• The Great Outdoors Oaks

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Peach Tree Blossom

Planting Fruit and Nut trees in Austin

A fruit or nut tree is a gorgeous heirloom that brings added value no matter where they are. A well planted fruit or nut tree will provide you with the fresh, healthy produce that you can enjoy and share with your family for generations. Planting trees can be one of the most rewarding projects you can undertake at your home or in our community. Before you buy a tree, decide what kind of tree you want based on the desired spot and the light situation. Fruit and nut trees need lots of sun and a well draining soil. So be sure the desired spot has both of those traits.

It is important...

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Fertilizers: Granular vs. Liquid

Fertilization can be confusing. What kind? Which brand? What am I looking for? When and how much to fertilize will depend on the plant and product, but ultimately there are only two types of fertilizers: liquid and granular. Both types work very well, but it is important to know the difference. the first thing to understand about fertilizers is whats known as "N-P-K analysis."

N-P-K stands for: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, the 3 primary chemicals that aid in plant growth. Nitrogen aids in new green growth, phosphorous builds strong roots and sets flowers, and potassium...

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Growing Strawberries in Austin

Everybody loves strawberries. They are sweet, delicious, and one cup is only 55 calories. There is so much to love about this amazing plant. Learn how to grow them at home in Austin.

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The Legend of the Texas Sweet Onion

Did you know most of the sweet yellow onions in the world trace their origins back to Texas...The world was never the same after Texas horticulturalists created a perfect sweet onion that could be eaten raw like a peach. Vidalia, Maui Maui, NoonDay, 1015Y, and so many more varieties all trace their lineage back to a small town in south Texas and a very special onion called Granex.

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Success with Succulents

6 Tips for Success with Succulents

1. Give them room to breathe

Many succulents do well inside like Aloe Vera, Crassula (Jade) and Kalanchoe, but most actually come from warm, dry climates with good air flow (wind). They need that air movement to do their best, so terrariums are not the best choice as a container, but placing them outdoors during the warmer months can be ideal.

2. Provide some shade

Though many people think that all succulents love hot sun and high temps, most will do better with protection from the hot sun, especially when temps get above 90°F, or...

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Monarch Butterflies

In February and March, the final generation of monarch butterflies comes out of hibernation to find a mate. They then migrate north and east in order to find a place to lay their eggs. This starts stage one and generation one of the new year for the monarch butterfly.

In March and April the eggs are laid on milkweed plants. They hatch into baby caterpillars, also called the larvae. It takes about four days for the eggs to hatch. Then the baby caterpillar doesn’t do much more than eat the milkweed in order to grow. After about two weeks, the caterpillar will be fully-grown and find a...

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7 Plants that will attract Birds to your garden

Support your feathered friends by planting these top avian attractions.

Chili Piquin (Capsicum annum) - all peppers are cultivars of this species. It’s nickname, “Bird-Eye Pepper” is an indication of how much birds love it. This well-behaved native plant does well in sunny to part shady locations and self-seeds. Unlike most peppers, it is perennial. Some people like to make hot-pepper sauce with them, but many birds love to eat them, including Blue Jays and Cardinals, but especially Mockingbirds!

Mulberry Tree (Morus sp.) - a summer fruiting tree that many birds love. The...

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Avocado Trees

A guide for avocado tree selection and care in Central Texas. It can sometimes be a challenge, but it's worth the work.

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Bee & Butterfly Habitats

Though birds and butterflies garner the most interest from our customers, bees are also in the news a lot. Many gardeners and homeowners are afraid of bees or other pollinators and will request plants that don’t attract bees. But we are finding that people are getting more and more comfortable sharing their yards with local wildlife and it has become a trend to provide a home for these very important pollinators. Planting native prairie wildflowers provides food and shelter, and has the side benefit of attracting beneficial insects that help naturally control unwanted...

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Best Cutting Flowers for your Garden

Who doesn’t love a fresh flower arrangement? Sure you can purchase cut flowers from your local HEB but there’s nothing as fresh and long-lasting, not to mention cool, as flowers picked from your own yard. Here is a list of some great flowers to plant in our Central Texas area, so you’ll be ready for that impromptu dinner party or just to make yourself happy!

Here are the best:

Celosia: They come in “feather” or “cockscomb” looking flowers. They will usually come back from seed in later years. Look for the varieties Bombay or Karume for the large heads, and the...

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Citrus for Austin

The aspiring gardener can grow pretty much any citrus tree variety in Austin, provided they’re willing to protect certain varieties from winter cold. The following is a list of varieties and their descriptions, including notes on cold hardiness.

Calamondin

This plant is grown more for its looks than for its fruit edibility. It is hardy to 20°F. The edible fruit is small and orange, about one inch in diameter, and resembles a small tangerine.

Mandarins

They have a wide range of flavors, but are always delicious. All are easy to...

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Deer Resistant Plants

Calling a plant “deer-proof” is like calling the Titanic “sink-proof.” So, first of all, accept this simple truth: a deer will eat ANYTHING, including your car, if he’s hungry enough. During a drought, a rise in the deer population, or any time when food is scarce, deer will expand their pallet and munch on many plants considered resistant.

The following lists include great landscape plants that, while not 100% deer proof, they will be the last ones in the neighborhood to be munched on!

Trees

Magnolia...

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Frogscaping

Did your garden seem a bit too quiet last season? There is something disconcerting about summer nights that are devoid of a single chirp or croak from once abundant garden frogs and toads. Silence in nature is generally not a good sign. A garden filled with frogs indicates balance and a healthy ecosystem.

What’s the problem?

Amphibians, such as frogs and toads, are going extinct at an alarming rate. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, one in three out of all amphibians are on their red list of endangered species.

Habitat destruction and...

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Plants for Shade

Part Shade

Perennials

Achillea (Yarrow)

Alocasia amozonica

Bacopa

Betony, Purple (Stachys officinalis)

Betony, Texas (Stachys coccinea)

Blue-eyed Grass (Sisrunchium bellum)

Bicolor Iris (Morea bicolor)

Chili Pequin

Columbine (Aquilegia)

Cuphea, Batface (Cuphea llavea)

Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi)

Jimson Weed or Gypsum Weed (Datura)

Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis)

Foxglove (Digitalis)

Ginger, Variegated (Alpina sanderae)

Guara

Ground...

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Fountain Care

  • Do not run pump overnight or when you are not available to monitor the pump
  • Lack of water will burn out the pump (generally, if a fountain runs for 8 hours at a time you will need to add more water)
  • Always plug the pump into a properly grounded junction box with a GFI recepetacle
  • Change water frequently
  • Never allow water collected in your fountain to freeze

Cleaning and Maintenance

Clean glazed ceramic with a soft cloth. Clean concrete with a brush. Depending on the temperature and evaporation you may see a buildup of...

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Gardening 101

What is the difference between an annual and a perennial? Evergreen, and deciduous?

An annual plant is one that lives for a short period of time. Its whole mission in life is to sprout from seed, grow, flower, and produce more seed before dying. In the Austin area, we have a few different planting seasons, each with different annuals appropriate for that season.

Annuals usually produce the maximum number of flowers per plant for their given time. We also carry some tropical plants that will say “treated as an annual in our area.” This is a...

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Good Laven' gone bad...

When bad things happen to good plants. Let’s say you’re a gardener. And let’s say you built some new garden beds last fall, and you added a bunch of juicy compost to the soil. You shoveled that compost into your native soil, watered it, then planted a very smart mix of dry loving shrubs and perennials. All winter you kept a tight eye on things, making sure the new plants never went without. Spring arrived, and you threw out some mild organic fertilizer just to give everything a leg up for the growing season ahead. Your lavender exploded. Your blackfoot daisies set records. Your Texas sage,...

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Tillandsia Care

Tillandsias are really very hardy, and require much less attention than other house plants. Like other houseplants, they do need protection from frosts.

Inside, give them bright, filtered light. Submerge the plant in water for 2-3 hours about every two weeks. . If they get some sun indoors, you may need to mist them daily. Fertilize by adding a pinch of Bromeliad or Orchid fertilizer to your mister and use rain or filtered water for best results. If they are growing in a glass globe, then don’t put it directly in front of a window where they get direct sun, because the glass will...

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Venus Fly Trap Care

Dionaea muscipula

The most popular carnivorous plant, Venus flytraps grow to 5-6 inches in diameter with traps typically measuring up to 1.5 inches.

In late spring, Venus flytraps produce small white flowers that readily self-pollinate. In mid to late summer, you can collect seeds once the entire stalk turns completely black and dries up. Native to a 90-mile radius

around Wilmington, NC. USDA Zone of Native Habitat: Zone 8

Where to Grow

The flytrap grows best outdoors as a container or potted plant. It makes an excellent addition to any sunny deck or patio....

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