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Figs are a classic southern treat that grow especially well in South Central Texas south of the line from Houston to San Antonio. The fruits are prized for their rich sweet taste and are high in natural sugars, minerals and soluble fiber.

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September is the peak of ruby-throated hummingbirds’ fall migration. They are passing through Brazoria County in throngs during their southbound journey to their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America.

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It’s time again to release trichogramma wasps to prevent destructive fall worms from defoliating and stressing trees and plants. Depending on the current weather conditions, we could be seeing webworms and possibly a few other destructive worms any day now. I have already had a couple of gar…

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I often feel that dealing with nature can be so much like dealing with our bodies. When someone comes to me with a plant problem, it can sometimes take a lot of questioning and discussion to figure out exactly what’s going on with the plant. Just as your doctor would do for you if you were t…

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African hosta (Ledebouria petiolate) is a native of Southern and Eastern Africa that performs very well in the Victoria area. Also known as “false” hosta, it is not a hosta at all but shares many of the beautiful characteristics of a true hosta. This is welcome news for local gardeners who f…

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Black skimmers are water birds that are found along beaches, bays and inlets along the Texas Coast. They are identified by their black and white feathers, long wings and their very unique black and orange bills in which the top bill is shorter than the bottom bill. They get their namesake fr…

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Gardening has changed from yesterday to today, and tomorrow is our challenge in the lives of our children.

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They are starting to show up a few at a time. They are staking out their favorite flowers and feeders. Their buzzing wing beats can be heard in gardens up and down the Upper Texas Coast. They are fast and feisty. And they love sugar water. They are back.

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Althea (hibiscus syriacus) is an old-fashioned, deciduous shrub that blooms from spring through the summer.

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Have you ever seen a large, black bird with a forked tail that looks prehistoric soaring above the beach? Those are magnificent frigatebirds, and they are indeed magnificent.

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True gardeners obviously enjoy, to some degree or another, being in their gardens. Many are totally obsessed with being out in nature and growing all sorts of plants. But over the years, I have discovered these same people who enjoy and love all the aspects of gardening also love and enjoy h…

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Mention the word spider and many people freak out. I don’t know what it is about these little creatures, but I do know that many people hate them. The majority of spiders are actually very beneficial, especially to gardeners because they eat many bad bugs we battle in our gardens. Spiders ar…

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Are you looking to get in shape, burn calories, strengthen your muscles, become more flexible, make your step quota, find your Zen state, get your head on straight and absorb some vitamin D? Of course, you are. But wait, there’s more.

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It may be difficult to believe with the heat we’ve been subjected to lately, but fall is coming. At the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in Lake Jackson, that means a switch in the research we’re focused on and the birds we’re paying attention to. As summer releases its grasp and the seasons chan…

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The yellow butterfly vine (Mascagnia macroptera) is the 2019 Texas Superstar selection. This designation is reserved for beautiful plants that have passed rigid statewide testing and are found to be relatively disease-free, easy to propagate and grow well all over Texas.

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The breeding season for most shorebirds such as the least tern and Wilson’s plover is slowing down for the season. The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is beginning to monitor for non-breeding season. Migrating shorebirds are arriving for the winter. The non-breeding season usually begins in Sept…

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When asked to define organic gardening, sometimes referred to as natural gardening, I usually say it’s all about the soil. A rich, healthy soil full of biological life is the main ingredient in an organic garden. Today’s gardeners can have a variety of soil types to deal with – from loose an…

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The native section of Victoria Educational Gardens (VEG) is part of the original Phase I. For several years, I have been the chairperson of this area. Gardeners often ask for information about native plants, so I have created a list of six favorites to incorporate in Victoria and surrounding…

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Spend some time walking around in a forest and odds are good that you would see the root flares of most of the trees growing there. It is natural to find tree root flares in nature but not so much in landscapes. Nature knows how important the exposed root flares are for trees. Slowly, tree g…

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Events of recent weeks have renewed patriotic spirit in and for the citizens of this country. Observing the 75th anniversary commemoration of D-Day on the beaches and cliffs of Normandy, France, on June 6, parades and fireworks displays in our nation’s capital and across the country July 4, …

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Anyone who has been involved with gardening for a few years has probably heard some garden myths. Many garden tips can be scientifically proven facts, while others have been proven to be untrue.

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Living along the Upper Texas Coast, most of us see herons and egrets daily. They live and feed along our beaches, bayous, ponds and even city drainage canals. We see them out in agricultural fields and grassy areas. At times, even sitting high up in trees as well as pastures and the occasion…

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Recycling dead wood limbs to create a succulent display by adding natural elements to your home or patio can be very rewarding. I have worked with succulents as in one to a pot or a group to a container but not dead wood.

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Most experienced gardeners realize that some plants need more water than others. When is the best time to water? There are so many variables involved, I don’t believe there is a concrete answer. For a very general answer, the best of time would be during the early morning hours.

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Do you enjoy gardening and want to learn more while making new friends who share this avocation? Do you want to share your accumulated knowledge with other gardeners and your community?

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As summer has rolled around and temperatures have steadily increased, the activity levels of many organisms have also increased. Mammals, insects, birds and even plants are enjoying the warmer weather and plentiful resources.

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It’s about this time of the year when many spring vegetable gardens start fizzling out. Most of the crops have produced to the best of their ability and are now getting leggy and nonproductive. It’s time to pull most of these plants out and get ready for the fall garden. Nonproductive plants…

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Colorful, dramatic leaf and flower combinations. Easy to grow and maintain. It likes most South Texas soils. It will produce leaves year-round and flowers in spring and summer in our area of Texas. What are you waiting for?

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I realize that spending much time outdoors these days just isn’t very pleasant. It is hot, and the humidity just makes the outdoors so much more unpleasant. But those of us whow are passionate about our gardens and lawns know there are outdoor chores to be done almost every day of the year, …

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With high winds and currents occurring these past months, more and more Portuguese man-of-war have been observed washed ashore along the Texas Coast. These creatures should be avoided at all cost and beachgoers should take caution. Here are some interesting facts about them, tips on how to a…

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It’s that time of year again when it takes something pretty cool (pun intended) to get me outside on the weekend. Since I spend a good part of my work days outside, I’m pretty fond of sitting in the air conditioning on summer weekends. But there is one bird that’s worth looking for, and I’ve…

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When I first heard the name “standing cypress,” I thought it was a tree. I have since learned that it is a beautiful, flowering biennial herb and wildflower.

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What’s in a name? To quote William Shakespeare, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Well, Bill, I’m not so sure about that.

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The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory headquarters building in Lake Jackson is on 34 acres of Brazoria bottomland forest along the Camp Buffalo Bayou. Beautiful green forests are surrounded by water. Even though right off SH 332 and just outside town, it feels and looks like you are far into natur…

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In my gardens, I grow all kinds of plants plus a lot of other things. Things like birds, squirrels, raccoons, lizards, snakes, turtles and lots of assorted insects and butterflies. Someone commented the other day on all the lizards he had noticed as he was walking around. He seemed to find i…

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Have you ever wondered where the vegetables we eat came from? Well, I did – and decided to find out. To start with, I made a list of different vegetables. Then I started researching ones that were of interest to me.

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The coral bean is a deciduous, lanky, small tree with beautiful dark red blooms making it a striking garden accent. You can find it growing in the xeriscape area at the Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens at Victoria Regional Airport. You might know the coral bean as cardinal spear,…

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For several years, the end of May through the first of June has brought different varieties of unwanted worms and caterpillars to our landscapes. Recently, I have had a few reports of spring cankerworms being a problem. I usually don’t hear much about spring cankerworm problems, but periodic…

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If you have paid any attention to your flower beds or vegetable gardens in the past few weeks, chances are you have noticed lots of small garden snails. You might have also noticed damage to some of your plants caused by these garden snails.

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The Wilson’s plover is a type of shorebird that breeds along the Texas coast. It is not federally protected, but it is definitely a species we should be more concerned about due to its population decline. It is considered threatened and endangered in some parts of the U.S., but because the m…

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Have you ever longed for a plant that came up year after year, bloomed late spring to fall and was relatively trouble-free? Yarrow could be the plant for you.

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