Home and Garden

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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I find home remedies fascinating. They usually work so well that the ideas have been passed down from great-grandparents. They don’t cost much, if anything, and they are just downright interesting. We want our gardens to thrive, not just limp along. Farmers did well with no purchased pesticides for hundreds of years, so maybe we can too?

Spray to deter bugs 

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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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