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Brenda's Garden
by Brenda Beust Smith

Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote: Spring is nature's way of saying "Let's party!” -- Robin Williams

If this picture doesn't make you smile, well, I guess nothing will. 

Those red, pink, white and fuchsia flowers are snapdragons (so-called because if you squeeze the little cups, they will open and close like a mouth). 

Also in this planting are yellow daffodils, purple pansies and grey dusty miller.

Chances are very good all these spring delights will fade when it gets hot.  But in the meantime they can be very useful, not only as beauties in the garden, but to keep us from fretting too much about whether or not last winter permanently killed our favorite flowers.

It's okay to prune everything back now.  Get rid of all those depressing dead stalks and limbs.  Break them up into smaller pieces and put them back in the same garden as mulch.  Remember, a plant's own falling leaves, limbs and bark are its best fertilizer  That's how Mother Nature fertilizes.

So now you have these depressing black/brown stumps and are praying they'll come back out, right?  Chances are real good most of them will, if they've been in the ground long enough to establish a healthy root system.

But they may take longer than usual and you don't want that depressing sight for the next few months.

This is where our annual spring bloomers come in.  Don't dig up those maybe-dead, maybe-still-alive roots and stalks.  If they do come back, you may be destroying a pretty hardy plant.  That's dumb.

Instead, take advantage of all the in-bloom flowers now available in nurseries. Plant them around the maybe-dead-maybe-not-but-certainly-depressing stumps.  These are such shallow rooted plants they won't hurt the "stumps." 

Enjoy their beauty.  Then, when they start to fade in May or June, if your treasured stumps haven't started showing green, you know it's a lost cause. Go ahead and put something hardier in.

Don't replant the same thing.  Obviously it can't take our cold, which is probably going to be an occasional, if not constant, condition now.

Look for something hardier.  What?  A great place to get advice will be from the Master Gardeners who will have a booth at the
Galveston Home & Garden Show March 19-20 at the Galveston Convention Center.

I'll be there too on Saturday at 11 a.m. giving a gardening lecture.  Hope you can drop by and say hi.

I can tell you what's already coming back in my yard (I live in Aldine/North Houston, close to Bush International Airport). Two are the pink magnolia, left,  and lanceleaf coneflowers right. 

Others that either survived the Arctic freezes or are coming back quickly are:

SUN: bush daisy, Carolina jessamine vine, lycoris, all my roses (which are mostly antiques),

PART SUN/PART SHADE: cape honeysuckle, cestn>rum, crinums, dianthus, firespikes, hymenocallis (giant white spider lilies), Rosedown gardenia, Louisiana iris, narcissus (paperwhites), ornamental oxalis, plumbago, rosemary, shrimps, snowdrops, lswamp sunflowers, sweet autumn clematis vine and yesterday-today-and-tomorrow.

And, oh yes, I didn't cover ANYTHING. 

It's my belief that if it can't take occasional Arctic freezes, summer heat, drought, floods and my neglect, then it doesn't belong in my garden.

Don't recognize some of these plants? Google them. Want to know my favorite Lazy Gardener plants? Drop by the Galveston Lawn & Garden Show and pick up one of my "Favorite Plants of the Lazy Gardener" tip sheets.

P.S.  Don't miss new posts. Make the Lazy Gardener's Blog ( your home page.

Brenda Beust Smith (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" — Specifically for Houston area gardens: monthly do-now reminders & gardening advice. 12 pre-designed gardens for butterflies, hummers, sun, shade and more. A gardening book on CD. $20. Make checks payable to Brenda B. Smith & mail to: Lazy Gardener's Guide on CD, 14011 Greenranch, Houston, TX 77039-2103.

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