Newspaper Columns

Keith Hansen, Smith County Extension Agent, writes a column each week which is published in the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Keith HansenKeith Hansen’s blog

 The link above is to Keith’s blog which includes his column and other gardening news and tips.

Dee Bishop, Smith County Master Gardener, writes a weekly column which is published in the Tyler Morning Telegraph each week.

January 15th column

Pansies, the little faces of spring, give us hope in winter and earlyDSCN1843 copy spring.  We gardeners need lots of hope during the winter doldrums.  To feel the good earth in my fingers, to smell the wonderful compost under the mulch, to see anything that blooms gives me hope that spring is not too far away.  I yearn to get that soil under my fingernails, but it’s winter and too cold and too wet.  That’s why I love pansies and their little cousins, violets.  They promise me it won’t be much longer before I can get back out into the garden.

Pansies are such easy little flowers to use in any landscape or in winter pots and baskets.  On warm winter days, get out and take a deep breath of their blissful perfume.  I have hauled many flats of pansies and viola to our garden and have enjoyed riding with them in my car just to smell that perfume.  Pansies only ask for sun (or the hope of it) and good rich soil that is well drained.  They will rot when it rains a lot if the soil does not drain extra well.  Pinch the old blooms off and fertilize every month or so and  enjoy dozens of new blooms.  They will bloom well until hot weather sets in. More than a few really warm days will cause them to stretch and cease blooming.

I know you, like me, are so tired of these long gloomy winter days, but we must be patient.  Rain is what we need and lots of it.  Let’s welcome every drop and patiently wait.  The sun will shine again and once more we will be praying for rain.  Just think, all this rain will insure a beautiful spring for us, give our magnificent trees the water they have not gotten in so many years, and make East Texas radiantly beautiful once more.





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