What’s a Gardener To Do?

Oh yes, 2015 is The Year of the Fungal Disease. Johnny Twist’s Mexican ash is looking a little scary.
fungal disease Mexican ash Central Texas Gardener
All’s okay, though! Daphne noted anthracnose, but turned to Texas A&M Forest Service forester Paul Johnson to learn that the dark spots are possibly Cylindrosporium fraxini. Sounds even scarier, but it’s not.
fungal disease Mexican ash Central Texas Gardener
What to do about it? Daphne tells us: “Fungal leaf spots such as these don’t really warrant any treatment with fungicides or products like Neem oil. The tree will eventually drop these leaves, and when it does, simply clean up the leaf litter and toss it, to remove the source of inoculum.” Get the whole story.

Despite too much rain all at once, sunflowers are booming! Regardless of flood, drought or curbside soil, they show up to cheer on summer.
Wild sunflowers growing on curb strip Central Texas Gardener
The bird seed variety ends up all over the neighborhood, where birds gleefully chatter as they make the rounds. Sort of like bird trick or treat in summer! In fact, snapping this photo, I scared off one little guy from its breakfast.
Wild or bird seed sunflowers front yard Central Texas Gardener
Nancy Donner got double the excitement on her ‘Mammoth’ sunflowers. Already, she’s drying some seeds to plant next year or to share with friends. Find out more about these easy-to-grow annuals.
Double headed Mammoth Sunflower Central Texas Gardener
Since the rainfall spigot turned off, some of my new plants have been a tad mopey. Not so for established native Turk’s cap, where I hear the whir of hummingbird wings and their little chirps before I spot them.
native Turk's cap for hummingbirds
And oops on Linda mistake: remember to give new plants a really deep soaking every week this summer! They’re not ready to fend for themselves just yet.

Bottlebrush tree (Callistemon spp.) isn’t native, but bees cluster to its brushy flowers like crazy. Viewer picture goes to Rich Hartsell in Cibolo, who’s never provided extra water after they were established. Evergreen for him, they bloom from spring through fall, quite a feat.
Bottlebrush tree Central Texas Gardener
I can attest to their durability in my neighborhood. When a house went up for rent, the owner planted a tiny one to perk up the vacant yard. No water. No compost. Hard freezes. Flooding rain. That’s one tough little shrub.

Going on vacation? Or busy and neglectful about house plants? plant nanny with Plant Nanny to slowly regulate water as your plant needs it. You can go for functional to recycle water or wine bottles.
Plant Nanny recycled bottle plant water Central Texas Gardener
Plant Nanny wine bottle water Central Texas Gardener
Or go for charming, at home indoors or at the office.
Plant Nanny watering globes Central Texas Gardener
I’ve got a “to do” list longer than my arm and I bet you do, too. To keep us on track in the garden, Skip Richter, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent—Harris County, joins us with his hot-off-the-press book, Texas Month-by-Month Gardening.
Tom Spencer and Skip Richter Central Texas Gardener
Texas Month by Month Gardening Skip Richter
It was super to see Skip again! For many years, he kept us on track at CTG as Travis County Extension Agent-Horticulture. Now, he takes on the whole state, answering top questions all in one beautifully designed book.
Seed starting Texas Month by Month Gardening Skip Richter
How to Plant Texas Month by Month Gardening Skip Richter
Every gardener needs to move a tree or shrub eventually. Let’s wait until November to do it, but in September or so, you can make the move a lot easier on the plant by root pruning.
root prune to transplant Central Texas Gardener
Ready to give up some grass for new beds? Or just keep down the weeds in existing ones? Yep, Skip’s got the easy technique for you with sheet mulching.
sheet mulch Texas Month by Month Gardening Central Texas Gardener
sheet mulch Texas Month by Month Gardening Central Texas Gardener
Watch now to get Skip’s tips.

Props to CTG this week! We were so thrilled about Garden Rant’s story about CTG, written by my new soulmate from afar, Susan Harris.
Garden Rant about CTG
On tour, the hard-working Comal County Master Gardeners knew just what to do to convert a barren rocky slope into a butterfly habitat at the Bulverde/Spring Branch Library.
Comal Master County Gardeners butterfly habitat Central Texas Gardener
See how they did it and you can, too, in your own garden.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda