Newspaper Articles


By Shan Wheeler, Master Gardener Trainee

Insects are my “thing”… I love bees and butterflies (but who doesn’t?) and plant my garden to attract them. Most people try to prevent and spray insecticides to ward off insects, but there’s no need to be paranoid because some are good guys! You’ve heard about beneficial insects like Lady Bugs, but the stealthy, alien-out-of-this-world-looking Praying Mantis is one of my favorites. I once noticed what I thought was a new type of miniature mantis: light-green, perky with an arrogant, strutting attitude – cute-as-a-bug! (sorry…). After research, I found that that little guy was the nymph stage of the Praying Mantis.

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By Carl White, Master Gardener and Bird Enthusiast

There are very few gardeners that do not like having hummingbirds in their garden, and even have certain plants for them.  They are starting to arrive and once they find a bountiful "cafe" they come often and return year after year. You often hear the hummers before you see them.  Then, you will start to see them at your flowers or your backyard feeder.  To sustain their supercharged metabolisms, hummingbirds must eat once every 10 to 15 minutes and visit between 1,000 and 2,000 flowers per day.  Some of their favorite flowers to visit for nectar are Delphiniums (very rich in nectar), Honeysuckle



Carol Siddall, Master Gardener

When we think of summer color, very few of us think bulbs.  We love the spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils, but summer bulbs can add interest after the spring bulbs are gone. Summer bulbs can fill the gaps in your garden when early flowering perennials have finished blooming.  Like their sisters the spring bulbs, summer bulbs are incredibly easy to grow.  Some like the shade and others will like the hot summer sun.  Dr. William Welch, Texas A & M AgriLife Extension horticulturist says, "bulbs are a good fit for today's garden because they are low water and low care plants". These bulbs wi



Gwin Jamerson, Master Gardener

Ornamental grasses can be used in many places in the landscape. After all, grasses grow here naturally. Ornamental grasses add variety and interest with their graceful flower clusters and plumes, moving in the wind. They vary in size from less than two feet to over six feet tall. Using the wisdom of planting the right plant in the right place, consider the different types of grasses useful in the landscape. For example, last year at the Permian Basin Master Gardener Plant Sale, I bought 3 zebra grass (Miscanthus sinenis ‘Zebrinus’) in quart sized pots. They were just coming out of dormancy.  They were so cu


by Shan Wheeler

What is more beautiful than butterflies flitting from flower to flower? Soon the Orange Sulphurs, Painted Ladies, Swallowtails, Monarchs, Viceroys and more will be emerging or migrating back into Texas. When they do, they will need food and to seek their chosen plants on which to lay their eggs. Various “nectar” plants provide the butterfly sustenance. “Host” plants are more specific depending upon the butterfly. Eggs are laid on a specific host plant(s) that, when the eggs hatch, will immediately provide the tiny larval (caterpillar) with plenty of its favorite food while it grows through its stages into an adult butterfly (only 9 to 14 day

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By Carol Siddall Master Gardener

I love asparagus. I grew up in El Paso, and my mother had a huge bed of asparagus. We ate it, gave it away and ate more. Back in the late ’50s, El Paso was known for its sand storms, so needless to say, no matter how many times we washed it, there was some grit. I cook it often, only now I have to buy it. Asparagus is a perennial plant. Some grow from seed, but most prefer to start with one- or two-year-old plants. These can sometimes be bought at garden centers, but always through mail order specialists. Growing your own asparagus is an investment of time and patience that pays off. Plant the root crowns in well-drained

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Linda Cranfill, Master Gardener

Last spring the Permian Basin saw an amazing rose bloom due to the mild winter.   Consider adding roses to your landscape this year.  Roses now being produced for the public market are easy to grow and have easy care.  Some are drought tolerant and bloom more than once a year.  They also live in companionship with a great many perennials and annuals so that you can have color all summer and fall with a little planning. First to consider is the location of the rose.  Roses in West Texas do best with morning sun and some afternoon shade.  Some can do well in full sun.  Many grow in containers with great success.  It all depe

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Carol Siddall, Master Gardener

This time of year gardeners, me included, are looking through seed catalogues and their gardening magazines.  I have come across some interesting and fun information I thought I would share with you. Winter blues? Try growing a few herbs indoors. They are fun.
  • Grow ones like rosemary and thyme to go into winter soups.
  • Grow the popular micro greens. All you need is a sunny spot, lettuce seeds and in a few days you will have greens full of nutrients to eat.
  • Take an avocado pit and let it sprout. Also try a pineapple top. Kids will love to

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Frank Wells Master Gardener and Certified Consulting Rosarian

  Legend says, Valentine's Day originated during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for young men. A young priest named Valentine was furious and defied Claudius by continuing to perform weddings in secret. Claudius eventually discovered this and sentenced him to death. During his time in jail, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter. Before he was put to death, Valentine sent a letter to the girl and signed it “From Your Valentine”. Later, around 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 a day

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