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IN THE GARDEN: Mulch, monarchs, and May duties

The Texas heat has arrived. All together now: Mulch, mulch, and mulch —the name of the game.

Here is some great news: In the spirit of community helping community, Utility Trailer Sales, 1105 S. Water St. in Burnet, has five, 40-foot loads of mulch in the back. It's free.

Call them first at 512-756-2242, and then show up with your truck and shovels. If the tractor is on site, staff will load the mulch for $5 a scoop.

We are going to get some to put around our trees. Remember, when you mulch around trees, leave a 6-inch ring of open space at the base.


Monarch butterflies in Texas are emerging from their chrysalises. Do you know how to tell the difference between a male and a female monarch? Male monarchs have a black dot on each lower set of wings, which you can see when he opens them. The female does not have this dot.


Now that your hands are nice and washed, let’s get them dirty in the soil.


  • bright warm colors — allamanda, bougainvillea, hibiscus, mandevilla, and penta
  • warm seasonals — begonias, caladiums, cosmos, impatiens, lantana, periwinkle, and zinnias
  • any and all herbs and hot-weather vegetables
  • perennials for summer and fall, including Columbine, coreopsis, fall aster, firebrush, geraniums, plumbago, rock rose, sage, shrimp plant, and verbena

What is the difference between “annual” and “perennial”? A flowering plant labeled "annual" will last for a season. Generally, it grows quickly, blooms for its season, drops seeds, and then expires.

A perennial biologically prepares for the next year. While it also might bloom, a perennial uses some of its cells and energy to form overwintering buds, bulbs, or tubers. When spring comes, the buds, bulbs, or tubers emerge as stalks and leaves and then flowers.

Therefore, annuals last for a year/season and perennials for more than one (dependent upon weather conditions.)


  • Take care of itchy nuisances. For fleas and ticks, use our working soldiers, the beneficial nematodes. For chiggers, apply elemental sulfur at 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet. When the ground is dry, you can apply diatomaceous earth for ants, fleas, and roaches. Diatomaceous earth can be found at your local nursery and hardware stores.
  • Double check your bird feeders for seeds that might be stuck at the bottom. With the rain we’ve been having, seeds sometimes stick in the crevices of feeders and then mold.
  • Thin the peaches on your trees. Remove bunches — the ones that resemble grapes — at the end of a thin limb. These could become too heavy for the limb, and since they are so close together, the fruit will not have ample opportunity to evenly ripen. Thin your peaches so they are a hand's breadth between for yummy results.

Till next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors at 512-577-1463 or email him at Contact Martelle Luedecke at 512-769-3179 or

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There are 1 comments.

Wendy —
We have so many fleas in one area of our property that I can get forty on me just by walking through. I don't like chemicals, so I managed to convinced my hubby to use Diatomaceous earth. Two and a half weeks ago we spread the DE really thickly, it looked almost like snow. We didn't see a reduction in the flea population so reapplied a week ago. Now, we are seeing a reduction in adults, but there are still many, many young. My husband is ready to buy 'real' pesticides. Should we give it more time or give up?

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