The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 9020 Airport Road in Conroe is closed until April 13th. For gardening questions, please send an email to email@example.com and someone will respond as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
The MCMGA Spring Plant Sale has been CANCELED
|The mission of the Montgomery County Master Gardener Association is to educate the community through fellowship and demonstration using research-based gardening information.|
MCMGA Gardening Class Schedule
(The March 28th Spring Plant Sale has been canceled!)
Plant of the Month
With two birthdays in the month it’s only natural that my family have an affinity for the March birth flower: the daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). Daffodils are wonderful, cheerful flowers that just shout that spring has sprung. They are colorful, easy to grow and, maybe best of all, deer and rodent resistant.
The most popular of the daffodils is the Yellow Trumpeter seen gracing many southern gardens; however, the American Daffodil Society recognizes thirteen types of daffodils with more than 25,000 different cultivars.
With that many cultivars it can be hard to decide what varieties to plant. The National Garden Bureau suggests these top 10 favorites:
- Dutch Master
- Barrett Browning
- Orange Progress
- Pink Pride
- Golden Echo
Daffodils are not picky about the type of soil they are planted in and will grow in sun or dappled shade. Bulbs are planted in the fall, are winter hardy in Zones 3-8 and can be left in the ground to
return and multiply year after year. Daffodil bulbs have been known to return for more than 30 years with little care given to them. For the lazy gardener they are an ideal plant. If you missed planting bulbs you can find flowering plants in nurseries that can be transplanted to your garden. Each spring they will come back in increasing numbers.
Plant multiple varieties of daffodils in mass to get 4-6 weeks of low maintenance flowers that return each spring. They will also make great container plants for those who have no garden space.
Daffodils are endearing flowers symbolizing enduring love, just one more reason to add this beautiful flower to your garden.
Written by Cliff Blackerby,
March in the Garden
With warmer temperatures and longer days there is a flurry of activities in the garden.
Trimming and Pruning – If you have not already done so trim those shrubs and hedges and cut down ornamental grasses. Although, Roses are usually pruned on Valentine’s Day you can still finish pruning your roses before the middle of the month and before buds have begun to swell. Remember to cut once blooming roses after they finished putting out their show in April, otherwise you will be cutting off their blooms. Some roses require only a light trim (1/3 off), others can take a shearing down to 1-2 ft. But, all benefit from getting the four D’s treatment, which is removing, Dead, Diseased, Damaged and Deranged (stems/branches rubbing against each other) branches.
Mulch – Mulch your flower beds and vegetable area. A layer of 2-4 inches of mulch is an effective weed barrier for weeds that lay dormant in the soil. It also reduces loss of moisture and keeps roots cooler in the hot days of summer.
Fertilize – Fertilize you flower and vegetable beds now and wait to fertilize your lawn after you have mowed at least two times and the lawn has had a chance to put out new growth. If it is not actively growing it cannot utilize the fertilizer effectively, but the weeds will.
Planting – March is also a great time to plant perennials and annuals before spring becomes summer within a fortnight.
Seeding – It is probably too late to start tomato seeds, but you can buy plants at the Spring Sale and get them in the ground immediately to get established before summer arrives. You can start seeds of squash, chard, peppers, and cucumbers indoors now and plant early April. Don’t forget your basil.
Be sure to visit us at the Spring Plant Sale, Saturday March 28th from 8:00 am for the pre-sale program and 9:00 am until 12:00 Noon for the sale. The address is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension at 9020 Airport Road in Conroe, Tx. 77303.
Written by Elisabeth Castro
Critter of the Month
Friend or foe? Mud Daubers (or dirt daubers) are small wasps, ¾ – 1 inch long which are identified by their long narrow waist. They vary in color from black with bright yellow markings to iridescent blue-black. They look like Potter Wasps, which are smaller, 3/8 – ¾ inch long, and have black and yellow markings on their body and the narrow waist.
There are many species of Mud Daubers which, are also called Hunting Wasps or Solitary Wasps since they do not form colonies as the social wasps (paper wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets) do. The females build the entire nest and do all the work needed to feed their young.
The black-and-yellow female Mud Dauber gathers bits of mud to create her nest made into cells.
They like to build their nests under eaves and overhangs of buildings. Once the nest is completed,
the mated female wasp hunts for specific types of larvae which she paralyzes with her stinger and carries off to her nest. Eggs are laid on the larvae, the mud nests are then sealed off and abandoned.
Each species hunts for different types of larvae. The iridescent Blue Mud Dauber renovates abandoned nests of the black-and-yellow Mud Dauber by carrying water to the nest to remold it and stock it with spiders, mainly Black Widows.
Mud Daubers, although, capable of stinging are hardly ever aggressive and do not have the strong venom of social wasps. At worse, their nests are considered a nuisance when found in garages and under eaves of buildings or in storage sheds. Adult Mud Daubers feed on nectar and pollen and aphid honeydew.
Step Into Our Gardens….
By Pat Sheridan, Master Gardener
A garden organized around a unifying theme is a theme garden. Ideas for theme gardens are limitless. There are Japanese gardens, butterfly gardens, rose gardens, and vegetable gardens, to name just a few. Here at the AgriLife Extension, we have several examples of theme gardens: the children’s discovery garden, the square foot garden, the fairy garden, and the culinary herb garden, and more.
Checkout the Shakespeare Garden…
Within the Herb Area lies the Shakespeare Garden:
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows…” A Midsummer Night’s Dream
“Rosemary, that’s for remembrance…” Ophelia
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose…” Romeo and Juliet
Did you know that herbs and other plants were frequently mentioned in the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare? It seems that he was very knowledgeable of the characteristics and uses of many plants. In his day (the 1600s), plants had symbolic significance. Every mention is thought to be important to the story. His writings speak about more than 30 different herbs and flowers and the settings were sometimes in gardens.
Our Shakespeare garden features bronze fennel, creeping thyme, chamomile, yarrow, rosemary, bay laurel, tansy, rue, the red rose, but plants may vary with the season and weather conditions. We even have a bust of old Will himself to watch over the plants in his garden.
Some well- known public gardens in America that contain areas dedicated to Shakespeare are located in Central Park in New York City, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and on the Folger Shakespeare Library grounds, Washington, D.C. Closer to home, Festival Hill and Mercer Botanical Gardens are worth a visit.