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
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
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
A seed packet may be small, but it speaks volumes.
While seed catalogs promote thousands of types of plants, seed packets tell gardeners how to grow one. All the information is printed on the back of a paper pouch slightly larger than the size of your wallet, and at prices that won’t empty it.
Although the cost of seeds has risen over the past few years, they’re still an economical way to garden, said Elsa Sanchez, a commercial vegetable crops specialist at Penn State University Extension.
“The other option would be to buy transplants, which is generally more expensive,” Sanchez said. “You also find a lot more options for types and cultivars when you start from seed. …read more
Now is the time to clean up the mushy, stinky stuff in your garden, advises the Harris County Texas AgriLife Extension Service. But don’t prune anything with bark until danger of frost has passed.
Urban Harvest’s annual sale is the place to get fruit trees for the Houston area. It has become the largest single-day fruit-tree sale in the nation during its 18-year history.
Winter and early spring are lean times for honeybees as they emerge from their hives, where food supplies are dwindling, to forage. Adding clusters of winter-blooming plants around the yard will give them much needed nourishment.
Bees take in carbohydrates from floral nectar and protein from floral pollen. Being aware of bloom times and providing flowers that overlap the seasons are important for beekeepers who want to successfully overwinter their colonies.
Some bees, including many wild varieties, begin searching for food when sunny days push temperatures up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or more. …read more
Santa at the Enchanted Forest: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 10611 FM 2759, Richmond; 281-937-9449, myenchanted.com. Free.
Trees and Stars Winter Celebration: with the Houston Astronomical Society. 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, 4501 Woodway; 713-681-8433, register at houstonarboretum.org. $30 members, $45 nonmembers, $15 children ages 5-12.
Weekend Market: 9 a.m.-5 Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at Another Place in Time, 1102 Tulane; 713-864-9717. Free.
Weekend Market: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 16, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 17 at Another Place in Time, 1102 Tulane; 713-864-9717. Free.
Critters’ Christmas: edible decorating for wildlife. 10 a.m. at Jesse H. …read more
The Garden Club of Houston’s Bulb and Plant Mart, Thursday-Saturday, is the place to get bulbs.