Gardening

My favorite tomato is a big, juicy, red, fresh-off-the-vine homegrown one. Next I’d have to say “yummy” to those sweet little cherry tomatoes, and who doesn’t’ love a delicious fried green tomato? The truth is, I’ve never met a homegrown tomato that I didn’t like.

My first (and probably only) romantic story involving a tomato was when my mother would reminisce about her honeymoon at Niagara Falls where they spread out a quilt and enjoyed tomato sandwiches while taking in the view.

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We look through the magazines and look lovingly at the pages of blooming spring daffodils and tulips. What a picture perfect scene they make! So many area gardeners ask if we can grow them here. Well, yes, and then probably no.

It takes a lot of work to grow temperate-climate bulbs in an area with generally warm weather. But it can be done!

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Are you ready for this spring beauty? Just look at the colorful blooms. One of the times that I feel the luckiest to be in Southeast Texas is right now when the azalea bushes start to bloom.

Not just anyone can grow azaleas. Those poor folks over in Midland or San Antonio or anywhere much west of here aren’t as lucky as we are. Azaleas love our acidic soil.

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As you drive around town right about now, have you seen the small trees that dot the community with huge blooms of pinks and whites? It is the camellia. And we are lucky to live in a part of the world where we can grow them easily.

This is the perfect time to find a lovely blooming camellia bush or small tree and bring it home with you. The local nurseries have them right now and you can pick your favorite color. You can decide the precise color, shape and size of the flowers.

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Is spring here? Has is sprung yet? It sure seems like it has. This is the very best time of year to clear away those dead winter leaves and make room for fresh, vibrant flowers and plants. It’s time to bring our yards back to life.

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After our month or so of daydreaming and looking at photos about a few fabulous international gardens, it’s about time to get to our own gardens. The winds are still blowing and it’s still a little cold outside, but have you ever thought of starting some plants from seed now? They can be ready to transplant into your yard in a few weeks. And besides, its fun to flip through the seed catalogs.

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Master Gardener Donna Thompson, green house specialist, seeded and transplanted

If winter left your plants in a frozen mess, take heart! The Jefferson County Master Gardener Spring Plant Sale and Market Day is around the corner. Everything you need to get your garden glorious again will be offered. Our Master Gardeners have been celebrating spring with this very popular plant sale for as far back as 2007, according to Peggy Coleman of Texas Agri-Life. She adds that the event may even date back further than that.

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Tony Pereira, research assistant professor in civil engineering at Lamar University, is presenting a free workshop on how to start an organic garden Saturday, Oct. 20, from 1-3 p.m. at Basic Foods in Beaumont.

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