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Many of us in the gardening community often look to a plant’s common name for its origins. Sometimes, there is proof in it, while other times, there is not. I will address that topic; but first, a bit about this vegetable.

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Perhaps because they’re common and familiar, no one I know gets excited to see an egret. These white, wading birds are easy to find in ditches, fields, pond edges, marshes and wetlands, where they can’t help but stand out against all that green and brown.

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Most gardeners would agree that we love a good rain. But there can come a time when there is too much of a good thing. Most of us have recently experienced a lot of rain with very little sunshine. Most soils in our areas can only take so much water at a time. After days of rain, water starts…

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If you can put dirt in it, you can plant in it. By using ordinary plants in unique containers you can achieve an extraordinary presentation. Unusual containers are limited only by your imagination – old pottery, kitchen utensils, vintage items, even items retrieved from the trash. Remember: …

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The rain this week has been wonderful. Those that collect rainwater should be especially happy. It use to be that when you’d mention collecting or harvesting rainwater people would think of farm cisterns or Third World countries. But today, rainwater harvesting has become a viable alternativ…

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Who hasn’t released a balloon in the air, either accidentally or intentionally? It’s fun to watch them float away on the wind and it seems like a peaceful way to honor a loved one. But you should think twice about releasing a balloon. As we learned in elementary school – what goes up must co…

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Autumn is a beautiful time in the garden. Enticed by cooler nights, spring bloomers that have suffered through our summer heat revive and start thriving again, while fall bloomers gloriously put on their own lovely show. Not to be outdone, some foliage plants join the celebration by greeting…

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September gets so many gardeners excited about planting, especially fall vegetable gardens. Fall can be a wonderful time for all kinds of planting activities, and cooler temperatures can make the most usual varieties of fall vegetable crops taste so much better than those grown during spring…

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Fall migration is underway, and the rains this week brought in some species we had not observed yet this fall at GCBO’s Quintana Neotropic Bird Sanctuary. Several species of warblers, hummingbirds and flycatchers have all shown up on their journey south.

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Every gardener dreams of the ideal plant for display at home, at the office or on a patio. Succulents thrive on neglect, have beautiful blossoms that catch the eye – and some have the most unique structures. They just might be ideal for your setting.

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Mention the word wildfire, and I bet that most of you would quickly think of all the fires that are occurring in California. Fortunately, not all fires are as horrible and destructive as those.

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It began just before dusk, parked in a Harlingen cul-de-sac. We watched from the car as the trees filled with a flock of about 70 pairs, families and larger groups. We watched as they spent the dwindling minutes of light in play, preening and with parents feeding their begging youngsters.

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Have you thought about the soil that’s under your lawn, the soil that’s also growing your vegetables and herbs or maybe your flowerbeds? Probably not.

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Have you ever run so fast that you had to stop and wait for your brain to catch up with what you saw while running? No? Well, it happens to tiger beetles all the time.

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Do you enjoy the taste of fresh vegetables but don’t have the time or physical ability to establish and maintain a traditional ground-level garden? Do you have limited space in your yard for a garden?

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It is estimated there are close to 25-30 million species of insects on the planet today. The most well-known are the ones that cause diseases or interfere with agricultural products used by humans. The majority of insects in the world are considered beneficial to humans as well as the environment.

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At the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, we’ve been seeing and hearing the first of the ruby-throated hummingbirds that signal fall migration has started. It appears the jeweled warriors with a sweet tooth are on their way.

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When a scientist or botanist names plants, it is based on original descriptions of the plant. These plant names consist of two parts. The first part is the genus in Latin (until 2012 when English was first allowed for ease in naming) that describes a certain characteristic of a plant, with t…

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August is typically the least busy month of the year for most gardeners. The heat and humidity just don’t make digging in the soil as fun and gratifying as other times of the year. But, there are many gardening chores that can still be done by really dedicated gardeners – preferably during e…

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Each year, birders lament the hot months toward the end of summer as birds are not as plentiful and the temps soar. But as always, in nature, something amazing is going on even in these dog days of summer. Those little (and not-so-little) shorebirds you see on the beaches and at times in gra…

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If you think it is hot now…just wait until tomorrow. August can bring extremely high temperatures in South Texas plus little or no rain which together can quickly put our gardens at risks. Even the most skilled gardeners must dig deep into their bag of tricks to keep their garden flourishing…