VOLUME 20, ISSUE 5 • February 1, 2024

Neil Sperry editor. Gretchen Drew design and circulation.


What a glorious week this has been! I hope you've been able to enjoy time in your landscape and garden.

In this issue…
Iceland poppies are show-stoppers;
This weekend's important assignments;
Converting a shrub holly into a tree holly;
Steve Huddleston introduces winter jasmine; and
I've gathered a fun batch of questions.

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Photo: Iceland poppies bring a smile to a gardener's face.


Gardening This Weekend

Turning the page from one month to the next is always significant, but rarely as much so as in late winter on into early spring. We have lots to accomplish in the next couple of weeks. See what I've outlined.

Photo: Prune Salvia greggii by half now.


Winter Jasmine: Dependable, Uncommon

You didn't ask, but the answer to the question is, "That's winter jasmine." And the question in this Horticultural round of Jeopardy is, "What's that plant that looks a lot like a forsythia?"

Photo: Winter jasmine just seems to "show up" in old Texas landscapes.


Iceland Poppies Are Uncommonly Beautiful

It's curious that a flower this handsome hasn't become a lot more popular with Texas gardeners. After all, it's well suited to our late winter and early spring weather, and few other bloomers can match its bright colors. Let's talk about it a bit.

Photo: Set out Iceland poppy transplants now.


Garden Tip: From a shrub to a tree

Some of our finest small accent trees are actually large shrubs that have been retrained to have second lives. Such was the case with our Willowleaf holly when I decided it was time for a change. Let me tell you how I worked my way through it.

Photo: The final product turned out nice. I felt like I saved a plant in the process.


Ask Neil

We have some first-time entries in the Q&A medley this week. Crape myrtles in pure sand. Briers in pure honeysuckle. Desert Museum palo verde problems. Pipes placed vertically around trees. Curious? Read on.


And, in closing…

What a blur this week has been. Spring must be lurking nearby! A couple of reminders:
Keep the frost cloth handy. There is no way that our chances of freezing temperatures have passed (except in deep South Texas). Protect tender buds and blooms.
Remember that TCU basketball has me pre-empted all of February on Saturdays on KLIF. Join me on my statewide program 11:06-noon Saturday morning or on WBAP 820AM or 93.3FM Sunday morning 8-9. Click for the phone numbers.

That's it for this week. Until next time, thanks for reading.

And happy gardening!



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