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Helpful Hints

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,

Sasanqua Camellias


By: Kathryn Courtney
My absolutely favorite plant in my garden is my sasanqua camellia. I planted it after I ripped out all of the awful builders landscaping plants in my new front yard. That was 25 years ago. My camellia has provided me with 25 years of so much joy that I think everyone should have at least one sasanqua in their garden.

Sasanqua camellias are smaller, more open, delicate bushes than their sister shrubs, japonica camellias. They bloom from late summer to early winter depending on the type. 3 to 4 inch blossoms of anything from white to light or bright pink to cherry red adorn these shrubs in a profusion of blooms. The blooms can be single, semi-double or double. Some of them even have a heavenly tea or rose scent that rivals most flowers for fragrance. The foliage starts out a coppery-bronze and turns dark green at maturity. All camellias are evergreen making them a great landscape shrub.

Sasanqua camellias need to be planted in partial shade in evenly moist, acidic, well-drained soil. After established, these camellias are drought tolerant but perform better with consistent watering. Because of the size and shape of the shrub, these plants make great foundation plantings or low borders for your garden. Sasanqua camellias can also be shaped into tree form and planted in a courtyard, corner garden bed, or a formal garden. Their versatility allows them to blend in with other landscape shrubs and become a great backdrop in a garden. Their bloom time makes them a perfect garden companion as sasanqua camellias bloom when other blooming plants in the garden are finished. Because these shrubs enjoy part shade their bright blooms brighten an otherwise darker part of the garden.

Come to Maas and check out our huge selection of camellias. Lots of them are blooming right now and it is the perfect time to see them, smell them and plant them. We can answer any questions you may have about our camellia selection. The camellias I have listed below are just a sample of what we have at the nursery. Come out and pick your favorite. We hope to see you at the nursery soon!

Deep green evergreen shrub with brilliant red flowers and bright yellow stamens
Bloom time usually coincides with the Christmas season
Moderate upright grower to 8′ to 10′ tall and wide.

Pink A Boo
Evergreen shrub with deep pink blooms, bright yellow stamens and a wonderful fragrance. A sport of Yuletide
Winter bloomer
8′ to 10′ tall and wide.

White Doves
Frilly white blossoms with bright yellow stamens and dark green foliage. Ideal for smaller space or container.
Mid season bloomer
4′ to 5′ tall and wide.

October Magic
Ruffled white blooms with bright pink trim and dark green foliage.
Bloom time fall to early winter
6′-8′ tall and 4′-5′ wide upright bush.

Deep red large semi double peony formed flowers with bright green evergreen foliage.
Blooms in fall
4′- 5′ tall and 5’to 6′ wide.

Brilliant pink double blooms and a short pendulous form with dark evergreen leaves.Makes a great cut flower. Can be used as a ground cover or espalier.
Blooms fall to early winter.
2′ – 3′ tall and 8′ wide.
A Few More Sasanquas We Love
Jean May
Shishi Gashira

Let’s Talk About December 2017

By: Pat Cordray


It is hard to believe we are here, the end of the year, the holidays, and maybe even cooler temperatures.  We have had lots of sun in November and not enough rain.  Usually, I’m able to turn off my sprinkler system in October and wait until March to turn them back on.  Not so this year, everything is dry and I have to hand water to make sure that all the plants get a drink.  What kind of gardening can we do this month?  There is still a lot of gardening to do, even if it is December.  It is not too late to add color to your garden or containers, vegetables are still an option and camellias.

Now for the freeze warning. If we have a freeze warning for our area, first water your plants; this protects the roots, so water thoroughly, not just for 60 seconds.  Next, cover your plants tenting 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 a little warmth and that may be all that is needed to save a plant.  It is better to be prepared than 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.

Plants for fall and winter have wonderful bright vibrant color. Here are a few of the beautiful plants that bloom this time of year.  The pansy
Frizzle Sizzle Pansy
6-8″ tall
Blooms best in full sun
but can bloom in part shade
Full Sun
Snapshot 6-10″ tall
Montego 8-10″ tall
Solstice 16-20″ tall
Sonnet 18-24″ tall
Rocket 24-36″ tall
And dianthus.
Floral Lace Dianthus
Full sun
6-8″ tall


These are just 3 examples of beautiful color for now.  Brighten up your garden with any of these.

What else can you plant in December? You can still plant vegetables.  Plant cauliflower, broccoli, green onions, Brussels sprouts, leeks, greens, and turnips.  Get busy now so you can eat soon!

Camellias are another beautiful fall through spring bloomer.  There aren’t too many flowers, that bloom down here,  as beautiful. Check out the pictures below


So much beauty!

Enjoy your garden,


Fall Landscape Preperation

November is one of my favorite months.  The holiday season begins in November when the temperature starts to fall.  Cooler temperatures lure me outside. You may sit and enjoy the view or engage in fall activities.  I like to spend quiet time in my yard contemplating both the past and the future.  My yard is full of many memories.  Plants from family and friends are everywhere.  They are such a pleasant reminder of someone we love.  For me, plants are the gift that keeps on giving.  I never feel alone in my yard.
      Cooler temperatures make for easier fall yard preparation.  It is a good time to weed the flower beds and mulch.  I like to rake the leaves and spread them out in the flower beds.  Your grass will like the fresh air and your flower beds will benefit from the leaves.  Leaves are nature’s mulch.  I will then put some hardwood mulch down on the top of the leaf layer for extra weed suppression.  The leaves will compost into the soil.  Good organic soil will help you grow vibrant thriving plants.  Your healthy yard will make a great pitstop for migrating songbirds.  Beauty Berries, Indian Hawthorn and Hollies are excellent food sources for migrating birds.  Always have a water source as well.  You want to have a full-service yard for maximum enjoyment.  Fun should be had by all who enter.  Bird-friendly yards are a good idea.  People like them as well. So, prepare for the holidays.  A clean tidy fall garden will help your plants weather the winter.  And then… Spring is just around the corner!

Let’s Talk About November, 2017

By: Pat Cordray

November is here and with it there is the hope that the hot temperatures will skedaddle on out of here.  It may not happen right away but the hope is real.  As far as gardening is concerned, November is a fantastic time to be outside and be busy in the garden. This month we could have our first freeze of the season so I want to refresh your cold weather plant protecting skills. If we have a freeze warning for our area, first water your plants; this protects the roots, so water thoroughly, not just for 60 seconds.  Next, cover your plants tenting 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 a little warmth and that may be all that is needed to save a plant.  It is better to be prepared than 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.

The color plants for this season have some of the most vibrant blooms.  Plus, there are bulbs to start,


herbs to add to your garden and my favorite, camellias that are blooming.  This is a very exciting gardening month.  I can’t wait to get started.

Thinking of adding some of those vibrant flowers to your garden?   Cool weather plants like pansies, lobelia, alyssum, violas, stock, calendulas, snapdragons, English daisies, cyclamen, phlox, petunias, nasturtiums and dianthus are just the ticket.  What a great way to add the wonderful fall and winter color to your containers and landscapes. You might also add sweet peas, foxglove, holly hocks, and delphinium for early spring color.  Full sun, well-draining soil, water and Microlife are all the ingredients needed to keep these cool weather plants blooming for months.

It is bulb time.  For forcing inside your home, Ziva narcissus, amaryllis and hyacinths will look beautiful and give your home a festive look for the holiday season.  The Ziva’s will bloom in 3-4 weeks, the amaryllis bulbs take 3-8 weeks to bloom (depending on variety), and the hyacinths will bloom in 6-8 weeks. You can stagger your plantings to keep fresh flowers blooming in your home all season.  When the amaryllis bulbs are finished blooming indoors you can replant them in your garden for blooms the following spring. No need to stop there, we have many different amaryllis bulbs, tulips, ranunculus, daffodils, Dutch iris, leucojum, lycoris, and other varieties of narcissus besides Ziva’s that are just as beautiful!

When to plant your bulbs?  Tulips can be planted from mid-December through mid-January, they must be refrigerated for 4-6 weeks before planting.  We keep our tulips and hyacinths in the fridge so they will be ready to plant at the right time.  Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Leucojum, narcissus, hyacinths, and ranunculus can be planted this month. To learn more about bulbs, come to our Bulb Class on Saturday, November 11th.
November is also a good time to plant herbs in your garden; the cold weather makes for strong roots.  Oregano, salad brunet, winter savory, chamomile, dill, rosemary, and fennel are just a few of a long list of herbs to consider planting now.  Most herb plants need full sun and well-draining soil. You can plant them in with your ornamentals or in a garden by themselves.  Where ever you decide to plant, give your herbs plenty of room in the garden, they can be bigger than you think.   Herbs will add a whole new dimension to your garden with fragrant leaves that attract beneficial insects.   Many can also be used to enhance the flavor of your meals and for use in potpourri.   Fertilizer is only needed a couple of times of year. Herbs can be an easy addition to any garden.
Camellia Buds
Camellias have some of the most amazing blooms of any shrub. Prettier than a picture.  Camellias are slow growing evergreen shrubs that bloom from about October through March, depending on the variety.  Sasanqua camellias bloom in the fall and have small leaves and flowers, usually the flower forms are single, double or semi double.  Sasanqua camellias grow to about 10-12 feet tall for upright varieties and 2-5 feet tall for spreading varieties.    Japonica camellias have larger leaves and usually have bigger blooms.  The forms of the Japonica Camellia blooms are usually single, semi double, anemone, peony, rose, or formal double.   Japonica camellias start off as shrubs, growing to about 6-12 feet tall and wide, but can slowly become a tree reaching 20 feet tall.
Camellias are easy to grow here and their beauty is hard to beat.  For the healthiest plants with the most blooms give your camellias good organic soil that drains well, regular water, a fertilizer for acid loving plants, protect them from our afternoon sun and strong winds, and prune them at the right time, just after they finish blooming.  Simply beautiful.


By, Kathryn Courtney

It’s Amaryllis bulb time at Maas! I’m not one to push the holiday season but when the amaryllis bulbs come in I get that warm, comforting holiday feeling. Amaryllis bulbs are great for our gulf coast area. You can plant them in decorative pots for your tabletop or mantle. After your amaryllis bloom, they can go straight to the garden. No need to worry about freezing for most varieties and they are very carefree. For me, picking out only one or two varieties a year is the hardest part of the amaryllis experience. You can choose from solid red, white or pink. Pick double or single, or fat or thin petaled amaryllis types. Choose stripes, flowers with different colored throats or sparkling petals. The choices seem endless. Right now I’m preferring the sparkling ones but that may change tomorrow. Choose large bulbs for more flower stalks when the blooms appear.

Once you have chosen your bulbs decide whether you are going to plant them outdoors or in a pot for inside. If you decide on a pot, think about how many bulbs you want to plant. Amaryllis get big so the pot needs to be big enough for your number of bulbs. The pot doesn’t need to be deep but make sure it is wide enough to accommodate the blooms. You can pick any kind of decorative type planter. Make sure it has holes in the bottom or is deep enough to keep water from actually touching the bulb. Also, the planter needs to be heavy enough to hold the blooming amaryllis and big enough that the bulbs do not touch each other. I use some regular, well-draining potting soil and some green Microlife fertilizer in my amaryllis pots. Plant your bulb with the shoulders exposed. This means the top of your bulb is above the dirt. I love this part of planting amaryllis because you can instantly see when the first leaves emerge. Water sparingly until you see the leaves, then water more as the plant begins to grow. Once the flower stalks appear the plant grows very quickly. I always stake my amaryllis flower stalks as they can become very top heavy when the flowers bloom.  I use bamboo stakes and green gardeners tape but you can make the stakes more decorative if you like. Different types of amaryllis take different amounts of time to bloom. If you are trying to have blooms around the holiday’s research how long it takes the different varieties of bulbs to bloom. An average flowering time is seven to ten weeks although some types will bloom in six weeks. After the blooms die, cut the flowering stalk back to an inch and a half above the bulb. Leave the leaves on the plant to allow the bulb to build up nutrition for the next year.


 At this stage, my bulbs always go out to a designated spot in my garden. I love the way amaryllis look when planted in groups. I carefully remove the bulb from the pot, dirt and all, and plant it in the garden at the same height it was planted in the pot. Do not plant your amaryllis deep. This causes the bulb to rot. My amaryllis garden is also in a raised bed so the bulbs never sit in water. Good drainage is essential for the success of your bulbs. After this step, my bulbs are pretty much ignored until the leaves start to die back the next fall. Sometimes I cut the leaves back to about three inches above the bulb at this point but you don’t have to. It does keep the garden looking a little neater. Fertilize the bulbs and wait for the cycle to start over again.


Amaryllis have definitely become my favorite bulbs by far. They are extremely carefree and hardy, always give me a great bloom show and the leaves are pretty in the garden even when they are not in bloom. Mine have survived the Harvey flood with flying colors and I am eagerly awaiting my next blooms. Come see the new selection of fall bulbs including amaryllis bulbs at Maas this month. Bulbs are a great thing to add to your garden.

Planting for Fall

By: Jennifer Gregory
Summer may still be scorching us, but September is just around the corner and with it the optimal time to plant many of the seeds for fall and winter gardens. Prior to planting seeds make yourself a check list of products that will increase your propagation, yield and over all health of your crops.
* Mycorrhizal inoculants: Including Mycogro, or Microlife. These products contain an
beneficial fungi that colonize the roots of plants and increase their water and nutrient absorption capabilities.

* Fish Emulsion: An all natural and organic liquid fertilizer that is easily and readily absorbed when used as a foliar spray.

* Organic Pest/Affliction Control: These products can vary based on the issue and the crop, but a good general purpose such as Neem Oil will go far in treating most insect or fungal based ailments.

Onward to the seeds! September is a great month for starting your garden from seed. At the start of the month you’ll want to plant Cucumber, and winter Squash.

 October sees an explosion in the number of types of seeds we can plant in this region. Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, and Potatoes should be planted in the first half of the month. Chard, and Collards in the middle of the month.
This is also the start of the period to plant annuals for spring color! From October to December you can plant Alyssum, Asters, Bluebonnets*, Calendula, Dianthus, Flowering Cabbage and Kale, Pansies, Petunias, Phlox, Shasta Daises, Snapdragons, Stock and Violas.
*Sow Bluebonnets no later than November for spring flowers.
November brings root vegetables, Beets, Garlic, Carrots. Lettuce should also be sown during this month.

December wraps up winter planting with Mustard, Onion, Radish, Spinach and Turnips.

Growing from seed takes more patience, but in the end the pride one feels seeing something you started from a packet become a hardy and healthy plant is beyond compare.

-Happy Planting!-