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Gardening Q&A

Ask the Master Gardeners Dec. 2011

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Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

AgriLife Extension Service
November 30, 2011 | 1,621 views | Post a comment

Q: What can I buy for the gardener who has everything?

A: Personally, I can never have too many amaryllis plants. Right now in the stores you can buy a planted bulb that has already startedto grow. If you want to do it yourself, buy the bulb as well as a pretty pot. Put the bulb in good potting soil with the pointy end of the bulb sticking up out of the soil about one inch. Doug Welsh in his Texas Garden Almanac says that when you add water and bright indoor light, the plant growth will begin. Keep the soil moist but not saturated. Add a bow and you have a lovely present.

Another garden gift that I’d like is a shaped rosemary tree. Every fall I remind myself to start growing a Christmas tree-shaped rosemary; every year I forget. Next year, though, I will. To do it yourself, just buy a small rosemary plant and keep shaping it with shears until it looks the way you want it. Give it as a gift and tell the recipient to plant the rosemary outside after the holidays.

Perhaps the person you are buying for would like “labor” instead of a gift. Every gardener would be happy receiving “one week of weeding” or the “installation of drip irrigation” or the “building of a compost bin.”

Q: Will my live Christmas tree transplant into my yard after Christmas?

A: It depends on the variety of tree. A Norfolk Island pine will not do well here. According to Doug Welsh, it will burn in the summer and freeze in the winter. A friend of mine grew one in Kingsville and it did quite well. However, it was shielded by the house and shaded partly by surrounding trees.

Seven years ago I had a living Christmas tree that was an Aleppo pine. It is now forty feet tall and seems to love the climate in Seguin. It does get red spider, though, and as it gets taller, it is getting harder and harder to spray.

Doug Welsh recommends Nellie R. Stevens’ holly for our area, although I would think that holly would be too prickly for the house and for covering with ornaments. Other trees he recommends are the Arizona cypress, both the Deodar cedar and Eastern red cedar, Eldarica pine, Italian stone pine, and Leyland cypress.

Several things should be remembered about having live trees in the house. First, keep your tree in the brightest natural light possible. Next, check the soil moisture every day with your finger. The soil should be moist but not saturated. Third, plant the tree outside as soon as possible (do not keep inside more than two or three weeks). The tree will then have the rest of the winter to get ready for our hot summer.

If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, on the second floor of the Texas AgriLife Extension building, 210 East Live Oak in Seguin.
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