Joette Reger's archive

Swiss chard

Quiz question of the day: What is one vegetable that you would grow in the garden to eat and use as a low, decorative hedge in the front yard? One of the best answers would be Swiss chard. It is just beautiful! Just look at those brightly colored stems and thick, crinkled leaves. This photo was taken in front of a restaurant in Houston. Chard’s colorful stems and bright green leaves make it the single most glamorous garden green. It is super nutritious, too.

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Our occasional freeze makes it pretty tricky to grow citrus on a grand scale here in Southeast Texas, but large scale operations did exist at one time in Beaumont, Orange, Beeville and Falfurrias.

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Each and every year, I pass by a yard on the way home from the grocery store and pause my car to have a long look at their redbud tree with its gorgeous, flaming pink color. And each and every year, I think I’m going to plant one of those in my own little slice of the universe. Well, 2017 is the year!

Like fruit trees, it is best to plant redbuds in the late winter. Redbuds are very hardy, but our super hot summers are hard on any baby trees. Go ahead and get your blooming beauty into in ground in late February or March.

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Yes, my front porch is dressed with a few poinsettias, and I have holly in respectable places around the house, but my true passion is Christmas cactus. Let me clarify, the enjoyment comes in getting this seasonal cactus to survive 11 months of the year and then bloom right about now. A beautiful Cuban friend of mine has a pink Christmas cactus that has been blooming annually for 15 or more years. It was her mom’s, so she is proud to see it flower every Christmas season.

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Rarely do I see a plant that blooms so long and is so totally easy to care for. My new best friend is officially called “leonotis leonurus.” Even for those who don’t know Latin, like me, you can see some version of the word “lion” in that name. “Lion’s paw” is the most common name for this herbaceous perennial.

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