the install calendar.  There are always customers in line ahead of you for consults/installs/etc.  And, it’s always a good idea to set up an appointment early.  In other words, make your initial consult appointment during the winter months if you want to have an early spring install.

And lastly, if you set an appointment to meet with a designer at the nursery, whether it’s a large design or a short advice appointment, please remember that we have set aside time specifically to meet with you.  If you can’t make it, that’s no big deal, but please give us a call to let us know.  If we are able to schedule someone else in that time slot, we will.  People are sometimes waiting weeks to get in to meet with one of us – give us the opportunity to put someone else in your spot if you can’t make it or no longer need the appointment.

So, I hope you all know that WE LOVE OUR MAAS NURSERY CUSTOMERS!!!  We are always striving to make your experience better – we want your repeat business.  So, if things aren’t going the way you expect, please let us know.  We will do our best to help our customers in any way we can.  And just a little word to the wise – it’s always much easier to help a customer who has a patient and joyful heart in the midst of it all.

The Magic of Container Gardening

By: Deb Pavlosky

This past Spring Break, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with my family and a couple of friends at the “Most Magical Place on Earth”.  And, it just so happened to also be the International Flower and Garden Show at Epcot.  Ah! Disney truly is Magic!!!

Anyway, I am sharing this with you, because being at Disney World confirmed my own experimentation at home.  You CAN grow just about anything in containers!!  So, those of us with small spaces or digging dogs or the inability to care for a large garden can still grow things we love!!  And, that includes food plants as well as pretty ornamentals and flowers.

Recently, I added a small gravel area to my backyard for a container veggie garden.  I have plenty of space, but I have doggies that love to get into things when I am not around.  So, a container vegetable garden was the way to go.  I used half whiskey barrels and water troughs for my containers and all is going well.  I am seeing great growth in just about a month since planting transplants and everything looks healthy.  I can’t wait to start harvesting!!!  I have planted: 2 varieties of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, spinach, okra, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, onions, and many varieties of tomatoes and peppers.  As long as you give these plants good soil, good drainage (so be sure to drill holes in the bottom of your planters), good fertilizer (like Microlife 6-2-4), regular watering and lots of sunlight, you can’t go wrong!

And, almost anything can be a container.  Wheel barrows, kitchen sinks, stock pots, buckets, food/water troughs for animals, etc.  Basically, as long as the material is weather proof, food safe and the container is big enough, you can probably make it work.  Just be sure to drill enough holes in the bottom for good drainage.  A little thing to help with drainage that I like to do is add a little gravel or expanded shale to the bottom of containers before I add soil.

Below are some pictures of my little garden as of March 8:

The Lettuce Barrel
Eggplant and Pepper Barrel
The Tomato Trough
 Below are some pictures of container gardening at Disney World’s Epcot:
Disney Stockpot and Small Containers
Disney Teacup
Disney Trough

I will keep you posted as my garden progresses.  Please share with us any photos of your own small gardens.  You don’t need Disney Magic to make it happen!

Let’s Talk About April, 2017

By: Pat Cordray

Whoa, whoa, whoa, let’s slow this train down! It is already April and I still haven’t finished all my garden clean up. I seem to work at a snail’s pace; I have only completed parts of my front yard, and there is so much more to go…. ugh! At least there is still time to finish and get this yard in shape before summer. I want to be able to garden from the window by the time it gets too hot and the mosquitoes get big enough to start carrying people off, and that is very soon.

Coleus
Yalaha coleus

Gardening to be done in April:

Water. Now that is getting hotter we must water more. I’m especially talking about watering those newly planted plants. Sprinkler systems are great for established plants, but newly planted plants need water that is directed at the root ball. It’s important to keep these roots moist and sprinklers may or may not get water to the root ball of a newly planted plant. Be careful to water your plants thoroughly, they will thrive and once established, you will be able to water less.

You may also need to water other plants, even the established ones, more often in the warmer weather. Just keep an eye on your garden and if you notice signs of stress like leaf drop, brown leaves and/or bud drop, you should check to see if it is just a matter of watering the plant. Don’t wait until there are limbs dying to check. With more sun, wind and less rain, plants will be thirsty.

If your camellias have finished blooming, it is time to prune, if needed, and fertilize them. This helps the plant to have a better show of blooms next year. Azaleas can be fed and pruned as well. If you haven’t cut back the winter damage to your garden plants, now is a good time to finish that.

April is a great month for vegetable gardening, you are not too late.   Plant beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, okra, peppers, radish, squash, watermelon this month.  If you don’t have time to get a garden ready, use containers to grow your vegetables. Once you have your seeds or transplants all, you need to grow your own food is good soil, good drainage and full sun.  Why not give it a try?

There are tons of blooming plants here at The nursery, with all kinds of options for you to

Super Elfin Impatiens
Super Elfin Impatiens

add color to containers, landscapes, and even a couple for inside your home. For summer color in the shadier side of your garden try impatiens, begonia, Persian shield, coleus, heuchera, columbine, alstromeria, caladium, polka dot plant, ajuga, torenia, Mona lavender, cat whiskers, justicia, creeping Jenny, dichondra and many more. Brighten up your garden by bringing color to the shadier to part sun areas of your garden.

  For summer color in the sunnier areas of your garden, try these beautiful plants: blue daze, dianthus, petunias, celosia, cleome, coreopsis

Gomphrena QIS
QIS Gomphrena

, cone flowers, rudbeckia, salvia, vinca, gomphrena, sun coleus, pentas, zinnias, cosmos, angelonia, calibrachoa, gazania, lantana, verbena, and more. These plants will give your garden or patio a colorful new look for the summer.

For indoors, we just received tons of house plants that are amazing. There are many types of Sanseveria like: Bantel’s sensation, starfish, Mikado Fernwood, whaletail, cylindrical, etc. Sanseveria is a great indoor plant that doesn’t require a lot of watering or attention to grow; truly an amazing plant. We also received some beautiful aglaonema, Chinese evergreen plant, varieties include Etta rose, sapphire Suzanne, Siam red, silver bay, and sparkling Sarah. These plants are an easy way to add beauty to any room.

 Sanseveria

Come out and see these beautiful plants before they are gone.

Enjoy,

Pat

Dealing with Pests on Azaleas and Camellias

by Kathryn Courtney

 Last year was a very hard gardening year. Harvey had many of us with yards full of water and water in our houses as well. We were all finally getting back on our feet and then came the great freeze of 2018. Many plants that survived previous freezes did not survive this one. previous freezes did not survive this one. All of this added up to a great stress on plants that did survive. Stressed plants are very vulnerable to soil diseases, fungal problems and problems with insect pests. The camellias and azaleas in our gardens mostly made it through the flood and freeze, but these events left them very stressed and fragile. A perfect environment for attacks from tea scale and lace bug insect pests.

 

At the nursery, we are trying very hard to switch to organic methods to control pests and disease. At Bayou Bend Home and Gardens, home of the Ima Hogg plantation, the emphasis is on organic practices as well. Much of Bayou Bend was flooded for four days. The extensive camellia gardens were flooded along with the rest of the park. To start the revival process, the soil at the gardens was first attended to. Compost was added along with dried molasses and Microlife 6-2-4. Like the gardens at Bayou Bend, our gardens need to be replenished with organic matter after flood damage. Adding organic matter to your camellias and azaleas is the first line of defense against pests. Adding mycorrhizal fungi to your plants also helps the roots systems with the uptake of nutrients which is very important to the shrubs health.

 

The garden environment of your camellias and azaleas is critical to your plants health. Camellias need an acidic soil and partial sun to shade to be truly happy. Azaleas also need acidic soil. They need sun or shade depending on the type and need to be located accordingly. For example, encore azaleas prefer sun. Good organic matter, a proper soil pH and correct water and sun requirements go a long way in helping your plants fight pests and disease. Air circulation is also very important for your plants health. Prune your shrubs so they have an open habit allowing air to flow through the branches. A healthy plant is a strong plant and better able to fight insects.

The next step in warding off pests is vigilance. Keep a look out for insect pests when you water. During spring and summer do frequent checks on the undersides of your camellia leaves. You are looking for slightly fuzzy white and brown insects on the under side of your leaves. This is tea scale. The adult insects produce a hard shell, don’t move, and suck the juice out of your leaves. Tea scale can sometimes be misdiagnosed for a fungus because of its fuzzy appearance. At the first sign of scale, remove all the infected leaves and dispose of them away from you camellia. If scale is caught early you can control it by removing it. Female scale insects hatch eggs underneath their protective shell. Once the eggs hatch the crawlers emerge. Crawlers travel around the camellia until they settle down to feed. Once they have found a spot they stop moving and produce their own hard shell. Crawlers usually emerge in spring so spraying with a good horticultural oil will smother the insects. Once they have formed a hard shell they are much tougher to kill. Neem oil has been shown to be effective for controlling scale but must be reapplied throughout the growing season. D- limonene, the active ingredient in orange oil has also been tested on scale with some success. Both neem and orange oil have been shown to eventually break down the hard shell of the scale. All of the above mentioned methods for controlling scale are organic. These control methods take diligence and persistence by the gardener but the reward is no harmful chemicals in your garden.

Vigilance is also important to keep ahead of pests on your azaleas. Lace bug is the most common insect pest for azaleas in our area. Lace bug damage on azalea leaves will look like silvery white or yellow spots. The lace bugs themselves are very hard to see due to their almost translucent appearance. Lace bug, like tea scale, causes damage by sucking sections of the leaf dry. Also like tea scale, lace bug is found on the underside of the leaves. Control is much like tea scale control. Remove affected leaves and dispose of them away from the plant. Insecticidal soaps, neem oil or horticultural oil will also kill lacebug. When spraying these oils , make sure to cover both the tops and bottoms of the leaves to get all of the insects. Reapplication of oils or soap throughout the growing season will add an extra layer of protection. One caution on horticultural oils including neem oil, do not spray these oils in the heat of the day. They can burn your plants leaves.

To keep your azaleas and camellias happy make sure they are located in the right environment, have the correct soil and sun requirements and have good airflow. Give them the proper food, organic matter and acid. Keep a look out for insect pests and remove them as soon as possible.Use organic oils and insecticidal soaps for  further protection. With a little more work you can keep your azaleas and camellias beautiful without harmful chemicals destroying your garden.

Let’s Talk About March 2018

By: Pat Cordray
March is an amazing gardening month, there are so many gardening opportunities.  Let’s take a look to see what’s up.  The seasons are changing and the flowers are changing from winter to warm weather bloomers.  All kinds of plants will continue to bloom and release sweet fragrance.  Vegetable gardening is moving forward with more heat loving veggies. Then there is the damage from our very cold winter.  Maybe it’s not as fun as planting but just because it is brown doesn’t mean it’s dead.
Coleus
Coleus

What flowers can you expect to see in March? Dianthus, petunia, geraniums, begonias, impatiens, marigolds, verbena, Bacopa, nasturtiums, gazania, zinnias, ageratum, phlox, salvia, coleus, pentas, and dusty miller are a nice start to this new season. For early spring flowers: foxglove, blue bonnet, delphinium, and sweet pea will be blooming soon.  These plants are so beautiful you don’t want to miss having them bloom in your garden this spring. Just having something beautiful to look at in your garden while you wait for all the cold damaged plants to return will make all the difference.

Texas Mountain Laurel

I love fragrant plants and some of my favorites will be blooming and smelling great this season.  Here are just a few of my favs: Sweet olive shrub, this one has a very potent sweet fragrance from the tiniest flower. Texas Mountain Laurel is another shrub with a fragrance that can knock your socks off.  This shrub/tree, has beautiful purple blooms with the scent of grape soda.  Pink Jasmine is a vine that has pink buds that open white with an intense jasmine scent.  Citrus trees have white blossoms with an amazing, you guessed it, citrus fragrance.  Skinners banana shrub fragrance reminds me of bananas and cake, not too bad.  Hopefully, these few plants will get you started interested to start your very own fragrant garden.

 

Next up, is your vegetable garden.  Get your tomatoes in the ground this month, don’t wait.  Other veggies to plant this month include:  Peppers, beans, lettuce, corn, eggplant, squash and watermelon.  What to pick for your garden? Plant what you love to eat!

Tomato
Tomato

 

If you haven’t trimmed back the cold damaged plants yet, now is the time. Get out the trimmers, garden scissors, and loppers and get busy. We are going to get all that dead looking stuff out of the garden.  Some of these plants only look dead, so don’t be too hasty and pull them all out of the garden.  Cut it back starting at the top and then cutting a little back at a time until you see green.  The plant may need to be trimmed all the way back within a few inches from the ground, and that is okay.  It may very well return and be even more beautiful than before.  Blooms might be delayed by this, but the plants will bloom again.
Oh, before I forget.  Fertilize your garden with an organic fertilizer.  Microlife will work wonders to improve your soil and help your plants thrive.

 

Enjoy your garden,
Pat

All About Roses

 by Kathryn Courtney

 As soon as I flip my calendar from February to March my thoughts jump to roses and how many I want and where am I going to put them and do I have enough sun and on and on. I become more than slightly obsessed.  The new hybrid tea roses get me every time. Last year it was Blue Girl, the year before it was Scentimental. Roses are a very versatile landscape plant. Grow them up arbors, plant them in herb gardens, use them in mass for a blooming hedge or fence or even grow them in containers. Every garden should have at least one rose. The only set in stone requirement roses have is sun. Most roses need at least 6 and preferably 8 hours of sun even in the summer.

     When our Weeks roses come in March there is always a flurry of phone calls and a rush of customers heading out to pick up their favorite roses before they are gone. Weeks roses come in all different varieties, shapes, sizes and colors.The most popular is the Hybrid Tea. Teas are the quintessential roses that florists adore. They have single perfectly shaped blossoms on large long stems.They are great for cutting and are long lasting in a vase. Floribundas are another type of rose we get from Weeks. We also get a few from the Antique Rose Emporium. Floribundas are medium compact shrubs that look great in a casual garden. The flowers are smaller than a hybrid tea’s and bloom inclusters, making a beautiful small bouquet on the rose bush. Floribundas are one of my personal favorites as they bloom constantly and have great disease resistance.The Grandiflora class of roses is a great mix of the hybrid tea type and the floribunda. The shrubs are large like a hybrid tea with large flowers that form clusters on long stems. One cut branch of grandiflora blooms makes a vase full of flowers.The last two types of roses we get from Weeks are climbers and shrubs. The class names say it all. Climbers ramble or can be trained up trellises or walls. Shrub roses are large shrubs with large flowers. These roses make great borders or living fences.

For some reason, a lot of people are scared to try roses in their yard or they think they need a formal rose garden to grow roses. Roses are very easy to grow and can be grown in any type of garden. I always grow my roses in with my herbs. Last year I added some veggies in the same bed with marigolds, cosmos and zinnias. The combination was beautiful. Just make sure that the plants you grow with your roses can take the 8 hours of hot summer sun. Roses love water but not on their leaves. The biggest problem with growing roses on the gulf coast is a fungal disease called black spot. The rain and humidity in spring causes the fungus to grow. Just like the name implies, the fungus shows up as yellow spots on the leaves which quickly turn black. I do preventative fungus treatments using neem oil. If you start your neem oil schedule before fungus becomes a problem on your roses you can keep black spot disease under control. Plant roses according to our planting guide. Rose roots hate sitting in water and will quickly rot if they are not planted in a well-drained space. Leave space between roses so they have good air circulation. This will help with fungus problems. Roses prefer acidic soil. All of our rose fertilizers contain ingredients that make them acidic. Everyone has a favorite rose fertilizer but my choice is Microlife for azaleas, azaleas and roses need the same food. It feeds your roses and your soil helping to keep your plants healthier.

     Whatever rose you choose to grow this year is up to you. There is such a large variety of color, fragrance, size and shape that the choices seem endless. Come out and walk through the roses. Take your time. Stop and smell them, as the saying goes. One of the roses will call to you more loudly than the others. If you’re anything like me you will have several roses screaming in your ear before getting halfway through the display. Pick them up and take them home. Give them love and roses will amaze you for years to come. If you have a specific rose in mind, call us first to see if it is available. We will be happy to check for you or suggest an alternative.