Here are some garden choices she’ll love

Garden centers and Mother’s Day go hand in hand. We used to take my mother to the garden center to pick plants. The result is not just a gift, but a created keepsake.

Make or buy a dried wreath; it lasts longer than a cut flower arrangement and you can hang it.

Consider a micro-veggie kit if mom is a green smoothie fan. Use only one variety of seed, not a mixture, so that all seedlings grow evenly. Choose broccoli, lettuce, spinach, cilantro, and radishes to start.

Buy a new decorative pot, with drainage holes, and repot its houseplant with fresh potting soil.

Spice up mom’s gardening tools: sharpen, oil and tighten. Don’t forget the secateurs.

Mulch garden beds with 3 to 4 inches of mulch. Do it for her any time of the year.

Find him a garden hose. A fantasy.

Plant a flower that will attract hummingbirds to the garden: the Turkish cap (Malvaviscus arboreus)bush (Hamelia patens)aspergillum, Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), or pink cap (Scutellaria suffrutescens).

Sign up mom for one of the many gardening workshops and lessons in town.

Harris County Master Gardeners Spring Plant Sale

If you haven’t visited the master gardeners’ demonstration gardens, ‘Genoa Friendship Gardens’, consider making an online purchase at their last spring plant sale of the season. Pickup will be on site. Not only will you receive your order, but you will have the opportunity to walk around the gardens and talk to these amazing county volunteers.

Did you know that, even during a pandemic, our Harris County Master Gardeners served over 12,000 hours in 2021? This equates to over $350,000 in time and community service. They demonstrate, educate, garden and sell the plants best suited to our region.

Questions about vegetables? They can help. Strawberries, radishes, turnips and chard were harvested in April — 31 pounds! This brings the year-to-date harvest for the garden to 133 pounds.

Questions about the butterfly garden? Butterflies and caterpillars abound, with bee plants for the former and host plants for the latter. May brings pipevine swallowtail caterpillars to ground cover Aristolochia fimbriata (white-veined pipevine) and the intimidating but harmless Gulf Fritillary caterpillar that nibbles on purple passionflower vine.

Questions about fruit trees? Stroll through the orchard and learn about the 12 new specimens that have been planted to replace those lost in last year’s winter freeze.

The recent stars are the colored test beds. With the help of master gardeners, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension conducts cool and warm season annual/perennial trials as well as vegetable trials. Volunteers plant, tend (but not too much) and evaluate performance in our climate.

Perennials, herbs, a limited number of fruit trees, compost and fertilizer are available online during this latest sale. Visit hcmga.tamu.edu/shop to order – while supplies last. Pickup will be May 14 at Genoa Friendship Gardens, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff. If you’re not ordering online, you can still shop in person or check out this hidden gem of a garden. It is open and accessible only in the presence of volunteers, that is to say on Monday and Wednesday morning before noon.

The “last chance” sale date is May 16. Not only are the plants still for sale, but this coincides with the organization’s monthly Open Garden Day (the third Monday morning of each month), where they welcome the public to the gardens from March through October. .

All plant sales support Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s mission to provide research-based gardening education to the community.

Let’s talk vitex

Last week we were asked if Vitex agnus-castus is safe to plant. The answer is yes, for the Harris County area. Although not native, vitex is not listed on any state or national invasive species list. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has deemed it safe for ornamental use, although it may exhibit weedy behavior in limestone outcrops and dry creek beds throughout central Texas.

Brandi Keller and Paul Winski are Texas A&M extension agents and gardening experts.