We are members of Texas Garden Clubs and National Garden Clubs, and the Garden Club year typically runs from September 1st through May 31st. On August 12th we will have our “Membership Social/Pot Luck” at our regular location, the College Station Waste Water Facility, 2200 North Forest Parkway, College Station, TX 77845, starting at 9.30 am. You are welcome to join us and find out who we are, and what we do! Find us on Facebook, and check our website amgardenclub.com
Many of us inherit or learn green thumbs from our Mom or another family member. Club member Michelle W. sure did from her Mom as you can see from these pictures submitted by husband Pete W. taken at Michelle’s Mom’s house in Michigan.
Pictured here are a Garage Wall, Hosta, and Day Lilies. We sure appreciate this submission of beautiful garden pictures and welcome other submissions from the A&M Garden Club for our blog. Speaking of pictures, our upcoming January meeting will have a photo display. Rules for displaying are in the last A&M Garden Club Newsletter sent out by Helen Q, so check your email boxes if you have a photo or 2 to share with the club at the January meeting.
A big Thank You! goes out to Moms everywhere. You inspire us.
We almost had a White Christmas this year, which would have been a miracle for this part of Texas! The weatherman said it might snow a little on the night of Thursday, December 7, but it wouldn’t stick, it would be gone as soon as it touched the ground. So everyone went out in the dark to take photos of snow!
Next morning there was snow everywhere – the roads were clear, but the grass and the plants were still white. No ice on the pond though.
Snow like this is a good insulator for plants, as can be a coating of ice. The real damage to plants comes when the air is dry, the wind is blowing, and the temperature is frigid. The moisture and life is sucked out of the plants through the leaves and stems, and many plants will die back to the ground. If we are lucky, they will sprout back from the roots in the spring.
As a general rule, don’t cut your seemingly “dead” shrubs back too soon. By doing so, you can expose the tender tissue of the lower stems to another freeze, should one happen, and they won’t have a chance of survival. Best to wait until after all danger of frost is past, even though you might have a brown and dead looking landscape. This pear tree survived an ice storm (in 2014) and produced a huge crop of pears that summer.
This day, January 2, 2018, we are experiencing our second day of temperatures in the low-to-mid twenties (Fahrenheit), with only a couple of hours in forty-eight above freezing. Flowering shrubs such as Duranta, Mexican Turks Cap and Esperanza are looking beyond help, and we still have two more days of the same in the forecast. They should not be pruned at this time. The black and slimy leaves of Cannas, however, can be cut down to the ground – you can’t kill a Canna!!
And through snow and ice, the spring flowering bulbs are poking through and some are even blooming! No matter how hard the winter, spring always follows!
A fun plant for our A&M Garden Club blog this week comes to you courtesy of club member Judy S who has “balloon milkweed” growing in her yard in December. Gomphocarpus physocarpus, formerly known as Asclepias physocarpus, is native to Africa. Some may know it as “monkey balls”. What unusual plant do you have growing in your yard to share with our club?
Even recent snow could not keep these dedicated A&M Garden Club members from missing the club’s annual holiday potluck and social. An estimated 30 members and guests out of 77+ members attended this fun event between gardeners brought together by their love of plants and wanting to share the value of plants with our community to make it better.
One of the regular service projects over the past 2 years coinciding with various holidays is providing plant-theme decorations to a few lucky residents at Crestview apartments. The decorations are shared when a garden club member delivers a meal as part of their work with the Meals on Wheels program. Workshops to make the decorations are held in a member’s home and gives club members a chance to build community while making Valentines, pine cone turkeys, and other decorations bringing the joy of plant crafts at different times of the year to recipients and makers alike. Using plant material for decorations is a great way to bring the outdoors in to those that might not be able to get outside very much. Small gestures like giving someone a pine cone turkey can help lift the spirits and be a conversation starter.
Collard greens are an attractive and nutritional addition to fall/winter gardens in Texas. Many prepare collard greens as a nice side to a main dish or add some chopped leaves to soups or pasta dishes. Collard leaves also make a great substitute for tortillas, adding extra veggie power and color to wraps. Carefully slicing off the part of the main leaf rib that sticks up above the rest of the leaf before preparing gives the wrap a consistent texture. Blanching the leaves makes for a more colorful and tender wrap. The wrap can be filled with whatever you like and makes a satisfying light meal or snack if you include protein like beans, chickpeas, quinoa, and/or rice. Adding in red or orange with carrots, tomatoes or peppers makes it especially pleasing to the eye.
Out in the garden, be vigilant about getting rid of pests such as cabbage caterpillars which can seem to appear out of nowhere on collard greens and other cruciferous vegetables in the winter garden. Manually removing caterpillars works and keeps produce organic. Wearing garden gloves can make this task less repulsive for the squeamish and the task can even be a little fun as hunting and finding pests on your produce can feel like hunting Easter eggs with the right frame of mind.
Congratulations! to Idalia A for her photo recognized as a finalist in the National Garden Clubs 2017 Photo Contest. It and other finalist photos are a joy to look at
Close up photography of what we might see every day in our gardens can give us a better understanding of our home gardens and help us hone our observation skills to know what our gardens need to thrive to generously give back to us and to nature in so many ways.
Need a vine for a fence in your Brazos Valley garden? Want something that delights with yellow blooms and gives seed pods that can be used in arrangements or crafts? Consider planting Butterfly Vine, also called Orchid Vine, Mascagnia macroptera, because it has seed pods that resemble butterflies and blooms that look similar to orchids. Although it may freeze back in winter, it tends to come back from the roots. It is easy to grow and tolerated being in a large pot for several years at my house till I decided on a location, a community garden where it attracts beneficial insects like bees. It is not native. If you do want a hardy, blooming vine that is native, think about coral honeysuckle vine, Lonicera sempervirins, which has red tubular flowers hummingbirds like, or plant both vines in different locations on your fence. Do you have vine growing tips or memories to share?