Over 1.4 million Houstonians garden for a hobby or pastime, and GardenLine is where they listen for advice and information on gardening and landscaping.
Every Saturday and Sunday morning from 6 to 10, GardenLine's Randy Lemmon answers listeners' questions on everything from aphids to zoysias. He's Houston's absolute expert on lawns and gardens, offering help to listeners both with and without "green thumbs."
Randy's a Texas Aggie who truly KNOWS plants and flowers. He explains them with ease and candor, and is as competent a "plant person" as there is. He studies, and he practices. He embraces "new methods" as well as the "old" ways of dealing with problems. Call for Randy's solution for your question ... 713-212-KTRH (5874).
With days growing shorter and shadows growing longer, fall can seem a bit drab for some folks. The easiest way to brighten up your landscape is with fall color.
Nothing provides as much impact as annuals. Unfortunately, we are in that "gray" area of the calendar ... too late for heat-loving annuals like vinca, and too early for cool-season annuals like pansies and snapdragons. But, there are some color elements you can add, such as petunias and dianthus.
Every year at about this time, I get into debates with many of the nurseries I swear by and always send you to. While you see them offer pansies and snaps, I suggest that you wait until at least Halloween or the first serious cold spell to begin planting them. They have come from growers and are for sale early for a reason: some customers refuse to listen to logic and want 'em no matter what. So, they must supply that foolhardy market.
Anyway, October and November are considered by professionals to be the two best landscaping months. So, if you're hankerin' to get busy, but know you need to hold off on the cool-season annuals, you can start building beds and transplanting evergreen landscape shrubs. Many plants can be set out now, and their roots will have plenty of time to establish before winter comes rolling along. It doesn't matter how ragged the leaves of a transplanted tree look, or even if they lose all their leaves upon transplant. The most important thing for October is root establishment. And, unless your backside is glued to a lounge chair watching football, I don't think you'll find weather as amenable as it is right now and will be for the next couple of months.
What if you aren't a do-it-yourselfer? Almost every Houston landscape company knows that October and November are the best times to revamp. So, you can usually get price breaks from landscapers at this time of the year.
October is also the perfect time to replace plants lost to last summer's drought or gardening negligence. Most nurseries have the lowest prices of the year on plants right now. I don't think I'm giving away any industry secrets ... if they can avoid keeping any plant in stock during the winter, they'll be very happy.
And October is bulb-buying month. They are in fresh supply and can provide welcome late-winter and early-spring color. Bulbs that can be planted right after purchasing include daffodils, flowered jonquils, species tulips and grape hyacinths. The larger showy tulips and hyacinths need to be refrigerated 45-60 days to bloom properly next year. Plant them anytime from late November through early January.
We have no official GardenLine appearance or event this weekend, but we'll make up for in a big way next weekend as MicroLife Fertilizers sponsors our visit to Enchanted Gardens 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat., Sept. 29. It'll be the perfect time to get annuals, and shrubbery. Plus, we will be giving away a bunch of MicroLife products, including two blooming-plant products that have revolutionized the fertilizer market.