Newspaper Articles


By Debbie Roland, Master Gardener

As Master Gardeners we are asked all the time “How can I become a Master Gardener?”  Permian Basin Master Gardeners did not have a trainee class in 2018 so we are expecting a large turnout in January.  The class size will be limited and applications are being filled out now.

The Master Gardener program operates under the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and provides horticultural training to local residents.   Our area has unique needs due to the climate and we train volunteers about horticulture under adverse conditions.   Subjects include water conservation through plants requiring less water, irrigation practices, rainwater

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Barbara Porsch – Herb Enthusiast

I decided to talk about Calendula -Calendula officianalis - this month because IF you can find it, now is a good time to plant it in your garden.  For years, I tried to get it to sell at our plant sale. Finally soaked in that now is the time to plant it – not spring. And, yes, I have seen it in local nurseries recently. A couple of years ago, at Christmas I went to a lovely nursery in Tomball called Arbor Gate and found some. If you are ever in that area don’t miss going to check them out. Anyway, I digress. Brought them home and planted them in my garden (only sunny spot I have) even though I had read NOT to plant them i

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by Carl White Master Gardener

To those who are unaware, this is one garden pest whose life objective is to destroy your garden or flowers. Though so small, about 1/10th of an inch, 5 of these small insects will become 500 in only a few days. The active insect is the female that develops a hard shell about her and in this adult stage is harder to kill. They feed, quickly drain life from the plant, lay their eggs then die. Males develop with wings and when found on plants, they live only to breed and quickly die.

Infestations are most common in warm, humid weather. In winter, they overwinter as nymphs and eggs and quickly spread when it is warm. As

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Carol Siddall, Master Gardener One of the favorite plants in my garden is the Geranium.  Few plants offer such a great variation in flower color, growth habit, leaf pattern, and scent.  Lush growing geraniums look good in a bed all by themselves, mixed in with other annuals, or used as an edging in your flower garden. In fact, these plants are perfect for any spot that calls for a splash of vibrant color. In our area, geraniums cannot make it  through the winter outside unless you cover them to keep them from freezing when the hard winter hits.  I am fortunate to have a greenhouse, so that is where my plants winter. (Needless to say, all my geraniums are in pots.)  Another benefit to a

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Carl White, Master Gardener Almost as effortless as the Daffodil, the Lycoris bulb family is a sure success for the gardener. Now is the time to order bulbs for Fall planting and for beautiful blooming next summer. Lycoris bulbs will surprise the gardener in that they are somewhat unpredictable in their blooming. One day is a blank space, the next is a flower stalk that surprisingly appears.  The more common, Lycoris radiata, is the Spider Lily which blooms in late August to September. The common bulbs that we see are the Lycoris radiata and the Lycoris squamigera. Spider Lilies come in various colors, the brilliant red the most common. The bulbs emerge as a single stalk, branch into m

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Carol Siddall, Master Gardener Lantana consists of more than 150 species.  They are mostly natives of the Tropics.  In some regions, Texas included, lantanas grow wild as weeds, chiefly spread by birds that are very fond of their juicy fruits.  Neil Sperry of McKinney, Texas says  it grows in various types of soils throughout our state.  It grows best in poor, sandy soil in hot, dry areas, in full sun. Lantanas thrive in almost any soil as long as they are never waterlogged.  That has been my problem with growing them. Neil Sperry also says that in all but the very southern part of our state, its branches die back in winter and emerge again in spring.  Where it does not die back, its stem

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by Carl White, Master Gardener   We are all familiar with the sounds of summer including bird calls, trilling of crickets, drone of bees and most incessant is the buzzing of the cicada. Of the Order Hemiptera, these are true bugs and are closely related to leafhoppers, froghoppers and spittle bugs. The life cycle of the cicada begins with the laying of eggs by the female in plant stems where the emerging nymph lives on the plant xylem (fluid). Soon they drop to the ground and burrow into the soil, feeding on roots using a beak called a rostrum.  Some species remaining as a nymph for 13 and some species 17 years. The majority of the species we see and hear emerge annually, the l

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Barbara Porsch, Master Gardener

There often is a time about now when the garden has been producing like crazy.   Your poor counter top hasn’t seen the light of day for weeks because it is covered up with squash, cucumbers and now maybe okra, or whatever is going crazy out in the back yard garden.   WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH ALL THIS?

I feel you can never have too many tomatoes because they are so easy to handle.  Of course, you can make sauce or relish to can, but if you really have too many tomatoes, the easiest thing to do is freeze them.  Rinse them off and put them on a rimmed jelly roll pan (Or they will roll of on the floor. I speak from experience.) and place in the

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by Roger Corzine

Datura wrightii is the scientific name for the plant in the picture but locally most of us know it as Moon Flower. I am guessing that the name, Moon Flower, was inspired by this plant’s large, white, moon-shaped flowers that are 4 to 6 inches in diameter that bloom at night and wilt and fade away not long after daylight.

Moonflower or Moon Flower is only one of many common names for this plant. Common names typically vary by locality and some of the names I found for this plant are: Jimson Weed (a contraction of Jamestown Weed), Devil’s Weed, Hell’s Bells, Thor

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