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Archives for August 28, 2016

21st Annual Austin Fall Home & Garden Show

Creating a garden that will thrive in our finicky and often brutal Central Texas Weather can be a challenge, but not for the experts at the 21st Annual Austin Fall Home and Garden Show. Heather McClean of Goodness Grows in Austin joined us in the studio with more. Help get your projects solved at the 21st Annual Austin Fall Home Garden Show. Turn your home and garden dreams into reality with new ideas, fresh tips, latest products and the hottest home trends on August 26-28 at the Austin Convention Center, 500 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin.

WHAT: The 21st Annual Austin Fall Home Garden Show
WHEN: Friday, August 26, 2-7p | Saturday, August 27, 10a-7p | Sunday, August 28, 11a-5p
WHERE: The Austin Convention Center | 500 East Cesar Chavez Street | Austin, TX 78701 Metered street parking, and nearby City Garages.
ADMISSION: Adults 17+ – $9 per person | 16 Under – Free | Seniors 65+ – $7 | Active Duty Military – Free (with ID)

For over two decades, the Austin Fall Home Garden Show captivates visitors with expert builders and contractors, celebrity guests, exciting presentations and fun activities for the entire family. The Austin Convention Center is transformed into a vibrant, colorful home and garden paradise, with thousands of square feet of dazzling displays, interactive demos, and experts in virtually every area of home building, remodeling, landscaping, gardening and wildlife. There are beautiful furnishings, state-of-the-art kitchen, wall design and countertop displays, closet organization and storage, entertainment and technology, the latest in sinks, tubs, fixtures and even pools, spas and outdoor living areas. For the yard and garden, there are ‘outdoor living’ inspirations, with imaginative landscape displays, unique water features and a wide variety of plants and garden accessories to boost curb appeal. There will also be outdoor furniture, grills, spas and more. Special seminars this fall include everything for gardens including Central TX Gardens, Landscapes, Bees Container Gardens. The Garden Wildlife Stage will also host citrus expert Mani Skaria, education on bamboo and a lively show with Birds of Prey.

Whether it’s a small home improvement project or a complete renovation, guests can expect one-on-one time to consult with expert builders, contractors, remodelers, interior designers and landscapers among others. Some of the top professionals in the industry are available to offer invaluable advice and practical ‘how-tos’ on everything from common topics such as gutters, walls, and flooring, to home security, green living, media technology, and the latest on solar energy.

On the Austin American Statesman Fresh Ideas Stage, the Austin Fall Home Garden Show is thrilled to host special celebrity guest Chris Lambton of DIY Network’s “Yard Crashers” and HGTV’s “Going Yard”. Chris takes the stage with an entertaining and insightful presentation on landscaping, trends and how to be sustainable in your own backyard; plus, share a behind the scenes look at your favorite crashes and how to create your own! The Fresh Ideas Stage will also host outdoor living experts of Diamondscape and KXAN’s David Yeomans weather seminars. Families can take advantage of fun interactive activities including the Kids Project Zone, movies, coloring, arts and crafts to educational fun with Thinkery’s nature sensory bin and collage making, and even the child ID program with fingerprinting by NY Life. For the shoppers, there is a unique Art, Gift and Gourmet Center with artisan foods and handcrafted gifts, GO TEXAN products and gourmet treats such as jams, dips, pasta and sweet treats.

Attendees won’t want to miss a chance to win an outdoor 12’ x 12’ garden room by Goodness Grows in Austin. Valued at $10,000, the giveaway includes flagstone, native plant collection, moss boulders and mulch container gardens, ceramic containers of succulents, Adirondack chairs with stools and an accent table. In addition, free totes and bluebonnet seeds are available for all attendees while supplies last. The Austin Fall Home and Garden show is cash or check only at the door. Prices are $9 for adults (17+), $7 for seniors (65+) all weekend, and free for 16 and under. Admission is also complimentary for all active duty military personnel (valid ID required).



Sponsored by The Austin Fall Home Garden Show. Opinions expressed by guests on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.


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Couple overcomes sandy soil with thriving gardens

“When we moved in it was just a house surrounded by sand. The winds came from the west and the south, and so did the sand,” said Sidney Lipman. “Every day, we had to shovel the sand off our patio and away from the door. Because of the space between our house and the house next door, it caused a vortex, a crosswind. Sand constantly blew into our yard.

“When we came each May to open up the house, we needed a backhoe to get all the sand off the patio,” he said. “We decided to put in a snow fence on the south side of the house and in front of the house, near the water, to stop the winds and the sand. The snow fence did the trick.”

But the snow fence created sand mounds, and the Lipmans planted American beach grass in the two mounds near the water nine years ago. They used small plugs and planted them one foot apart. Once a year, they mowed it down. The long sand mound on the south side took on a life of its own.The small pile grew to five feet in height. “We kept planting grasses because when they get covered by sand, they shoot out more roots to gain a better hold,” he said.

His wife, Karen Lipman, a Carrie T. Watson Garden Club member, was looking forward to creating gardens around the beach house. “As the side yard mound grew, we started planting other things besides the grasses. I love monarch butterflies. I raise them in cages, so I planted common and swamp milkweed for them, and they have grown very well. I love that the milkweed pops up everywhere. I’m trying two dwarf butterfly bushes this year for the butterflies. I hope they make it,” Karen Lipman said.

The Lipmans didn’t add any topsoil to any of the garden areas. All the plants grow in sand with only a little of the soil that came with them in the pots. “These plants have to be really tough to grow only in sand, with the constant winds and the heat of the sand,” she said. “Everything is trial and error. I have test gardens. If something does well, I get more, like the hostas. Many plants have died. They can’t live on the beach.”

An advantage of sand gardening, she said, is that nothing is invasive because of the sand.Rio Grande portulacas thrive with bold colors and other sedums and grasses do well including zebra grass, Northern sea oats, Karl Foerster grass and Elijah Blue grass. The long, south mound garden extends from the back of the house past the front patio. A model lighthouse sits at the edge of the garden. There are two waterfalls and many perennials such as Autumn Joy sedum, geraniums, hostas and a small Japanese maple. A seating area rounds out the garden.

The gardens are a challenge, the couple says, but they find some surprising successes. “I didn’t think the roses would make it but the Knockout ones did. They are thriving,” Karen Lipman said. The couple enjoys seeing the wildlife on the beach. “There is so much wildlife here. All the butterflies and birds. We had four robins nest in our trees this year. We have a resident toad or two. The birds love to bathe and drink in the waterfalls,” she said.

The north side garden is narrow and has a small bridge, more grasses, bayberry shrubs, mugo pines and hydrangeas. In the garden bed next to the driveway, Karen Lipman created a fairy garden for her grandchildren: 5-year-old triplet granddaughters and an18-month-old grandson. Little fairy homes, fairies and gnomes nestle among the perennials, shrubs and houseplants. “It’s a fun garden for the grandkids. They can move everything around and I use plastic fairies so they can’t break.”

To maintain the natural beach look, the Lipmans use nontraditional mulches. “My mulches are sand, rocks, pine needles and worm grass, which is a short sedum.” Karen Lipman said. “We do have to water and fertilize a lot. There aren’t many nutrients in sand. We use Miracle Gro for the perennials and granular fertilizer for the shrubs.”

The Lipmans are very happy with their beach house and gardens. They enjoy entertaining there with their friends and family. “We love it here. We stay here from May until October. It’s so beautiful here in the fall. I love it more and more every year. The garden is so alive being by the water. It’s a very dynamic garden.” LEL

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Garden club restores, maintains flowers at Kearney museum

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) – A bush full of pink roses greets spring and summer visitors on the walkway to the front door at the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture on the University of Nebraska at Kearney West Campus.

Other flowers add color around the grounds – daisies below the front porch, rows of peonies in the back yard and a rose garden in the south yard, the Kearney Hub ( ) reported.

Gardens around the house were restored and are maintained by the Soil Sisters and Misters Garden Club. The house was built in 1889 by entrepreneur-businessman George Washington Frank and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the year after it was deeded by the state to Kearney State College.

Club members meet on growing season Saturdays to transplant, trim, clip past-their-prime blooms and remove weeds.

“This garden is kind of our home away from home,” said Del Hemsath, who is the project leader. His wife, Alice, said they live in a Kearney condo with only a small outdoor space, so they go to the Frank House and their daughter’s home on Sweetwater Road to garden.

The garden club was formed and federated with state, regional and national organizations in 1967. It now has 36 members.

There are monthly meetings, with most at 1 p.m. on third Tuesdays in the South Platte Room at Kearney Public Library, to hear guest speakers on many garden-related topics.

“It’s a very diverse group of people who just love gardening or gardens,” Alice Hemsath said, and who love to talk gardening with other enthusiasts.

Other activities over the years have included maintaining gardens at the Frank House, the Woman’s Club house and The Archway; having gardening programs, garden walks and community service projects; and being involved in the Buffalo County Fair horticulture show.

A new project was helping second- and third-graders tend a garden at Faith United Methodist Church as part of the Kearney Community Learning Center’s summer programs.

Plant exchanges such as the one April 23 at the Frank House are the club’s major fundraising events.

“We had people from the community bring in things as well as us,” club President Sina Martin Lehn said.

Alice Hemsath said eight or nine international students worked with club members during the The Big Event volunteer day at UNK in April. “They hadn’t used shears before. … But they had so much fun and so much enthusiasm,” she said with a smile.

Martin Lehn said some students shared their experience internationally with Facebook postings.

The students helped with a project to replace a rose garden in the shady back yard with azaleas, hydrangeas and a tree hydrangea. The roses were transplanted to more sunny spots on the south side of the grounds.

Lu Krueger, a longtime garden club member and Sisters and Misters historian, said the gardening project started in the 1990s in cooperation with the Friends of the Frank House group that helped with house restorations over the years.

“We plant for maintenance-free,” Del Hemsath said, so Frank House garden work can be done every week or two.

“One year, we had someone designated for each section. I had the herb garden and just stopped by when I had the chance,” Krueger added.

The four garden club members grew up in rural Nebraska in families that gardened.

“My grandfather gardened, and my mother gardened,” said Martin Lehn. She lives between Kearney and Gibbon on land that has been in her family for more than 100 years.

The Hemsaths taught at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture while living in Curtis for about 30 years. Alice has a master’s degree in horticulture and Del’s master’s is in soils. His career also included serving as an extension educator in northeast Nebraska.

Krueger was an extension educator in Sidney for Cheyenne, Kimball and Banner counties and taught in UNK’s Family and Consumer Sciences Department.

Despite such garden-friendly backgrounds, Alice said, “Anybody could come and help (at the Frank House) as long as they bring their enthusiasm and whatever tools they need.”

Kueger said club members ensure that plants in Frank House gardens are “period friendly.”

“We try very hard to be sure they are typically Victorian, although the design may not be Victorian,” Alice said, adding that there is one pink climbing rose that is original to the Frank House.

Del said an obvious change in the look of the place is there were no trees there when the house was built.

Club members make sure any plans to change the landscaping are sent to Museum Director Will Stoutamire for approval. “It’s not our house. UNK is the property owner,” Alice said.

The gardeners said their priority now is to remove a small moss-covered rock garden pond on the south side of the house because no one is taking care of it.

“When we started working here, we didn’t know the pond was here,” Krueger said, explaining that it was discovered during the late 1990s during the major garden restoration.

Martin Lehn said the UNK grounds staff have asked for the garden club’s help to find a solution.

“We’re looking to replace it with a fountain,” Alice said. “Will found a photo of a fountain on the grounds near the Frank House.”

She said a project will require fund raising and/or a fountain sponsorship.


Information from: Kearney Hub,

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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Fall garden workshop covers bulbs, herbs, ‘green’ landscaping

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How to care for a fiddle-leaf fig plant: gardening tips

QUESTION: I purchased my wife a fiddle leaf fig for Mother’s Day this year. Ever since, it seems to be slowly losing its leaves along with browning on the remaining leaves. We try to give it filtered sunlight (as recommended on the tag) through the blinds in our den, and water it twice a week. We replanted it into a different pot. Should I try putting the plant outside in direct sunlight and humidity to regain its strength? Should I try fertilizer? Or should water and sunlight suffice? Any advice you can offer is appreciated. — David

ANSWER: The symptoms indicate that the fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is likely not getting enough light. Filtered sunlight may be referring to outside. Indoors, the fiddle-leaf fig needs as much light as you can give it. Raise the blinds so that more light shines through. Move the plant as close to the window as possible. You may even choose to move it to a window that gets more light. Allow the plant to dry slightly between waterings, and make sure the pot is draining well. It would not be a bad idea to move the ficus outside to recover.

Your instincts are good, but put it in a shady spot. Light outside is far brighter than light indoors. Even a shady spot outside would likely provide more light than where it is now. Bring it back inside as the weather cools in the fall. This is not really a fertilizer or nutritional problem. You may apply a slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote following label directions, if you like. But mostly this is a sunlight problem.

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This week’s gardening tips: trim seed pods from crape myrtles

This week’s gardening tips: If your crape myrtle trees are still relatively small, feel free to lightly trim off the clusters of green, round seedpods at the ends of branches. This can prevent the weight of the pods from making the branches hang down low, and it encourages the trees to produce a late summer flush of flowers. Trimming is entirely optional, though. It will not hurt the trees to leave the seed pods alone.

Support plants that are tall, leaning or have fallen over onto other plants. Simply lean plants against a stake, or you can tie the plant to the stake. Green, brown or black twine or plastic ties will be less obvious than other colors.

Many ornamental grasses are producing attractive flowers/seed heads now. These look fantastic in arrangements indoors. Spray the flower/seed heads with a light application of hair spray or clear shellac to keep them from shattering as they dry.

Cercospora leaf spot has caused crape myrtle trees to shed lots of leaves this summer. Trees are looking thin and less attractive. But don’t worry, the trees will be fine.

After a summer of vigorous growth outside, some container plants may be pot bound. Check and repot into larger containers if necessary. Also plants in pots sitting on a brick surface or soil may grow roots out of the drainage holes into the ground. Prevent this by lifting the pots or using pot feet.

Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.

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