What we plant in our landscapes determines what can live in our landscapes... By favoring productive species, we can create life, and by using nonnative plants, we can prevent it.”  Douglas W. Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants

The following is based on the book (cited above) by Douglas W. Tallamy, professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware.  It gives us something to consider in selecting garden plants.

Read more: Out in the Garden: May 2015

The second week of March is almost here, and that is the time when frost is usually behind us here in South Texas, based on past years. But there are those who go by other indicators. Some believe frost is possible until Easter is past. This year that is April 5. Still others say we can have frost until mesquite trees leaf out, whenever that is. Watch and note which is correct and plant tender plants accordingly. Anything is possible, as those who grow vegetables believe veggies should be planted based on the phase of the moon. Fact, fiction, ol’ wives tales, whatever – it’s all interesting.

Read more: Out in the Garden: March 2015

Household water use between November and March is generally the time period that San Antonio Water System (SAWS) uses to determine our monthly sewer charge for the next year. To conserve water and keep your utilities cost down, reduce water use as much as possible. About 40 percent of residential water use is for maintaining yards and gardens. If you have a sprinkler system, put it on its manual setting until next spring. Water lawns only about every three weeks and flowerbeds as needed when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil is dry. Moisture evaporation is slower in cooler weather.

Read more: Out in the Garden: December 2014

Predatory, beautiful and rather dainty, ladybugs seem almost fairytale like in their appearance, yet are remarkable hunters. Whether you call them ladybirds, lady beetles or even ladybird beetles, these small beetles have made a tremendous and positive impact on the world’s agriculture by eating their primary prey species, the aphid, which historically destroyed crops. It is thought that the ladybug’s name is derived from farmers rejoicing that the Virgin Mary (often shown in paintings wearing a red cloak) answered their prayers for crop protection and dubbed the small beetle “Our Lady’s Beetles”.

Read more: Ladybugs are Texans, Too!