October 2018: Bonsai and Dead plants

   Well it’s October.I tend to write about what ever is on my mind at the moment I start writing. Today it is bonsai trees and dead plants. Bonsai plants are a favorite of mine.The patience and skill to spend years developing a well shaped bonsai, pretty cool. Some of the bonsai plants we get can be decades in the making.So when someone buys one and it dies it is sad on several levels.Bonsai have by design very shallow roots so they dry out quickly.They can be made from almost any tree or shrub, some are good house plants and some are for outside.


I remember years ago we had a man buy a nice, not too expensive bonsai juniper to put on his kitchen table. I told him several times that junipers need to be outside.He put it inside anyway. Well, it died. it took a few months, but it died., He was mad when I did not replace it for him.  Oh, and it died a month or so before he came in to tell me it was suffering.  If he had come in sooner, as in before it died, we would have had a chance to get him to move it outside as we told him when he bought it. We had another man who bought a bonsai, he lived on the bay. We told him to water every day. He was convinced that any plant on the bay side of his house did not have to be watered. It would magically absorb enough moisture from the dew and moist breezes. Not true .He called a few days after he bought his bonsai to see why it was wilting so badly.well-shapedWe talked about watering every day by hand, not by moist breezes. He called in time and his bonsai recovered.


The point being, if you buy a plant and it starts looking bad call before it dies!!!If you do not call and it dies, it is not my fault that you did not try to get help.
Most plants need daily watering  through the first 2 summers.It is not fair to us if you loose a plant because you do not take care of it and then want another one for free.We are not a giant rich company.Maas Nursery is run by a small group of gardeners, plant lovers , family and friends.


Our replacement policy, try to keep it fair. If you lose a plant and I have lost some too, then we replace the plant for free. If you lose one and we never lost one before, maybe it’s not a bad plant.Our warranty is based on the health and quality of the plant.loseIt is not a guarantee that it will not die at your house.We make sure we do our part, you have to do yours.


In general we are much more generous if we get a chance to fix the problem before the plant is dead. We can almost always solve the problem and save the plant if you call in time.If it needs more water, less sun, spraying for an insect, CALL us.We can walk you through what to do.But if you loose a plant our policy is to give a 50% discount on the replacement.


The idea there is that then we both have some skin in the game.Across the board free replacements tend to make a person less motivated to care for the plants they just bought,”Oh well. I’m busy this week, no time to water.  But Hey, if the plants die they will just give me new ones.”I actually had a friend from out of state say that one time.That doesn’t seem fair does it.


So, I drifted away from bonsai trees for a few paragraphs.Bonsai is the art of miniaturization of a tree with trimming, bending, root reduction, etc to make it look like a small version of a full sized tree found in nature.
The reason bonsai plants are on my mind today is that I have been working on expanding our bonsai area the last month or so.More space, new plants, more pots, pedestals and stands.We are going to just about double what we have.Many of the new plants are already here with more to come.


There are varieties that work well inside as well as some that are best outside.We have old ones and young ones.There are also some that might survive a missed watering or two, just don’t go days.


Paul, Jim, and Daniel are the most bonsai knowledgeable for technical and trimming questions, but anyone can help with general information.Also the Houston Bonsai Society has free quarterly outreach and teaching here at the nursery. Check when you are here or each month in this newsletter to see Clyde’s schedule.
Once or twice a year we will be having a class on growing bonsai plants. The class is taught by Jim, and or Paul and I think Clyde will usually be here too, and sometimes Daniel.


The class usually is hands on and you make a bonsai to take home as part of the class fee. It is a great class. We have limited supplies for the bonsai class, so sign up as soon as you decide you want to come and get registered on line. As I remember, the last class filled up pretty fast

All About Roses

 by Kathryn Courtney

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

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

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

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

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

Iceberg Rose

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

Mister Lincoln – Velvety, deep red blooms, Strong Damask rose scent

Mister Lincoln Rose

   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:

Annuals:

Sweet Alyssum

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.

Perennials/Shrubs:

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.

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 through 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 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 orang-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 though summer. It will grow 12′ tall and 10′ wide or larger with age. This shrub requires part to full sun. This shrub is deciduous.

Vines:

Arabian Jasmine (can be considered a shrub 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.

Passion vine – 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.

Trees:

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 here 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.

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.

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!
 

Yuletide
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.
 

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

Chansonette
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
Kanjiro
Jean May
Shishi Gashira