Gardening

Volunteers broke ground in October on the South Park Community Garden, an initiative by Lamar University and the Greater South Park Neighborhoods Partnership to provide access to gardening space, training and nutritious food for local residents and students.

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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.

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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.

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Some plants are just plain pretty. The Persian shield (Strobilanthes) got its name from that sheen on the leaf that gives it a sort of metallic look. The leaves are so iridescent that it truly is as showy as a blooming flower. Gardeners in the North and South and all in between love this delightful tropical shrub. It has amazing purple foliage. It will also produce pale purple flowers. Put it in garden beds, borders or containers. Just think of this striking plant next to some purple Bordeaux “Supertunias.”

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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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As you drive around Beaumont and Houston, look for the use of the striking celosia plant. It is a favorite of landscape architects because of its bombshell colors and ease of care. They often use it like a carpet in mass plantings across great swaths of median strips and entries into shopping areas. You can take advantage of celosia’s good looks in your own yard.

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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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We won’t be planting radishes for a few months, but we can sure eat them right now. Radishes are one of the things, like beets, that I saw my parents eating but swore I would never try. Do our taste buds change? Do we expand our eating horizons? Not sure, but I love them now.

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Photo by Stephanie Reger

Every few years, I torture myself and attempt to grow one of the most beautiful flowers in the world. My object of sure disappointment is the peony. But aren’t they just gorgeous!

According to our friends at Wikipedia, the peony is a flowering plant of the genus Paeonia. They are native to Asia, Europe and Western North America. Peony experts can attest to around 40 or so species of this most lovely flower. They are among the most popular garden plants in some regions, but alas, not easy to grow here.

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Photo by Sharon Brooks

The Beaumont Public Schools Foundation (BPSF) distributed more than $11,000 in grants to Beaumont Independent School District students and staff during the 2016 Spring Grant Caravan on Friday, May 13. BPSF board members and friends visited eight BISD campuses and surprised several staff and students by presenting them with items requested for innovative classroom projects to enhance the learning experience at the schools.

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