About Popular Flower Types
From roses to peonies, flowers come in a rainbow of colors that make great gifts. These beautiful blooms also add a splash of color to the garden and look great in a Bouq.
Gerbera daisies add cheery flowers to spring and fall gardens. The funnel-shaped petals attract pollinators. Verbenas, like Supertunia Vista(r), are annuals with a low trailing or spreading habit that work well in beds and containers.
Last week we featured gardening with veggies. This week we will focus on flowers for the fall/winter/spring garden. What you plant now should last until the hotter days of spring, bringing you several months of color and beauty.
Remember, in the South we are hotter than many states, and we all should be aware of what temperature the plants we buy for fall will tolerate. As a general rule, the “big box” stores, especially the chains, get plants in to sale in Texas about the same time they do in Ohio and other northern ‘cooler’ states. Take for instance, the pansy. This beautiful fall/spring plant has a wonderful tolerance for low temperatures and actually enjoys cool weather — 40-60 being an average for them. They will survive temps in the 70s, especially if they have afternoon shade. They will do best in hotter temps if they are deadheaded and fertilized lightly with water soluble plant food.
So the plants for sale now… if you have a cool spot in your yard, with morning sun only, plant with lots of mulch and water, and hope for the best. Or best-case scenario, wait a while until our weather cools off. The “El Niño” weather we are experiencing predicts that the hotter temps will last through the end of September for our zone, which is Zone 8. So what do we do in the meanwhile, reigning ourselves back from early purchases that might fizzle out in our Texas sun? We prepare our beds and design in our minds, through magazine and internet articles and lastly on paper. You do not have to have a bed only for fall/spring color. You can use other plants/shrubs for texture and greenery, such as small boxwoods, nandinas, a knockout rose — original or drift — or even experiment with the new miniatures such as the new “Miss Petite” that grew very well, and bloomed reliably this past year. The even newer “Knockout Ground Cover Roses” got a good review from growers in the area, with reportedly few complaints from seasoned customers. You can dot the landscape with grasses, such as ornamentals or plain old reliable mondos, using the mid- to large-size that will add some height to your garden. These can be planted now, after you prepare your fall beds.
Preparing a bed for fall is not hard. Just remove dead plants and plant materials from your bed, weed thoroughly and put in a weed barrier, such as newspaper or a use a roll of weed cloth that will break down and feed your bed. Never buy plastic material, as a general rule.
Fall/spring colors are to include violas, pansies, dianthus, snapdragons, along with others that have proven to be reliable in the South. Some will do better than others in temps below 30 degrees, but if the plants are well mulched, deadheaded and watered, they should survive the colder weather. Some, such as the snaps, will hunker down and give us dirty looks until the weather warms a bit. Prepare yourself for this, and you will be able to experience their beautiful multi-bloom vibrant color when the sun begins to shine with warmth in the spring. They pop up with such color, you will be glad you planted them in the fall.
Let’s not forget the Bulbs of the South. The recent conference with Greg Grant, a local authority on bulbs for our area, reinforced that bulbs are to be planted in the fall, and they enjoyed, most often, in the spring. His favorites are naturalizing jonquils and Narcissus, ones that we can depend to come back each year. Do your homework and look for those with a tendency to bloom repeatedly in Zone 8. Plant a lot in singles, or plant several together for a ‘cluster of beauty,’ in groups of three, five, seven, etc. Remember a true gardener experiments and tries different plants and combinations each year. We all learn from mistakes, maybe even more so than success.
The Harrison County Master Gardener Bulb Sale has begun. Online sales began Monday and will end Oct. 9. These bulbs have been selected by Master Gardeners and contain selections that will do well in Zone 8, and are ones not to be found in all the local stores. The Master Gardener Fall Flower and Tree Sale will be on Saturday, Oct. 21. This date was selected due to the heat predicted due to El Niño, and the weather should be ideal for planting at that time.
Lone Star Healthy Streams Joins ET Forage Conference
Don’t miss out on this year’s East Texas Forage Conference featuring a special workshop by Lone Star Healthy Streams. The event, spanning multiple counties including Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Rusk and Upshur, is set to take place on Sept. 29 at Gold Hall in Hallsville. This year’s conference promises a wealth of knowledge on managing grazing livestock, feral hog control and best management practices for fertilizer and herbicide applications.
There will be a catfish lunch sponsored by Legacy Ag Credit, and attendees will be eligible for 3 CEU’s to go towards their Texas Department of Agriculture Pesticide Applicator License. Please RSVP to (903) 935-8413. Have a great week!
Harrison/Panola Counties Wildlife Info Program
I would like to take this time to invite you to attend our annual Harrison/Panola Counties Wildlife information program held on Oct. 3. This program and the meal are sponsored by the Harrison and Panola County Soil and Water Conservation Boards. Each year, this program alternates between the two counties. This year it will be located at Crossroads Baptist Church located at 11763 FM 31 in Marshall.
Our speaker this year is Dr. Jacob Dykes, Extension Wildlife Specialist for Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. The topics to be covered are whitetail deer Nutrition and an ageing and scoring demonstration on whitetail deer. We will have a catfish dinner and appreciate an RSVP.
Harrison County Bake Off
Harrison County Bake Off held at the Harrison County Agrilife Extension Office located at 2005 Warren Drive. If you have a sweet tooth, we will offer these cakes at Silent Auction from 3:30 to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Teri Lamb at (903) 742-9912.
The next meeting for Harrison County 4-H will be Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. We will be electing officers for the upcoming year and discussing upcoming contests and events.
Farm City Week Steer validation is Oct. 17 from 4 to 7 p.m. at 5505 Elysian Fields Road (pasture entrance only). Entry forms and fees are due at this time, steer must be present. “IF” your steer is state validated, we need entry form and payment only, no need to bring the steer. If your steer is county bred, you must have a county bred form filled out at time of validation. If the exhibitor is new to Farm City Week, you MUST have a W-9 filled out with the exhibitor’s information. All forms need to be filled out completely and legibly; if not, the exhibitor could be disqualified. Forms are at hcfarmcityweek.org.
Harrison County 4-H will be offering Vital Earth Potting Mix at the Master Gardener Plant sale. The info is in the article above. Please come out and support these 2 great organizations.
We are having an online jerky sale that will December 31st. Great stocking stuffers for a great cause. Check out our website at https://harrison.agrilife.org, our Facebook page Harrison County Texas 4-H or call the office at (903) 935-8413.