As summer temperature continue to rise and it rains less, lawn shrubs may be showing signs of stress such as yellowing or loss of leaves. If you primarily water your garden with an automatic sprinkler system it is likely that deep-rooted plants are not getting enough water. Sprinklers are good for shallow-rooted plants such as grasses, but not shrubs. The situation can be easily corrected by letting a hose run near the base of the stressed plant for a few minutes every couple of weeks until cooler and wetter weather returns.

Want to conserve water usage and reduce your water bill? A recent article in the SAWS newsletter stated that a lawn irrigation system can use more water in ONE week than your entire family uses in a month. SAWS provides a free irrigation consultation that can result in changes to your water usage and may earn you a nice cash reward. Call 210-704-SAVE (7283) to schedule the free irrigation consultation.

Around Labor Day is a good time to trim roses by about one fourth so they will bush out and have more blooms in the fall. Evergreen shrubs that have become overgrown can also be trimmed as needed. New growth will “harden off” before freezing weather arrives.

Fertilize flowerbeds and lawns if it has been two or more months since the last application. It will strengthen root systems and protect them from freezing winter temperatures. Use an organic granular fertilizer.

To help in planning your garden there is a free list of xeric plants and local sources of organic gardening supplies in the box to the right of the King William Association office door.

What is a STOOP? It is a place between the private house and the public street. It is a place from which to observe the goings on up and down the street. Stoop sitting is the social commitment that binds a neighborhood.

May was a good month for gardening events in San Antonio.  On May 18 the Botanical Garden had guided tours to promote cultivation of Texas native plants.  The tours were advertised in a recent SAWS newsletter included in their monthly billing.  Major renovations have been underway and a trip to the Garden is well worthwhile.  Some of the new areas are family-friendly and include activities for kids.  All types of plants are grown at the Garden, even those we would not want in a home garden.  For example a healthy clump of poison ivy was pointed out by the tour guide with the warning “Leaves of three, leave it be.” 

Can you bring to your mind the sound of the New Year’s Eve ratchet-like noisemaker? You hold the handle and spin it around to make an annoying sound. That is one of the first new sounds I heard after moving to San Antonio. I also heard a long, loud whistle; a sound like static on a radio; and the sound of crumbling aluminum foil or breaking glass. I found out that these often-earsplitting sounds and more emanated from the same source, a grackle.

Nurseries and garden centers are starting to get supplies of flowering annuals.  Take advantage of early sales, but wait until at least mid-March to plant them to avoid a possible late freeze.  Warm weather bulbs such as caladiums should not be planted until early April as the soil warms.  They can rot if the soil is too cool and moist.

There are different theories about how long winter hangs around.  Some say we can have a freeze anytime up to Easter, which this year is April 1.  Others say that the danger of a killing frost is past once the mesquite tree puts on new leaves.  For King William area gardeners, one to watch is in the side garden at 735 E. Guenther St.  Nothing is as unpredictable as the weather.  Take note and plant accordingly.