Category Archives: In the Garden Blog

Preserve and Serve: Fig Trees for Brazoria County

The end of summer is the perfect time to start thinking of adding to your orchard, and one fruit tree prized as a dooryard standard are fig trees. Fig (botanical name 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 from Spain in the mid eighteenth century, making their way across the southern United States with expansion. In general, fig trees are not cold tolerant, limited to regions with mild winters well above… Read More →

It’s a Lawn Story: Watering Grass in Summer

Keeping up with lawn appearances can have its challenges in the heat of a good old Gulf Coast summer. We had a long stretch this summer where plentiful seasonal spring rains became a memory, and watering regimes may or may not have been modified to fit the season. Our efforts should be focused on home turf maintenance practices that are based on science and a little bit of common sense. Let’s talk St. Augustinegrass, the grass of choice for home yards and appropriate for our region. St. Augustinegrass… Read More →

Silken Webs on Tree Trunk: Bark Lice

Howdy, friends! I thought I would take a slightly different approach to addressing public questions about landscapes. I’ve created a 2 minute video describing bark lice, a beneficial insect that creates a fine silk webbing that surrounds trunks of our trees about this time of year (end of July/early August). Enjoy the video, and I’ll see you in the garden.

Edible Landscaping with Herbs

I have always included herbs in my gardens, a tradition that started when I was introduced to the crisp, clean camphor aroma of an upright rosemary bush some 40-odd years ago at the Houston Garden Center in Hermann Park. I have expanded my culinary palette over the years to include the standard ‘Mediterranean’ types of herbs that we bring into our kitchen: parsley, sage, oregano and thyme to name a few. We must not ignore a nutritional component involved with gardening herbs; they flavor foods while helping us… Read More →

Tasting Home Grown Tomatoes

Our very own Brazoria County Master Gardeners Association and Brazoria County AgriLife Extension just finished hosting a Tomato Celebration, an event supporting Open Garden Days at the Brazoria County Environmental Education Station (BEES garden center) in Angleton this past Saturday, June 9, 2018. The event was a way to show off the gardens while celebrating a popular fruit with our community. Yours truly gave a presentation on tomato culture in Brazoria County, we toured interested friends and family through the many themed garden areas (rose garden, square-foot garden,… Read More →

Stop the Chop on Crepe Myrtle

I recently delivered a presentation on pruning trees, and questions that often come at this time of year is the obsessive attention that we give to pruning an iconic belle of the south: our beloved Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia sp.) There is a pruning practice that is ingrained in our culture called topping, often referred to as “crepe murder”, unnecessarily applied to these beauties and disrupting the elegance of their natural growth habit. I urge our readers to reconsider pruning traditions that can lead to malpruning, and guide you… Read More →

Methods for Planting Fruit Trees

I have never experienced discontentment in winter. I know that spring is just around the corner and that late winter is a great time to search for fruiting trees to put in our orchard, found at places like the Brazoria County Master Gardeners Citrus and Fruit Tree Sale on February 10, 2018 at the Brazoria County Fairgrounds. Once you get a tree, planting seems like it would be a simple task: dig a hole, plop the arboreal beauty in, water and done. Not so fast, my intrepid gardener,… Read More →

Using the USDA Hardiness Zone Map

I have written an article same time last year describing the effects that freezing temperature has on vegetation, and recent freeze events prompts me to bring up a common tool we use to choose our landscape plants that is related to annual low temperature: United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map. I often have clients refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map when thinking of purchasing garden plants. The department developed the map to define the mean minimum temperatures for areas within the continental and… Read More →

The Facts of Christmas Cactus

Nothing brings indoor cheer to my household more than a Christmas cactus in bloom. This group of cactus are easy to care for and unique in the plant world, and I would like to share their origin, offer tips to identify two popular species and give you the gift of simple care tips. There are three out of seven of this cactus species that are sold in the popular market: Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckley), Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) and Easter cactus (Hatiora gaertneri). Thanksgiving cactus has been… Read More →

Citrus, A Love Affair for the County

Residents of the Texas Gulf Coast have a long-standing love affair with citrus. There is a diversity of tastes, texture and colors among the different varieties of citrus that we can grow successfully in our own backyards. And fall is the season when many different varieties begin to ripen, whetting our imaginations of toasting a successful growing season with a tall glass of harvested crisp, sweet citrus juices. Organizations like our very own Brazoria County Master Gardeners will host citrus tasting events this time of year in December… Read More →