We are still under Stage 2 watering restrictions. They have changed slightly. Landscape watering with an irrigation system, sprinkler or soaker hose is still allowed only once a week on your designated day determined by your address. Watering times have been changed to 7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., and 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Garden Tips:

  • Trim the "sucker" shoots sprouting at the base of crepe myrtles. These take nutrients from the main plant, reducing its vitality.
  • New plants added to the garden need frequent watering for their roots to grow outside their root ball and become established in the soil. Annuals, perennials and shrubs should be watered thoroughly when the top two inches of soil are dry. The amount of water disbursed by a sprinkler system is not usually enough to sustain new plantings.
  • Now is the time to trim climbing roses if you have not already. New growth will produce next springs flowers.
    Wait until the foliage of spring-blooming bulbs to turns brown before trimming.
  • The recipe for hummingbird feeders is 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup warm water. Change at least weekly.

By the time you receive this the King William Fair will be just over. Now we can get back to our normal routines.

That means planting things becoming available at your favorite nursery. A popular vine usually available now because they have been blooming for the past couple of weeks, is the Confederate Jasmine, sometimes called Star Jasmine. It is a dark green, generally evergreen vine, covered with very fragrant white flowers. You normally find them in one gallon containers at reasonable prices. They tolerate sun but do equally well in partial shade.

We are about to start a new growing season. Hopefully we will have "typical" weather. That means no late frost and good rains at the right time. We can only hope.

If it has been more than three months since you fertilized your lawn and flower beds now is the time to do it. Select an organic fertilizer and not a chemical-based one. A good nurrery can suggest one of many good brands now available. Remember you do not have to water in an organic fertilizer immediately after spreading it if time does not allow. It will not burn like chemical products.

Texas weather can be very unpredictable. However the first weekend of March is typically the last chance for freezing temperatures and annual plants can be planted after that.

At the time of this writing we have not had a killing freeze in King William although officially the City has had a couple of below freezing nights. As I said in last month's newsletter, plants that would normally freeze back to ground level should be cut back to about 6 inches high. This may be hard to do especially if some still have blooms. If not cut back they can become too large for their space and can become unsightly as stems near the ground become bare with new growth only at the top.

Carolina jessamine vines are now blooming with their bright yellow trumpet shaped flowers. It is a trouble free, drought tolerant, evergreen, spring blooming vine that can grow to a length of 10 feet or more. They are not a "clinging" vine and have to be trained on the fence or trellis on which they are planted. This is now the time to find them in local nurseries. Because it a spring bloomer, Carolina jessamine can be planted in areas that may become shady as trees begin to leaf out later in the season.

It has been a good season for gardening. In the month of September, King William received 8 3/4 inches of rain, a bit more than the City as a whole at just over 7 inches.

Be careful about parking your car under a pecan tree. The picture shows what happened to Nora Peterson and Richard Green's car at 227 Adams St. on Sunday afternoon, September 30. A large pecan tree beside their driveway toppled over, crushing their car and damaging the front porch of their home. The tree appeared to be healthy and why it fell is not known. Losing such a tree is a real tragedy. What is lost when a tree dies or is needlessly cut down? The first thing that comes to mind is the loss of shade which keeps utility bills down in summer. But more important is the moisture in the atmosphere. Through fine roots, trees draw water from underground, some from depths of over 200 feet. A single large tree may pump over a ton of water into the sky in a day. This amazing bit of information comes from a book titled Trees by Gretchen C. Daily, printed locally by Trinity University Press, a recent gift from a good neighbor and friend who shares an interest in gardening.