Newspaper Articles

SUCCULENTS

 

Roger Corzine, Master Gardener

Succulents are an interesting group of plants that seem to be earning more gardener interest at present. However, there also seems to be some misunderstanding about the word ‘succulent’. I have found that many people seem to equate the terms "cactus" and "succulent". There is a statement in botanical circles that says, “Nearly all cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti,” so let me explain. First, the term succulent is not a scientific name. So any plant that stores water in its leaves or stems or roots can be called a succulent no matter what plant family it is in.  
HOW TO MAKE A BUTTERFLY FEEDER

Shan Wheeler, Master Gardener Intern

If you love butterflies but have either a shady garden with little sun to induce flower production or mostly evergreen flowerless bushes, you can still lure those beautiful creatures to their very own butterfly heaven by a couple of simple methods.  Every gardener enjoys seeing butterflies coming to their garden. A butterfly feeder can be fabricated from a Mason jar.  Using twine, cut two pieces of string that are 48" long. Wrap each string around the neck of the jar and tie a knot. The two knots should be opposite each other. You will now have four ends of string extending from the jar; take one string from opposing

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KEEPING A GARDEN JOURNAL

By Debbie Roland, Master Gardener

My friend asks “That’s pretty!  What is it?”  My response: “I have absolutely no idea.”  Thus began my garden journal.  After taking a class on journaling at the Master Gardener State Conference, I knew it was the answer to my problems – or at least part of them.  I remembered that my now gone gardening neighbor, Buddie, kept a record of how much rain we got each year and when we got it.  He also recorded what he planted and when. There are expensive, formal journals available, but I have found that a five subject spiral notebook does the trick.   In one section I keep track of the rainfall, its date and how bad the stor

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FOR LOVE OF COLEUS

By Carol Siddall, Master Gardener

  One of my favorite plants for the shade garden is Coleus.  I sometimes feel it is a little forgotten.  I haven't been able to find many varieties at all in the nurseries I have been to, and that is a shame as there are lots more varieties to choose from now, some even like the sun! Coleus is native to Southeast Asia.  They are tender tropicals that are generally grown as annuals.  They like warm soils with decent drainage.  They are not real happy with overly dry conditions.  There are tall varieties, low-growing good for borders, midsize which are good for filling gaps, and trailing ones that are great for con

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FARMERS ALMANAC, YOUR GARDEN RESOURCES

By Debbie Roland, Master Gardener

  Gardening questions?  I first turn to the Texas A&M website.  It is a wealth of printable articles and information.  There is a spot for each department where you can ask questions by e-mail and receive a response. Another favorite is The Old Farmer’s Almanac.   You’ve all seen them at the checkout  counter at the grocery stores and feed stores.  It is an annual magazine that has been published since 1818 and is full of folk wisdom.  It is a blend of funny stories, American history, fishing, conservation, sustainable and simple living that have been American favorites through almost two centuries.   I think

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PARSLEY

 

By Master Gardener Herb Enthusiast Barbara Porsch

  We haven’t talked about parsley in a long time, so let’s talk about parsley this month. It is without a doubt, the most used and least eaten herb in the world. It is always used as a plate garnish and then promptly scraped off with the remains. “But wait… There is more.” Eat the parsley on your plate. It is like a vitamin pill; rich in vitamins A, C, and B and is a good source of calcium, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, a natural source of potassium and magnesium and reportedly fights cancer. Added bonus is that it deodorizes your breath especially after eating garlic o


LET’S GROW SOME PEPPERS

By Barbara Porsch, Permian Basin Master Gardener

  Pepper, peppers, more peppers.  Growing more popular by the day.  Think about this. Hot chile peppers are consumed DAILY by at least one quarter of the earth’s population!  Many more than that eat them with varying regularity.  Although it is the most used spice/condiment/fruit in the world, its financial value is not near the value of many lesser used spices.  Why is this?   It is because it is easily grown by many of its consumers.  Compare the price of a jalapeno at the market with a tiny amount of saffron.  It would take a real enthusiast to pick the stamen out of a specific crocus blossom to get enough saffron

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PERENNIALS PLUS

 

By Bess Barlau, Master Gardener

  Tried and true plants or adapted to our area are always welcome additions to beautify and simplify our lives because  they survive and thrive in our harsh climate.  Some can be found in local nurseries. Some favorites and reliable ones are: Chili pequin (Capsicum annuum), our original native chile pepper.  It is loved by both birds and Tex-Mex gourmets. Silver pony foot (Dichondra argentea) forms ground covering mats that can tolerate moving.  It also grows well between flagstones and looks good draping from pots. Blonde ambition (Boutelouea grac


MONEY AND TIME SAVING IDEAS FOR YOUR GARDEN

 

By Carol Siddall, Master Gardener

    Every gardener likes to save money and time.  I thought as the gardening season gets rolling, you might appreciate some tips in these areas. Making a new garden?  Start with a plan. Remember, a smaller scaled garden translates into less work and money. Container gardens are fun and easy, and a necessity for small yards, but they do require more water and fertilizer. Cut back on your workload by converting some of your lawn to ground covers.  They are a good fix for problem spots also.  Just check first if they are invasive. One item t


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