the show

Fruit Tree Troubles and Solutions

air date: January 6, 2018

Have you had problems with fruit trees the past few years? We called on Jim Kamas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Associate Professor and Fruit Specialist, to answer your top questions. On tour, discover why artist Valerie Fowler turned to botanicals and where she finds her inspiration. Daphne explains why winter cleanup can wait a bit and how pansies and violas brighten winter for us and pollinators. Want to try growing your own potatoes? Trisha digs into how to do it and which varieties to select.


Episode Segments

On Tour

Botanical Artist Valerie Fowler

Wherever she goes, artist Valerie Fowler discovers visually captivating stories through plants and scenes she encounters.  Back in her studio, she interprets her impressions on canvas and paper to invite others into her world of colorful introspection. She collaborates with husband Brian Beattie, a record producer, musician, and songwriter, to illustrate record covers and their family-oriented fantastical audio drama and booklet, Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase.  Music by Brian Beattie and Born Again Virgins.

Watch more "On Tour" videos on YouTube →


Fruit Tree Troubles and Solutions with Jim Kamas

Have you had problems with fruit trees the past few years? We called on Jim Kamas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Associate Professor and Fruit Specialist, to answer your top questions.

Watch more CTG Interview videos on YouTube →

Question of the Week

Winter garden clean up: why should we wait?

Some plants, like ornamental grasses, retain their lovely fall seed heads for virtually the entire winter season, adding color and interest to an otherwise mostly sparse winter landscape. Their dense texture offers warmth for butterflies.

Also, in milder winters, some warm-weather perennials keep blooming, providing a food source for late garden visitors. Seed heads naturally feed hungry birds.

Root hardy shrubs, like thryallis and esperanza, which drop their leaves after the first frosty night and remain bare for the rest of winter, are still reabsorbing sugars and other nutrients from their considerable stems. It takes a while for this process to happen naturally, and plants like these, which should be pruned to the ground each year, will produce much heartier growth, if you wait until you see at least a hint of green emerge at the base before you whack them back.   

In addition, when we get warm to even hot weather in winter, that will encourage new growth once we’ve pruned which can be at risk when temperatures drop to freezing.

It’s okay to prune roses and trees!

I know it’s tempting to get out into the yard and do a big clean-up on sunny, unseasonably warm winter days, but resist that urge. Savor the beauty of winter. Allow the garden to rest and rejuvenate on its own schedule, while you do the same, and watch for it to show you that it’s ready for you to lend a hand in its recovery.

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Plant of the Week

Pansy & Viola

Pansy & Viola

Cool-weather annuals, pansies and violas, charm up winter beds and containers with endless colorful combos to mix and match. An affordable splash of ongoing color until hot weather, tuck them around dormant perennials or fill containers with their spilling foliage when summer’s annuals are through. In gardens free of chemicals, splash your salads with those colorful petals. Outside, butterflies and even bees will grab dinner. The big trick to pansies and violas is waiting for hot, humid weather to pass. In some years, this could be close to Thanksgiving. Plant in good, loose soil in full sun or bright shade under deciduous trees. They need average water: often rainfall is quite enough. Otherwise, water only to keep the soil moist. Avoid overwatering. Spread a little mulch around them to prevent soil splash in downpours.