Honoring the oleanders in Brenda's Garden
by Brenda Beust Smith
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
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Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair
-- Susan Polis Shutz
Why pick that quote, you may ask, when oleanders aren't wildflowers? Well, yes, they are ... in Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean area.
And they might as well be considered such in Galveston, considering how hardy they are along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Have anything planned for Friday, May 14? If not, let me urge you to plan to attend the international Oleander Society's annual luncheon which, this year, will celebrate IOS's 43rd anniversary.
This year the theme has a very special meaning for everyone who loves the isle; "Rejoicing in another Season of General Joy for the Renewal of the Oleander City."
If anything symbolizes the strength and determination of Gulf Coast residents, it's the oleander. And the Oleander Society is among the most stalwart, focused even more than ever on establishing an official Oleander Garden on the island.
Proceeds from the luncheon in the Moody Gardens hotel's famous Viewfinder Room will benefit the establishment of The Oleander Garden Park at 27th and Sealy. If you've never seen the view from this room, that alone will be worth your reservations and Fiesta Buffet luncheon.
May 11 is the deadline for RSVP-ing to J. Ward (409-744-7860). Checks ($25/person or $175 for table of 8) should be made payable to International Oleander Society and mailed to J. Ward, 7670 Chantilly Circle, Galveston, TX 77551.
DEAR BRENDA: Every day we drive home on the Hardy Toll Road (in Houston) and pass the most incredible tree. It has flowers all shades of pink from light to dark and I swear some white flowers too. Do you know what this is? Sally
DEAR SALLY: I drive that way too frequently and it's always a treat to see this peppermint peach tree in bloom. The flowers are, as you say, dark to light pink and often speckled with white. I think it's strictly an ornamental (boy, what an ornamental!). I don't think it bears edible fruit, but I could be wrong. Maybe someone out there knows?
DEAR BRENDA: I think I see bagworms on my pecan tree. They are so awful. What can I use to get rid of them? Joe
DEAR JOE: It's too late now for treatments. The trick is to catch and treat the moths that lay eggs in the spring in the "crotch" of tree limbs, usually where they attach to the main trunk. They're hard to find, so don't beat yourself up about it.
They could be webworms, bagworms or tent caterpillars. The name doesn't really matter. The problem's the same.
The eggs hatch and the worms crawl out (reminds one of that children's rhyme ... ugh). They spin these webs which are absolutely inpimpenetrable any chemicals. They'll strip all the leaves and particularly love pecans although they can and do infest other trees as well.
The good news is that birds love these worms. So what you have to do is pull that web open with something sharp so the worms fall to the ground. Then you can attack them with whatever or let the birds do it for you.
Now, I'm NOT advising this. It's a bit dangerous. But some folks will attach a rag to a long pole, set the rag on fire and hold it under the web. The web will burn and the worms will fall out.
The good news is that most pecans will recover just fine after the little devils eat their fill and leave. But if the tree is weak for some reason, they can kill it.
P.S. Don't miss new posts. Make the Lazy Gardener's Blog (
Brenda Beust Smith
www.guidrynews.com (Features > Brenda's Garden)
Email Brenda for list of area gardening/environmental speakers ($5) andlist of her topics for garden club presentations ($250-$300)
"THE LAZY GARDENER'S GUIDE ON CD" — a gardening book on CD offers gardening tips plus 12 pre-designed gardens for butterflies, hummers, sun, shade and more. Monthly what-to-do reminders for Greater Houston/Gulf Coast gardens. $20 each. Make checks payable to Brenda B. Smith & mail to: Lazy Gardener's Guide on CD, 14011 Greenranch,
Houston, TX 77039-2103.
(http://www.vrbo.com/261373 — Gorgeous view condo in Galveston for rent/lease)