Garden calendar: May 2-30

SATURDAY
Sugar Land Garden Club’s 16th annual spring garden tour: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., rain date May 9. Eight private gardens in Venetian Estates. Tickets tour day at BancorpSouth, 8410 U.S. 90A; sugarlandgardenclub.org. $15.
Summer Vegetable Gardening: sponsored by Urban Harvest. 9-11 a.m. at University of St. Thomas, Welder Hall, Room 115, 3812 Yoakum; 713-880-5540, urbanharvest.org. $30 members, $45 nonmembers.
Feng Shui in the Garden: with Katherine Ashby. 10 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851, arborgate.com. Free.
Native Plants for Texas Gardeners: 10:15 a.m. at Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss; corneliusnurseries.com/events. Free.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY
Petal Pushers Garden Club annual plant sale: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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Harris County Master Gardener spring sale and symposia

Harris County Master Gardener spring sale and symposia: preview 8 a.m., sale 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Harris County Texas AgriLife Extension Service, 3033 Bear Creek; 281-855-5600, hcmga.tamu.edu.

Organic Pest Control: sponsored by Urban Harvest. 9-11:30 a.m. at Welder Hall, University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose; 713-880-5540, urbanharvest.org. $30 members, $45 nonmembers.

Quail Valley Garden Club backyard tour: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Quail Valley subdivision, Missouri City.

Easy Herbs, Easy Recipes: with Ann Wheeler and Chris Crowder. 10 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851, arborgate.com.

Vertical Gardening: 10 a.m. at Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond, 281-937-9449; 2 p.m. at Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359, Richmond, 281-341-1206; myenchanted.com.

Easy Care Flowers, Top Picks From Proven Winners: 10:15 a.m. at Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss; corneliusnurseries.com/events.

Texas Month-by-Month Gardening: presentation, book signing with Harris County horticulture agent Skip Richter. 1 p.m. the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851, arborgate.com.

Sugar Land Garden Club’s 16th annual spring garden tour: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., rain date May 9.

Summer Vegetable Gardening: sponsored by Urban Harvest. 9-11 a.m. at University of St. Thomas, Welder Hall, Room 115, 3812 Yoakum; 713-880-5540, urbanharvest.org. $30 members, $45 nonmembers.

Edible Plants: with Master Naturalist David Renninger.

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Vertical garden at H-E-B softens the urban landscape

H-E-B landscape architect uses vertical gardens to soften impact of urban development

[…] they were meticulously planned living walls, and the one in Paris was created by Patrick Blanc, the famous botanist and artist who uses thousands of plants to cover the exteriors of museums, shopping malls, private homes, hotels and skyscrapers.

Returning home, Triplett studied Blanc’s book, “The Vertical Garden – From Nature to the City” (W.W. Norton; $44), and decided to include a living green sculpture on the west side of the new H-E-B at San Felipe and Fountainview.

While making plans for the San Felipe store, Triplett hired the McDugald-Steele landscape architecture firm to build trial vertical gardens, one in Houston and one at the H-E-B company headquarters in San Antonio.

McCann, who has designed more than two dozen vertical gardens in his career, selected society garlic, rosemary, two types of juniper (shore and blue chip), flax lilies and Mexican sedum for the San Felipe store walls.

Before planting, McCann and staff installed a vertical irrigation system and a vast expanse of recycled plastic, which would serve as the planting medium.

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Get tips on pocket butterfly gardening

Pocket Butterfly Gardening: with Nancy Grieg. 10 a.m. at Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond, 281-937-9449; 2 p.m. at Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359 Richmond, 281-341-1206; myenchanted.com.

Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program: self-guided tours of six private Houston gardens. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Begin at 802 W. Temple for tickets, maps, plant sale; 888-842-2442, opendaysprogram.org. $35 six gardens, $7 single site, ages 12 and younger free.

Colorful Sun and Shade Plants From Burpee Home Gardens: 10:15 a.m. at Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss; corneliusnurseries.com/events.

Coastal Prairie Remnants: with photographer Caroline Fannon, Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas meeting. 6:30-8:30 p.m. at McGovern Centennial Gardens, 1500 Hermann Drive; HNPAT.wordpress.com.

Katy Prairie Conservancy Great Grow-Out – Restoration of Coastal Prairie Habitat Through Volunteer Action: 7:30 p.m. at Metropolitan Multi-Services Center, 1475 W. Gray; hcsstx.org.

The Evergreen Herb Garden: with Henry Flowers of Festival Hill Gardens. 10 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851, arborgate.com.

Standard Flower Show: sponsored by Kingwood Garden Club. 1-3:30 p.m. at the Kingwood Library, 4400 Ben’s View Lane, Kingwood; kingwoodgardenclub.org.

Quail Valley Garden Club Backyard Tour: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Quail Valley subdivision, Missouri City.

Easy Herbs, Easy Recipes: with Ann Wheeler and Chris Crowder. 10 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851, arborgate.com.

Texas Month-by-Month Gardening: presentation, book signing with Harris County horticulture agent Skip Richter. 1 p.m. the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851, arborgate.com.

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Stop and smell the poppies in Castroville

Colorful, hardy wildflowers help to keep French connection alive in tiny Texas town

CASTROVILLE – History runs deep in the Little Alsace of Texas, right down to the poppies blooming around quaint 19th-century cottages and the 17th-century fachwerk house that serves as the visitors center.

Sally Coyle and Lloyd Ross estimated 300 visitors stopped to see the poppies at their house on Florence Street on a recent weekend.

Since learning five years ago that the poppies weren’t weeds, Ross has cultivated the plants around his 1851 house and the early-1800s log cabin next door.

With nothing more than nature’s help, blooms will return next March and keep the Alsace connection alive.

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Huisache trees cast a golden glow

Collectively, the trees cast a golden glow – and a sweet scent – on a landscape when they’re in bloom.

The bee-attracting flowers are followed by reddish-brown to black woody, rounded seed pods used for tanning and dyeing.

The finely divided foliage resembles a smaller version of the mimosa’s and the related mesquite.

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Brighten spring garden with variegated plants

When you’re visiting the garden center, it’s natural to focus in on plants with beautiful flowers and miss the stunning foliage.

Light-colored variegated plants can brighten shady spots and draw the eye.

For color on its own, Fireworks Fountain Grass pops with white, green, pink and burgundy foliage.

The variegated dwarf agave seems to glow from the inside out with bright golden-yellow edged, fleshy curved leaves.

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Azaleas find a home to love in Spring

When the couple first moved into their contemporary Spring home – it’ll be 40 years in November – John tried coaxing grass to grow in the front yard.

Beds are naturally mulched with pine needles and oak leaves, and his sprinkler system keeps them from getting too thirsty.

Out back, where the couple eat lunch most days and enjoy a glass of wine on the patio most nights, another high canopy of branches and leaves shelters a long, rectangular vegetable garden where John grows tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers and squash.

The dogs may be small but they make their presence felt by barking excitedly when a visitor ventures up the front walk.

For years, Kathy volunteered at Poodle Rescue of Houston, Citizens for Animal Protection and the Homeless Pet Placement League.

Kathy, who stopped playing tennis when she hurt her shoulder, plays pickleball at the Cypress Creek YMCA- a paddle game that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

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In the garden: Wisteria

Wisteria
Cascading clusters of fragrant lavender blooms are short-lived but long-remembered. The hardy vine should be trimmed heavily after it blooms to keep it from taking over the garden or a tree canopy.
Light: Blooms best in full or part sun.
Size: Climbs over fences, trellises or buildings; can be trimmed to a shrub.
Water: Moderate
Bloom: Early spring
Cultivation: Plant Wisteria ‘Amethyst Falls,’ an improved native American Wisteria vine, not the more aggressive Asian varieties. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizer, which encourages growth over blooms.
Latin name: Wisteria frutescens
Melissa Aguilar

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Snapdragons are good to grow

Snapdragons
Long favored in cottage gardens, snapdragons bloom in colors from white to deep burgundy with a variety of pinks, yellows and oranges in between. Height options abound, too.
Light: Sun to part sun
Size: Available in a range of heights, from 8 inches tall for dwarfs to 36 inches or more for standard varieties; 12 inches wide.
Water: Moderate
Bloom: Late fall to early spring
Cultivation: Replace with warm-season annuals as temperatures rise in spring.
Latin name: Antirrhinum majus
Tracy Hobson Lehmann

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