Gardening calendar: Learn about heat-loving plants in garden classes

TUESDAYS-
SUNDAYS
The Mercer Society Gift and Plant Shoppe
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays at 400 Main, Old Town Spring; 281-651-5475, themercersociety.org/ways-to-give/donate. Sales proceeds benefit flood-damaged Mercer Botanic Gardens.
SATURDAY
Urban Harvest’s Starting a Community or School Garden Workshop
8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose; register at 713-880-5540; urbanharvest.org/classes-calendar. $20.
Home Orchard Tours
9 a.m.-noon at sites listed at aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.html. Free.
Plumeria Class
With Jim Maas and Loretta Osteen. 10 a.m. at Maas Nursery, 5511 Todville, Seabrook; 281-474-2488, maasnursery.com. $25. …read more

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How to repair a garden fountain

A fountain brings a bit of magic to a garden and serves a couple of practical purposes: delivering soothing sounds that help mask traffic noise and attracting birds or other small wildlife.
But when they break, it can be hard to find someone to fix them. Luckily, although fountains can be pricey, the working components are fairly basic. You should be able to get a fountain working again, even if you aren’t particularly handy. You might need a new pump, but that’s easy to find and might put you out only $15 to $30.
Begin by dumping out the debris and stagnant water. If your fountain is too heavy to tip safely, use a shop vacuum to clean out the bowl.
Then figure out how the fountain goes together. The center section probably lifts out. …read more

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April calendar of gardening events

TUESDAYS-
SUNDAYS
The Mercer Society Gift and Plant Shoppe
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays at 400 Main, Old Town Spring; 281-651-5475, themercersociety.org/ways-to-give/donate. Sales proceeds benefit flood-damaged Mercer Botanic Gardens.
SATURDAY
Brazoria County Master Gardeners’ 20th Annual Spring Plant Sale
8 a.m.-noon at Brazoria County Environmental Education Station, 799 E. Hospital, Angleton; brazoria.agrilife.org. Free.
Educational Classes
Session 1: Gardening in the Shade: 8-10 a.m. Session 2: Herbs! 10:30-12:30 p.m. at Montgomery County Master Gardeners, 9020 Airport, Conroe; mcmga.com, 936-539-7824, $5 per session or $8 for both. …read more

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Get the professional look for your flower planters

A flower planter or hanging basket bought ready-made at a nursery: lush with showy, vibrant blooms, providing an instant splash for your porch, stoop or deck.
Your DIY flower container: sparse-looking for weeks, with one plant that dies, and scraggly stems, small blooms or yellowing leaves as the season goes on. Still, many gardeners keep trying.
“The benefits of doing it yourself would be choosing your own color scheme, choosing plants that are going to work best for your area and getting to see it grow in,” says landscaper Jamie Gulley. …read more

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Keep plumerias indoors until Easter to avoid threat of freeze

Q: When should I move my plumerias back outside?
Joe Peddy, Houston
A: In around Thanksgiving and out around Easter was the motto of Eulas and Lake Stafford, the late plumeria experts who generously shared their advice with area gardeners. Of course, first check the forecast. It’s best to move plumerias indoors for winter storage when night temperatures drop below 50 degrees, often around the fall holiday. Return the tropical plants to fresh air and encourage them out of dormancy when spring nights remain 50 degrees and warmer.
The long-range forecast shows no freezes, and day and night temperatures look promising as we near Easter on April 1.
Q: I’ve seen blueberries in some local nurseries. …read more

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Don’t murder the crape myrtles when pruning

Q: It pains me to see so many crape myrtles chopped down to ugly stubs. I see it everywhere, with properly pruned myrtles almost outnumbered by crape “murdered” trees. Will you provide pruning advice?
Betty Pritchett, Houston
A: The annual “crape myrtle murder” discussion has begun, so here are guidelines to prune these low-maintenance flowering trees.
Crapes do not need to be pruned to bloom. However, a tree can benefit from late-winter pruning to remove dead, weak or crossing branches and suckers at the base. But avoid mutilation.
Trim to maintain or restore a natural shape. Remove branches 2 inches or less in diameter, if necessary. Don’t top the trees. …read more

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