VOLUME 20, ISSUE 25 • June 20, 2024

Neil Sperry editor. Gretchen Drew design and circulation.


This edition of e-gardens has been punctuated by shoes. We kept our great-granddaughter yesterday as I was writing, and she was showing off Lynn's shoes. Please forgive any typos. I was distracted by sweetness.

In this issue…
If you need quick color for shade
This weekend's guidelines
Where are we now on Rose Rosette?
Steven Chamblee's favorite garden, and
Your questions and my answers.

$34.95 (Wow!)

Very special price on what might be the only gardening book you'll need here in Texas.
11 chapters cover every aspect of outdoor gardening for every one of our 254 counties.
Hardback. 344 pages. 840 of my photos. More than 25 multi-page charts.
Printed and bound here in Texas (not in China - let's keep fellow Texans working).
I sign every copy as it sells. For that reason, it's not in stores and not on Amazon.
Satisfaction guaranteed or full refund. (No one has ever asked for one.)

Order from my website
Or call my office M-F 9-5
(800) 752-4769

Photo: Our Gretchen Drew visited the Hill Country recently and brought back lots of memories and this great photo, Cypress Creek in downtown Wimberley.


Gardening This Weekend

Thanks for checking in on e-gardens this week. We've prepared some fun things for you. As always, I've assembled your checklist of the most timely tasks of the week. Click through to see them.

Photo: Cannas should be protected from leafrollers.


Native Son: My Favorite Garden

Our buddy Steven Chamblee has been lots of places and he’s seen lots of things. Folks keep asking him which garden he’s liked the best, and he’s finally taken a vote. Here’s his unanimous winner!

Photo: It’s the Hartman-Cortez garden, and it’s gorgeous. We think you’ll agree.


Is Rose Rosette Virus still taking its toll?

It's seemed to many of us that roses have looked better this spring - better plants with more flowers. Could they be getting over this awful virus? I asked several pathologists in the hopes of a miracle. I'll tell you what I heard back.

Photo: Gardener, meet Rose Rosette Virus.


For quick spots of color

My wife and I live in a pecan forest. Because of the shade, flowers are difficult - possible but challenging. Sometimes it's easier to use plants of interesting textures and colors. I thought I might show you a few of the ones I've found most helpful over the years.

Photo: Variegated rubber plant makes a dramatic accent of color in the summer shade garden.


Q&A – Ask Neil

Can soil be improved beneath a red oak? Root rot in photinias? 'Sky Pencil' me out in alkaline soil. Thatch upon thatch. All that and more, including my answers to this week's questions.


And, in closing…

Happy long-evening time of the year. My wife's favorite time. By comparison, I like the coziness of winter in my greenhouse.

I hope you've enjoyed this week's e-gardens. If you did, please tell your friends.

I learned long ago that it’s healthiest to laugh at oneself, so I thought I’d share these style-setting new shoes my orthotics guy had made for me. These are my snazzy new 9-1/2 EEEEEEEEEs. I could just as easily have written 9-1/2, 9-E, but it wouldn’t have had the shock value. (I’ve decided that I’m shaped like a duck.)

I hope you have a great week. I'll get to work now on next week's e-gardens.

Until then, thanks for reading…

And Happy Gardening!



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