Inspirations by Frances Durrisseau

I  came across a quote in a meme on social networking that I love. I do not know to whom I should give credit for the thought or ownership but it said: “All who wander are not lost”. I have been lost and wandering in the wilderness of life on many occasions, which led to many times of wondering about many things, mostly that begin with the words why, who, what, where ,when and how.
Why was I led into the wilderness? Who was really with
me in my tear-soaked-fear and anxiety-filled journey? What was my purpose there and what would come from it and, when it came, would it be something good? Where was this journey into the wilderness leading me? When would it end and a breakthrough come, how was it going to happen and would I recover from it, grow from it, or even survive it?
I have survived all the imposed wilderness wanderings in
my life. I am learning to take on a bit of wandering just for the thrill of it at times and finding that those wanderings can leave a positive impression in my life. I have found that even those unexpected and scary wanderings that I’ve had to undertake all really did have some good in them, even though it took
me some time to see it.
Wandering and wondering have had their purpose in my life. I might have actually been found, not lost, after all.
Contact Frances by e-mail at

Beautiful gardens by William Johnson

LAST SATURDAY, I was able to tour some sites on this year’s Azalea Trail sponsored by River Oaks Garden Club. Even though the prime flowering period for most of the azaleas had passed, the remaining flowers provided ample glints of colors to lighten up the drab and cloudy day. Azaleas really are spring showoffs!
With the introduction and more common use of varieties that bloom in other seasons, such as the increasingly popular Encore variety, it’s not unusual to see azaleas blooming during the late summer, fall and winter.
When they are in full bloom, few shrubs in the landscape can rival them for flower power. Although the floral display might be relatively short-lived for many of our traditional azaleas, such as Indica, it ensures the continued popularity of this time-honored southern shrub.
Surprisingly, azaleas will grow and bloom in many different light intensities all the way from filtered shade to bright sunny exposures. However, they will not bloom in deep shade.
There is no secret formula to growing them except for giving them proper care. That means being careful in your preparation of the planting bed, proper fertilization, pruning and special attention to water requirements.
Certainly, azaleas can be planted in spring. This is the time of year when garden centers have the best selection and gardeners can see potted plants in bloom. Be aware, though, that spring-planted azaleas might take a little longer to become established than those planted in the fall or winter.
The fall and winter months would be the best time to plant. Fall and winter planting encourages root growth before spring bloom and shoot growth commence.
Summer planting really should be avoided, although you can be successful planting at that time by providing extra care, primarily in watering.
Before purchasing azaleas, make sure you ask the mature size of the plants you intend to buy. Depending on the cultivar, azaleas can mature at less than two feet tall up to 10 or more feet.
Don’t purchase a type of azalea that will grow too large for the spot where it will be planted. When mature, large varieties like the Indica require from four to eight feet of space between each plant; you may plant smaller varieties two feet apart.
Azaleas require good drainage but also need an even supply of moisture. Uniformity in soil moisture is important for good growth and establishment in the landscape.
If you find that a plant’s outer roots are matted together when you take it out of its container, be sure to cut through the matted root layer with a sharp knife. This is a very important step to promote development of a vigorous root system after transplanting into the soil.
It is also very important to never plant azaleas too deep! Set them into their planting holes so that the top of the root ball is at the same level or slightly higher than the soil line of the planting bed.
After planting, water thoroughly and place three to four inches of mulch – shredded pine bark or pine needles – around the plant. Mulching serves several purposes. In addition to conditioning the soil, it also helps retain moisture and stifles the growth of weeds and grasses.
The first two years that the azalea is in the garden are the most critical for its survival. The young plant requires consistent soil moisture during this time when the feeder roots are developing and spreading. During dry spells, keep it well watered but not soaking wet.
Azaleas should be fertilized with a specialty fertilizer made for them. There are many excellent commercially prepared brands on the market. Fertilize once soon after blooming has stopped in spring and repeat four to six weeks later. No other feeding should be done after May.
Azaleas do best in soil that has a slightly acid pH. Acidifying the soil periodically might be required if their leaves turn yellow.
Pruning can be done any time up until the flower buds start to form in midsummer. Pruning after bud formation commences will reduce flower production in the following spring. Plants can be safely pruned up to one third or more of their height at one trimming. Azaleas should be kept trimmed to avoid legginess and to promote lush green foliage.
William Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Visit his website at

At a Glance:
Upcoming programs
Basics For Home Composting 1:00-2:30pm, Saturday, March 11
Tomato Stress Management 9:00-11:00am, Saturday, March 18
The Culture And Care Of Palms 1:00-3:00pm, Saturday, March 18
All programs conducted at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Service’s Carbide Park office at 4102B Main Street, La Marque. No fee is required but pre-registration is requested by phone at 281-309-5065 or e-mail at

When they are in full bloom, few shrubs in the landscape can rival azaleas for eye-catching flower power. Linda Steber


HAVE YOU ever known what it’s like to live in poverty? If not, have you ever wondered what it’s like?
Today, Wednesday, you can find out at a free interactive simulation being hosted by UTMB at Texas City’s Showboat Pavilion from 8:30am. During the simulation, you’ll be put into a group and given a theoretical monthly allowance to see how well you can survive with only a limited amount of money. Look back at our March 8 issue for more information.
If you’re struggling to find ways to keep your children or grandchildren entertained, La Marque’s public library seems to have a perfect fix – temporarily, at least.
Every Friday until April 28, the library will be letting children release their pent-up energy in an energetic program of music, song and dance while you run errands or get any other important work done.
Still in the land of literature, on Saturday, Hitchcock Public Library kicks off its spring book sale. From 10:00am-2:00pm, you can purchase books, magazines, DVDs and more at a reasonable price. The event will continue throughout next week but be there on Saturday if you want the most options! Again, our March 8 issue has more information.
Finally, if you would like to win tickets to the Houston rodeo, make sure you register for Galveston County Food Bank’s Out Run Hunger 1k walk and 5k and 10k runs. The fundraiser does not take place until April 29 but, if you register by March 20, your name will go into a drawing for a four-pack of tickets!

Sing, Dance And Play
WHO: La Marque public library
WHAT: A chance for kids to work off pent-up energy
WHEN: Every Friday until April 28, 11:00am
WHERE: Library, 1011 Bayou Road, La Marque
CONTACT: 409-938-9270

Out Run Hunger
WHO: Galveston County Food Bank
WHAT: Kids’ 1k walk and adults’ 5k and 10k runs with a drawing for four Houston rodeo tickets
WHEN: April 29 – register online at by March 20 for chance to win rodeo tickets
WHERE: Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Boulevard, Galveston
HOW MUCH: Kids $10; adults $25
CONTACT: Natalie Clarke,

Honoring Trailblazers
WHO: College Of The Mainland
WHAT: Three-date series in which local women share their stories in honor of Women’s History Month
WHEN: 12:30-1:30pm on March 21, Karen Kupsa, March 23, Angela Wilson, and March 28, Joan Nichols
WHERE: COM, 1200 North Amburn Road, Texas City
CONTACT: Michelle Cortez, 409-933-8502,, NaQui Davidson, 409-933-8190,

Brews ’N More
WHO: League City Regional chamber of commerce
WHAT: Showcase for Texas Craft Brewers beverages featuring food and music
WHEN: March 30, 5:30-8:30pm
WHERE: Marina Plaza, South Shore Harbour Resort, 2500 South Shore Boulevard, League City
CONTACT: South Shore Harbour, 281-334-1000 ext 2022

Fashion Show
WHO: Wounded Heroes Of Texas
WHAT: Fundraiser to support our state’s veterans
WHEN: April 1, 2:00pm
WHERE: Galveston Elks Lodge Number 126, 1518 23rd Street, Galveston
CONTACT: Bunny Zapalac, 409-632-0795,

Empowered To Connect
WHO: Anchor Point
WHAT: Two-day conference on communicating with disadvantaged children
WHEN: April 7 and 8, 9:00am-5:30pm
WHERE: Life Point Church, 2450 East Main Street, League City
HOW MUCH: Singles $45, couples $60
CONTACT: Rendie Brown, 832-632-1221,

Inspirations by Frances Durisseau

I love all things concerning nature, especially in the animal kingdom. I was recently happy to discover an online site that has live-cam views of both flora and fauna. As one of my favorite birds is one we see locally, I was intrigued to find a live-cam view of the species from a spot in Florida where a flock was nesting. The beautiful white and pink spoonbills were glorious to watch and their nesting area was being guarded and protected by an unusual group of “friends” – mean, big, ugly alligators.
The alligators were keeping the nesting spoonbills safe from other predators. Who would have thought? It reminded me that, sometimes, we need to open ourselves to welcoming friends who are very different from ourselves. We have a tendency to “stick with our own kind”, don’t we?
There is nothing wrong with that approach in life. It’s natural to be comfortable with those who are similar to you but are you overlooking people in your life who might have been sent to you to expand your world in unknown ways? Do you think they are too old, too young, too rich, too poor, too tattooed or pierced, too heavy, too loud or quiet, too smart or too dumb, or too “whatever” that is too different from you?
If so, you might be missing out on someone who is being sent to help you grow, to encourage you to expand your “natural” horizons, or who might have even been sent to help protect you in some way, all because they are too different. If I were you, I would be more like our beautiful spoonbills and let the alligators in your life come in and do their job. It might be exactly what and who you need for such a time as this!
Contact Frances by e-mail at


IF YOU haven’t yet made your way to see College Of The Mainland’s current fine-arts exhibit, today, Sunday, could be your perfect opportunity. Ashley Whitt, an adjunct professor for community colleges in Dallas and Collin County, is exhibiting works she has created as a visual representation of the anxiety and depression she has dealt with since her mother’s death. The exhibit is open until April 6 and is free.
On Tuesday, Mae Francis of Lookin’ Up Consulting will be at the DownTown restaurant in Texas City to give a talk on the best ways to resolve conflicts in the workplace. The event is free but does require an RSVP ahead of time so be sure to call Darcie O’Brien at the Texas City-La Marque chamber of commerce if interested in attending. See our March 1 issue for more information.
Also on Tuesday, the Young Democrats Galveston County organization is holding its monthly meeting, which is open to people of all ages but primarily seeks to involve young people in the political process. The organization pushes voter registration and advocates for voting in elections, as well as hosting social events and volunteering in the county community.
Finally, on Wednesday, Texas City’s Showboat Pavilion is holding an interactive seminar about life in poverty during which attendees will be separated into groups, given a small monthly budget and challenged to see if they could survive on a small income.
If you are interested in attending, register online at
See our March 8 issue for more information.

The Haunted Mind exhibit
WHO: College Of The Mainland
WHAT: Display of visual representations of Texas artist Ashley Whitt’s depression and anxiety after her mother’s death
WHEN: March 6-April 12
WHERE: College Of The Mainland, 1200 North Amburn Road, Texas City
CONTACT: Mayuko Ono Gray, 409-933-8354, or Joyce Palmer, 409-933-8348

Monthly meeting
WHO: Young Democrats Galveston County
WHAT: Discussion about all things electoral and support for Democratic party politicians
WHEN: March 14, 6:30pm
WHERE: International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers, 2509 FM 2004, Texas City
CONTACT: Kevin Price,

James Valentino speaks
WHO: Moore Memorial Public Library
WHAT: Author talks about his book, focusing on an immigrant to Galveston
WHEN: March 22, 1:30pm
WHERE: 1701 Ninth Avenue North, Texas City
CONTACT: 409-948-3111

Spring Fling
WHO: Brightwood College
WHAT: Family-friendly festival featuring food, giveaways and activities
WHEN: March 23, 10:00am-1:00pm
WHERE: Brightwood College, 3208 FM528, Friendswood
CONTACT: Audrey Pannell, 205-503-5955,

Crawfish And Zydeco festival
WHO: Kemah Boardwalk
WHAT: Three musical weekends celebrating crawfish season
WHEN: Fridays, March 24, 31 and April 7 5:00-9:00pm; Saturdays, March 25, April 1 and April 8 noon-4:00pm and 5:00-9:00pm; Sundays, March 26 6:00-10:00pm, April 2 and April 9 noon-4:00pm and 5:00-9:00pm
WHERE: Boardwalk, 215 Kipp Avenue, Kemah
HOW MUCH: Free entry, crawfish $11.50 for 1.5lb
CONTACT: 281-535-8100

Corks And Crawfish festival
WHO: Haak Vineyards And Winery
WHAT: Another musical celebration – plus wine!
WHEN: March 26, 11:30am
WHERE: Winery, 6310 Avenue T, Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: In advance $5, on day $7, children under 12 free
CONTACT: 409-925-1401

• Want your event’s details listed here? Just write down your Who, What, When etc details and e-mail them to