Spring is just around the corner, and Valentine’s Day is a good time to get started on this year’s garden.  Fertilize lawns, shrubs and flowerbeds if has been three or more months since the last time.  Use an organic fertilizer.  It will not burn plants, so you can wait a while to water it in and hopefully spring rains will do the job.  SAWS rates went up January 1, so every little bit helps.  Also, mulch around shrubs and in flowerbeds to a depth of 3 to 5 inches.  This will keep roots cool and preserve soil moisture as it gets warmer. 

Pointsettias have begun to appear for sale.  They provide color for the holidays and for a time after.  Crotons are another plant to consider for indoor color over the winter and beyond. They can last for many years and with warm weather can be put outside in filtered light.  Each leaf has a variety of colors ranging from yellow, to red and orange.  Inside they require bright light and well-drained soil.  Fertilize about every 2 weeks with a liquid organic fertilizer.  Occasional misting of the leaves will help maintain their vitality.  Small Norfolk Island pine trees are readily available this time of year and when decorated with small ornaments make a good holiday decoration.  When kept in a bright window it will last many years.

On September 12, COSA’s Development Services Department (DSD) hosted its second Tree Discussion meeting with stakeholders and customers.  At the meeting, City Arborist Mark Bird reviewed the outcome of the recently completed Special Session of the Texas Legislature, previous topics from the first Tree Discussion meeting and current topics of interest related to DSD processes for implementation of the tree and landscape ordinances. 

On October 6, several neighbors joined our plant swap, bringing an abundance of at least 30 different types of plants to share with fellow plant lovers. Thanks to everyone's generosity,  we were able to leave several in front of the KWA office with a "Free Plants" sign.  They were all gone by the next morning. Our next event is planned for spring, so stay tuned for details.

 - Angela Martinez 

Summer is past.  We are officially into fall and there are many things that can be done in the garden.  

Compost and organic fertilizer can be applied to lawns to build soil and strengthen roots for spring growth.  Mulch around trees, shrubs, and perennials to protect roots in case we get some cold weather this winter.  Leave an exposed ring about a foot in diameter around the base of the plants.