Photo by William Johnson
The milkweed assassin bug is a commonly occurring beneficial insect in local gardens and landscapes. Meet several more in a free public presentation being given by Post columnist William Johnson next Tuesday. For details, see At A Glance, below.
THE EXTENSION fruit & pecan committee, master gardener volunteers and Galveston County AgriLife Extension office will co-sponsor a fruit orchard and garden tour on Saturday, May 16, from 9:00am to 12:00 noon. The program is open to the public and free-of-charge.
Three fruit orchards are on this year’s route and each will be open during the tour period. You will have the option of touring all three sites or any combination at your own pace and in any order you choose.
This year’s tour sites contain a wide variety of fruit trees, ranging from an impressive fruit tree orchard at Fruits ’N Such orchard at 6309 Avenue U & Bowerman Drive in Dickinson to the master gardener demonstration orchard in Carbide Park in La Marque. Peach, plum, citrus, fig, apple and other fruit trees can be seen also.
All three sites contain a wide variety of vegetables. They are grown in dozens of raised beds at Carbide Park, whereas they are grown in the ground at Fruits ’N Such.
Visitors may also tour an impressive herb garden next to the Fruits ’N Such orchard. If you’re looking for the freshest produce to purchase, you can pick it yourself at Fruits ’N Such.
If you are interested in seeing the amazing diversity of fruit trees that can be grown in a backyard, be sure to include a tour of master gardener Bill Verm’s home orchard in Santa Fe.
If you have an interest in roses, be sure to visit the display beds of earth-kind roses at the Carbide Park site. Homeowners love their magnificent blooms and fragrance.
Roses have had a centuries-long reputation of being the most neurotic members of the plant world. Consequently, gardeners spend considerable cash buying fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides to sustain their roses, and much time pruning, deadheading and watering them to keep them blooming. Roses that qualify for the earth-kind designation are very low-maintenance and perform very well under a variety of growing conditions.
To obtain a map with directions to the tour sites, visit Galveston County AgriLife Extension office in Carbide Park, at 4102-B Main Street in La Marque, or call 281-534-3413, ext 1-1.
A printable copy of the tour map and additional details are available on my website, the address for which is provided with this column (click on the “Extension Educational Programs” link).
Area homeowners who grow – or plan to grow – fruit or vegetables for home use will find the tour sites to be of considerable benefit.
At a glance
WE OFTEN find bugs annoying but there are lots of insects and other critters that help keep gardens and plants healthy. Local gardeners are likely to name lady bugs or honey bees when asked to give an example of a beneficial insect commonly found in Gulf Coast gardens and landscapes.
Local gardeners would be surprised at the diversity of beneficial insects already residing – and working – in their backyards.
To learn more about beneficial insects and how to identify them, preregister for an upcoming educational program entitled Beneficials In The Garden And Landscape. The illustrated presentation will be provided by William Johnson at 6:30pm on Tuesday, May 19, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension office in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main Street, La Marque. Preregister by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 281-534-3413, ext 1-2.
William Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Visit his website at aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.htm