Home and Garden

Audrey Fulton of Port Acres is overall Best of Show winner with her OPO squash.

Top gardeners from the Golden Triangle had a chance to show off their produce recently at Central Mall, and the overall winner was a young girl, Audrey Fulton of Port Acres. I checked with master gardeners and the Texas Agri-Life staff, and they don’t remember a youth ever winning Best of Show. Congratulations, Audrey!

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sweet alyssum

You want to roll out the welcome mat to your home? Groundcover plants are one of the best options when you want to create that welcoming feel as guests walk up to your front door. That contiguous low lying mass of groundcover is so important in the “outdoor room” of the front yard.

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When you and I were popping firecrackers on July 4, the pumpkin growers of Texas were planting pumpkin seeds. These harbingers of fall take 100 days to mature, so you have to think ahead — way ahead — to have them for Halloween celebrations. Pumpkins are members of the gourd family, which incudes cucumbers, melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini. What do members of the gourd family have in common? They need plenty of space.

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Have you been wanting to add a tree to your outdoor space? Fall is an excellent time for you to plant the tree of your dreams. Our tree canopy is still recovering from hurricanes a few years ago so every tree counts. If you are having trouble deciding which tree to plant, the excellent Website texastreeplanting.tamu.edu can help. The site gives you a simple click method to learn details on any of these trees and other tree options.

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Some plants are just plain pretty. The Persian shield (Strobilanthes) got its name from that sheen on the leaf that gives it a sort of metallic look. The leaves are so iridescent that it truly is as showy as a blooming flower. Gardeners in the North and South and all in between love this delightful tropical shrub. It has amazing purple foliage. It will also produce pale purple flowers. Put it in garden beds, borders or containers. Just think of this striking plant next to some purple Bordeaux “Supertunias.”

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“Just for you, we are having two.” That’s the slogan for the 2016 Master Gardener’s Fall Plant Sales. Last spring, this energetic group tried two separate sales events and based on the success of that project, they have decided to do the same this fall.

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Zara

Hi, I’m Zara. I am a full-grown dog and I weigh 50 pounds. The staff at BAS say that I’m their favorite! I’m quiet, gentle and very sweet. I don’t mind sharing my new owner’s attention with another doggie friend. And there is no such thing as petting me too much, I promise! I would be a great couch warmer; I’ll bet I can keep your favorite spot nice and cozy for you.

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Photo by Stephanie Reger

Bees are said to be responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. The Aggie horticulture website states, “Forget about honey, pollen and royal jelly. Just think of a world without beans, tomatoes, onions and carrots, not to mention the hundreds of other vegetables, oilseeds and fruits that are dependent upon bees for pollination. And the livestock that are dependent upon bee-pollinated forage plants, such as clover.”

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tomatoes

Want fall tomatoes? The time is now if you want to try your hand at growing fall tomatoes. Never tried it? Well, just about now, when your spring tomatoes are a big mess in the garden and overwrought with heat and not producing, is just about time to put in the delicious fall tomatoes. This should give us just about enough time to have some yummy tomatoes before the first freeze. (Yes, it will get cold again.)

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It’s kitten season, with tiny, fuzzy, colorful, adorable kitties available at Beaumont Animal Services for free! Starting Sept. 1 and running all month long, BAS is waving the adoption fee for any kittens under 4 months. Adult cats will have half price adoption fees! All cats at Beaumont Animal Services have been vaccinated and wormed. 

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