Submitted by Julie Conner, Somervell County Master Gardener
By Joan Orr, Somervell County Master Gardener
If you have large areas of weeds that you want to get rid of, this recipe is for you. It will kill any vegetation it comes in contact with. Care must be taken to spray only the weeds you want to kill, avoiding spraying lawns and flowers.
1 gallon distilled vinegar
1-cup household salt
1 tbsp dish detergent
Mix all ingredients in large kettle and heat over medium heat until the salt is completely dissolved. It is not necessary to boil the solution. Set aside to cool. Pour in spray bottle and get to work!
**Before you apply this weed-killer in your garden, here are some guidelines:
– This weed-killer is non-selective, which means that it will also damage/kill your desirable plants. So be careful when applying to weeds.
– Apply on a sunny day with NO wind. The sun helps the vinegar to dry out the weed. You also want to wait for a windless day so that your spray won’t inadvertently spray onto other plants.
– This weed-killer may or may not kill the root of the weed. You may need to reapply it if green growth shows up afterward or pour a little of the weed-killer over the root zone to thoroughly kill large weeds
So, next time you need to kill weeds, simply open your cupboard and make your own with vinegar, salt and soap. It’s natural, effective and cheap!
Welcome to the first edition of our new newsletter distribution system! In an attempt to keep up with the ever-changing technology environment, we are changing our email distribution system over to MailChimp. This will enable us to to streamline the articles with our website and our Facebook page! We hope you like the new look! As always, we welcome your comments or suggestions. Let us know what you think!
The Prairie Gentian is the most recent of my wildflower discoveries and will forever remain ensconced in my memory as one of the most outstanding. In early June of this year I was driving along Highway 144 between Glen Rose and Walnut Springs.
As usual, I kept one eye on the road and another searching the rightaway for any sign of life other than the dying brown Bermuda grass so prevalent in Texas’ landscape.
On down the road I went thinking how different things might look if only we could get some rain. Mile after disappointing mile I drove until a soft, lavender color caught my eye.
Thinking I could not have possibly seen what I thought I saw, I turned around at the next available spot and slowly drove back to the point of interest. Yes! Pulling my truck off the pavement, I got out and walked down to the fence line where these magnificent flowers bent to and fro in the soft breeze. Never having seen a Prairie Gentian before, I marveled at their beauty, grace and stamina. Like others of their kind, they belied all reason and grew out of some of the hardest, rockiest dirt one can imagine.
Being on a tight schedule, and without a shovel, I tried desperately to pull up one of the plants. Not going to happen, but a branch did break off which I lovingly took with me and put into water. Three weeks later, this little branch was still blooming and has given me quite an accumulation of seed.
Having the plant in my possession gave me the opportunity to study it and look it up in my Audubon field guide. Along with research on-line, I have learned that the Prairie Gentian grows in the prairies of the southwest USA. All sources say it needs some moisture, but I have since seen it growing in Somervell, Hood and Evant Counties under extremely dry and poor conditions.
Besides lavender (the only color I’ve seen), the Gentian can be pink, yellow or white. It is also known as the Tulip Gentian or the Texas Bluebell. It was formerly called Lisianthus russellianus, and its seed is now being sold by nurseries for use in the home garden. The seeds are light-sensitive and therefore should be broadcast, not buried.
Since the taproot is long, the Gentian does not transplant well. However, this same taproot holds tremendous reserves of carbohydrates which allow it to recover quickly after natural disasters such as prairie fires.
The Gentians I saw were tall flowers—the tallest about 3 feet. Their five petals are waxy and gradually darken as they come together in the center. They resemble a petunia in appearance, but I find them to be more attractive. The leaves are oblong, opposite and approximately 3 inches in length.
Now that the Gentian and I have become friends, I long to see her graceful emergence along the Texas roadways early next summer. Until then, I lovingly guard her seeds, anticipating the day I may have my very own bed of Gentians.
Speaker Mary Lynn Martin, Lake Granbury Master Gardener
Join us on Monday, August 12 to get a glimpse into how Mary Lynn Martin creates the fabulous gardens on her 5 acres of astonishing and lavish landscaping! Her country property, featured on the Tour of Homes for the 2011 Texas Master Gardener Conference in Glen Rose, features unique handmade ‘found art’ and boasts more that 65 varieties of roses including all of the EarthKind® Roses. The property is also home to a golf green, fruit trees, extensive perennial beds, water features and much more!
But what is even more astonishing is just how Mary Lynn created this magnificent piece of heaven. You might think she spends every waking moment tending and creating, or maybe she hires out much of the work. Nope! Mary Lynn is an admitted lazy gardener! So come and find out her tricks of the trade! See how the use of EarthKind® principals and simple early planning can make it easy to enjoy a yard full of color all year round!
This program is FREE and open to the public!