July 19, 2006

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Growing the Knockout Rose will spoil you. (Texas Cooperative Extension photos)


  Don't Knock the Knockout Rose

By Judith Tye
Master Gardener

If you would like to grow a plant that is so easy to grow it will spoil you, try a Knockout Rose. You won't be disappointed, because Knockout is just about fool-proof.

Knockout was bred by William J. Radler who used Carefree Beauty for the mother seedling and Razzle-Dazzle for the father. It was introduced by Conard-Pyle in the year 2000, and it has been collecting awards and delighting gardeners ever since.

The original Knockout is a single petal bloom form, with seven petals of cherry red. It has a characteristic tea rose fragrance and has truly excellent resistance to black spot and other diseases. Its bloom cycle is said to be the longest known; I've seen one bloom from March through November.

Knockout needs no deadheading, will develop orange hips, has evergreen foliage, doesn't require much fertilizer, is drought-tolerant once established, and puts up with considerable humidity as well. It's no wonder then, with all that going for it, that Knockout has earned so many awards. It was an AARS winner in 2000, has received Earth-Kind Rose designation by Texas A&M, and in 2004 it was named as a Texas Superstar. As we in McLennan County know all too well, if a plant can succeed here, it can succeed anywhere!

There is an ever-growing number of variations of Knockout. Besides the original Red, there is the Double Knockout, the Blushing Pink (a pale pink) and Pink Knockout (a bright pink) and an offspring called Home Run. These are all compact roses, from 2 feet to 3-1/2 feet tall and about 3 feet wide. They will grow well in full sun (though some are somewhat shade tolerant) and they'll need adequate drainage, a regular amount of supplemental water until they're established, and that's about it.

So go ahead and try your hand at growing a Knockout or two.

What happens when 10,000 aphids flush?

The editor's crapemyrtle in full bloom. (Photos by Sharon J. Bracken)

  Under the Crying Tree

By Michael Bracken

When they were young, my children dubbed the crapemyrtle in our front yard "the crying tree." No matter how hot or how dry the weather, standing under the tree is like standing under a fine mister as a steady drizzle of the tree's tears drip upon us.

For more than 10 years I've marveled at nature's way of providing a cool spot in our yard for the children and, now that the children have moved away or are too old to "play" outside, a cool place for me to stand while walking our dogs each afternoon.

I recently had the opportunity to learn what causes the fine mist under our crapemyrtle, and I wish I hadn't.

“It's almost always aphids," Greg Grant, research associate at the Stephen F. Austin Pineywoods Native Plant Center in Nacogdoches and Contributing Editor to Texas Gardener, said, "which crapemyrtles are unfortunately susceptible to. They certainly won't kill it but often lead to a 'problem' with black sooty mold which comes in to clean up the clear, sweet, sticky 'honey dew' on top of all the leaves. When the aphids are gone, the honey dew and sooty mold will leave, too. When I was a kid I would stand under the mimosas in my granny's yard as they cried/wept on me. She said they were sad. Little did I know that 10,000 aphids were pooping on my head! In some parts of the world honey dew is actually collected by bees to make honey out of. Poop lapped up by bees which then hurl it into their hives before we spread it on toast! Yum, yum!”

Thanks, Greg. I won't tell my grown-up children what I learned, but I also won't stand under the crapemyrtle again.


  Readers' Gardening Tips

From Beverly Nord: "Be aware of what can be eating your garden. I trapped a squirrel and a rat that were eating my tomatoes. They chewed through my netting and plastic fence. Fake snakes, predator urine, moth balls, noise makers (chimes and flags), red Christmas ornaments, Whirly gigs, and picking the tomatoes green did not work. Trapping and relocating was the only cure. Peanut butter works for bait."

Have a favorite gardening tip you'd like to share? Texas Gardener's Seeds is seeking brief gardening tips from Texas gardeners to use in future issues. If we publish your tip in Seeds, we will seed you a free Texas Gardener cap. Here's a chance to get published and keep your head in the shade! Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

  Did you know...

Spiders and wasps may sound harmful and yucky but are truly our garden friends and helpers. In fact, most insects are beneficial: some are pollinators, some decompose waste, some are food for birds and fish. Many are either predators or parasites and kill the insects that are the real pests in our gardens. The best way to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys is to obtain a good insect reference book and use it to identify the bugs in your garden.

  Upcoming Garden Events

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, will host Nature Nights each Thursday in July, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Nature Nights are fun, interactive explorations of animals, plants and ecology in Central Texas, presented in cooperation with Texas Parks & Wildlife. July 20: "Slither and Slide: Get to Know the Snakes of Texas." July 27: "Creepy Crawlies: Insects Working the Night Shift." Admission is $1; free to members. For more information, visit http://www.wildflower.org/?nd=nature.

The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will hold their 2006 Master Gardener Class from August 2 through November 15, at Niemietz Park in Cibolo. Classes will be every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will include at least one Saturday field trip. Registration fee is $170, with $50 refunded after completion of 50 volunteer hours. For more information please contact Ross Risz, Class Coordinator, at rossrisz@aol.com. Or you can call the Guadalupe County Extension Office at (830) 379-1972.

The Texas Bamboo Society will host the 14th Annual Texas Bamboo Festival at Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin, on Saturday and Sunday, August 26 through 27, from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Darrel DeBoer, will present a program entitled "Bamboo Architecture Around the World." The festival will also feature bamboo plants, crafts, musical instruments, poles, presentations, demonstrations and educational information about bamboo. Admission is free and parking is $3. For more information, visit www.bamboocentral.net or call (512) 929-9565.

The Herb Association of Texas and the Antique Rose Emporium will host A Celebration of the Herbal Harvest: A Focus on Culinary Herbs, September 22 through 23, San Antonio. The event will include a road trip, cooking classes, herbal refreshments, lectures and a vendor fair featuring locally grown herbs and related products. To register or for more information, contact Beth Patterson at (830) 257-6732 or e-mail info@texasherbs.org.

The Garden Conservancy will host a tour of five private gardens in Dallas, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., September 23. The tour is self-guided. The conservancy will also sponsor similar tours in Galveston, October 14 and Austin, October 21. Admission to each garden is $5, no reservations required, rain or shine. For more information, visit www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays.html or call toll-free (888) 842-2442.

ArtScape, September 23 and 24, 9 a.m. to 5. p.m., is the Dallas Arboretum's first ever fine art show and sale. The two-day art fair is a family-oriented event that will kick off the Dallas Blooms Autumn festival. ArtScape will feature artists from around the country, the Tour de Fleurs race, the Ultimate Tree Houses exhibit, entertainment and many exciting classes. ArtScape will complement Ultimate Tree Houses, a juried exhibit of 12 tree houses that will be on display throughout the garden. In addition, this year's event will kick off with Tour de Fleurs a 10k, 5k and 1 mile fun run. What a great way to start the weekend! For additional information, please email jijams@dallasarboretum.org.

The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners will sponsor the annual Hidden Garden Tour September 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Rockport. Enjoy touring Rockport and the surrounding area and tour some of the area's private gardens plus Green Acres Demonstration gardens. Bus tours will be available for $15 and tickets must be purchased ahead. Self-guided tours are $10. A plant sale will occur at Green Acres on the day of the tour. Green Acres Demonstration gardens, located at the Aransas County Extension Office (611 E. Mimosa — behind Monroe's Furniture on Hwy 35) is the start of the tour on September 30. Maps and additional tour information for the Hidden Garden Tour can be obtained by contacting the Aransas County Extension Office at (361) 790-0103.

The Austin Herb Society celebrates Herb Awareness Month in October with HerbFest, Saturday, October 21, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market, located in the Burger Center, 3200 Jones Rd., off I-290 between Brodie Lane and Westgate Blvd. No entrance fee for shoppers, free parking. For additional information, call (512) 468-9126.

The Johnson County Herb Society will hold its Herbal Thymes Show and Symposium, October 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Cleburne Senior Center, Cleburne. The event will feature speakers, demonstrations herb plants and related products. For more information, contact Esther Chambliss at (817) 263-9322 or visit www.cleburnearea.info/herbies/.

The San Antonio chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will host the groups' annual symposium Convergence and Diversity: Native Plants of South Central Texas, October 19 through 22, San Antonio. The symposium will feature guided tours to natural areas, seminars on native plants and a special program on cooking with native plants. For more information, contact (210) 733-0034, (830) 997-9272 or visit www.npsot.org.

The Texas Gourd Society will hold its 11th annual "Show and Tell" at the Waco Convention Center, Waco, November 11 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The two-day show will include gourd artists, seminars, demonstrations and much more. Admission is $5 for adults; children under 12 free. For more information, visit www.texasgourdsociety.org.

The Garland Organic Club meets the first Sunday of each month in the little red school house at 1651 Wall St., Garland. All interested gardeners are invited to attend. For more information, call (972) 864-1934 or (800) 864-4445.

Austin Organic Gardeners meet at 7:00 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit www.main.org/aog.

The Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 6:45 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the Fretz Park Recreation Center, located at the corner of Hillcrest and Beltline Road in Dallas. For more information, call (214) 676-4326 or visit www.dogc.org.

  Bugged by bugs?  

Honeybees in the flowers, fire ants in the yard, roaches in the kitchen? The good, the bad, and the ugly are all over Texas! Authors Howard Garrett and Malcolm Beck provide a complete guide for identifying and organically controlling the most common Texas insects in the revised edition of their Texas Bug Book.

 $28.77 plus shipping*

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020 or order on-line.

 *Mention Texas Gardener's Seeds when ordering by phone during the month of July and we'll waive shipping charges. (Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

  Two hats are better than one!

Let your friends and neighbors know that you are proud to be a Texas Gardener with this top-quality cap. Heavy construction, six-panel, pro-style brushed cotton twill, low-profile khaki with dark green bill and logo. Buy one cap and received a second at no additional charge.

 $17.07 (includes shipping!)

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020. Not available through on-line bookstore.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)


Texas Gardener's Seeds
is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2006. All rights reserved. You may forward this publication to your friends and colleagues if it is sent in its entirety. No individual part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.

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Publisher: Chris S. Corby Editor: Michael Bracken

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