the show

Sedges, Sages & Sedums for Sun to Shade

air date: May 5, 2018

Make shade your favorite destination! Liz Morphis from Barton Springs Nursery dazzles up the darker side with plants that tolerate swings into sunlight. On tour in Waco, Sheila and Tim Smith designed for hospitality in a healing garden of flowers and food. Daphne identifies strange reddish blobs on oak leaves. Bring on summertime butterflies with annual zinnias, our Plant of the Week. Herb n’ Cowgirl Ann McCormick grows a miniature food forest in containers with the three “P’s”: Pot, Plant & Place


Episode Segments

On Tour

Charming Cottage Design for Hospitality & Pollinators: Sheila & Tim Smith

Growing up in Beirut, Sheila and Tim Smith learned that hospitality starts in a garden. Now in Waco, guests dine on meals fresh from the picking and settle back to converse and stroll flagstone pathways brimming with flowers for bees and butterflies. See how they built raised stone beds for vegetables, a classy chicken coop out of recycled materials, and how they compost in super-sized trash bins.

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Question of the Week

What are these reddish blobs on my oak tree?

So, Jason Wisser discovered these strange reddish blobs on the undersides of his oak tree.

These are the early stages of gall-formation: tumor-like growths created by the tree in response to insect activity. We consulted AgriLife Extension entomologist Wizzie Brown who concludes that these are the result of gall midge larvae.

They’re not anything to worry about because they don’t do any long-term damage to the tree, even if you have a heavy infestation. The leaves may be misshapen a bit this season and may not perform photosynthesis at 100% efficiency, but the tree barely notices.

There are many insects that cause trees to make galls to protect and serve as a food source for their growing larvae, and some years see heavier infestations of these pests than others.

But the tree will drop these leaves at the end of the season later this year, and, most likely, next year these same insects will be less populous. In any event, even if we wanted to treat for them, the natural design of the gall prevents chemicals from penetrating through to do any damage to the growing insect inside.

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Plant of the Week



Warm weather annual

There are so many species, varieties and cultivars of warm weather annual zinnia that it’s easy to find your favorite colors, heights, and forms. You can start from transplants or seeds to guarantee lots of butterflies all summer—especially on the classic zinnias with nectar-rich disk flowers. They love heat and full sun to afternoon shade, but they do need good soil and extra water in hot, dry times. To avoid issues with powdery mildew, give them breathing space and avoid overhead watering if you can. The low-growing, edging-perfect ‘Profusion’ series is more mildew resistant, blooms for months and attracts butterflies. Zinnia angustifolia var. linearis is another low-growing “clumping” variety with small flowers that CTG has seen covered with bees. Choose the taller zinnias for your cutting bed at the back of a bed or border. Dead head frequently to encourage more blooms and to flush out growth. Birds love the seeds, though, so it’s okay to be lazy to let them them snag a meal!