VOLUME 20, ISSUE 6 • February 8, 2024

Neil Sperry editor. Gretchen Drew design and circulation.


Happy Valentine's Day! Here's hoping it's a great day for you and your loved one. Clue to the guys: order your flowers tomorrow (Friday). Avoid the crush rush that will come next Wednesday.

In this issue…
What's a "branch collar?"
This weekend's big tasks
Fruit and pecans with Dr. McEachern
Diane Sitton sees hearts in those rocks, and
Your questions, my answers.

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• Entire chapters on the best trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers, annuals and perennials. Also on lawns, fruit, and vegetables. I spent a month writing each chapter.
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Photo: Fruit growing in Texas requires knowledge and patience.


Gardening This Weekend

We're on the road toward springtime. In the meantime, there are the early/mid-February things to get done, and I've jotted 'em down for all to see. Take a look.

Photo: Violas and sweet alyssum complement one another.


Gardens are all heart

Diane Sitton charms us with gardens filled with Valentine hearts. Take ‘em outdoors with your sweetheart!

Photo: There's no better place for hearts of stone than in a garden.


Garden Tip: Branch Collars

This may be the most important aspect of pruning, and many gardeners don't know the term. Let me explain it and why it's so critical.

Photo: Large branch that was about to drag our roof was removed by Arborilogical Services. Note how carefully they left the branch collar in place.


Interested in a home orchard?

If you're planning on planting a small home orchard or vineyard you'd better get hopping. It starts with the best varieties, and it continues with care. Dr. George Ray McEachern, Prof. Emeritus and fruit and pecan expert from Texas A&M will be my guest Sunday morning at 8 on WBAP 820AM and 93.3FM. Click for details.

Photo: With planning and care many fruit crops can be grown in Texas.


Ask Neil

A plug for bermuda. Can this red oak be saved? What happened to my holly? How can I stop the erosion? All these and more. See what folks have asked.


And, in closing…

That's what we call an "e-gardens." If you like it, please tell our advertisers, and please tell your friends.

While you're doing that, I'll be working to prepare another edition same time, same place.

Remember: If you have a general gardening question this weekend, call my statewide radio program 11:06-noon at (888) 256-1080. If fruit and pecans are your special interests, tune me in on WBAP 820AM and 93.3FM Sunday morning 8:06-8:57. We’ll have Dr. George Ray McEachern, retired from the Extension Service, on as our guest. Click here for instructions on emailing your question. Podcasts of both programs will be on my website by late Monday afternoon.

Thanks for reading, and to my Valentine of the past almost 6 decades, I love you, Lynn.

Happy Gardening!

On a personal note…
You may recall from prior issues here that I have stage 4 melanoma and that I am under the care of M.D. Anderson’s outstanding melanoma clinic in Houston where they gave me incredibly good news on December 18. (Scroll to the bottom of the home page of this link.) Well, that good news continued this past Monday as all tests look great. I’m to go back in 3 months. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes! God is great!



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