Master Gardener Gay Larson shares insights on gardening and beautifying your home.
My lawn in Deer Creek during the Spring timeHere it is Easter weekend, the Easter bunny is coming to hide eggs in our lawn and it is bright green.
A closer look by a knowledgeable bunny will see that the bright green is not lush grass but prolific weeds that have been mowed close to the ground to prevent seeds heads from forming for a later influx of weeds.
The weed seed heads will germinate and choke out the grass plus take all the sunshine and moisture if you let them get too tall.
Now is the time to fertilize your lawn and flower beds.
I usually tell those that ask, “Do I need to fertilize?” Yes, having grass and flowers and not fertilizing it is like having an animal and not feeding it.
The pet may live but will have to forage for food and will not look healthy. So, yes, fertilize the lawn and flower beds now; but the question this year, with the abundant weeds, do I fertilize my weeds?
The first thing to remember is that we live in calcareous clay soils in most of Parker County. If you have sandy soil, I do not know how to help you with fertilizing since my expertise is with the awful clay soils.
Reading the fertilizer labelIf you will notice when you go to purchase your fertilizer there are 3 numbers on the front of the bag.
That is the determination of: 1st number is nitrogen, the 2nd number is phosphorus, and the 3rd is potassium or aka potash.
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Dad's Tree: A young tree blown over by this week's windstorm.
My dad’s newly planted memorial tree was blown over. It was planted in January and without a good root system, it could not take those hurricane winds this week.
Of course, as a master gardener I knew that I needed to stake the tree but alas it is hard to remember that in the still of the winter days.
I did put a tarp over the roots so they would not dry out in the wind and when my husband got home it was like magic, the wind died almost completely right before the rain.
We pushed the tree upright made sure it was plumb (looked at it from all four directions) and replanted it. Yes, we did stake it with heavy rope this time. A strong wire, heavy cord or rope will work. A thin rope or twine will not be enough if your tree is medium to large size.
Garden hoseWe cut a piece of garden hose and slid it on to the rope, where it would be located right around the “V” angle of trunk then drove stakes in the ground to secure it. The rope was taut but loose but not too loose.
How to explain…..enough for the tree to grow some and not cut through the bark of the trunk, an example is: be able to put your thumb between the hose and the trunk. The tree will want wiggle room. Daddy’s live oak should do well since we got 3.73 inches of rain on Monday. (Click read more below for full post).
Iris at Community Center
As a Parker County Master Gardener and a Tarrant County Master Gardener, with 2 gardening acres in Deer Creek, a host of children with flower beds, and designer and caretaker of the front entrance to Deer Creek subdivision, I have somewhere to garden every day.
I also landscape a homeless shelter, Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth, as a Tarrant County Master Gardener.
This makes me very busy but very happy.
I am a new transplant from the city, as the old-timers in Aledo call anyone that did not grow up here in this area.
Rolf, my husband, moved here in 1988 and I came in 1990. We used to eat at the Pete’s Deli most weeks and I would hear the comments from the old-timers about how the new comers were ruining East Parker County.
Rolf and I began trying to make ourselves accepted by them by doing our best to beautify the area as much as possible and I think we have done a really good job.
When our daughter was in 5th grade, I planted trees at Vandagriff Elementary School and met with the principal to plan some landscaping.
Purple Iris at Community CenterAlso, at the request of various teachers, I planted trees with the children attending McAnally when it was first built. Spent one whole summer watering trees, but in 1998 the drought got them. Made me sad and made me mad.
I had bought a water hose to place by the school building but I don’t think anyone watered the whole summer. My husband Rolf says I should not run around and water every tree in Parker County – but I want to when I see them in distress.
I did some consulting work at various subdivisions to design their front entrance. Residents saw the handiwork at Aledo City Hall property and wanted my input.
It makes me happy to drive by now and see the plantings still going strong and making an impact on a nice neighborhood. My observation is nice people like to garden.
I was one of the 12 that started Parker County Master Gardeners. We are called the “Dirty Dozen.”
Aledo was started as a project for us in 1998. Actually before that, I was a 4-H horticulture volunteer teacher and we built the flowerbeds around the community center as a project.
As a master gardener, on Wednesday morning, we take care of those same beds.
If you look close you will see the lilacs blooming right now. Joe King’s mother planted those when that was their home place very many years ago.
The lilac that is blooming in the newly built berm was transplanted to make way for the road that is going to be built this year, coming right down the middle of city hall property. We moved the lilac in January so I figured it would go into shock and not bloom this year but I think it is doing better than it did last year. Wonderful.
At Aledo Community Center, the iris are starting to bloom – the white pops out first, then the many different colors appear, staggering the blooms so that the iris bed blooms for about 2 months in the spring.
These irises are donations from all the residents around East Parker County that wanted to share with us when we built the bed that is to the west of community center.
One good story: a lady was smoking a cigarette and standing in the iris bed one morning as I drove by. I stopped to see what she was doing in our very blooming bed.
She said she figured that the property was public, she assumed it would be okay to get some beautiful iris and take home to plant for herself.
Stealing iris, you got to be kidding! I was in such shock to have that happen I simply told her that I had planted them for all the residents to enjoy, not just her.
She left in a huff, cigarette smoke billowing out of the car window and took her new irises, blooms and all as I stood in the parking lot with incredulity on my face. I suppose that was the ultimate compliment.
I will blog what is going on at Deer Creek front entrance, Aledo city hall and the community center, plus any horticulture news that I think you will enjoy.
Parker County Master Gardener
Tarrant County Master Gardener
Iris blooming outside the Community Center.