Home and Garden

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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White Dogwood

What’s the big deal? All this talk about planting a tree to save the world does get our attention, but is it really that important? Well, Thomas Fuller is quoted as saying, “He that plants trees loves others besides himself.”

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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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The Foundation for the Betterment of Seniors is partnering with Meals on Wheels providers, local retailers and other agencies to make this Christmas special for 3,000 local seniors through the 2016 “Be a Santa to a Senior” Campaign.

Home Instead Senior Care kicked off the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program in 2003. Since then, with the help of 60,000 volunteers, more than 1.2 million gifts have been distributed through the program to 700,000 seniors across the United States.

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It’s fascinating to me that we are eating a plant cultivar that was popular even before the Middle Ages! Kale is the new buzzwords at trendy restaurants.

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A bouquet made of 100 roses, with one for each year of Connie Dickinson’s life

Connie Dickinson, volunteer extraordinaire, had a big day Tuesday, Oct. 18. She reached her 100th birthday and celebrated for several days with friends and coworkers.

Monday, the day before her special day, Vickie Holcombe, director of Volunteer Services at Baptist Beaumont Hospitals, staff, volunteers, patients and guests joined together to honor Connie on one of her regular volunteer days at the hospital.

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Onna

What’s up, world! My name is Onna, and I really love people. Every time I see them my little nub tail starts wiggling really fast! I love it when they give me a good head scratch, or even better, a belly rub! I get along well with other dogs and I love to cuddle with my kennel mates. I walk well on a leash, but I like to be the leader. I would love a spacious backyard to expel my energy.

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