Vineyard Work to be completed
Count and identify remaining plants-Completed
Record Plant results/yield
“A message from the President”
November Message From the President
When I began my training to become a Master Gardener, the first frost in North-central Texas could be expected around mid-October. The last frost was usually around mid-March. The growing season in North Texas is probably several weeks longer today, than it was twenty years ago. This past winter we saw a Valentine’s Day freeze unlike anything experienced in many generations. Plant nurseries throughout the state were forced to deal with sub-zero temperatures. Those who didn’t have time to start new seedlings, often lost their entire inventory.
If you would like to learn more about what types of extreme climate conditions to expect in the future, the program we are planning for our November 15th meeting might interest you. Jeff Ray (https://dfw.cbslocal.com/personality/jeff-ray/), meteorologist for local, CBS affiliates will present a program regarding climate change and how it might effect gardeners.
Jeff will begin the program at 2:00 pm. Master Gardeners will be given first priority for seating but the general public will be given the opportunity the sit in on the presentation. The program will be held in the conference room of the Johnson County Extension Office, 109 W. Chambers Street, Cleburne, TX, 76033. You can call the Extension Office at (817) 556-6375, if you are interested in attending.
Russell Farm Viticulture Trial 2021
We have begun the 4th growing season for our 5 year Trial Vineyard. We were concerned about the snow and freeze and vine damage, but it appears that we have come out unscathed! The vines are growing and budding and several have berries . It looks like it will be a productive year, if we can keep the critters from eating all the grapes. I pruned all the vines a couple weeks ago and I took pictures today (4-13-2021) to show the growth so far. Please stop by and check the vines out for yourself.
Johnson County Master Gardener Pam O’Hearn is teaching upcoming Junior Master Gardener’s, at Russell Farm. Great job Pam! If you know of any children interested in becoming Junior Master Gardeners, please contact your Johnson County Agriculture Extension Agent (below).
Guinn Gardens at Buffalo Creek
Joyce Block’s “Block”
(information from a Master Gardener)
Winter blooming plants
By Joyce Block
Walking past a color bed at work the other day, I noticed that the Quince had started blooming! This started me thinking about what else is blooming, besides annuals this time of the year. What I have discovered are, Azaleas, Camellias and of course, the Quince.
With the weather fluctuating between seventy above one day, and a high in the high 20’s the next day, our annuals have taken a beating. Adding shrubs that bloom during the late winter will give your yard color.
Azaleas and Rhododendron bloom in the early spring. There are several types of hybrid azaleas that bloom more than one time of year. Encore Azalea and Bloom-a-thon Azaleas from Proven Winners will bloom during the spring, summer, and fall. The traditional Azalea and Rhododendrons only bloom in the spring. These plants also need acid soil. The best way to grow these plants are to have them in containers. The other method to lower the pH of your soil is to add sulfur. It takes about ten to 15 pounds of sulfur over 1,000 square feet to drop the pH one point. Mulching them with pine bark will help hold the moisture in the soil.
A neutral pH of soil is 7, anything below that would be considered an acid soil. Think about where you see these plants growing naturally, it is out in East Texas by Tyler and Louisiana. These plants are winter hardy in our area, and like moist, but not wet soil. Azaleas are a broadleaf evergreen; this means they keep their leaves during the winter. They are an understory plant and prefer some shade. Many people say that they can be grown in full sun, but I have not seen much success with the plants in the sun. Azaleas range in height from two feet to six foot tall and wide.
Camellias are another winter blooming plant; they are also known as a tea plant. Camellia sinensis has a cream to white colored flower and is the original tea plant. Camellia japonica is the plant that has the most noticeable blooms. They bloom in a range of color from white to red to pink. Like Azaleas, the Camellias also love the acid soil and are another great shade plant. These plants start blooming around the start of the holidays and continue through the spring. Camellias are also a broadleaf evergreen. You can find them in the nurseries in early fall.
Quince is unique, as it blooms before the leaves come out. It can be grown in any type of soil and enjoys the sun. The ones I saw blooming today do receive some shade in the late afternoon, usually around 3 p.m. Quince’s flowers come in red, orange, white and pink.
If you feel like you are tired of not seeing anything blooming, check out the local, independent garden centers in the fall for any of these plants.
Joyce Block lives in Alvarado, TX, and watches plants bloom at her work.
Meet your County Extension Agent
Justin Taylor Hale
Extension Agent, Johnson County, Texas
A&M AgriLife Extension Service
109 W. Chambers St. Cleburne, TX 76003
For more information contact Master Gardener Elaine Bell at 817-309-8052.