VOLUME 20, ISSUE 18 • May 2, 2024

Neil Sperry editor. Gretchen Drew design and circulation.


I had a lot I wanted to cover when I sat down to write e-gardens this week. I really hope you enjoy it.

In this issue…
Why are redcedars dying?
Steve Huddleston dips our gardens in gold.
This weekend's critical assignments.
Some personal comments.
Your questions and I hope the right answers.

What a deal! Still only $34.95!

11 Chapters. 344 pages. 840 photos. 1 year of my life.
Covers every aspect of outdoor landscaping and gardening.
Written for every part of Texas.
Hardback and printed in Texas.
I think it's the best work of my career. If you don't agree, I'll refund every penny.
Now in 6th and final printing. Limited to supplies on hand. Don't delay.
I sign every book as it sells. That's why it's not in stores and not on Amazon.

Note: This is the final (6th) printing of my book. If you've been wanting to buy it, I hope you'll do so now.

(800) 752-4769

Photo: I'm a sucker for zinnias. Have been since I was 6. Will be forever.


Gardening This Weekend

We took a poll. (It's election weekend of election year.) We've voted that this is a great time for gardening. Here's a list of ways you can enjoy it - the most critical things you'll want to get done. Click through to see how many apply to your place.

Photo: ‘Black and Blue’ salvia produces a shocking blue shade for the garden.


Golden Raintree

Looking for a top-notch flowering tree of moderate stature, preferably one that you won't find in every landscape in town? Golden raintree comes to the top of the list. It fits all those criteria, and it's happy to prove its worth in your Texas garden. See what Steve Huddleston has to say about it this week.

Photo: It's raining gold when this tree starts blooming.


Could I be the luckiest guy?

If you'll permit me one personal story, I have so much swirling around in my head right now and I want to share it with my e-gardens friends. My shirt begins to tell the story, but there's so much more to it.

Photo: I had this shirt made for me. It's my way of saying how grateful I am for both of my mothers.


Why are eastern redcedars dying?

Over the past several months I've had an unusual number of calls and notes asking why eastern redcedars are dying. They've come from widely separated parts of our state. This is a tree that rarely has this kind of problem, so it's taken me a while to track down my answer. Click to see what I've found.

Photo: Here's what people are seeing.


Q&A – Ask Neil

“Here little June bug!” To hull or not to hull? Butterfly weeds are disappearing mysteriously. Yaupon holly seedlings are appearing mysteriously. This is getting spooky. Better click to see what might be happening.


And, in closing…

As of this week, our e-gardens circulation numbers are up to 82,560. We've never been higher, and for that I thank you! Thanks for reading us, and thanks for talking about us to others.

Photo: Last night was the McKinney Education Foundation’s Annual Scholarship Awards event. Lynn Sperry with her recipients. Two will be going into education, three into music, and one into journalism. Click image for larger view.

33 years ago my wife Lynn had the idea that our town (now a city) could support an education foundation funded by interest from endowments to provide college scholarships to deserving high school graduates from McKinney I.S.D. Starting with never-ending help of Lynn’s best friend Pam Sexton and continuing on, MEF has won the support of hundreds of businesses and individuals. The entire city joined together in a magical night last night to celebrate the best of all our high schools as 330 students received college scholarships totaling $825,000 from the foundation. Those are locally generated funds. MEF also employs an advisor on each high school campus to assist students in applying for scholarships from individual universities. Over the years they have brought in more than $250 million in university scholarships for McKinney students. (Just sign this note, “One proud husband.”)

I just received a text from our son Todd who works in the television industry on the West Coast. Todd hikes. Beautiful hikes. With his drone and his camera. Sit back and enjoy this. His message to me:

“Here’s a short film inspired by you and your photography. I’ve watched you over the years and it’s inspired me. Happy 80th Birthday one day early!”


Thanks for reading e-gardens this week. I’m already working on next week’s edition, but I think I’m going to take tomorrow off!

Happy Gardening!



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