VOLUME 19, ISSUE 1 • January 5, 2023

Neil Sperry editor. Gretchen Drew design and circulation.


Happy New Gardening Year, friend! Here's hoping it's your best one ever - I'll do everything I can to help that be the case.

In this issue, the first of our 19th year!
• Quick spot of purple seems quite appropriate (Go Frogs!);
First assignments of the gardening year;
Did the freeze do much damage?
Bottle trees sprout up across Texas; and
You ask, I answer.

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Photo: You ain't True South 'til you got yer own bottle tree!


Gardening This Weekend

As we head into another gardening year, we wonder what lies ahead. And then we realize that the old slogan "One day at a time" serves us quite well. Let's expand that to one weekend, that being the next several days. I've made a list of the pressing things to get done.

Photo: Seed breeders have brought us some beautiful types of Swiss chard!


Bottle Trees Across Texas

I enjoy these throwbacks to the Old South, but my wife is multi-generational Old North, and this isn't her "cup of tea." In case you want to learn more, let me explain how these traditions of southern gardening got started.

Photo: I like simplicity of blue bottles on some of my trees.


Plant a Pot of Purple

I was looking back through photos of visits to nurseries of the past couple of winters and I decided this would be a good time to write on sprucing up an entry or patio garden with a big pot of color. This time I'm going to pick purple in honor of our state’s TCU Horned Frogs!

Photo: We'll start with stocks. Beauty and fragrance.


How Serious is the Freeze Damage?

We're all a bit gun-shy after the Great Winter of February 2021. The cold two weeks ago had an impact on plants across Texas, and people are now wondering how it measured up to what we saw 23 months ago. I'll give you my read-outs.

Photo: Browned leaves on nandina, but are the plants really hurt?


Ask Neil

A dwarf Burford holly with top damage, a red oak with root fungus and horsetail reed that took a gut punch to the middle. Plus, a leaning Red Rocket and a Kieffer pear that doesn't have a clue what season it's in. What a crazy bunch of plants you sent me this week.


And, in closing…

I hope you know how much I enjoy assembling e-gardens for you each week. Gretchen Drew takes what I (and our guest writers) prepare and makes it all come together. We hope you get as much pleasure out of it as we do.

Gretchen and I were chatting just yesterday how improbable it seems that we could be starting our 19th year with this project. I have some ideas of how we can make e-gardens even better for you in 2023. Watch for them in upcoming weeks.

If you do enjoy what we turn out, I have only two favors to ask in return. (1) Please let our advertisers know. And (2) please tell your friends.

I'll be on the radio live this weekend as always, although TCU basketball will pre-empt my KLIF program the next three Saturdays. But tune me in statewide via 30-plus stations Saturday morning 11-noon and Sunday on WBAP 820AM from 8-10 a.m. Podcasts will be on my website.

Until next week, thanks for reading…

And happy gardening!

This just in earlier today: Sad news out of Houston in the past 24 hours. We lost a friend and longtime radio broadcaster Randy Lemmon yesterday (his 62nd birthday) to complications of stroke. Many Southeast Texans tuned to him weekly and will miss hearing his messages. Here is the news as reported by KHOU-TV.


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