Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

In the garden, at least!  Of course, I like everything I've planted in my garden, but the ones I really love are the ones that pop up and surprise me.

Zephyranthes or Rain Lily

Since we got an inch or two of much-needed rain last week, the rain lilies are blooming all over the garden.  I adore these little bulbs, and all the more, I think, because they aren't always there.  I love how they bloom so reliably in the summer, but on their own timetable.  They have an orrnery sense of self-possession, blooming after it rains but not after you water them.

Mostly pink but sometimes apricot, white, or yellow.

There are perfectly nice plants that bloom all summer here in Sugar Land, and quite a few of them are planted in my garden.  But perhaps because they are always in flower, I just don't LOVE them the way I love rain lilies.  And it's not that they're exotic or strange: rain lilies are quite common and even grow wild around here.  I imagine it's the way these intermittent bloomers add surprise and change to the garden.

Containers or flowerbeds, sun or mostly sun.

Don't knock it -- there's something to be said for the sense of wonder that we might not get from a begonia.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ladybugs Make Me Uneasy

I just don't know about ladybugs.  I've heard a lot about them as natural predators and I guess Earth Day is as good a day as any to confess that I have deep misgivings about that.  I don't sell the cute little easy-to-merchandise bags at my garden center -- here's why:

Ladybug gives me the evil eye.
1. I don't think releasing clouds of ladybugs into your garden is an effective way to control soft-bodied insects like aphids.  Yes, I know.  Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids.   I've seen them with my own eyes, stalking aphids like cheetahs after (very slow) gazelles.  But I can't find any evidence that store-bought ladybugs area more effective than just doing nothing.  Want ladybugs to eat your aphids?  Stop spraying broad-spectrum insecticides and just wait awhile.  Native ladybugs will show up and eat until the populations are under control. 

Volunteer soldier in the aphid wars.
2.  I'm not okay with relocating huge populations of ladybugs from one part of the country to another.  Doesn't that seem ill-advised?  If it's not a good idea for red imported fire ants to move northward up the continent, how come it's a good idea for sweet little ladybugs to move south?  Ladybugs are harvested in great numbers from overwintering grounds, where they lie waiting docilely for the return of warm weather.  They're whisked out of the mountains in jet planes.  When they awaken from their slumber, they find themselves in red net bags at the checkout counter of your local garden center. That's if they are, in fact, native ladybugs.  There are reports of imported Asian ladybugs sold commercially as a green alternative to pesticides.

Maybe there's no harm in collecting, selling and releasing ladybugs.  But something about just doesn't seem right.  I'm all for maintaining populations of beneficial and predator insects.  I'd rather they be homegrown, that's all.

Friday, April 1, 2011

And The Garden Falls Beautifully Into Disrepair

I love how lettuce looks good even when you completely ignore it for weeks at a time.  And how the purple oxalis creeps in to offer such a nice purple contrast.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Eggs With Leftovers

Recently a friend gave me a dozen fresh eggs, courtesy of her backyard hens.  After sharing them with my coworker, I took home six and improvised a great dinner of fresh eggs with leftovers.  It's based on a recipe I saw years ago, now lost.  I wish I could remember more about that original recipe -- kudos to the long-forgotten cook -- but suffice it to say that my version had its origins in a cooking magazine.

This recipe serves 2 hungry adults and 1 finicky kid, or 2 hungry adults only, which is about the same amount.

6 eggs
2-3 tablespoons milk
salt and pepper
half an onion, thinly sliced
half a red bell pepper, thinly sliced
a quantity of cooking oil
about a quarter-pound each of cooked ham and cooked chicken
cooked French fries, enough to mix in the eggs and serve on the side (try sweet potato fries!)

The ingredients
Beat the eggs lightly with the milk, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and set aside.  Warm the oil in the skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions or about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Add the red bell peppers and cook until softened, about 5 more minutes.  Mix in the chicken and ham and stir until heated through.

In the skillet
Now mix in the eggs and cook until almost set.  Then mix in some of the French fries, reserving most of them for serving alongside the eggs.  Serve with your choice of toppings -- we like fresh salsa!

Ready to eat!
Try this recipe anytime a generous friend gives you yard eggs!  You can substitute freely, using whatever leftovers you have -- this is just what we had on hand.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Once Were Wildflowers

The annual Texas wildflower fever is just beginning around here -- everybody loves wildflowers in March.  It's kind of surprising that they do, to tell the truth.  After all, most wildflowers have a rather weedy appearance close up.  Our very favorite one, the Texas Bluebonnet, has a very short bloom cycle.  As a group, they're fairly unreliable: sometimes we have a banner year, and sometimes, depending on the rain, we get nothing at all.

What interests me is how we got from wildflowers to garden flowers.  I enjoy reading about the dedicated plant breeders who carry on improving our species plants until we can barely recognize them.  Even more interesting?  Reading about how genetic researchers use plant DNA to track human migrations, based on the plants (and pollens and seeds) they carried with them. 

I like to think about those people who long ago were entranced by the subtle beauty of a native wildflower. What it must have been like to live in a world where all flowers were wildflowers!  It seems incredible that we ended up here, in a world in which woodland plants bloom in the full sun, scentless roses flower 12 months long, and our wildflowers have morphed into bedding color.  And a little sad, really, that we only appreciate seasonality, subtlety and brevity in March.  After that?  We move on to evergreen, everblooming, dwarfing sameness.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lovely Luna Moth

Once you get over the shock, it's quite a pleasure to watch a Luna Moth unfurl from its cocoon.  Even here in the wilds of the Texas Gulf Coast, a huge green moth is unusual.  The Luna, even more so, because it usually flies at night, in search of a mate.  It takes a few hours for the moth to take its final form.  When it first emerges from the cocoon, its wings are small, nothing at all like the 4" wingspan it eventually attains.

Almost done!

The adult Luna lives less than a week, and does not even eat, lacking a mouth.  It lives only to mate, and then passes on to its reward.  This moth hatched from a cocoon very near a sweetgum tree, a host plant for Luna larvae.  I'll keep my eye out for the next generation!

Long hindwings not yet unfolded...
Unfolded, but needs to dry a bit more

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Plant That Assigns Chores

I have a lovely little cherry bush that wants me to paint the garage.  The first few years I had it, it was a shy, unassuming little thing.  Made no demands.  Grew slowly but steadily.  Bloomed sporadically the first spring but very nicely thereafter. 

Hirome, a dwarf flowering cherry

The bossy behavior started last year, when the cherry was at its peak.  "Paint the garage!" it insisted.  The argument was that the beautiful light pink blossoms were lost against the dull beige of the garage siding.  The cherry advocated for a dark forest green, but that annoyed the spider lily, whose strap-like foliage is that very same color.  I viewed slate gray as a compromise color, but nothing was accomplished last year.

The complainant, stomping its feet on the leucojum.

This year, the cherry is adamant.  Either I paint the garage to show off the pink spring finery or else!  Or else what, I do not know.  I hate to think what a vengeful shrub can do -- I've witnessed the wrath of Climbing Old Blush, so I'm a believer!

The cherry is "Hirome," or "Hiromi," a Prunus jacquemontii dwarf flowering cherry that is extremely well suited to the hot, humid south.  I have mine planted on the east side of the offensive garage, where it gets morning sun.  I don't do anything at all to it -- no pruning, fertilizing, spraying, and very little additional water now that it's established.  It's about 5 feet tall, and a great favorite of the mockingbirds when the fruits (gumball-sized) come in.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Newest Thing Is Old Hat

Wednesday I had the great good fortune to attend a seminar at Spring Creek Growers, presented in part by Ball Horticultural Company.  The idea is introduce garden center folks and landscape contractors to the newest, most innovative "plant material" out there, in the hopes that we can entice our own customers to buy them.  (That's what they call it sometimes, plant material.  Isn't that a little, well, dreary?) 

'Phantom' Petunia
I love these events.  I love to hear about all the research and development that goes into the creation of a "new" plant.  I get all plant-geeky inside, just hearing words like vegetative or triploid.  And the facility at Spring Creek is very, very nice, and the food was delicious, and it makes for a great start for the spring season.

'Breathless' Euphorbia
What thrills me about springtime, though, does not necessarily thrill the customers.  The panel discussion pointed up a disconnect between what the Ball folks were promoting, and what the landscape contractors, re-wholesalers and garden center owners were looking for.  The Ball representative started the discussion by asking each of the participants how they felt about new plants, new innovations, new products.  You could tell he was very excited about Ball's product line, and he was right to be -- there are some very interesting new plants on the market.  However...

Zinnia 'Zahara Double Duo'
One by one, the panel participants said, in not so many words, that simply being "new" was not good enough.  The landscape contractor said that her clients never come to her, asking for the newest thing.  They rely on her to put together a plan that works for them, in their budget.  She believed it was important for her to find out about new plants, but the customer wasn't driving that.  The garden center owner said that a few of her customers came into the store looking for the latest in new plants, but that only happened if there were a big national marketing push behind the product.  She also said that much of the time, the new products failed to deliver on the promises made by these marketing campaigns.  The Wave petunias are a good example -- they don't perform here nearly as well as promised here, in our climate, as other petunias might.  The rewholesaler, who provides plants primarily to landscapers, said that he had to push the new products -- there wasn't a demand from his clients specifically for the newest varieties.

Coleus 'Redhead'
The discussions went on in this vein for about half an hour.  None of the panelists were using social media or traditional advertising to promote new products.  None of the panelists felt that "newness" provided a higher price point or profit margin.  In fact, while there was excitement about specific plants, I thought I detected a general skepticism about "newness" in general.  Simply being new doesn't mean a plant can solve a customer's problem or meet a customer's need.  It's hard to say what was going through the Ball rep's mind -- he put up a good front.  But it's got to be discouraging to have your customers tell you new's not where it's at.

Verbena 'Aztec'
I'll put my customer hat on for a minute.  Would I rather have a new petunia, in the rare and unusual shade of black?  Or would I rather just have a petunia that can make it longer through the heat and humidity of our summers?  I appreciate what Ball's doing here and I love some of the new plants.  But I hope they don't overestimate the importance of new and different.  I think many of us would be satisfied with a good quality, virus-free same-old, same-old.

All photos courtesy Ball Horticultural Company, and a big thanks to Spring Creek Growers for hosting us.  It was a very interesting, thought-provoking event!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monk Parakeets

I love these little parrots!  Seeing them around town is such a thrill, even though they're not at all rare or unusual.  Monk parakeets, also known as Quaker parrots, are native to South America but feral populations exist in North America and parts of Europe.  They build large nests of sticks, often in utility towers, and are very vocal.  I usually hear them before I ever see them.  They are sociable birds, and seem to hang around in family groups.  I understand they are routinely kept as pets and can even learn to talk.  Monk parakeets are a temperate-zone sort of parrot and can survive winters in much of the United States.

Good picture of monk parakeet from Wikimedia Commons
Because they are an introduced species, there is a concern that they may become agricultural pests, but I am not aware of any areas where this has occurred.  In fact, parakeets in Brooklyn have been found to reduce the problem of pigeon overpopulation.  They don't appear to compete with native nesting birds because they tend to prefer man-made structures for building their large nests.  Although they have the potential to disturb grain fields, they tend to prefer urban areas.  Monk parakeets are also very well-adapted to backyard bird-feeders -- and how I wish they would come to mine!

A dozen blurry monk parakeets and one starling
The picture above was taken this morning from my driveway.  I apologize for the quality -- the camera lenses were still foggy and so was I.  But there are 12 monk parakeets on the power line there, along with one slightly suspicious starling.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thawing Out, Temporarily

This week finds us recovering from another spell of wintry weather, this time complete with ice and 4 nights in a row of temperatures in the 20s.  Now, I know those of you who live north of here might find that a bit amusing, but it's not funny to us.  I know I get positively affronted when we have to put up with so much cold. 
No more, please!
We have another cold snap predicted for late this week, so in the interim, some thoughts on the weather.

Yucky.  Okay to cut back.
First, on cutting back.  I swear, the temperatures were still below freezing when people began to write to the newspapers and call the radio lines asking, "Is it too early to cut back the freeze damage?"  I'm not sure what drives this winter sense of industry.  Are they just antsy to get back outside?  Or can they simply not abide the brown foliage for one minute longer?  Anyway, my rule of thumb is as follows.  If the freeze has left your plants mushy, squishy and yucky, cut it back as soon as you can stand it.  I can't stand it.  I'm waiting around hoping they'll dry out before I have to clean up.  I hate that squishy feeling.  On the other hand, I don't intend to prune back woody plants until I'm sure we've had the last freeze.  And who knows when that will be?  The Chief Engineer and I usually bet on the last freeze date.  There have been years he didn't want to pay until May!

Woody.  Wait til freeze danger is past.
One last thing.  I noticed the dwarf oleanders planted around here are damaged (again) by the cold.  Last year, they froze to the ground, and today they look like someone blasted them with a high-test hair dryer.  I'm reminded that when I was a girl, people simply did not grow oleanders this far inland.  You had to drive 50 miles or so, out to the coast, to see them.  And I understand they all froze to death in the late 1970s there, too.  For the past 20 years or so, we've enjoyed relatively warm winters here.  I'm wondering if we're entering a time of cooler winters.  And if so, what's going to happen to all those palm trees, oleanders, ixora, and other semi-hardy shrubs?

No jokes about global warming, now!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Poem, Hoping For Spring

Bee in Wallflower

Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

From The Tempest by William Shakespeare, 1610

These lines are spoken by Ariel after Prospero frees him from his debt.  What a life that would be, living under the blossoms...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Iceland Poppies

Did you forget to plant your Iceland Poppies last fall?  It's not too late!  Although these dainty beauties dislike our warm weather, they should be able to hold on through the end of April or so.

Papaver nudicaule 'Champagne Bubbles'
I love this variety -- "Champagne Bubbles."  The flowers come in an array of warm, sunny colors like red, yellow and orange.  I think the petals look like the finest silk crepe, and yet they are fairly tough.  Iceland Poppies seem to withstand our version of cold weather just fine! 

Although this poppy is often sold as a perennial, it should be regarded as an annual here.  It's just too hard to guarantee its survival through our summers.  Take a chance on those seed pods, though!  It's possible you'll have seedlings in the fall, who will develop nice strong root systems to carry them through next spring.  Plant in a sunny, well-drained spot and enjoy until the hot weather sets in.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Enormity of Water

I haven't written in a while, not because I've been indoors, but because I didn't think what I was doing was really related to gardening.  But it is, I think, in the most elemental sense.

I've been struggling with water.  The Papershell property (my garden center) is located on a very flat piece of ground near the floodplain of a creek.  All the land around here is very low and level -- it's basically all  Brazos River bottomlands.  It's very hard to drain land like that, unless money is no object.  Water tends to just sit on flat ground, and the clay is so impervious that it takes a long, long time for water to percolate down into the soil. 

Now factor in the rain patterns we get on the Gulf Coast.  Monsoon-style rain, followed by drought, followed by floods.  When it's dry, you can't really get a sense of the way the water will move across the land.  When it's wet, it's all submerged.  But from time to time, a window of opportunity opens up.  Now is one of those times.

Studying water in the bottomlands is a matter of inches.  You need to get right up close, muddy and wet.  The slightest rise or contour can divert water away from a catchbasin, or toward a structure.  To really see where the water wants to go, it's necessary to go out there when it's raining, which I hate to do.  To change where the water wants to go, it's necessary to dig.  And not just in clay.  In heavy, wet, sticky, clay.  That terrible sucking sound the mud makes as it yanks your boots off your feet? My nightmare.

Rubber Cowgirl Boots, the saving grace.
So yeah.  I've been out there.  Not gardening, exactly.  More like hand-to-hand combat.  Who's winning?  The elements, that's who.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Foliage Friday: Indian Hawthorn 'Umbellata Minor'

This Indian Hawthorn, Raphiolepis umbellata, is similar the traditional (and more common) Indian Hawthorn, Raphiolepis indica.  Both are native to Asia, and both make a nice, low-growing hedge.  But I prefer the umbellata minor, because it seems to have a cheerier disposition. The standard Indian Hawthorn always seems crouched over to me, a little too hunchbacked.

Raphiolepis umbellata 'Minor'
The umbellata has a more upright form and slightly smaller leaves and to me, the leaves are often a darker green.   It also seems to resist fungal disease better than the indica.  Umbellata slowly reaches a height of 4-5 feet, but it's nicer when trimmed to 3-4 feet, preventing it from splaying open.  When it blooms in the spring, the flowers are small, white and fragrant.  New growth is reddish, and in spring will sometimes resemble a miniature version of Red-Tip Photinia.

This dwarf hawthorn does best in sunny or mostly sunny areas, with good drainage.  It makes a nice low, evergreen hedge or small group and has just a little bit different approach to life!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Corsican Violas and the Power of the Imagination

The Corsican Viola, or Viola corsica, is a sweet little Mediterranean relative of the pansy.  Flowers of indigo blue, a neat mounding habit and the ability to tolerate partial shade all serve to recommend this flower, but that's not why I like it.  Corsican Viola is also rumored to be a bit more heat-tolerant than our regular pansies and violas, but that's not why I like it.  Some folks even claim that Corsican Viola is perennial, and can reseed, but that's not why I like it.

Corsican viola, or Viola corsica
I love this flower because it's what I imagine the original viola was, before the plant breeders went crazy for wild color combinations and frilly petals. I like to think what it would have been like to come upon a clump of these charming purple flowers, while strolling behind a flock of fluffy white sheep as they meandered through the Mediterranean hills.

Somehow, more innocent than regular pansies and violas.
I know, I know.  The modern Corsican viola probably bears little resemblance to its original ancestor.  But still, there's something quaint and vaguely antique about it, after all.

Plant Corsican violas in full or partial sun.  Make sure the soil is well-draining and feed regularly.  Like its cousin the pansy, this viola is a fairly heavy feeder.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Limits of Local

Are you a locavore?  Do you garden organically?  Have you got a vegetable garden?  Are you a grower of native plants?  Perhaps you have vegetarian leanings?  Me, too.  There are lots of us who fit that particular demographic and I got to thinking about what it would mean if everyone did.  After the utopian rush, I started to feel a little nervous.

Where's MY farm?
I live in the coastal plain of Southeast Texas, on the outskirts of Houston, which is now the fourth-largest city in the US.  In 2009, there were 5.9 million people in the Houston metro area.  Houston itself is large -- the metro area encompasses almost 9,000 square miles or 5.76 million acres.  Some of this land is arable, some is not.  The picture above is a circle centered on my neighborhood, with a 100-mile radius.  Part of the problem immediately springs to mind.  A good chunk of the area within the 100-mile radius circle is underwater.  Frankly, speaking as a gardener here, much of the rest of it is pretty dang soggy too.

So.  What does locavorism mean for urban centers?  For cities on the coast?   For cities that abut desert lands, or marshes?  If we were serious about eating locally grown food, what exactly would we eat here, in the Houston area?  Stay tuned...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Native Plants, Native Pests, Cultivated Weeds

I'm always thinking about plants and reading about plants.  Sometimes a theme emerges, and lately it's the division between native and exotic plants, between weeds and cultivated plants. 

Arundo donax.  Exotic invasive in the US.
Among a certain set of gardeners, native plants are widely thought to make better garden choices because they are bred for their own specific environment, and are often food and/or shelter for native wildlife.  Fair enough.  I pretty much agree with this idea, in general.  In theory.  I guess.  Sometimes I'm a little disheartened at my garden's prospects, should I go native.  I live in what was once a vast coastal prairie that has now all but vanished.  I'm not sure it's even possible now to recreate the native environment on a scale as small as my yard.  Plus I think I'm too short to live in a tallgrass prairie.

Pennisetum purpuream.  Exotic.  Invasive in Florida.
But that's not really what's on my mind.  Here's a question: if native plants are best suited to the local environment, and native wildlife has evolved to use them for food and shelter, haven't native pests also evolved to prey on them?  If we broaden our idea of wildlife to include plant pathogens and irritating insects, would we be happy to plant natives for them? 

Elephant Ears (Colocasia).  Invasive exotic.
It's true that sometimes a plant actually thrives in a region far removed from its origins.  Sometimes it thrives so much it becomes a nasty invasive.  I'm thinking of the destruction wrought on the aforementioned coastal prairie by the Chinese Tallow tree, an exotic species gone wild.  Though it is not native to this area, it is certainly well-adapted here.  And we all can think of native plants that are notoriously fussy and hard to grow in their own, original environment.  The Dogwood (Cornus florida) springs to mind.

More on this subject later.  Weeds.  Crops.  Ornamentals.  Politics and policy.  What a tangled mess!

Friday, January 7, 2011

On Hardware, Software and Little Green Leaves

It's been a rather trying week at the garden center and it all seemed to come to a head on Friday.  I won't bore you with all the details, but we've been struggling with our computer system software and our little John Deere tractor. 

Joanie, Dear.  Good girl.
The supplies we need to unload are heavy -- the average pallet of soil or mulch weighs over a ton.  You need quite a bit of weight in the back to counterbalance the load.  It turns out that even an 800 lb. mower isn't quite enough.  What's required? A truck driver, a sales representative and a willing, if nervous, employee perched on the mower like anxious birds.  What happened next?  Back to the tractor store for a counseling session, a $14 part and a pep talk.  Then on to the garden center to fill the back tires with water for additional ballast.

Boo.  Hiss.
The computerized cash register system we chose is imperfect, as they all are.  No matter what the issue seems to be, the answer (cheerfully provided by helpful phone operators in a land far, far away) is the same.  Upgrade your product for an additional pile of money, and then perhaps it will work as advertised.  This week, I made an executive decision to stop throwing good money after bad where the computers are concerned.  We'll make do without the bells and whistles for a little while longer.  Deep breath.

Happy pansies.
It wasn't until late in the evening, while I was watering a few dry flats of winter flowers, that I was able to see how beautiful the sky really was.  How sweet the leaves of Salvia clevelandii smell.  How grateful the little pansies were for a drink of water. 

I'm glad I was able to take a moment to reconnect with the outside world.  It makes all the difference to end the week like that, among the green things.  Time enough next week for the glitches, gotchas and gimmicks.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Beautiful Sedum Palmeri

I always think of dry, hot weather when I think of sedum, but this lovely sedum palmeri is enjoying a rainy winter day in Richmond, Texas.  Now, it was warm for winter -- almost 72°!

Sedum palmeri
This sedum is native to Mexico, and it does produce yellow, starry flowers, but I love the soft pink blush on the edges of the mature leaves.  It's most at home in a light, well-draining soil with afternoon shade in the summer.  In fact, it would probably be happy with afternoon shade all year long -- a perfect hanging basket or container plant.

It's not altogether hardy here in zone 9A.  If we get the Arctic blast that's forecast for mid-month, I'll bring them in or cover them, especially since these are little baby plants.  Other than that, it's a reliably carefree plant!

Note:  this plant is also known as Sedum palmeri emarginatum.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Directions

High anxiety and great excitement, in equal parts.  That's what the new year holds for me, as I embark on my next big adventure.

My garden center, Papershell: A Garden Gallery, opens February 1, a scant 30 days from today!  I'm thrilled to be back in the business and excited to be working on something just a little bit different.  Let me tell you a little bit about Papershell.

Native Texas pecan

Why Papershell?  One of our most beautiful native trees is the pecan, and when the shells are thin and easy to crack, they're called papershells.  Pecan trees are a little wild, with a rangy habit.  They prefer the deep soils of the river bottom and when planted in the right spot can reach upwards of 100 feet tall.  The pecan is the Texas state tree, and the nuts are highly prized for holiday baking.

Solitary, by Jo Edwards
Why Garden Gallery?  We have an art gallery instead of a traditional garden center gift shop.  There are so many wonderful artists and craftspeople working in our own community!  It seemed silly to order mass-produced goods, shipped in from another country.  Our idea for the gallery: "Original art for original people."  Meet Jo Edwards, one of our featured artists this spring, at an Artist Chat on Saturday, February 5 at 4:00 pm.

But we're all about the plants, too.  We stock a nice mix of flowering plants, shrubs and trees along with seasonal herbs and vegetables.  We're so excited to partner with Urban Harvest in offering a 7-class gardening series this spring.  And we're proud to employ Texas Certified Nursery Professionals and Master Gardeners who are passionate about plants.  Real plants.  Real people.

So if you're in the area, stop by and say hello.  Have a cup of coffee.  Pick herbs in our community garden.  Wander beneath the trees for a while.  Get out in the country!  We're between Richmond and Rosenberg, just 2 miles off the freeway.  Here's a map -- we're looking forward to meeting you.

P.S. Find us on Facebook, too!