Home and Garden

Yes, it is time to get those plants into the ground! If you’ve never had a pollinator-friendly plant area, maybe this is the year. 

Why pollinators? Pollination begins with flowers. Flowers have male parts that produce very small grains called pollen. Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from one flower to another; it leads to the production of more plants and seeds that will create more plants. 

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The creeping phlox (phlox subulata) is such a beautiful flowering groundcover. She is a true gem in our spring garden. Those yummy blooms are sweetly fragrant, as well. Deer don’t usually go for this creeper, and it’s drought tolerant if you forget to water some weeks.

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Yes, it is that wonderful time of the year again when those green leaves in the trees surprise us with how much they grow every day, and birds just everywhere with their antics. And we are getting very busy in the yard. It can even be overwhelming. Hopefully, you have clipped dead branches and prepared a little section of your yard for growing some new little seedlings, even if it is some pots with brand new potting soil.

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Calla lily

Just the name, “calla lily” sounds beautiful.  And its blooms are some of the most striking of all flowers.  The calla is neither a “Calla” nor a “lily” but accidently incorrectly named by the famous Carl Linnaeus, and the name stuck. Some smaller florists’ varieties of this bulb are better as houseplants but we can grow the larger varieties outside.  This perennial bulb must be dug up and stored in cold zones but here they are hardy enough to last through our winters and surprise us year after year.   

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Baby zinnia grown from seed

I just can’t think of any gardening that is more fun than growing from seed. That is, of course, when the outcome is what you expect. There are some simple ways to make seed growing a good experience. When you can master “the seed,” you can start your garden earlier in the season, have plants that are unique and make sure that everything is grown organically. 

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I can’t resist the temptation to buy those beautiful “about to flower” bulbs in the nurseries and big box stores this time of year. Can you? They tease us with such a variety of colors and flowers and fragrances that it is almost impossible to say no.

Most all of these bulbs have been “forced” to bloom, and are called “winter forced.” Some of them bloom indoors for us and nowhere else. But lately I’ve had some luck with transplanting those bulbs to an outdoor spot. What do you have to lose?

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The Jefferson County Master Gardeners gave away hundreds of saplings Feb. 17. The one year old seedlings, including bald cypress and a variety of oak species, were provided by Campbell Global Foresting.

Campbell, based out of Portland, Oregon, has over 1 million acres in Texas and Louisiana and grows 50,000 trees spread out over an acre and a half in Jasper every year, according to forester Jeff Earl, who works for the company.

“And they donate all of them,” Earl said. “We spread it out to the communities in our area.”

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Well, I hope you’re well rested because February should be a busy time for gardeners. This is a time when we here in the South can plant a lot of our veggies. We also use this month to fertilize cool-season grasses and treat our lawns. We begin planning what new items we may try in our gardens and yards this year. And we can use this time to prune and clip and strengthen growth patterns of existing plants. Have a limb heading off in the wrong direction? Now may be the time to clip it.

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Keeping your garden looking its best throughout the growing season and into fall is possible with the help of low maintenance bulbs planted in the spring. Plant them among other annuals or perennials and watch as these bulbs brighten the garden, adding new life to your late season gardens.

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Jim LaBove and his wife, Dodie, are out under the pavi

Feb. 18 marks the beginning of the Beaumont Farmers’ Market’s eighth year. The market, located at the Beaumont Athletic Complex off College Street, will be officially open Saturday, Feb. 18, from 8-11 a.m.

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