Friday, November 2, 2012

Flowering Plants and More

After the recent rains there are alot of beautiful flowering plants blooming right now. One of my number one spots to find unique plants is at Palms Gardens Nursery, 345 Galveston Road in Brownsville, Texas. Nurseryman Morris Clint is a wealth of knowledge and I love discovering what he's got growing.

Here's just a glimpse of some of what he has in his nursery this week (11-2-12)
Check the bloom on this tree out.
This is the chorisia speciosa.
Nice speciman flowering tree - spectacular -
allow space for growth when planting.

This tree is nine yeas old and is about 50 ft. tall.
This is the South American variety that is
hardier to cold than the one from Mexico.
Bougainvilleas are one of my favorite plants because
they come in such a vast array of vibrant colors.

These are actually several different bougainvilleas plants, not one.
This is an apricot colored variety "Sundown" Morris cultivated
that turns different shades of color.

Love this vibrant deep pink above and the white with the hot pink edges below.

The colorful bracts or leaves below the flowers are often mistaken for their
blooms when in actuality the blooms are the small white tubular flowers. 

Vining Plants

Morris also has this vining plant available that is growing all along his fence.
I can't recall the name of it right now but it comes in several shades
from white to pink all the way to this deep coral red shades above.


Flowering succulents come in beautiful shades too.
Papaya plants

I not only enjoy adding color to my garden but also
like having an edible landscape. Morris has some nice Papaya plants
ready for transplanting, as you can see here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Spice of Life: Debbie Cox

Had to share - the following article was published in the Valley Morning Star:

Debbie Cox and her husband Don have been staples
at farmers markets in Harlingen, Brownsville and
now in newer markets like Weslaco and Mission,
selling a wide variety of herbs, vegetables and
butterfly plants through their business,
Perennial Favorites. (Courtesy photo)

Couple outfit area residents with fresh herbs, veggies

September 26, 2012 10:24 PM
By AMY LYNCH/Special to the Star

Debbie Cox thinks gardening should be a delight for all the senses.

In fact, she always encourages her customers at local farmers markets to take advantage of their full senses when shopping through her inventory.

“You have to touch, and then smell, to get to know the plant better,” Cox said. “I always tell people to feel free to touch and smell the plants — everyone, especially the children.”

Since 2008, Cox and her husband Don have been staples at farmers markets in Harlingen, Brownsville and now in newer markets like Weslaco and Mission, selling a wide variety of herbs, vegetables and butterfly plants through their business, Perennial Favorites.

Debbie and Don moved to the Rio Grande Valley from Waco to continue Don’s work at a local nursery. After attending the First Texas Herb Conference in 1988, Don and Debbie decided to start their own business specializing in herb plants.

“Our interest in herbs grew and so did our garden,” Cox said. “What I love about herbs is you can do so much. I love to cook, bake and make teas with them.”

One of Cox’s favorite things about selling her herbs is the reaction from her customers.

“A lot of people grew up with herbs. Maybe it was in their mother’s or grandmother’s garden,” Cox said. “So when they smell a specific herb, I see them get tears in their eyes or smile because it reminds them of a memory from their childhood.”

Cox grows a wide variety of herbs, perennials and vegetables — including her current favorite, basil — which lends her the opportunity to share her expertise in growing and nurturing plants, especially through social media.

“Social media is a great tool to stay in contact and get information out and share,” said Cox, who is a member of the Rio Grande Valley Social Media Club and has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College.

Cox takes advantage of Facebook and blogging to answer questions and help people with their plants. She also has local workshops and seminars on plant and herb care.

Find Cox online at  her blog Herban-Bliss for tips and recipes or sign up to receive her Farmers Market “Garden Post” E-letter for plant availability, tips and happenings.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rain brings Flying Creatures

Myself, the chickens, the doggies (Daisy and Herbie) and Dilly,
the cat, had a nice visit and play day with a friends’ daughter named Emily.

Besides loving to grow plants, Emily loves animals.
While here we enjoyed watching a nice
rain shower from our back porch.
Yeah Rain!
Too bad my camera couldn't pick up the reflection of all the winged insects flying
between raindrops other than a few white splotches here in front of the chicken coop.
Amazingly in every direction we saw small winged creatures
filling the air, every which way we looked,
flying upward between the raindrops.

Once wet, insects shed their wings.
Emily caught a couple of the winged bugs,
so we could get a close-up look at them
to try and figure out what they were. 

Wingless Desert Termite.
After further investigation (in the rain) we found the winged bugs launching themselves from atop small hills made up of little pale yellow/white bugs piled up on top of each other coming from underneath the ground.

I learned later from several friends, they saw the same thing where they lived some 20 to 40 miles away from here.

Thanks to Professor and Extension Entomologist, Dr. Chris Sansone, Associate Dept. Head and Program Leader Extension Entomology of San Angelo, TX, who responded to my query “Are these termites and are they the bad kind? What can we do about them if anything?”

His email response was “They are termites but they are the desert termite or agricultural termite.

Maybe you've seen evidence like this of the desert termite.
They eat pasture grasses.
They do not impact buildings (but will eat pasture grasses and will cover up fences and trees). They feed on the surface of wood but do not drill into the wood."

Dr. Sansone sent a very informative link/handout that I have included with his permission to share detailing the Desert Termite, describing the biology of desert termites, explaining how to distinguish them from ants and other termite species, along with tips for managing them.

I also found The Texas Bug Book by Malcolm Beck and Howard Garrett (2000, p. 137) outlines a safe and effective approach for preventing termites including subterranean termites, the ones that are more destructive (in place of toxic chemicals.)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Herbs Make a Festive Occasion

Herbs add the punch and pizzaz to make any occasion extra special.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Herbal Brunch at the
Rancho Viejo Garden Club's monthly meeting.

Quite a spread - everyone enjoyed.

The Secret Garden Rosemary Tea
(recipe can be found on this blog)
one lady remarked it reminded her of Mardi Gras colors.

Check out the Lemon Rosemary Coffe Cake recipe from the
January 2012 Southern Living magazine that was served.

 Yumm ... I enjoyed the wonderful herbal brunch at the
Rancho Viejo Garden Club - Lemon Rosemary Coffee Cake,
Secret Garden Rosemary Tea, Rosemary ShortBread
(tasted like scones), Minted Ruby Red Grapefruit,
Herbal Pretzels, Herbal Dip with Fresh Asparagus
and Herbal Deviled Eggs.

Thanks to Jean, Bennie and Bridget and all the ladies who came!