garden gate

It’s that time again! Yep, time to get out there in the yard and begin the spring cleanup. Our winters aren’t so long or so cold, but they can be really messy. Chances are your yard and garden are full of half-alive or half-dead plants, wind strewn debris and maybe even some old damp sheets or things used to cover your most sensitive plants during a couple of chilly nights.

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Jackie Steen, Master Gardener president

Did your mama always say, “Can’t get something for nothing”? Well maybe you can after all. For the second year, the Campbell Forestry group has partnered with the Jefferson County Master Gardener group to supply tree seedlings to our county. There is no cost to anyone. Yep, the seedlings are free.

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Not every garden needs to be full of blooming flowers to be a showstopper space. Sometimes we get locked into the idea that we need green leaves and flowers to create beauty in the yard. How can you add more interest to your yard? How about adding variegated foliage plants instead of high maintenance flowers?

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We all love ’em. Sweet Texas oranges are those little juicy bites of sunshine that we can buy year round at local grocery stores. Lots of our oranges come from Florida and California (thick skins, pretty, not as juicy) and South Texas and Mexico (not as pretty, super sweet, super juicy). With a little care you can grow your own oranges on your own beautiful orange tree right here in Southeast Texas.

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We all love ’em. Sweet Texas oranges are those little juicy bites of sunshine that we can buy year round at local grocery stores. Lots of our oranges come from Florida and California (thick skins, pretty, not as juicy) and South Texas and Mexico (not as pretty, super sweet, super juicy). With a little care you can grow your own oranges on your own beautiful orange tree right here in Southeast Texas.

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January is sometimes a bad month for gardening in the yard, so we may turn our attention to perusing seed catalogs, cleaning tools and generally organizing our sheds and garages. Lots of us have huge stacks of those containers of all sizes that we use to bring our plants home. There are quite a few uses for them other than just replanting plants into them.

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Just think of them as that tough, rugged individual that lots of ladies look for in their 20s. The sedums are independent succulents that will make you happy in good soil, bad soil, little water — “in sickness and in health.” They bloom for months and don’t require much day-to-day care. There’s a sedum for most any sunny spot you have to fill.

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Most gardeners know that lots on insects in the garden are what keep things “in the pink.” Of all the insects in the garden, the ladybug is one of the most recognizable and helpful. They are a friend – no, a best friend – of the gardener. They just love to make a meal of those dreaded aphids. Not only that, they look so darned cute.

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Yes, we can have trees with color in our yards. Folks might not make an annual pilgrimage here to see our leaves change color as they do where climates are colder, but if you make the right choices with trees, you can watch your own leaves become orange, purple, red and yellow.

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Roadside vendors occasionally have signs advertising their sale of mayhaw jelly. There are even Mayhaw festivals in Hull-Daisetta, Texas (May 2-4 2013); El Dorado, Ark.; Marion, La.; Starks, La.; and Colquitt, Ga. What’s all the fuss about?

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