Let’s Talk About June 2018

By: Pat Cordray

Okay, the heat has made itself known this month, along with its best friends Humidity and Mosquitoes. Walking outside the door in the morning can be quite a powerful slap in the face, Ouch! It feels like a large elephant is sitting on my chest trying to “assist” in my breathing. So, take it slow when gardening in the heat and please drink plenty of water. Protect yourself from the mosquitoes as best you can with clothing and bug sprays.  As daunting as all of this sounds, gardening can still be fun this month.

Denver Daisy Rudbeckia

June gardening includes watering, watching for bugs, planting, and fertilizing:

This is the month watering moves to the top of the list. It is the most important part of gardening. Too much or too little looks the same; dead. Don’t be afraid to use your fingers to check the soil around your plant for moisture. You can wash the soil off afterwards, it’s okay.  When you are new to gardening or you are trying a new plant, watch the plant to see how much water it uses in the area of your garden it is planted in.  The more sun, wind, and/or the higher the bed, the more water it may need.  but you will have to check. Use your finger and push down into the soil close to the plant. You might find that the top layer of soil is damp but an inch or two down is dry. Water slowly, think of a soft rain not a flash flood. You want the water to soak down to where the roots are, you don’t want the roots to come to the surface looking for water or the plant to die.

Sunfinity Sunflower

While you are out watering is a good time to keep an eye on your plants.  What are you looking for?  You are looking for damage on your plants and other signs of insects.  Ever see a white cottony insect on your hibiscus or other plants?  That is probably mealy bug.  An adult mealy bug is stationary, if you see one moving, that one is the mealy bug destroyer.  It is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  It looks like a mealy bug, but it moves around and eats them.  So, don’t kill that one.  Mealy bugs suck the juices from plants that causes the leaves to turn yellow and drop off.  They also produce a honeydew that then grows mold.  They are just all kinds of fun and they love, love, love hibiscus.  Usually, that is the only plant in my garden that gets mealy bugs, (I hate to say that out loud).  To control them, I try to use as little as possible of garden insecticides.  You can wipe mealy bugs off the stems of your plants, yuck.  But tat doesn’t take care of the ones that seem to have embedded themselves in every nook and cranny of the plant causing the leaves and flowers to be deformed, I cut these areas off and throw them in the trash.  If I do use a product, Neem oil or Triple Action help control mealy bugs.  Sometimes, I get rid of the plant and try something not so attractive to mealy bugs, just saying there are other ways to win the battle besides chemicals.

Pazzaz Purslane

Scales are another common garden bug. This bug is stationary as an adult.  Scales cling to the plant even after death. Scales can be on many plants and there are different types of scales, some are soft and some are armored.  The best time to spray is when the crawlers are active (early spring), this is the easiest stage of the scales life to control.  At this stage Neem oil or Triple Action will work.

Another bug I want to talk about is the mosquito. It isn’t a problem for plants, but this bug is a problem for gardeners. To control mosquitoes, get rid of any standing water around your home. Check saucers, trash can lids, gutters, standing water in the lawn, garden art, birdbaths, fountains and ponds; try not to breed them. There are safe products for use in birdbaths, fountains and ponds to keep mosquitoes under control around your home. We carry Mosquito Beater WSP , Mosquito Bits and Mosquito Dunks to help control mosquitoes.

If you haven’t changed out your spring color yet, there is still time to add some summer color. For sun, vinca (there are a couple of new varieties of vinca, check out the pictures), blue daze, salvias, scaevola, white wing, turnera pentas, cone flower, angelonia, gomphrena, rudbeckia, gazania, sunflowers and purslane work wonders in garden or container. Just give these sun lovers well-draining soil, water and fertilizer and you will get tons of blooms with just a little care.
Soiree Kawaii Vinca
Tattoo Vinca
Soiree Double Vinca
 For shade, you can pick torenia, Persian shield, mona lavender, cat whiskers, coleus, shrimp plant, caladiums, begonias, impatiens and ajuga. Any of these plants will add color and beauty to your shadier garden or containers. Again, use well-draining soil, water and fertilizer to keep these beauties healthy.
Cat Whiskers
Yellow Shrimp Plant
Golden Glow Ajuga
Fertilizing your plants is an important step to keeping your plants full of blooms and growing healthy. Don’t skip it. Microlife will feed the soil your plants grow in. The regular 6-2-4 bag is good for garden, lawn, shrubs and trees. It is easy to use, and there is no need to worry about getting it on yourself or your pets.

 

Enjoy your garden,
Pat

A Patient and Joyful Heart.

 

By: Deb Pavlosky

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OR

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Talk About April, 2017

By: Pat Cordray

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

Coleus
Yalaha coleus

Gardening to be done in April:

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

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

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

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

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

Super Elfin Impatiens
Super Elfin Impatiens

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

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

Gomphrena QIS
QIS Gomphrena

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

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

 Sanseveria

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

Enjoy,

Pat

Growing Blueberries in the Houston Area

By: Deb Pavlosky

So, to answer your question, yes, you can grow blueberries in Houston and surrounding areas. They are relatively easy to grow and maintain with just a few simple requirements. First of all, blueberries need acidic soil (pH in the range of 4.2 to 5.5). The soil in our area is most often alkaline and can test as high as 8.0 on the pH scale.

So, how do you overcome this seemingly large obstacle? There’s an easy solution, plant your blueberries in containers. A nice 20-30 gallon size container works very well for both rabbiteye and southern highbush varieties of blueberries that grow best in our area. For reference, I have included some pictures of the ½ whiskey barrels I used, but any type of container will work. You can plant in the ground, but you will have to amend the soil with ground rock sulfur and peat moss and let it rest for a period of months before you can plant. Or, you can plant in a container today. Decision made, huh?

Ok, so once you have your containers (read on to find out why you are going to want to plant more than one blueberry variety) you need to locate them where they will get 8-10 hours of full sun daily. Less sun is ok, but you might not get as much fruit production if they get less sunlight.

Now, what kind of soil should you plant your blueberries in? Well, instead of using the word soil, I am going to call it a planting mix. A lot of folks online recommend using no soil at all (just a mixture of peat moss and mulch). So, if you are going to mix your own medium, you can (there are lots of recipes online). You just need to make sure the mix drains well and is acidic. Again, when it comes to choosing to plant today or having to wait to get the right mix, I am going to choose today. So, I prefer to use the Maas Nursery blueberry mix that is blended with compost, composted mulch, topsoil, washed sand, microlife, greensand, and sulfur. This mix is ready to go for your blueberry bushes. Just fill your container and plant your blueberry bushes at the same level they were planted in the pot you bought them in. Don’t add any synthetic fertilizers to newly planted blueberry shrubs, their roots are fibrous, shallow and sensitive. Microlife that is already in the Maas planting mix is fine. You shouldn’t need to fertilize until the plants are acclimated to their environment. Even then, go organic and use Microlife.

Once you have your containers filled with soil and in the right sunny location, it’s time to pick your blueberries for planting. It is always best to plant three or more different varieties of blueberries together (6′ apart). Some blueberries are touted as being self-fruitful, but nearly all will be more productive if they are able to cross-pollinate with other blueberry varieties.

The following is a list of Rabbiteye* blueberry varieties that we carry at Maas Nursery:

Variety Chill Hours** Harvest Time***
Becky Blue
300-400 hours May
Bountiful Blue
150-200 hours June to July
Brightwell 350-400 hours early June to early July
Jubilee 500 hours June
Climax 400-450 hours Late May to early June
Powder Blue
550-600 hours Late June to late July
Premier 550 hours Late May to early  June

 

* Rabbiteye varieties are named that because the berries turn pink before they turn blue (like a rabbits eye). These bushes can grow quite large, up to 10′ wide and 15′ tall when mature (7-8 years) if not pruned.

**Chill Hours are the number of hours required between 32-45 F

***Harvest Time varies by location and weather

The following is a list of Southern Highbush* blueberry varieties that we carry at Maas Nursery:

Variety Chill Hours** Harvest Time***
Abundance 300 hours June to July
Emerald 200-300 hours mid May
Gulf Coast 200-300 hours mid May
Jubilee 500 hours June
Misty 200 hours Late May to June
O’Neal 400-500 hours Late May to June
Sunshine 150 hours Late June to July

*Though called southern highbush, these varieties only reach 6′ tall at most when mature (some even shorter).

**Chill Hours are the number of hours required between 32-45 F

***Harvest Time varies by location and weather

There is a lot of information online about the pros and cons of so many different varieties of blueberries (flavor, size, when they ripen, etc), it is best that you do your own research to determine which ones will be best for your own situation. Any of the above will grow well and produce tasty blueberries in our area.

You can intermix varieties of blueberries between rabbiteye and southern highbush for your containers. If you don’t need a “bushel and a peck” of berries, it will be hard to limit your choices to just three varieties to grow. But, that’s the fun part, right?

Anyway, as with all new plantings – water regularly, but don’t allow standing water (the medium they are planted in must drain well). A good layer of mulch (you can use pine straw too if you would like) will definitely benefit these shrubs. After your plants are established you can further care for them by fertilizing with a good organic fertilizer, like Microlife, suggested times are late winter to early bud break and again after harvest, but you can’t go wrong with Microlife. Also, once your bushes are a few years old, rejuvenate them by pruning the oldest canes as they become unproductive.

Really, that’s it to grow good blueberries. It’s pretty easy. There are a few pest/disease issues that can pop up, but these varieties are pretty resistant. With good care (acid soil, regular watering, good drainage, 8-10 hours full sun, mulching, organic fertilizer and rejuvenation pruning once established,) you will be producing more blueberries than you can eat. Enjoy!

Dealing with Pests on Azaleas and Camellias

by Kathryn Courtney

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Let’s Talk About March 2018

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

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

Texas Mountain Laurel

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

 

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

Tomato
Tomato

 

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

 

Enjoy your garden,
Pat

All About Roses

 by Kathryn Courtney

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

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

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

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

Great Low Maintenance Flowering Shrubs

 by Kim Nichols Messer

          My favorite shrubs are both low maintenance and multipurpose.  They attract and provide nectar for bees and butterflies.  They add color and texture to my yard.  Some have a dreamy fragrance and some leave flowers in my puppy’s hair.  Most of these flowering shrubs also attract hummingbirds when they are passing through.  The flowers provide nectar for the birds.  Your yard can be a pit-stop on their journey.

          Turk’s Cap comes in both red and pink varieties.  I have the red version.  It

Turk’s Cap

prefers full sun, but will do quite well in partial sun.  It may grow to 5 feet tall and wide depending on the conditions in your yard.  It is easily trimmed to a manageable size for most any yard.  It blooms profusely from early spring well into fall.

          Jatropha also has pink and red varieties.  This shrub can grow to 5 feet tall but will stay more compact and grow more upward than outward.  It will also bloom from early spring into the fall.  Again, this shrub prefers full sun.

          My Mock Orange is a transplant from my mother’s yard.  This woody shrub will have a brilliant show of flowers in May.  It will be completely covered with white orange blossom flowers.  It is also very fragrant.  It may be trimmed to maintain a certain size, or if in a corner of your yard, it can grow to a large 6 feet tall and wide anchor shrub.  Full sun is preferred, but it will still bloom with a little bit less than full sun.

         My Blue Plumbago is a small, hardy, profusely blooming shrub.  It will grow to 4 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide.  This sun-loving shrub can easily be trimmed to maintain a certain size.

         All of these shrubs are heat and drought tolerant once established.  Of course, they do need occasional watering.   Shrubs can handle a lot of foot traffic and lots of dog interaction.  I still get the beauty of a flower bed, but in a more upright position.  I like to think of it as a dog safe upright garden.  She still has the run of the yard, and my flowers are safe above ground.

Everyone is happy… Good gardening!

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.

Thoughts From The Garden March 2018

March, still my favorite month…….

Everything is coming back to life.  New leaves, new flowers, great weather.

This is the month when we are the busiest. We spend hours a day ordering plants, and of course, more hours selling them.

My guess is that again this year there may be some varieties of plants in short supply because of the cold winter.  So, to be sure we do not run out of plants we are buying more than we often do, and buying early.

We are buying 100’s and 100’s of hanging baskets, all kinds.

Trucks and trucks of plants., cactus from California, tropicals from Florida, lots of shrubs and trees from around Texas.

Some days 10-15 deliveries come in.

By 4:00 or so we all flinch when a school bus drives by, it sounds like another truckload of plants.

Actually, everyone is excited when the trucks come. We get new stuff to sell and play with. And the hard work is fun when shared with our co-workers (friends).

This year we will be able to have some cool new displays in the remodeled greenhouse.

This is always the month of 12 and 14 hour days. Good thing we love it.

What is not to love? We get to play with plants all day, spend time with other people who love plants. I get to meet new people every day. I get to practice my art by drawing landscape designs that make homes prettier.

Life is good.

See you in the garden.

Jim