Jim, Could I ask some questions about starting seeds for our 2019 gardens.
Tag Archives: Dallas County Master Gardeners
Dallasites on Facebook have taken notice of the colorful fall foliage, with one poster saying, “All of that rain must’ve helped because I’ve never seen such pretty autumn leaves in Texas as I have this year.”
Another commenter said, “This year has been the prettiest of the 13 years we’ve been here.”
While that’s all conjecture, Daniel Cunningham, horticulturist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and self-proclaimed “Texas Plant Guy,” said Texans taking notice of brighter colors might be onto something.
Cunningham explained that cool weather helps to break down the chlorophyll — that’s the green pigment in plants — allowing the yellow and orange pigments to shine through. When temperatures reach just above freezing, it increases anthocyanin formation, and that pigment produces the red and purple leaves.
The rain storms that plagued North Texas recently may have also helped the trees keep their leaves longer, giving them more time to change colors for all to see.
A commenter in a Facebook thread of Frisco residents comparing North Texas’ fall leaves with the colors of Northeastern fall leaves said, “As a lover of all things fall and someone who finally did a fall foliage trip a couple of years ago, it really is stunning this year.”
Cunningham said that autumn is the best time to plant trees in Texas as well as the perfect excuse to head over to a local tree nursery.
It’s great people actually care about the colors of trees because I think sometimes people are interested in pretty flowers and the colors they can bring but sometimes forget trees,” he said. “In North Texas, we don’t always have a fall so it’s good to enjoy that this year.”
Another Facebook user said, “It’s gorgeous if you take side streets to your destination wherever that may be just to see the foliage.”
“Folks, get outside and enjoy it,” he said. “Whether you do that by walking in your neighborhood or hiking around DFW, do it because we probably only have two more weeks of this lovely fall color to enjoy.”
Thank you to the Dallas Observer and Nashwa Bawab for allowing us to print this story.
Japanese Maple picture by Starla
This Fall has been spectacular with so many kinds of trees with brilliant fall colors. Some had said it has to do with our long hot summer while others have said the rain came at just the right time and it’s a combination of the two weather factors.
What do you think is causing such beautiful fall color in 2018?
What trees would you recommend for fall color? Say someone wants to buy a tree this fall in hopes for future fall color in their yard.
What about Shantung Maples, I see alot of those in my neighborhood and I like the shape of them. Ann
Hi Ann – So good to hear from you. I agree with you 100 % on the beautiful fall colors for many of our trees in the Urban Forest. There are many different opinions on the reasons for the beautiful colors this Fall. The truth is that tree people know that temperature(highs and lows), water, first freeze date, all play a part in the Fall colors but cannot figure out the exact timing of these variables to come up with a nice tidy equation that will let us all know when to expect the beautiful colors.
My neighbor from New York planted a Bradford Pear a few years ago . She loved the Fall colors but also found out the final ending for Bradford Pears is not pretty. I suggested she might want to look at the Shantung Maple. She planted one four years ago and every year would ask me when the beautiful oranges and reds would show up. I told her to be patient, the yellow colors looked great but it wasn’t until this Fall that she finally got the brilliant oranges that she has been waiting on. I am thinking of trying one of the Shantung maples at RCG. I have given up on the Ginkgo. They require too much tender loving care for the first two years and we need to recommend trees that are hardy and can survive with a minimum amount of care to the public. I would also like to be able to fine a Big Tooth Maple but availability in the nurseries is very limited.
I think you are on the right trail with the Shantung.
Have a great Holiday season,
Thank you,Eric, and thank you for all the effort and thought you put into our demonstration forest at Raincatcher’s!
Picture by Starla Willis
Eric Larner is a Dallas County Master Gardener from the class of 2006 and a Citizen Forester. He and his wife, Jane(also a Master Gardener) work at The Raincatcher’s Garden and many other places in Dallas planting and speaking about trees.
Where have all the butterflies gone? We enjoyed so many this fall in our garden.
By late November, most butterflies have bred and died. Their offspring overwinter in egg, larva, or chrysalis form until next spring.
Fascinating news from the Native Plant Society-click to read their newsletter.
Our yellow flower tour starts as the cheerful yellow daisy like flowers of zexmenia welcomes visitors to the garden. It is hard to go wrong with this native plant. Zexmenia asks little beyond a sunny spot with a bit of room to spread. Butterflies and bees are frequent visitors to the lasting display of clear yellow flowers.
If your garden could use a little sparkle or if you want to do more to provide the nectar pollinators need to live, add some , or all, of these lovely yellow and you will do both.
You can see all of these plants at Raincatcher’s garden at Midway Hills Christian Church. Garden work is on Tuesday mornings and you are always welcome.
Pictures by Starla Willis
Dallas County Master Gardeners said farewell to summer with an outside dessert buffet at our monthly meeting, Thursday, September 27th. Beautiful weather that morning teased us into believing that fall was only a whisper away.
Earlier in the summer we harvested gallons of blackberries from the vines in our north garden. Mid-summer peaches were purchased from local growers. Carefully packaged, our bountiful berries and fruits were sent to the freezer for a brief storage. And then, the cooking began.
Our dessert buffet featured some long-standing favorites:
*Old-Fashioned Blackberry Cobbler
*Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler
*Fresh Peach Pound Cake
*Blackberry Pie Bars
*Fresh Peach Drop Cookies
It was the surprise dessert, however, that took center stage…Lemon Verbena Ice Cream. If you already know about Lemon Verbena but aren’t growing it, now’s the time to reconsider. This ice cream was a real crowd pleaser based on some of the comments we heard as each spoonful was savored by our members:
“Lemony goodness is filling my senses. I want more.”
“Those tiny, little bits of candied lemon rind are popping in my mouth. So refreshing.”
“Creamy texture, divine flavor…please make this again.”
Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
*¼ cup chopped candied lemon zest
In a saucepan set over moderate heat bring the milk just to a simmer. Gently crush the lemon verbena leaves in a bowl and add the hot milk. Cover and let steep until milk is cool.
Strain the milk through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing hard on the leaves to extract all flavor. Add the cream, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, stir once, and remove pan from the heat.
In a bowl whisk the egg yolks, add half of the hot cream mixture, whisking, and pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot liquid. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil. Stir in the lemon juice and candied zest.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl, let cool, and chill, covered with plastic, until cold.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.
Yield: about 1 quart
*Candied Lemon Zest
4 lemons, well scrubbed
2 cups sugar
1 cup cool water
Remove zest from lemons with a vegetable peeler, keeping pieces long. Remove white pith using a paring knife. Cut into a fine julienne using a very sharp knife. Place julienned zest in a small bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes; drain.
Bring sugar and the cool water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When sugar is completely dissolved, add julienned zest, reduce heat to medium low, and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand overnight. Drain before using.
Yield: 8 servings
Here’s some information about a well-loved herb, lemon verbena:
Lemon Verbena, Aloysia triphylla syn. Lippia citriodora, is a member of the Verbenaceae family. It is a shrub-like herb with woody stems and bright green, rough-textured pointed leaves, from 1-3 inches long. Leaves grow in whorls of 3 to 4 with an intense lemon scent.
The bush generally grows around 3-6 feet tall. Plant in full sun in good garden soil. Give it plenty of room to ramble off in different directions or trim slightly, if desired. Either way, you will have an abundance of leaves to use starting in early spring and continuing into fall. In winter lemon verbena will lose its leaves.
Once springtime arrives, you’ll notice tiny little leaves popping out up and down the stems. Your lemon verbena has come out of its dormant stage and it is ready to welcome the new season. This might be a good time to give it a shapelier look.
Enjoy its crisp, clean lemon taste as a substitute in any recipe calling for lemons. Use its fresh leaves chopped up in cakes, cookies and glazes. Drop a sprig or two in your tea and relax with a delightfully lemon-scented herb that should be in everyone’s garden.
The next Dallas County Master Gardener meeting will be October 25 at Walnut Hill United Methodist Church and don’t forget our fall garden tour on October 13th. Tickets can be purchased ahead online for $15 or for $20 on the day of the tour at any of the garden locations. More information here.
All members of the public are invited to both events!