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Growing Tips

Let’s Talk About March 2017

By: Pat Cordray
March is the time when The Nursery is alive with the colors and sounds of spring.  The beauty of the sky, the flowers, and the butterflies moving from bloom to bloom.  Then add the sounds of the birds, the musical tones of the wind chimes and the bubbling fountains. Next, add the breeze and now you have a chance to really be in the moment.   If you can get away, make it a point of coming by to see and hear “the spring” at The Nursery.  Come for a stroll, bring your lunch and enjoy the day here.

A little spring color:

Cajun Sunrise Hibiscus
Cajun Starburst Hibiscus

March is a great gardening month with tons to do! Let’s get started.

The top of my list is getting the trimmers, garden scissors, and loppers out and get them sharpened because this month we are going to finally get all that dead looking stuff out of the garden. It only looks dead, most likely so don’t be hasty and pull it out by the roots. 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 to the ground, and that is okay. It may very well return quickly and be even more beautiful than before. Blooms might be delayed by this, but the plants will bloom again.
We may need a dose of color to brighten the garden quickly and now is a great time to add color plants. Some of the plants you might consider for containers or in the ground are dianthus, petunia, geraniums, begonia impatiens, marigolds, verbena, bacopa, nasturtiums, gazania, zinnias, pentas, coleus, salvia and dusty miller are just a few instant color options. Other plants to consider are foxglove, blue bonnet, delphinium and sweet pea. These plants are so beautiful you don’t want to miss having them bloom in your garden this spring. Any of these plants will brighten up your garden while you wait for the plants you cut back to fill in.
What about your vegetable garden? Let’s get going and get those tomatoes in the ground this month. Your potatoes should already be in the ground, plant potatoes mid-February. This month you can also plant beans, radish, corn, and lettuce. Mid-month you can plant cucumber, eggplant, peppers, squash, and watermelon.
For your lawn, use leaf mold compost and MicroLife 6-2-4 this month. Spread about ½ to ¼ of an inch of compost on your lawn, the compost should fall between the blades of grass.  A MicroLife 6-2-4 40lb bag covers 1000 sq. ft. at 10-15lbs. Leaf mold compost and MicroLife will add tons of microorganisms that will help your soil feed the grass. It is also great for correcting fungal problems and will help your soil from being compacted.
Since you will have the big bag of MicroLife 6-2-4 out in the yard, go ahead and feed the soil around all your plants, shrubs, and trees. Once your soil is fed it will take care of your plants. That’s the way it is supposed to be. Healthy soil is the gold of the garden.
Walk barefoot in the grass and enjoy your garden,

It Might Not Be Dead!

By Deb Pavlosky

So, if you are looking at your garden and feeling a little fret over the number of ugly looking plants in the ground right now – take a deep breath and let your worries go.  Some of those plants may actually come back for you.  We had a REAL freeze this winter and even some things that we protected may have been affected. I did not protect a thing in my yard or on my patio and it’s not the prettiest looking garden right now, but I know there is hope!  Yes, I will have to be a patient gardener, but my patience will pay off in the end.

Once we are free and clear of freezing weather, I will cut my hibiscus (and other woody tropical perennials)  back to green wood, leaving at least six inches from the ground.  It’s amazing to me how these plants can come back.  If you have hibiscus in your yard too and you just can’t wait to trim off some of that ugliness, you can, but leave at least 1″ of ugly for now.  Yes, I said it.  1″ of ugly.  This will give the plant a little bit of protection if we have another freeze.  You can trim back other woody perennials the same way too.

Don’t forget there are lots of shrubs and trees that are supposed to lose their leaves before or during winter  (they are deciduous) – Redbuds, Figs, Blueberries, some Blackberries, Mulberries, Apples, Pears, Plums, Peaches, Persimmons, Nectarines, Hydrangeas, Japanese Magnolias, Crape Myrtles, Japanese Maples, Mock Oranges, Quince, Spirea, some Viburnums and Beautyberries as well as others.  It’s not recommended to trim these plants in winter or spring because they are going to bud out soon for flowers.  If you trim them now, you could be trimming their buds.  Not sure?  A good rule of thumb is to trim or prune pretty soon after they are done blooming or fruiting during the year.  Also, not everything needs to be pruned or trimmed.  A lot of deciding how to trim or prune is up to you – training to a specific shape, removing unwanted growth or to grow on a trellis, etc.  You get to decide.  Funny, I often choose not to trim or prune, but I guess that’s mostly because I forget to do it until it’s too late.

Nearly all fruit trees are deciduous except citrus, loquat, kumquat, guava, avocado, mango, pineapple guava olive and a few others.  These trees should remain full of leaves through a winter freeze (if protected).  If they look freeze damaged, the same rules apply as for woody perennials.  You can trim some, but it’s best to wait until after threat of freezing temperatures is over for the season.

Sometimes it takes days for freeze damage to really show up on plants.  So, it’s important to give your plants a little time after a freeze before you assess the damage.  Because tropicals are used widely in our areas landscapes, we need to be especially mindful of protecting them.  Though many are hardier than you would think, most would need protection from freezes.  Plants like Cannas, Elephant Ears, Bird of Paradise, Begonias, Philodendrons, Ixoras, Bougainvilleas, Gingers and Banana Trees fall in the tropical category.  If the plant has slimy, mushy, smelly or oozy areas, cut those areas out pretty quickly.  If that “gross area” occurs low down on the plant, hope for the best after you trim.  Give your plants a chance to recover, but if you don’t see new growth into the first few weeks of spring, you are probably not going to get that one back.  I see that as an opportunity for experimentation.

If you have succulents in your yard, I am hoping you did protect them.  They are particularly sensitive to freezing.  I was a very lucky, lazy gardener this year.  I did not protect mine and they are mostly fine (except a few that I will have to cut back pretty drastically and some that are mushy and smelly (yuck)).  Can I say again just how lucky a gardener I am?

If you have palms, it’s important to remember that they grow from their crown.  So, the portion you need to protect is at the top, not the foliage but the “heart” of the palm where the fronds are growing from.  If this dies, you will lose your palm tree.  Some palms are more cold-hardy than others, so be sure to research the varieties you have planted in your landscape.

Lastly, you can help your plants be less susceptible to freezing by making sure they are healthy and taking good care of them throughout the year.  Water well and regularly through the year and especially water well before a freeze.  Mulch to protect the base of your plants.  Fertilize your plants during the growing season, but not during winter.  New growth is tender.  Cover your tender plants with plastic and make sure the plastic is secured at the ground to create a tent.  If you have potted plants that are tender, move them inside or move them to a more protected location if you can’t bring them in (next to a wall of the house, or just out of the wind and under a tree is better than nothing).  And remember, plants don’t live forever.  A plant that has made it through multiple freezes might not one year.  It happens.  Also, some plants are annuals and don’t survive more than one season anyway.  Usually, those bedding plants that you add for color are annuals or short-lived perennials.  That’s just another opportunity to change things up in your garden!

Oh and BONUS!  There are some plants that actually LIKE the cold weather!!!  Gardenias, Peonies (yes I do have one in my landscape and it is sending up new growth as I type), Camellias, Daffodils (and other bulbs), Delphinium, Pansies, Snapdragons, are just a few winter loving plants for your landscape.  And most of these plants bloom when other plants are dormant.  Ohhh.  That’s what I am going to say from now on.  I am not lazy, I am dormant.  I like it!

As always, call the nursery with any questions.

Antique Roses in your Garden  

By Kathryn Courtney

Antique Roses are one of the most versatile and carefree perennial shrubs for your garden. They can be formal or informal, for flower, vegetable or rose gardens, or used in the landscape as focal points, borders or hedges, or filler plants in your landscape. I have seen beautiful hedges of Old Blush roses and many stunning rose covered arbors. Antique roses can be grown up trellises or pergolas, espaliered against walls, or left to ramble on the ground. The smaller antique roses do great in containers that can be placed on patios, decks or in the garden itself.  There are infinite ways to add antique roses to your garden.


Because antique roses come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and growth habits, there is always a rose to fit any garden space you have. Antique roses have only two requirements, at least six hours of sun a day and good drainage. I have been growing antique roses for as long as I have been gardening. These wonderful shrubs actually started my gardening obsession. My newest antique rose is a Libby that I planted in a container and put in my vegetable garden. It adds interest to the garden and is a great pollinator plant. At the house I am in now I have a Monsieur Tillier rose against my back fence and a Cornelia climbing rose over my patio. Other antique roses are scattered all around my garden. Place large or climbing antique roses in the back of your garden for a heavenly scented back drop to other perennials and annuals. Add mid size roses for another layer of flowers and scent and small or spreading roses in the front of your border. Place a large antique rose in the middle of a garden as a focal point and plant other sun loving flowers, veggies or herbs around it. I have a large Mutabilis rose that is going to become the center of a new herb garden.When you are ready to dive into the world of antique roses, research the roses for habit, fragrance, color and other traits that will work well in your garden

 There are several different types of antique roses. Some do better in our zone 9 climate and humidity than others. The roses we carry at Maas are especially suited for our area. Most of our antique roses come from the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas. There are three groups of rose titles at the Emporium. All of the roses are classified as old roses. Old or antique roses are defined as rose varieties that were introduced prior to 1867. Antique roses can also be defined as roses that have been in cultivation for at least 75 years and that have old rose qualities such as flower form, color, and fragrance. Some of the antique roses have the EarthKind designation. EarthKind roses are screened by the Texas Agrilife Service through Texas A & M University. These roses are selected for their durability and ease of care. They go through a rigorous testing program before they are rewarded the EarthKind label. Found Roses are roses that have been rescued by the Texas Rose Rustlers.These rose enthusiasts have traveled Texas taking cuttings from abandoned old homesteads and cemeteries. Found roses have survived on their own with no care for years, proving their toughness.

The Antique Rose Emporium’s Pioneer rose series are newer roses that have been bred for their versatility and durability in the landscape. Antique roses have a vast assortment of flower color,shape and scent. Some of the roses also produce rosehips which are a great source of Vitamin C and very decorative as well. Your antique rose choices are limitless. It’s up to you to decide your personal favorite.

Caring for your antique rose is very easy. Roses need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. They need well draining acidic soil and regular watering when first planted. Plant your roses above soil level as explained in the Maas Planting Guide. If you do not have one of these guides ask for it at your next visit to our store. Mulch is the secret to happy roses. Mulch your roses to two to three inches deep. Keep the mulch away from the trunk of your rose to prevent disease or rot. Mulch will keep the water in and the weeds out of your garden. Fertilize your roses every six to eight weeks during their bloom period with a good organic fertilizer for acid loving plants. Antique roses can do without fertilizer but I prefer to fertilize mine. When first planted, water roses regularly. A good, deep watering two to three times a week is preferable to watering shallowly every day.

Deep watering promotes deep root growth and helps with good drought tolerance for a healthier rose. In February, around Valentine’s Day, cut your roses back to your desired height. Roses benefit from a good pruning. I prune my roses in August also. This promotes a fresh flush of fall blooms. Now, sit back, relax and enjoy your beautiful blooms and the fantastic fragrance of these old-fashioned roses.They are definitely the favorite flower of my garden and always will be.

Happy, Healthy Soil  

By Kathryn Courtney

Having healthy soil is the cornerstone of success in your garden. It is impossible to have a successful garden without first having happy, healthy soil. Fortunately, healthy soil is easy to obtain. As I researched this article it became clear to me that I could write a book on soil biology. To make things simple there is really only one thing you need to know, your soil is a living ecosystem all its own with its own needs to keep it healthy. As you work in your garden you need to think about what is good for your soil as well as what is good for your plants.

One teaspoon of a  typical, healthy soil contains more living organisms than there are people on earth. Pretty mind boggling right? We have all seen beetles, earthworms and other animals living in our soil.  Algae, bacteria, fungi, nematodes and protozoa are all microorganisms living in the soil that we can’t see. Soil requires all these living organisms to be healthy. These are the organisms that supply nutrients to our plants. Keeping our organisms alive requires organic matter, macro and micro-nutrients all found in most organic fertilizers. The key to keeping your soil healthy is organic practices.

Organic fertilizers feed the soil and add organisms back into your garden. Compost, such as leaf mold, adds valuable nutrients to the soil. This is the food that the microorganisms live on. Humates are like concentrated compost. They consist of a combination of humic and fulvic acid which is produced by degradation of dead organic matter. In short, it is super compost. Using these organic products on your yard and garden give your grass and plants a tremendous boost and make them stronger and better able to survive disease and weather stresses such as drought. In contrast, chemical fertilizers do not feed your soil microorganisms. In fact, chemical fertilizers produce salts that harm the living soil. Your plants and grass become completely dependent on the fertilizer for their nutrition, destroying the soil in the process. Switching to organic methods can rejuvenate the soil and restore healthy microorganisms. Biological inoculants are used to restore your soil faster and to get rid of  toxins. Bio inoculants contain beneficial bacteria and fungi, along with food for these microorganisms, to replenish your soil.

Macro nutrients required for healthy soil are Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Each of these chemical elements contributeto  different plant processes. For example, nitrogen is the building block for most of the plants parts especially the leaves and stems. It’s what keeps a plant green. Potassium and phosphorous help with the plants blooms and roots. All of these elements are essential to a plants health. Organic fertilizers provide your plants with these elements in a form that is easy for a plant to use. These fertilizers also contain microorganisms that help the plant absorb these elements. Micro nutrients such as iron, manganese, zinc and copper are also needed for plant health. Healthy soil and good organic practices will provide all these nutrients.

To keep your soil alive, no chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides should be used. If a chemical kills your grass or the bugs in your yard, it will also harm your soil. Because fungi and mycorrhizal fungi in particular are critical for nutrient uptake by your plants, it should go without saying that fungicides are devastating to your yard and garden.

At Maas we have a vast inventory of organic products that will take the place of any chemicals you need to use. We have premixed organic soils for your yard, garden and pots. The nursery has a vast array of organic fertilizers and soil additives for any type of plant or problem. If pesticides, herbicides or fungicides are needed there are organic choices for these also. If you have questions about any organic methods, ask someone in the nursery for help. We can find an organic product for any problem. Come see us and start making you soil happy and healthy. Your yard and garden will be happy too.

Here are some of our organic products :

Microlife Fertilizers
Lady Bug Fertilizers
Fox Farm Fertilizers
Soil Additives
Microorganisms and Nutrients
Soil additives
Organic Soils
Seed Starting Soil
Organic Garden Mix
Organic Potting Soil
Organic Problem Solvers
Organic Herbicides
Organic Pesticides
Organic Fungicide

Let’s Talk About February 2018

By: Pat Cordray
This has been a very cold winter for us. With all the freezing temperatures, our gardens are not looking their best. There is damage in my garden and I suspect there is in your garden as well. I believe that we will have more cold weather in February, I’m not a weather expert, I just feel we are not finished with the cold.  If that happens,
here is what to do: First you want to water, especially if the cold front doesn’t move through here with rain. Next, cover your tender plants with fabric made for protecting plants from the cold. N-Sulate is the product the nursery carries for this purpose. Don’t forget to get the yellow pegs to hold the fabric to the ground. These yellow pegs are easy to see in the dark and easy to remove. You want the fabric to be tented to the ground over your plant. Next, do you have any hanging baskets or plants in containers? If the plants are tender, you can bring them in. If you can’t bring them in, water and cover; for the hanging baskets place them on the ground before watering and covering. Once the cold weather has passed, you should remove the fabric. Now that is done, let’s garden.


With the freezes we had in January, many of us have many plants that are looking dead. Unless the plant is mushy don’t trim it back just yet. Wait until we are past all chance of freezing weather, to keep any new growth from being damaged by another freeze. Many plants may look dead, but looks can be deceiving, and the plant may need a trim and with a little patience the plant may come back from the root. How much do you trim off? Start at the top and trim a little at a time until you see live tissue.


February 14 is the traditional time to trim your roses back to get them ready to bloom. Make sure

Double Delight hybrid Tea

your pruners are sharp and your gloves are long enough to protect your arms. Hybrid teas and grandifloras need a good trim, trim out anything dead or crossing. Your goal is to get down by 1/3 to ½ of the previous year’s growth and a V-shaped plant with an open center. For floribundas, only cut back about ¼ of the rose bush and keep all the healthy canes.

Moonstone Hybrid Tea

Roses like plenty of sun and air movement and this trimming helps with that. For other roses, clean them up and shape them. If you have climbing roses or roses that bloom once a year trim them soon after they bloom.

It is time to begin our Spring Vegetable growing season. If you want to grow tomatoes, get them now! Tomato transplants are available at the nursery now, we have lots to choose from. As with any young plants, be sure to protect your tomatoes if there is a freeze. Why get them now? You want your tomatoes to produce before it gets so hot and humid that they drop their flowers (if the flowers are gone, you won’t have any fruit). If you are not ready to plant them in the ground, you can plant the tomatoes into larger containers; you will have bigger plants by the time you are ready to transplant them into your garden in March. The first part of February is the best time to plant red potatoes, my favorite.  Other vegetables to plant this month: broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard, collards, lettuce, radish and turnip. What sounds good to you?
What about the lawn? Now is a good time to apply Humates Plus and leaf mold compost to your lawn and garden to help improve the soil. I would wait to fertilize until the lawn is growing. So, mow now and once it is time to mow again it is time to fertilize. I would use Microlife 6-2-4; this is an organic fertilizer and it is great for your lawn, trees and shrubs, and really, any plant that needs feeding. You won’t have to worry if your children walk barefoot on your lawn or if your pet eats some, it won’t hurt them.
Joseph’s Coat Hanging Basket

February is a time for change in the garden. A good way to change your garden is by adding color with hanging baskets. You don’t have to hang the baskets you can set the basket in a big pot for instant color with no planting. We will be getting big, full, luscious hanging baskets this month. These baskets will be overflowing with beautiful color plants like: fuchsia, double impatiens, scaevola, begonias, ferns, coleus, hibiscus, bougainvillea, lantana, verbena, petunia,

Cajun Hibiscus Hanging Basket

geranium, Joseph’s coat, and more.

Enjoy your garden,

Thoughts from the Garden Feburary 2018

Here are a few tips on dealing with freeze damage:


Hibiscus, trim off all the frozen parts. That may mean cutting it almost to the ground. If it is an exotic grafted variety, and it froze to below the graft, you may decide to throw it away and buy a new one. When it comes back from the root it will not be exotic anymore. The farther back you have to cut, the longer it will be until it will bloom again, sometimes as late as November. If you can’t wait, replace it.
Plumeria, if it is mushy it is dead. Buy a new one.
Bananas, they almost always come back from the ground.
Citrus, cut off the dead parts and see what happens. if it is grafted and dies back to the graft, dig it up, it’s no longer going to produce usable fruit.
Tropicals, trim them back to live wood, just like the hibiscus. Many varieties will come back from the ground. It could be many many weeks.

Non-tropical plants can be hurt too.  Dwarf pittosporum, for example, will often have split trunks and limbs that cause summer die back.
Cactus, trim back and wait, sometimes they branch and come back, sometimes they die.
Palms, some varieties die, some suffer damage, some are not hurt. Pygmy date palms, gently tug the heart leaves ( the very center leaves) if they easily slip out, the palm will die even if the old leaves are still alive. Often even as late as the next summer the leaves that were most tender during the freeze show browning and die back.
Queen palms are usually too tall to check the heart leaves. Just wait and see.
Foxtail palms and other tender varieties, if they look dead, they probably are.
Call us if you have questions.
See you in the garden.

Start the New Year by Starting Seeds

By Kathryn Courtney
 Starting seeds for spring vegetables and flowers is surprisingly easy. Most gardeners biggest problem is starting the seeds too late. Tomato and pepper seeds should be started in mid-January through mid-February. This is very important as it gives the seedlings time to develop strong root systems. Healthy root systems make for strong transplants and more vigorous plants. Other vegetables such as squash, eggplant and cucumbers can be started now too. Early spring flowers such as petunias, violas, cosmos, and larkspur also should be started now. You can start your seeds indoors or outdoors depending on the weather.  Spring seedlings will freeze so they need to be protected from the cold.

   Plant your seeds in clean containers. Cowpots are an excellent choice for seedling containers as they can be planted pot and all into the garden, or you can use small cardboard boxes, eggshells, newspaper pots or any small clean pot. The only requirement is that the container drains well. Poke holes in any seedling pot that doesn’t have drainage. If reusing a container from a nursery or elsewhere, wash it and then sterilize it with a very mild bleach solution. Use a sterile germinating mix such as Ladybug Germinator to give your seeds a good healthy start. At the nursery, we have also had success with Maas organic soil and worm castings. Put about an inch of worm casting material on top of the Maas organic in your container. There are also many different types of soilless mixes that can be used. Once you have your containers ready and filled with seed starting mix use a pencil to poke holes about 1/4″ deep into the mix. When starting


my seedlings, I use 4″ cowpots with 3 holes in the soil for each pot. This gives you 3 chances for success with each seedling container. Cover the seeds, lightly with dirt and use a mister to water your seeds. Check your seed package for the correct seed planting depth for each type of flower or vegetable. Some seeds require light to germinate and some don’t.The ones that require light should be barely covered with soil. A little Healthy Harvest Ladybug fertilizer with actinovate in each pot helps to prevent damping off or rotting of your seedlings. Adding Mycostim to your seedlings will also give them a boost of beneficial fungi. These fungi help in the growth of the plant’s root hairs. Put the seedling pots in a warm place with a strong light source. A sunny window is great. If you don’t have a window, a portable shop light with an LED or fluorescent bulb works well.  Sometimes our weather is so warm, even in January, that you can successfully start seeds outside in the bright sun. Try making an instant greenhouse using clear plastic cherry tomato or strawberry containers to start seeds in. Plant the container as described above and put them, with the lid closed, in direct sun. This will heat up the soil in the container and keep it warm at night. Of course, if it gets cold, you will need to bring your little greenhouses in. Keep your seeds moist to help germination. After my seeds germinate and get their first real leaves, I take them outside unless it is freezing. The sun provides for much healthier seedlings. Transplant your seedlings in your garden after the chance of frost has passed. Lots of gardeners take a gamble at this point. If you do plant too early, protect your seedlings from a freeze with Insulate cloth.



  Starting plants from seed is a very rewarding experience. You get to watch the plants grow from the very first leaf sprout to the final fruit or flower. Planting from seed also gives you a vast selection of flower and vegetable types that are not available as transplants. Try a new type of tomato or a new flower color for an old favorite flower. At Maas we have 3 very good seed suppliers with a wonderful selection of seeds. Our garden specialists can answer any questions you might have about your seeds. Now is the best time to pick your seeds as we have all the varieties available. Check out the seed section at Maas nursery and start planning your spring garden.

Spring Gardening

 Believe it or not, it’s time to start preparing your spring vegetable garden.  We are barely into 2018, but get out there and do a little work every day to get things ready for the beautiful spring weather.

When considering where to plant your veggies this spring, don’t forget that you can use containers for lots of vegetables – especially tomatoes and peppers.  Any tomato or pepper variety can be grown in a container, but the container should be no smaller than 20 gallons. We had a customer whose tomato plant outgrew a 65-gallon container!    You will need to water tomatoes and peppers planted in containers daily and well, but this would be true for those planted in the ground too.  Whether planting in the ground or in a container, be sure to use the following guidelines when planting:  Plant in full sun (at least 6-8 hours of sun), fertilize with a good organic fertilizer like Microlife 6-2-4, use a good garden soil that drains well and add a very light layer of mulch on top (adding a little leaf mold compost to the soil is a good idea too).  Another great tip – add a tablespoon of Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom salts) to the soil around these plants to increase the number of blooms and, therefore, fruits you will get to harvest.

With all the wonderful veggies we can plant in early spring, you still have some time to get your garden soil ready.  If you are prepping a new bed or trying to get rid of weeds from an old bed, the best method is to cover the area with black plastic sheeting for 4 to 6 weeks.  Yes, 4 – 6 weeks – that’s why you need to start NOW!  Lay the sheeting so that rainwater does not get underneath.  Once all the weeds have died, you can remove the tarp and rake the soil clean.  I would allow the sun to bake the soil a little under the plastic sheeting after the weeds have been removed as well.  Once you have done this, you do need to amend the soil with good organic material like Microlife 6-2-4, a little agricultural molasses, leaf mold compost and/or composted manure and keep the soil moist to allow for good bacteria to grow for your plantings.

Please notice that I have not mentioned the use of herbicides to clear areas for planting.   And I won’t.  Yes, glyphosate will clear the weeds faster than the plastic sheeting method, but you will ruin your soil in the process.  Just say no to herbicides and go organic – especially when growing things to eat.   Growing organic really doesn’t take more effort or more money, but it does take a little more time and research to do it right.  Patience and vigilance is the key to organic gardening.   The health of your plants and your environment and your family is so worth the effort to grow organically.  To find out more about the negative effects of glyphosate in our environment, go to http://permaculturenews.org/2012/11/01/why-glyphosate-should-be-banned-a-review-of-its-hazards-to-health-and-the-environment/ .

If you are making a new bed and really want to grow the best veggies, raised beds work well.  You can find lots of vegetable garden raised bed plans online, but really, it’s hard to go wrong.  Just be sure to plant your garden in full sun.  Raise your beds at least 12″ off the ground (higher bed = easier to reach the veggies) and use good material to make the frame.  Untreated framing lumber works well.  Be sure your garden is not too wide.  You want to be able to reach your veggies and pull weeds without stepping into your garden.   When planning your garden, remember that space is very important to plants.  So, pay attention to how big your plants will be when mature and give them plenty of room to grow.  Good air circulation in a garden is important to keeping fungi and some pests at bay in our humid climate.  Also, giving your plants plenty of space will keep them from competing with each other for water and nutrients and you will get bigger and better harvests.  Be sure to keep your garden weeded through the season.  If you allow weeds to grow, they will steal water and nutrients from all the yummy things you want to eat. Lastly, but most importantly, water your garden daily.  Watering by hand is great because you can be sure each plant gets the water it needs (remember to water at the base of the plants) and inspect for pests or diseases every day as you water.   A light layer of fine mulch (not the big, chunky stuff) will help retain some moisture in your garden and keep fallen fruit from lying directly on the soil.

If you have an existing bed and are an organic gardener, don’t till the soil before you plant.  You will disturb all those beneficial microbes that you have been working to build up in your soil.   If you aren’t an organic gardener but would like to be, it will take TIME to make the switch.  Just stop using synthetic chemicals to feed and treat and start using organic options.   Once you start using Microlife to fertilize (and boost with a little agricultural molasses), it will be just a matter of time before you notice that your plantings are much healthier.

The keys to a successful spring vegetable garden are full sun, good drainage, good air circulation, daily watering, daily check for pests and diseases, organic fertilizer, organic pest/disease control, nutrient-rich soil and a light layer of fine mulch.  That’s it.

So, what can you grow this spring?  Lots of great veggies!!!   And, if you pay attention to the Environmental Working Group’s list of supermarket fruits and veggies that contain the most pesticide residue http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php, you are going to want to grow as much of your own produce as possible…

Remember, gardening is not an exact science.  You just have to grow stuff to see what works for you in your home garden.  Trial and error is the methodology.  Boy!  I am really good at the error part.  But, that’s how you really learn.  To quote Nike, “Just Do It.”   If you go into growing a vegetable garden with an open mind and use the information you read as a guide, you will be happily surprised by your ability to grow your own produce.  You will also probably come away saying  “Ohmygosh!  That didn’t work.” and  “Why doesn’t anybody tell you that?” and some good laughs too.  Don’t forget, you have a great resource in Maas Nursery.  Don’t hesitate to call us with questions about your garden.

Here’s a list of spring veggies from Kathy Huber’s article in the Houston Chronicle (February 17, 2010) on spring vegetable gardening in the Houston area and when to plant them:

Vegetable Seed/Transplant When to Plant
Beans, bush snap Seed March to Mid April
Beans, pole Seed March to Mid April
Beets Seed February
Broccoli Transplant February
Cabbage Transplant February
Carrot Seed February
Collard Seed February and March
Corn Seed March and April
Cucumber Seed Mid March through April
Eggplant Transplant Mid March to May
Kohlrabi Seed February
Lettuce Seed February through March
Mustard Seed February through March
Okra Seed April to July
Onion Transplant February
Peas, Southern Seed April to May
Pepper Transplant Mid March to May
Potato, Irish Seed pieces February
Radish Seed February to April
Squash, Summer Seed Mid March to April
Tomato Transplant March and April (sometimes earlier)
Turnip Seed February
Watermelon Seed/Transplant Mid March to May
Posted in Helpful Hints

Fragrant Plants

By Deb Pavlosky


“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of
 miles and all the years you have lived.” – Helen Keller


When most people think of fragrant flowers, I would assume roses come first to mind.  Roses have such a wide array of colors and bloom types and growing habits and, yes, also fragrance.  So, though Shakespeare wants us to believe differently, a rose by any other name does not necessarily smell as sweet.  Actually there are roses with no scent at all.  Peggy Martin is one very popular variety of pink climbing rose that has no scent.   So, if you are trying to grow fragrant plants, and you are planning to use roses, be sure to smell the blooms before you purchase your plants.  Also, check the temperature and time of day when you sniff the blooms.   Some roses have stronger scents in cooler weather and some have stronger scents in the mornings.  So, do a little research before picking your roses.

The following are just a few fragrant rose varieties that you can find at Maas Nursery.

Fragrant Cloud – Coral or red-orange blooms, Strong sweet spice and rose scent

Double Delight – Red blooms with cream interior, Strong spicy rose scent

Don Juan – Red climbing rose, Strong rose scent

Cecile Brunner – Pink Climbing rose, Moderate tea scent

Chrysler Imperial – Velvety, dark red blooms, Strong Damask rose scent

Bulls Eye – Cream or Ivory flowers with cranberry centers, Moderate sweet spice scent

White Licorice – Yellow blooms (more yellow when cool), Licorice and lemon scent

Belinda’s Dream – Pink blooms, Moderate fruity scent

Iceberg – White blooms, Mild honey scent

Beyond roses, there are many choices of very fragrant plants to use in your landscape.

More choices to add fragrance to your garden:


Flowering Tobacco – This plant is also known as flowering tobacco.  Grows to 48″ in sun to part shade.  Can bloom all year and blooms range in colors including white and pink.

Stock (this one likes cool weather) – Stock blooms in a variety of colors (pink, purple, white) in spring.  Grows well in sun to part shade.

Sweet Alyssum – This plant blooms in clusters of very fragrant flowers (colors can be white, pink or purple).  This annual is a prolific bloomer all year and some varieties can be grown as short-lived perennials.


Banana Shrub –  Creamy-yellow flowers that have a banana scent.   This shrub blooms during the warm seasons.  Slow growing, 6′-10′ tall and wide.  Part to full sun.

Brunfelsia – Also known as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.  Very fragrant purple flowers fade to violet and then white over a period of days.  Some varieties only grow to 4′ tall and wide and others 3′ to 8′ tall and 4′ -6′ wide.  Part sun.

Buddleia – Also known as Butterfly Bush.  Most varieties are purple flowering and bloom summer through fall.  Butterfly bush ranges in size from 3′ to 7′ tall and 3′ to 5′ wide.  Full sun.

Butterfly Ginger – This ginger blooms white from mid-summer to early fall.  Best grown in sun to part shade.  This ginger will grow 4′ to 6′ tall.

Crape Jasmine – White blooms through spring and summer.  Fragrance is stronger in the evening.  Can grow to 6′ to 8′ tall and wide.  Part to full sun.

Elaeagnus – Ebbinge’s Silverberry is a dense evergreen shrub.  Blooms small, white, fragrant flowers in the fall that are followed by small red berries.  Grows 8′-10′ tall and wide.  Great hedges, foundation shrub or small tree.  Full sun.

Gardenias – There are many varieties of Gardenias and they range in size from Radicans (6″ to 12″ tall and 2′ to 3′ wide) to First Love (5′ to 8′ tall and 3′ to 6′ wide).  First Love blooms late spring through early summer,  Radicans and Frost Proof bloom in the summer and August Beauty blooms spring through fall.  Most people are familiar with the stark white blooms and amazing fragrance of gardenias.

Geraniums (lemon scented) – Blooms in summer with light pink to purple flowers.  It’s the foliage with the lemon scent that you smell.  Grows 18″ high and wide.  Part to full sun.

Heliotrope – Can be perennial, but mostly grown as an annual.  Purple flowers with an intense fragrance that bloom spring through summer.  Part to full sun.

Mock Orange – Blooms white flowers in April and May.  Can grow to 6′ to 8′ tall and wide.  Full to part sun.  This shrub is deciduous.

Natal Plum- White flowers are very fragrant and this plant will bloom all year in sun to part shade.   Fruits will form on this plant, but leaves and flowers are poisonous.

Night Blooming Jessamine (aka Night blooming cestrum or night blooming jasmine) – Very small greenish-white flowers bloom in the summer.  Grows to 8′ to 10′ tall and 3′ wide.  Part to full sun.   Blossoms only open at night.

Pineapple Sage (Tender perennial) – Blooms, showy red flowers in late spring to fall.  The foliage has a pineapple scent and can be used in drinks and foods.  Grows 3′ to 4′ tall and wide.  Full sun.

Pittosporum – Pittosporum shrubs bloom with very small clusters of orange-blossom scented flowers in spring.  The Japanese Mock Orange variety can grow to 10′ to 12′ tall and wide.   The Variegated Japanese Mock Orange grows 6′ to 8′ tall and wide or even larger with age.  Wheeler’s Dwarf Pittosporum grows 2′ to 3′ tall and 4′ to 5′ wide.  All like part to full sun.

Sweet Olive – Small white blooms in the spring that are very fragrant.  This plant likes morning sun and afternoon shade.  It can grow to 10′ tall if un-pruned.


Viburnums- Eastern snowball viburnum blooms masses of white flowers through summer.  It will grow 12′ tall and 10′ wide or larger with age.  This shrub requires part to full sun.  This shrub is deciduous.



Arabian Jasmine (can be considered a shrubs as well) – The fragrant white flowers open at night and bloom June through September.  This plant will reach 6′ to 8′ tall and 3′ to 4′ wide.  Part to full sun.

Carolina Jessamine – Blooms bright yellow flowers in late winter to early spring.  This vine will grow to 20′ with support.  Part to full sun.

Confederate or Star Jasmine – Very fragrant white flowers from spring to summer.  This vine can reach 18′ to 20′ with support or 1′ to 2′ as groundcover.  Part to full sun.

Honeysuckle – Hall’s Japanese Honeysuckle has white to yellow flowers that bloom in the summer.  This plant can be grown as a vine to 15′ tall or groundcover to 2′ tall.  Full sun.  Trumpet Honeysuckle has trumpet-shaped scarlet-orange flowers and blooms spring through fall.  It grows fast to 20′ long.  Part to full sun.


Passionvine – The incense variety blooms violet to lavender from late spring to early fall in sun to part shade.  This vine can grow to 10′ long.

Pink Jasmine – Very fragrant light pink flowers spring to early summer.  Will grow to 20′ long.  Full sun.

Rangoon Creeper- Also known as Drunken Sailor, this plant blooms in clusters of red flowers that fade to pink from late spring to mid fall.  Can grow to more than 40′ in sun to part shade.  This is a tender perennial.

Wisteria – The Texas Purple Japanese Wisteria blooms purple flower clusters in the spring.   This is a fast growing, deciduous vine that will grow to 25′ long.  This vine likes full sun.  Amethyst Falls Wisteria is also deciduous and will to 10′ long.  This vine blooms with purple racemes in late spring and repeats lightly through summer.   This vine likes part to full sun.  Evergreen Wisteria blooms late summer to early fall and will grow to 15′ long in full sun.  Evergreen Wisteria has been described as having a camphor-like scent.



Angels Trumpet – These small trees can grow in sun to part shade.  Blooms can be pink, white, yellow or orange and appear from summer to early fall.  They usually grow 6′ to 8′ tall and these are poisonous plants.  Angels Trumpet flowers are most fragrant in the early evening.

Citrus – All varieties of citrus trees produce fragrant flowers before they fruit.

Magnolia – Brackens Brown Beauty is a moderate grower to 50′ tall and 30′ wide in full sun.  This variety blooms in late spring.  The creamy white flowers are very fragrant.  Sweet Bay Magnolias are moderate growers to 20′ tall and wide in part sun.  The creamy-white, lemon scented flowers appear through the summer.

Mexican Plum – This tree will grow 15′ to 35′ and blooms fragrant white flowers before leaves appear.  This tree does well in full sun.

Texas Mountain Laurel – This small shrub or tree blooms purple blooms in the spring that smell like grape soda.  This plant prefers full sun and is slow growing to 10′ to 15′ tall and 8′ to 10′ wide.  Can also be trained on an espalier or grown as a patio tree.   Once established, it will only need occasional watering.

These are just a few options for adding fragrance to your garden.  There are so many more….

Spring is just around the corner and I am looking forward to the aromas of freshly mowed grass and sweet smelling blooms.  Time to add some sweet smelling plants to your garden too.

Let’s Talk About Jaunary 2017

By: Pat Cordray

January is here, I can’t believe it, but it is true. January could feel like fall, winter or even spring. It is hard to tell which way it will be. This year we are starting the month off with winter. The thing that I have almost always felt about January is that it is a gray month. No matter the temperature, it seems to be gray. The gray skies aside, there is still gardening to be done. What can be planted now? There are color plants, tulips, trees, and if you hurry, cool weather veggies to plant.

First, the freeze warning!

If we have a freeze warning for our area, the very first thing to do is to water your plants; this protects the roots, so water thoroughly, not just for 60 seconds. Next, cover your plant’s tent the fabric to the ground, then secure it with pegs. Once the weather warms up remove the fabric. Use fabric made to protect plants or use fabric to cover the plant and plastic to cover the fabric, like a windbreaker. For hanging baskets, take them in or set them on the ground, water and cover. For plants in containers, take them in or water and cover. These instructions are for plants that are tender to the cold. This doesn’t freeze proof your tender plants but it will help add just a little warmth and that may be all that is needed to save a plant. It is better to be prepared than to be scrambling around at the last minute trying to find your cold weather gardening supplies. So, place your N-Sulate cloth and pegs where you can find them. The Nursery usually keeps these supplies in stock if needed.                                                                                                                              

Wonderland Poppy

Now, we can talk about color plants. Did I mention that January is a gray month? Well, to help brighten up your garden add color!  Even if you just plant one container that you can see from the house.  These plants can add a little bit of happiness to a drab month.  What to plant?  Pansies, violas, poppies, alyssum, lobelia, snapdragons, stock, dianthus and mix in a few plants that will bloom a little later.  Like larkspur, sweet pea, foxglove, delphinium and bluebonnet. All of these plants will give you brilliant color and smiles.   Plant in full sun to get the most blooms and feed with Microlife every 6 weeks or so.

Frizzle Sizzle Pansy 

You should get your tulips planted pronto. Tulips need to be refrigerated for 4-6 weeks before planting. Once you take them out of the refrigerator go ahead and plant them. Wait for a gray day to plant, not a sunny day. Plant in containers or raised beds. Plant from mid-December to mid-January. They will bloom in 6-8 weeks after planting.

Magenta Swiss Chard 
For vegetable gardening, you are not too late. You can still plant broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard, kale, collards, lettuce, mustard, peas, radish, turnip. So, get busy and get these cool weather plants in your garden now, before the heat catches up with us.

January is a good time to plant trees in our area. If you are considering a tree for your landscape there are a few questions to answer to make sure you are getting the right tree for your yard. What is the mature size of the tree? How big is your yard? Where will the tree be placed in the yard? By a pool? Close to the house? What do you want the tree to provide? Shade? Flowers? Privacy? Fruit? Or something else. Do you want an evergreen or a deciduous tree? Once these questions are answered you should have a good idea of the size, shape and what the tree needs to provide to your landscape. Check out my limited list of trees below. For complete tree information, check out our website, maasnursery.com. Click on the plant library tab, then select trees in the drop-down menu.  


Shumard Red Oak 
Live oak trees are evergreen and grow to 40′-80′ tall with a spread of 80′-100′. Provides dense shade, Texas native.
Red oaks are deciduous, the red oaks we carry are Shumard red oak that grows 50-90′ tall and Nuttall red oak that grows to 60′-75’tall and 40′-60′ spread. Both are Texas natives.
Cypress bald, Bald cypress trees are deciduous and grow to 50′-70′ tall with a spread of 20′-30′, Texas native. Montezuma cypress trees grow to 40′ tall with a spread of 40′, Texas native.
Maple Red, Summer red maple trees are deciduous trees growing 35′-40′ tall and 20′-25′ wide. Red maples also include San Felipe red maple, Drummond red maple & Trident red maple. These are deciduous trees growing 30-70′ tall with a 40-60′ spread.
Chinese pistache is a deciduous tree that grows to 40-50′ tall with a spread of 30′.
Fringe Tree is a deciduous tree that grows from 15-25′ tall and 12-15’wide
Mexican Plum is a deciduous tree that can grow to 15-35′ tall and a mature spread of 20-25′.
Happy New Year,