garden gate

Photo by Stephanie Reger

Bees are said to be responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. The Aggie horticulture website states, “Forget about honey, pollen and royal jelly. Just think of a world without beans, tomatoes, onions and carrots, not to mention the hundreds of other vegetables, oilseeds and fruits that are dependent upon bees for pollination. And the livestock that are dependent upon bee-pollinated forage plants, such as clover.”

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tomatoes

Want fall tomatoes? The time is now if you want to try your hand at growing fall tomatoes. Never tried it? Well, just about now, when your spring tomatoes are a big mess in the garden and overwrought with heat and not producing, is just about time to put in the delicious fall tomatoes. This should give us just about enough time to have some yummy tomatoes before the first freeze. (Yes, it will get cold again.)

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How lucky are we! In our neck of the woods, we can plant virtually everything that our spring garden had and enjoy these veggies in the fall season. Isn’t it great to just go out into the backyard and pull a tomato or squash? And of course, the flavors are just incomparable!

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Agastache or hummingbird mint

The other morning I was just amazed as I watched two hummingbirds flutter from bloom to bloom and back. They were so colorful and so quick! The Hummingbird Society touts their “unmatched flight abilities, including hovering and flying backwards.” They look tiny and delicate and weigh only about 1/10 of an ounce, yet they are hardy and resilient. Some species migrate 3,000 miles.

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When most of the other flowering plants in your yard are gasping for air, the bougainvillea is just hitting its stride. They start smiling and blooming like crazy when there isn’t much water, when the sun is too hot and when you can barely walk barefoot on your concrete sidewalk.

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Firecracker plant from Mexico

You know you are popular when you get a nickname or two. Well, the firecracker plant has lots of nicknames. What does that tell you?

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Crepe myrtle

Whether you spell it crape myrtle or crepe myrtle, you can’t help but love this long lasting bloomer. These small flowering trees or large bushes can be seen in commercial plantings and in lots of creative lawns around town. Why do we love them so much? For one thing, they bloom around 120 days throughout the spring, summer and fall. Use them as screens, lawn specimens, shrub borders and container plants. We call them “The Kings of Color.”

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There’s nothing so cheerful as the daisy-like blooms of rudbeckia. You can find them in a wide range of sizes and colors that include annuals, perennials and biennials. They will make you feel even more cheerful when you learn how easy care they are.

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Hostas are a secret weapon for those of us with shady gardens. They come in crazy combination of shapes, textures and colors. You can look for them with a wide variety of leaf shapes, too – heart-shaped, oval, lance-shaped, round – and shiny, dull, smooth or textured. The colors vary from blue to bright green to yellow to red to whites.

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Not many plants, trees or flowers can boast that they bloom continuously for months on end. But the vitex can! It is a sure-fire winner for your yard. This purple bloomer is an excellent choice for our smaller, modern suburban landscapes.

You may know this small tree or bush by other names. Some folks call this specimen tree a “chaste tree.” I’ve also heard it called Hemp tree, sage tree, Indian Spice tree and monk’s pepper. It is native to China and India but became a “resident” of America hundreds of years ago.

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