Blog posts from February 2013

Bulb blooms are early this year…

Feb 26, 2013

If you're planning to head to the Dallas Arboretum this year for Dallas Blooms, I'd suggest you move up your visit! Actually, you should probably make two visits if you really want to enjoy all the bulbs. With the warmer trending late-winter weather this year (and the past few), bulbs like Hyacinth and Tulips are blooming a week to two weeks earlier than planned. Typically, I consider the peak of Dallas Blooms ot be about the third week of March. But, temperature drives development and so when it's warm early, so go the blooms early!


Here is a shot of what are most likely 'Blue Jacket' Hyacinth and 'Monal' Narcissus (Daffodil). This photo was taken a WEEK ago! By this weekend, which is the opening of Dallas Blooms,  the Hyacinth and some of the early Daffodils will already be waning. Early blooming tulip varieties have already been in full glory for the last couple of weeks in my garden. So go now if you want to catch the early side of the bulb show, then head back in two weeks to catch the main tulip show.

It’s Tulip Time in Texas!

Feb 19, 2013

As with everything this year, tulip time is a bit early! My Darwin Hybrid tulips (early bloomers) are already in full bloom. Here is one of my favorites, 'Apricot Impression' blooming right now in my garden.


If you've been reading my blog for a number of years, you'll know that I'm kind of obsessed with this color. Sort of a sherbet peachy orange...ALL of my roses are this color and I'm always on the hunt for more plant varieties that will fit into my obsessively color coordinated palette.


'Apricot Impression' offers up big,sturdy early blooms, which is characteristic of the Darwin Hybrids. The outside of the flower petals are a creamy orange wiht a tinge of peachy pink.


When the flowers open, you're treated to a bright blaze of peachy orange...a lovely contrast to the purple hue of the stems.

Halleck_tulip_apricotimpression could this not brighten your day! This is why I go to all the effort to buy properly vernalized (pre-chilled) bulbs, then plant ON TIME (prime time is 3rd week of December here in Texas) and plant DEEP (6"-8"). Do this, and you'll be rewarded with gorgeous tulips, even in a mild winter like we've had. Enjoy!

Roly Poly Destruction! Or, what’s eating my pansies?

Feb 12, 2013

You might have noticed something munching on your pansies and violas this winter.  Usually, first guess is either rabbits or squirrels. In fact I've been asked a few times lately about how to keep the squirrels from munching on their pansies. might need to take a closer look to discover the real culprit. Yep, could be Roly Polys! Also known as pillbugs.


I've replanted the pansies and violas along my front sidewalk bed twice this winter. I just figured the first round's demise was due to my neglect. Yes, neglect. See, I'm so busy helping all of you guys with your gardens I barely have time to tend my own! Anyhoo, I didn't pay much mind, I just replanted some new ones. About three days later, they were all pretty much toast. Now, I thought to myself "really Leslie, what is your problem.." But a quick close-up inspection confirmed what had been in the back of my mind as a possible issue...pillbugs.

See those little buggers down there munching my pansies away? This is what happens when we have mild moist winters. Two in a row only makes the problem worse. Without sustained cold weather or repeat freezes, critters like these pillbugs will just keep multiplying all winter long. To the point that there isn't enough food out there to sustain their numbers. Normally, pillbugs feed on detritus, or decaying plant matter. But when that food source runs low, they'll move to the green living parts of your plants. Little bastards. Excuse my French.

Looks like I'll be putting down an application of DE (Diatomaceous Earth) around these plants to try and reduce the pillbug population. You could also spray your plants with Spinosad, an organic non-selective insecticide. Just be sure if you use Spinosad, you only spray it at dusk, AFTER the honeybees have gone home for the night.

Time to prune your roses in DFW!

Feb 6, 2013

Princess margaretaOk folks, if you in DFW, you're going to need to go ahead and get your roses pruned! Roses are already budding out and if you wait too long, you'll end up removing too much new growth. Normally, Valentine's Day is a good pruning target. But with this warm weather, you need to get on it asap! Fertilize with a rose food after pruning.

Fruit Trees for North Texas & Chilling Hours

Feb 3, 2013

Peaches 2010There is still time to plant fruit trees in North Texas! Make sure you choose varieties that will grow to the proper size for your space, are within a reasonable range for our chilling hours, and make sure you get a cross-pollinator if you need one. Dallas/Ft. Worth zone 8 usually receives between 750-850 chilling hours, but it can vary...some years 600 hours, some years 900 hours. Further north and you'll get more, further south and you'll get less.

Now, as you might know, I'm not a strict rule follower! I think gardening is about experimentation and pushing the boundaries. Each year is a little different and experimentation is how you learn. Each of has a landscape with unique characteristics and micro-climates. Something might just work for you that doesn't for your neighbor.

For example, don't expect to get good production on a sweet cherry here, but you just might get good tart cherries off of a Dwarf 'North Star' cherry. The trick will be keeping it happy in the summer. Some Citrus are not hardy here and must be grown in containers...others, like 'Changsha' tangerine are perfectly hardy outdoors. Plenty of fruit trees can be grown in containers, especially with all the new dwarf selections available. Be reasonable, but don't be afraid to try new things and push the boundaries! Click the link to view North Haven Gardens fruit tree list, with detailed descriptions, chilling hour requirements and pollination info.

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