Gardening

Joette Reger of Garden Gate

It is such a thrill each year to see the little buds come out on my Christmas cactus plants. Seems like they tease me for about three weeks before the buds turn into gorgeous blooms. What a seasonal decoration! Between blooming seasons, I keep them along with “expired” orchids on the tile floor under a piano. That way, it is hard to forget to give them watering every week or so until they surprise me with blooms again.

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Joette Reger of Garden Gate

My patio is full of pots along the sides just choked full of different herbs. Hey, they are so easy to grow. And it is such a supreme treat, a real richness in life, to be able to walk out the door and clip an ingredient for a meal … truly better than a million bucks. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration.

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Yellow Roses of Texas

So, I know you are planning on going to the Rose Society Show in November, but what can we learn about roses before then? Where can we buy a good rose? What roses are good for Southeast Texas? Are they hard to take care of? These are the most common rose questions that I see asked. These rosarians can help with the answers, but let’s get started with a little information about roses today.

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I’ve put the dates of Nov. 3-5 on my calendar and maybe you should too. The Golden Triangle Rose Society (GTRS) of the American Rose Society is hosting the 2017 Convention and Rose Show right here in Beaumont. Rose loving folks from all over Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana will be at the welcome reception that kicks off the convention at Tyrrell Park Garden Center Building on Friday, Nov. 3, 6 p.m.

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We commonly say, “I love the morning glories on the back fence,” but did you know there are over 1,000 species of flowering plants in the world that are called “morning glory”? They are loosely held together in the family called Convolvulaceae and are revered for their beautiful blooms each morning.

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This time of the year, it’s fun to see just what plants are still thriving. My lion’s tail is one of the happiest looking plants around. Not only has it been blooming for months, but also I saw two hummingbirds taking turns on its flowers.

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It was a perfect day in southeast Texas. Beautiful Becki Stedman, “chief” of the weekly farmer’s market on College Street, was in place, smiling and greeting folks coming in for herbs, tomatoes, bread and more. Happily, I learned that the farmer’s market goes on for months more. I scored some veggies and squash blossoms then headed off 10 miles west to China, Texas, to pick up my new puppy and see what’s new in this town of 1,160.

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Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Peter and the rest of us have made peppers the second most popular veggie in the world, second only to the venerable tomato. There is just such a world of colors, shapes and flavors among peppers. Some of us like the sweet while some like the spicy while others like to grow those they can pickle. Grow your own and you can choose just what you want.

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Years ago I started buying plants for the yard, and if I saw it and it was pretty, I bought it. The result was areas full of bits and pieces and mostly flowering little plants that were pretty labor intensive. Then I went to a gardening lecture at our Beaumont Botanical Center where the speaker spoke about a plan for the yard. Crazy talk. He suggested a list of attributes that you would want in any plant in your yard. He also talked about the possibility of using no flowers at all in your landscape!

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This beauty is a perfect addition to your yard. The shrimp plant has a rather sophisticated botanical name: Justicia brandegeeana. It was named after the American botanist Townsend Stith Brandegee (1843-1925) according to an interesting article titled “Reiman Gardens” in the Iowa State University blog. The species is indigenous to Mexico, where it was discovered. Brandegee is given credit for bringing many beautiful and hardy Mexican plants to the U.S. Your grandma may have called the shrimp plant “false hop” or “Mexican shrimp.”

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