garden gate

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. 

shadow

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?

shadow

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.

shadow

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 

shadow
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.

shadow

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.

shadow

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.

shadow

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.

shadow
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.

shadow

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.

shadow