Author Archives: stephen.brueggerhoff

Fabulous Figs!

The beginning of fall is a time to celebrate figs, with many southern varieties producing a profusion of tasty morsels that enliven our home plate. I view figs as a ‘standard’ southern fruiting tree, easy to grow and most folks that I have spoken with either having a fig tree in their backyard growing up or currently enjoying the fruit of their labor. Fig (Ficus carica) are considered a classical fruit, a prized sweet-tasting commodity celebrated from ancient western Asia to Mediterranean civilizations. Figs were imported to California… Read More →

Fall into Rose Pruning

The end of summer is a great time to enjoy roses in the garden. Brazoria County Master Gardeners are celebrate rose culture during Open Garden Days at our demonstration garden, Brazoria Environmental Education Station we affectionately call BEES, 583 Hospital Drive in Angleton. We offer presentationa on old garden roses, give demos on proper rose planting, tips for taking cuttings and how to maintain and water your rose garden. Don’t forget to browse on our events portion of our webpage for the opportunity to check out our gardens,… Read More →

The Heat is On: Hibiscus in Bloom

A little color always brings focus to a drab and uniform garden. Garden flair can easily be achieved by choosing from a suite of tropical and hardy hybridized hibiscus, stand-out plants that can catch and direct our attention with a variety of colors and flower form. We’ll start this article with a brief introduction to a diverse plant family, and finish with an enticing flourish of hardy hybrid hibiscus varieties. Hibiscus belongs to the Mallow Family (Malvaceae), plants with global distribution of over 240 genera. The family includes… Read More →

Pick a Peck of Peppers

You can pickle a peck, eat them raw, braise them, fry them, can, jelly or chop them into tiny bits to bring a little zest or sweetness to a home cooked meal. Peppers are an enticing and diverse fruit that are a global household staple and commonly associated with ‘old world’ cuisine. I will explore with you the native origin of peppers, share some growing tips and delve into hotter than heck varieties. Peppers are determined to be in the same plant family (Solanaceae) as tomato and potato…. Read More →

Extending the Tomato Harvest

It’s tomato harvest time, and avid gardeners are taking pride collecting and eating their delicious homegrown tomatoes. My personal observation is that gardening pride is directly related to production success, often measured in either weight or volume. While varieties such as Big Beef, Cherokee Purple, Delicious and Mortgage Lifter are beefsteak style tomatoes that may take longer to grow, the payoff are harvests that can equal up to 50 pounds per plant. I encourage readers to take pride in healthy eating habits by an enhancing personal nutrition by… Read More →

Gardening for Wildlife

Home landscape beautification often starts with simple ideas and singular plantings:  lawn construction that is often St. Augustinegrass, at least one fast growing tree for anticipated shade and a few foundation plantings of shrubs as a visual anchor. I offer to expand the effort and increase biodiversity by creating habitat for wildlife. There can be many different reasons that motivate us to create a wildlife habitat in our landscapes, such as designing pollinator gardens to attract Monarch butterflies and other pollinators, or to support migratory bird populations. Habitat… Read More →

Caterpillars in the Trees

Early Spring, our residents will see activity and potential defoliation caused by either Forest Tent Caterpillar or Live Oak Tussock Moth. The Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) or the Live Oak Tussock Moth (Orgyia detrita) are moth species with a life cycle coinciding with Coastal Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) leaf emergence in the spring. Live Oak Tussock Moth favors Coastal Live Oak trees as a host plant, and Forest Tent Caterpillar can be found in different tree species or in high populations on surfaces (buildings, cars, etc). The Forest… Read More →

Wild About Wildflowers

Wildflower season is in full swing with eye-catching colors of spring. I must admit that on my commute, I am drawn out of myself with wonder at the vivid colors dotting the landscape. It can be a little difficult to capture floral details as I botanize down the highway at 60 miles an hour. Some flowers are more distinctive and easy to spot, like the bright red clusters of Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa). There are the masses of pastel pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa) that remind me of… Read More →

Fruit Tree Planting: Dig In!

This is the time of year to be planting your orchard with fruit and citrus trees. Let’s dig in with a brief review of site selection and planting basics for a healthy and productive orchard. As mentioned in previous articles, the success of any planting starts from the ground up. The challenge in Brazoria County is the predictable unpredictability of our native soil profile. The success of your orchard relies on deep, well-drained soil with adequate amounts of organic matter. Invest in the health of your orchard by… Read More →

Persimmon for a Fruitful Winter

I am a recent convert to the delicious taste of persimmon. We have a tree at Extension’s Brazoria Environmental Education Station (BEES) orchard in Angleton that produced fruit with a sweet and almost jelly-like flesh that was outstanding in taste and texture. I invite you to consider persimmon for your home orchard. While native varieties such as the American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) can be cultivated, varieties of Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki), sometimes called Oriental persimmon or Kaki, are often used in space constricted urban orchards. These fruiting members… Read More →