New Year in the Garden

by Melody Stramer, Bexar County Master Gardener After being confined to our homes for so long, some of us may feel we are in a rut. Here are some ideas to consider at this time of planning for the new garden year, plus some encouragement to think outside the box and expand our perspectives. First, take a leisurely walk around …

Climate Change & Plant Hardiness Zones

By Agnes Palys-McLean Most of us are familiar with plant hardiness zones that appear in many plant and seed catalogs.  They serve as a guide to help determine which plants and trees are best suited for our growing area and which are likely to die due to the cold. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant zone hardiness maps …

Inland Sea Oats: A Low-Maintenance Shade Plant

By Melody Stramer, Bexar County Master Gardner Two of the most common questions we encounter at Master Gardener presentations are:  (1) what plants grow well in shady conditions and (2) what plants are deer resistant?  With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Inland Sea Oats, a plant that I only recently discovered, despite living here since 2009. …

Light and the Landscape

Holiday lights are up for a short time but, flood lights, porch lights, street lights, and “light-scaping” are more permanent. Can this source of artificial light during dark hours affect flowers, trees, and turfgrass? Generally speaking, “it depends”, but it’s quite possible that artificial sources of light at night can be detrimental to landscape plants.

White-veined Dutchman’s Pipevine

There are many kinds of Dutchman’s pipevine. There is a giant pipevine, small leaf pipevine, different blooms, various growth habits. It is a large group of curious plants. All the varieties are a food source for the black and pipevine swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. In fact, it is the only plant where the pipevine swallowtail butterfly will lay its eggs. I …

Restoring a Vandalized Lawn

Around the time of the political elections at the beginning of May this year, the St. Augustine grass around a candidate’s sign in our front lawn began wilting. Within a week, that grass and a strip the along the entire width of the yard had died (photo, left), apparently the result of herbicide applied by vandals. Several dozen other yards …

Queen of the Night

Let me introduce you to my Epiphyllum oxpetalum. You may know her as Queen of the Night, Night Blooming Cereus or Night Blooming Cactus. What do you think? Isn’t she a beauty? Doesn’t she radiate majestic splendor? Ok, maybe just a hint of potential attractiveness? What, she’s not speaking to you? You’re not feeling her royalness? Not even a little …