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Over the years I have become an ardent admirer of bulbs of all types. Bulbs are easy to plant and care for and are suitable for beds or containers. It’s hard to believe that so much beauty can come from such humble origins.

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Since 1992, the Internal Medicine Department has held its alumni reunion with a dinner at Gaido’s for physician alumni. This year’s dinner honored Dr. Marc (and Debbie) Shabot. He was recognized for initiating the association and for his hard work over the past 27 years organizing the annual…

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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You can invite butterflies into your landscape if you provide the right conditions and the right plants. If you want butterflies in your yard, there are certain things to do and certain things not to do.

  • Dr. William M. Johnson
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April is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoor garden, especially after an unusually cold winter season. Landscapes that were turned dull brown are beginning to display vibrant colors that remind gardeners of the benefits of gardening in the Upper Texas Gulf Coast region.

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  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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Amaryllis is a popular bulb that will be providing stellar performances in many local landscapes over the coming weeks. Even though the leaves of amaryllis plants were frozen back to the ground from the cold snaps in January, the below-ground bulbs rapidly generated new growth that will prod…

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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I received a call last week from a Friendswood resident. She was excited that she was finally able to establish a respectable bed of bluebonnets in her front yard. She was also mystified that several bluebonnets produced pink flowers!

  • Dr. William M. Johnson
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When does spring arrive here in Galveston County? That depends on whom you ask and how they gauge the arrival of spring. For some gardeners, the distinctive flush of flowers produced by Texas redbud trees is a sure sign. For others, it’s the delightful smell of grape chewing gum produced by …

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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Last weekend was likely a pleasant and busy one for most gardeners as they cleaned up landscapes damaged by winter’s freezing temperatures. Many plants in home landscapes may appear to be dead at first glance including Blue Plumbagos. Blue Plumbagos rank as one of my favorite perennials. Yes…

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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The first day of spring will arrive in a few days at 11:15 p.m. March 20, according to the astronomical definition). From a gardening perspective, the exact timing of “spring” is less precise.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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The master gardener volunteers sponsored a spring plant seminar and sale last Saturday at the rodeo area at the county fairgrounds. Weather conditions on the day of a sale are always a concern. Our bar for ideal weather for the spring plant sale is quite low: no freezing temperatures, no den…

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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It’s the middle of February and the Master Gardener annual Spring Plant Seminar and Sale is nearing. This year’s seminar and sale will be conducted Feb. 17 in the Rodeo Arena at the Galveston County Fairgrounds along Highway 6 in Hitchcock.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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The winter season has provided something for everyone: days warm enough to turn on the air conditioner then nights cool enough to have to turn on the heating system. We’ve had ample rains at times, some impressive thunder and even some snow (though technical speaking the snow arrived during …

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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For growing purposes in our Texas Upper Gulf Coast growing area, herbs can be loosely grouped into cool season-annuals, warm-season annuals (which live for one season and then die) and perennials (which live for several years). Some gardeners grow herbs as ornamentals for their beauty and ap…

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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When did our landscapes move north? Are we not situated on the balmy Gulf Coast of Texas? Should our USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map rating be changed?

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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Many Gulf Coast gardeners think of gardening as a spring and summer activity. As I walked through the Master Gardener Discovery Garden in Carbide Park last week on a very cool and misty Thursday morning, I was inspired by the abundance of winter vegetables being grown — broccoli, cauliflower…

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When you think of citrus, images of grapefruits, lemons, limes, and oranges are most likely to come to mind. It’s unfortunate that the citrus you see in the supermarket represents a very small portion of the variety of citrus that can be grown locally.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and others are collaborating to offer water testing opportunities for Galveston County private well owners affected by floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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Last Saturday, I took a stroll through the Discovery Garden located near the AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park. I experienced a moment of déjà vu as I approached a vegetable bed maintained by Master Gardener Aulvey Campbell. He has nurtured a bountiful crop of healthy mustard greens …

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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While the calendar indicated that the fall season arrived several weeks ago, gardeners had to wait a while for proof. I experienced two acceptable forms of proof last week: 1) I had to turn the heater on in my car last Wednesday when driving home, and 2) I had to turn the heating unit at hom…

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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At last, real fall weather conditions have arrived to start the week and cooler temperatures will grace our area for more than a day or two. Cooler mornings in October will make it a joy to get out and work in the home vegetable garden.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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If you missed the 2017 Master Gardener Fall Plant Sale last Saturday, you will have another opportunity. Master gardeners will conduct a sequel to the fall plant sale from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday at the Discovery Garden in Carbide Park, 4102 Main St., in La Marque.

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  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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Most gardeners have been anticipating the arrival of the first “genuine” cool front. With all due respect to the science of meteorology, my definition of a cool front in the fall is one that gets your attention by immediately uplifting your spirit when you first walk outside in the morning.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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Periodically, I am asked how I decide what topic to write about in this weekly column. Well, sometimes it’s a straightforward process as in last week’s column about pruning and fertilizing plants in the landscape.

  • By MARGARET CANAVAN
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Hurricane Ike caused the loss of 40,000 trees on Galveston Island. The Galveston Island Tree Conservancy was formed to address that loss and has replaced over 15,000 through grant-funded plantings and giveaways.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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Weeds in the landscape. Weeds in the vegetable garden. Just about every gardener has their own weed or army of weeds to disparage or groan about.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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The dog days of August have arrived. Daytime temperatures have already danced around the century mark during the last week of July so there is no need to remind you that August is the peak of the heat season in Galveston County.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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Have you ever had a landscape tree die, even though it was properly planted, fertilized and watered? If so, you would be in the company of many homeowners who were well-meaning in their actions but unknowingly played an adversarial role that would eventually result in the demise of a tree.

  • By WILLIAM JOHNSON
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At this intensely hot time of year, I like to remind people how important shade trees are in our landscapes. Even more, the hot summer months are the best time to determine where additional shade is needed.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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The last days of June ended with an abundance of rainfall and surprisingly cooler temperatures.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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Q: The trunk of my pecan tree has several horizontal layers of numerous holes with each layer spaced an inch or two apart with the holes in each layer being rather evenly spaced from each other. What caused the holes?

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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People commonly take their longest vacations in summer and they generally remember to make arrangements to have someone take care of everything from their pets to the newspaper.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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While gardeners love flowers for the beauty they provide to the home landscape, few gardeners grow flowers for eating. That’s a shame because many flowers, in addition to being edible, bring lively flavors, colors, and textures to salads, soups, casseroles, and other dishes.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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The closing days of May provided some unusually cool weather conditions. June will soon arrive and signal the start of the summer season.

  • By WILLIAM M.JOHNSON Correspondent
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During midmorning last Saturday, I was sitting on a bench in the herb garden located within Fruits ‘n Such Orchard’s pick-your-own operation in Dickinson. Fruits ‘n Such Orchard was one of the sites featured on the Home Orchard and Garden Tour conducted last weekend.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON
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The master gardener volunteers and Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office will co-sponsor a Fruit Orchard and Garden Tour on Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to noon. The program is free of charge and open to the public.

  • By WILLIAM M. JOHNSON Correspondent
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Q: Clumps of some type of organism have suddenly appeared on the trunks of my crape myrtle and oak trees. The clumps look like bark except they move one area on the tree trunk to another area throughout the day. What might they be?

  • By GALVESTON ARTS CENTER
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The Galveston Arts Center will present its Life Drawing Studio from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through May 22, June 5 through 26, July 17 through Aug. 7, Aug. 28 through Sept. 25, and Oct. 16 through Nov. 6 at 2127 Strand St. in Galveston.