Author Archives: katherine.whitney

Tree Damage Assessment After the Ice Storm

As I write, the roads are slick with ice and tree crews are out clearing broken limbs from the road.  This week feels a little bit like a flashback to Winter Storm Uri, at least as far as ice and tree damage.  Before you lose all hope for your trees, let me give a few tips and some encouragement to be patient. The good news about this winter storm is that the temperatures did not get much below freezing.

Garden Journal

One thing I love about gardening is the camaraderie and conversations that you get to have with other like-minded plant lovers.  I always learn good tips from other gardeners, and they are usually willing to share plants, too!  You know you have made friends with a gardener when they offer to let you take cuttings from a plant or give you some bulbs that they divided. Several great gardeners that I admire recommend keeping a gardening journal, and that is one tip that I plan to try out… Read More →

New Year Garden Tasks

January 2023 has started off with beautiful weather and sunny days.  This kind of weather makes it nice to get outside and work in the lawn, and there is always something to do in our lawns and gardens.  If you made a New Year’s Resolution to get more exercise, then yard work is the perfect opportunity. The winter months are a great time to prune trees.  Most of our trees have lost their leaves, making it easy to see the limb structure, and it is better for the… Read More →

Free Compost

Trees offer a lot of great things in our world.  They provide shade on hot days, they are beautiful points of interest in the landscape, and they put off oxygen.  Trees go one step further by providing free compost every fall! We have really had some beautiful fall color during the last few weeks, and the trees are starting to lose their leaves.  Before you purchase landscape waste bags and start raking, consider using the leaves for mulch or compost in your landscape. Leaves can be used in… Read More →


The Christmas season is here!  I enjoy using plants and natural elements to decorate my home, and during the Christmas season that means poinsettias and Christmas greenery. Poinsettias are a neat plant to grow, and they have an interesting history as the Christmas flower.  Poinsettias are native to Mexico and were cultivated by the Aztecs for their bright colors.  The flowers were used by Franciscan priests in the 17th century for nativity processions since it blooms near Christmas. In 1828, Joel Roberts Poinsett, US Ambassador to Mexico, saw… Read More →


One of my mom’s favorite flowers to grow is a pansy.  Every year in the fall, we went on a search for the perfect tray of pansies.  Some years she liked to plant a mix of colorful pansies, and other years she planted a solid color for a big impact statement. Pansies are in the Violaceae family, which has more than 500 species.  Violas originally come from Europe, and our modern-day pansy is a hybrid cultivar that was developed in the mid-1800’s.

Texas Arbor Day

Texas Arbor Day is coming up on November 4, just in time to kick off tree planting season.  Many of the cities in Williamson County are celebrating Texas Arbor Day with tree planting events, so be sure to look up your local city information to find out how to participate. One of my favorite things about Texas is the wide variety of trees that are native to our big state.  Texas boasts as many as 281 native tree species, from the pines in East Texas to the southern… Read More →

Green Magic Broccoli

The weather is finally starting to feel a little more like fall, or maybe I am trying to convince myself that 89-degree temperatures are fall weather in Texas.  The shorter daylight hours are making a difference in the weather, and I am ready to enjoy some fall vegetables. I always enjoy planting salad greens and lettuce in the fall, and this year I am looking forward to the results of a broccoli trial in the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden.  A couple of our Master Gardeners will be attending… Read More →

What Is the Sticky Mess in Pecan Trees?

Have you parked your car under a pecan tree lately?  You might get a fresh coating of honeydew!  In fact, just about anything that walks under a pecan tree or sits near a pecan tree might be covered in this sticky coating. The real culprits behind the honeydew are aphids.  Aphids are soft-bodied insects that suck sap from plant leaves.  Many species of aphids exist and attack various plants, but two types of aphids attack pecan trees and secrete honeydew, the yellow pecan aphid and the black-margined aphid.

Dividing Irises

The month of September has rolled by quickly, and I am somewhat behind on my monthly garden task list.  September is a great time to divide and re-plant irises.  I have some beautiful white irises that need a little more room, and I will be moving some of them to a new spot in my yard.