The King William/Lavaca Tree Project is in need of water hoses.  If you have a hose in good condition its donation would be appreciated.  To help, call Alan Cash at 533-9005 and leave a message (the machine will pickup after 6 rings), or Mary Ann Ohlenbusch at 271-9422.  We will come by and pick it up, or you can leave it at the KWA Office.  Thanks!

We seem to be on a roller coaster as far as weather goes.  A few days of bitter cold, followed by very pleasant porch-sitting weather. Some plants have started budding early.  However, at this writing in early February, indications are that we could still have frost.  Some farmers and gardeners believe it can freeze until mesquite trees put on new leaves.  There is a mesquite tree in the front garden at 735 E. Guenther St. and it shows no signs of budding out.  So be warned.

Fall and early winter is a good time to add trees and shrubs to the landscape .

There are free lists of each to the right of the KWA’s office door. Many if not most can be found at privately owned local nurseries, such as Fanick’s.

To get your lawn and garden off to a good start next spring - yes spring - now is the best time to fertilize using an organic fertilizer. This is something else you can find at privately owned local nurseries. You do not have to immediately water in organic fertilizers. Put it off a day or so if rain is predicted and let Mother Nature do it for you.

We are at the end of another year of gardening. It has been an interesting one. South Texas weather has been described as long periods of drought interspersed by floods.

I hope you gardeners out there enjoyed reading about it as much as I did writing about it. Thanks for the many complements I’ve received about this column.

From The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations. Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Garden Note: The minutes quickly turn to hours when I’m among herbs and flowers. -Alan Cash

Believe it or not, warm weather is not far away and plants will soon be putting on their spring growth.  Valentine’s Day marks the time to start getting the garden ready for the next growing season.  

One of the most important things to do now is to trim evergreens and perennials that have grown too large or have frozen back.  Plants trimmed now will begin to put out new growth in early March, which is usually past the last damaging frost.  Firebush, lantana, thryalis, plumbago, shrimp, Phillippine violets and variegated ginger are popular perennials in many gardens that should be cut back to about 6 inches tall.  Large evergreen shrubs can be trimmed to desired size and shape.

Cool fall weather seems to be settling in. Now is the time to plant winter annuals that will bloom until January and again in March and April. These cool natured plants include snapdragons, stocks, dianthus, and calendulas. Snapdragons, depending on type, grow to various heights up to three feet. Stocks are fragrant, usually white or blue, and grow to 18 inches. Dianthus are red, white pink, and lavender, do not grow tall but do well in hanging baskets. Calendulas have yellow or gold blooms on one and a half foot stems.

With the cool weather, now is the time to put about 1/4 inch compost on lawns and in flower beds. If you have not yet done so you can still put out a good organic fertilizer. The combination puts needed nutrients in the soil.

It is not necessary to water lawns as often as we go into fall and winter. About every three weeks should be enough. Put automatic sprinkler systems on the manual setting and use only as needed. Remember, your sewer charge for next year is based on your water usage from November to March.

Tired of cutting and trimming a lawn or want to make changes in your garden so it is not so labor intensive? Consider putting in a xeric landscape using drought tolerant plants. A good example can be seen at 112 Mission St. Take a look.

From Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations:“To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.”

Garden Note: A beautiful garden is a work of love. -Alan Cash