top of page

Garden Tips From Our Garden Gals

Gardening Links:

Neil Sperry’s Newsletter

Ask Neil

The Dallas Garden School

Tarrant County Master Gardener Association

Lucy Harrell’s Organic Gardening

Texas SmartScape

Carmen Johnston Gardens

Native Back Yards

Calloway's Blog

Got Gardening Questions?  Call the Tarrant Master Gardeners association at 817-884-1944 or email them at  You can also search Neil Sperrys website or try clicking our Gardening Links above.


In addition to our garden programs at our monthly meetings we want to bring more garden inspiration and education to our members.  Check out our monthly posts on our Garden Tips and Garden Inspiration webpages.


Vera Hall

Susan Schleppergrell

2/10/2024 It's That Time!  Rose Pruning

What time is that you ask? It’s cold, cloudy, muddy out there what on earth do I need

tackle now in my garden immediately? The Garden Gals are here to let you know it’s Rose

pruning time.

Mid February, actually Valentine’s Day is often quoted as the date and time frame you

need to prune your roses (or have someone knowledgeable do this).

Many of us removed all our Knockout roses due to Rose Rosette (just ask Vera) , but you might still have some. If so, these are a trickier to prune so we suggest you watch the second video ( a great way to cut them way back then actually prune for new growth). If you have other varieties  of roses or want to add some to your landscape, follow the first video which will  promote and produce the new growth needed for a healthy happy rose with lots of beauty in your garden beds.( Fairly easy to do)  

our Garden Gals love Roses!!!!!  Vera and Susan

Gardenerd videos:

Heirloom Roses:

Picture3 Roses 1.jpg

1/20/2024  Indoor Gardening

What to do when it is cold and your garden is dormant,            

Embrace House Plants!

A few years ago, I decided to buy a Houseplant to brighten up a corner in my living room. Well, I now have about 10-12. I know Vera has an appreciation for houseplants too. We talked about how do you enjoy your love of gardening when it’s freezing outside and it led to us discussing writing about the joy of Houseplants. My corner plant is a Chinese Money Tree and it is about 5 ft tall now. I found the right setting for it and it will stay there and give joy and a feeling of life to the room.

Most of us have had African Violets, a few Orchids, all take special care and offer indoor color. Larger houseplants have many health benefits like improving the air in your home, improving your work output, improving focus. See the article below on all the known benefits.

Although it’s not the best time to repot houseplants, you can trim them, wash off leaves and move them around for maximum light exposure during long cold days. (a bit of indoor gardening).  We encourage you to brighten your days with a few new houseplants to keep winter blues away. Check out Calloway’s supply, Lowes has many also. Certain Nurseries nearby have a nice selection too. Share your photos and choices with us.  Stay warm!!! Another month of cold and soon we will all be enjoying our outdoor gardens again.      


 Susan and Vera  (Your  Garden Gals)

Calloways - Winter Indoor Plants

A Hobby for All Seasons: 7 Science-Backed Benefits of Indoor Plants

Winter Care for House Plants


12/21/2023 2023 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Check out this interactive Plant Hardiness Zone Map here.


11/6/2023 All about Herbs from Vera and Susan

I know Vera and I share the same love of Fresh Herbs in our recipes and in our gardens as well. Vera has some terrific raised beds. I plant mine in my landscaping whenever possible. (With Thanksgiving and holidays meals quickly approaching try using fresh herbs and a variety of spices in your recipes.)

Thyme fills in and is a great groundcover. There are several varieties, one of my favorites is Lemon Thyme.  Rosemary, and Italian Oregano are excellent for texture and flowers too, attracting pollinators. The reason I like Italian Oregano is it’s milder more fragrant flavor.


We love Mint for a variety of uses, however, you do need to contain it unless you have the garden bed space to let it roam.  It dies back in a freeze, however, comes back happily time and time again. Tricky herbs that need more TLC are Cilantro and Lavendar. (Be mindful of planting certain herbs together due to different watering needs. Lavender and Rosemary don’t like wet feet. Parsley and Basil need more watering. Blazing hot sun like we had this summer can be too much for all but the hardiest herbs so some shade is helpful.

Below are some helpful articles we want to share.      


I use Fresh thyme (English and Lemon Thyme, plus fresh Sage, fresh Italian Oregano) and Fresh Italian parsley in my stuffing along with a hint of nutmeg and grated lemon rind.


My favorite Mashed Potatoes include using Boursin Garlic and Herb cheese along with butter and cream, rich and delish, I add fresh Italian parsley for that extra fresh flavor.

Try Roasted Fall vegetables for a healthier side dish.

  • 4 medium carrots (3/4 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal ,2 large parsnips (1 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal

  • 1 small butternut squash (2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 10 sage leaves

  • 5 thyme sprigs

  • 2 (6-inch) rosemary sprigs, cut into 2-inch lengths, Salt and fresh ground Pepper.

  • It’s fun to think outside the box of traditional recipes using dried herbs or premixed spices so have fun and get creative. AND don’t forget dessert…..make your own Pumpkin Pie spice mix  with a little extra cloves and ginger, greater flavor!!!!

                                                  HUGS     Vera and Susan

10/8/23 - Planting a Fall Pot with Hasta Gro Plant Food

Susan and Vera, our Garden Education Committee, made their first Garden Video just for us, Planting a Fall Pot using Hasta Gro Plant food.   


Click on the photo to the right to view their debut video.


7/20/23 - Welcome to Our August into September Garden Tips










Vera and I are here to encourage you in spite of our insatiable heat wave we are all struggling to endure. Keeping your flowering pots and shrubs happy is of course a challenge so water in the evening and let the water drain through. There are some colorful plants you can add now to replace the unhappy ones. Be sure to check out the Calloways article for the best options now and specials.

Speaking of Specials and sales, now through the end of August many nurseries are putting their stock on sale to clear out and get ready for the spring stock. So… watch for these sales.  You may need to replace some shrubs and perennials that could not survive the drought and heat. Also, Discovery Gardens will be having it’s Pollinator plant sale mid September, Our Fall Pollinator Plant Sale will be happening September 15th-17th!  Landscape Systems in Keller  is having 25% off many shrubs and plants starting this week.

While it’s too hot to actually dig, weed and plant take a trip to one of our favorite places, visit Jackson’s Home and Garden If you have never treated yourself you will be delighted, specializing in home and garden décor and soon to be showcasing their Holiday items.   While in the Dallas area do check out North Haven Gardens. A long time Dallas nursery (est. 1951) with incredible selections, education and inspirational to visit.

Who loves the Fort Worth Botanic Garden? We do!!!! There is a fabulous, creative new exhibit in various strategic locations throughout the garden. Florigami, metal origami floral sculptures. FLORIGAMIINTHEGARDEN

Last but not Least!!!!

Do provide water for our bird friends. They’re a special part of our garden environment and they are struggling too. Do you have a birdbath?  Keep it full daily. If not,  place a shallow pot filled with water strategically where they will feel safe. Do help everyone by using water wise habits in your yard. Your grass will come back. Overwatering can hurt drought tolerant trees.

Vera and Susan

save birds.jpg
cool color.jpg

6/18/23 - Proper Way to Water, Cutting Garden Flower Gardens, Meadowscaping

Summer has descended on us and on our gardens as well. Surviving the heat for ourselves is much the same for the plants in your garden. They get thirsty, they get hot and tired. They need a haircut once in a while and a manicure/pedicure.  They provide us beauty but do need a little tending to stay that way.  (So do we ).

You may have shade, you may have full sun or both, you may be tired of all that mowing in your front yard. A few of the topics covered in this article might help you through our heat of summer and keep your garden happy with flowers for color and cutting too.

Take a look at these web sites for some helpful summer garden advice and ideas:


This next article is a thought for many of us as it is becoming more popular and makes so much sense. A new look for your front yard that supports nature, pollinators and birds.

Vera and I hope to provide you with some interesting and fun articles this year that will help you enjoy gardening. Questions, ask us!

Susan S.

hello summer.jpg

6/1/2023 June, July and August Gardening Checklists

June Gardening Checklist



  • Prune to shape established shrubs, and deadhead spent flower stalks from spring blooming perennials.


  • Plant colorful, heat-tolerant summer annuals such as purslane, periwinkle, marigolds and salvia. Water transplants as needed until roots are established.


  • Begin fertilizing hanging baskets and containers with a water-soluble fertilizer weekly.

  • Check containers. Plants may need to be replaced with warm season plants.


  • Hummingbird feeders need to be rinsed with very hot water and refilled every 1-2 days.


  • Water lawn and garden thoroughly and deeply (without over-watering) using the Cycle-and-Soak method.


  • Dig and divide crowded spring bulbs.

  • Deadhead and trim leggy plants as needed.

  • Remove faded flowers from plants before they set seed to keep plants growing and producing flowers.

July Gardening Checklist


  • Harvest and remove non-performing vegetables from the garden. Harvest figs.


  • Prune re-blooming salvias periodically throughout the summer. Remove only the flower and a few inches of the stem below. Fall-blooming perennials, such as Mexican Mint Marigold, mums and Mexican Bush Sage should be pruned in the same manner during the summer to keep them compact. This pruning needs to be completed by September 1st when buds begin to form.


  • Keep watering and fertilizing containers and hanging baskets. Use your finger to check moisture levels around the roots.


  • Continue watering lawn and garden thoroughly and deeply (without over-watering) using the Cycle-and-Soak method.


  • Deadhead perennials to encourage additional bloom.

  • Trim groundcover.

July Gardening Checklist


  • Late in the month, plant bluebonnet and other spring wildflower seeds in well-prepared soil, ½” deep and water thoroughly.


  • Prune out dead or diseased wood from trees and shrubs. Hold off on major pruning until mid-winter.


  • Give your containers a "haircut." A trim now will encourage good new growth for the fall.


  • Water deeply during the summer’s heat using the Cycle-and-Soak method to prevent water waste as runoff.

  • Caladiums will require plenty of water if they are to remain lush and active into the fall.


  • Divide fall bulbs: crocus, oxblood lilies, spider lilies and rain lilies.

  • Make your selections and place orders for spring-flowering bulbs.

  • Take a critical/good look at your summer gardens and landscape. Do you have the ‘right plant in the right place?' Note plants that have done well or need to be replaced.

5/1/2023 May Gardening Checklist and Plant Identification using your Phone

May Gardening Checklist


· Check plants for insects and diseases.



· Plant caladiums and hot season annuals such as hibiscus, lantana, moss rose and periwinkles.



· Plant butterfly-attracting plants like milkweed, Gregg's mistflower, buddleia and salvia.  Butterflies and other pollinators are very beneficial for your garden.



· All gardens and landscape beds should have a 3” layer of hardwood mulch to maintain moisture, reduce weeds and lower soil temperatures.

· Allow foliage of spring flowering bulbs to mature and yellow before removing.

· Pinch back the terminal growth on newly planted annual and perennial plants for well-branched plants with more flowers.

· Take a good look at your spring gardens and landscape. Do you have the ‘right plant in the right place?' Note plants that have done well or need to be replaced.

From:  Texas Master Gardeners

Identify Plants with your Phone

Have you ever saw a plant or flower and wanted to know it’s name?  Fortunately, our phones can tell us.

If you have an Android phone you can use the Google app camera icon.  For  instructions go here.

On newer iPhones use Visual Lookup in the photo app. Instructions are to the right.

There are also numerous apps you can put on your phone.  Many are free.  Others provide limited searches for free and charge by the month or year.  Here are some popular ones.

Picture This $30/yr

Bing Search Free

Google Lens Free

Plant Identification+$40/yr

Nature ID  $40/yr

Blossom  $20/yr

PlantNet Free

Flora Incognita Free

Planta $37/yr 

INaturalist Free

Seek by iNaturalist   Free


                                How to use Visual Lookup

If you own an Apple device with the A12 Bionic or a newer chip inside (iPhones launched in 2018 or later, or iPads launched in 2019 or later) and it’s running the latest software, you can take advantage of Visual Lookup.

Visual Lookup works on photos you’ve already taken and stored on your phone or tablet, and can identify items including art, landmarks, flowers, books, and pet breeds.

Open the image in your Photos app, and you’ll see a special sparkle effect around the info button (an “i” within a circle) at the bottom if your phone.

Tap the button, then tap the icon in the center of the image on the next screen. This icon will indicate what has been identified (it’ll be a location pin for a landmark, for example, or a petal for a flower).

More information will appear on screen, though its contents will vary depending on what’s in the picture. You might be shown details of the dog breed you’re looking at, or the book cover that’s in the photo, to name a couple potential outcomes.
From:  Popular Science

photo app.png

4/1/223 April Gardening Checklist, Purple Huechera Plant and  Neal Sperry's Favorite Perennials

April Gardening Checklist


· Install sod.

· Plant warm season annuals such as angelonia, begonias, coleus, fountain grass, pentas.


Supporting Wildlife

· Hummingbirds are arriving. Hang feeders filled with 1 part cane sugar to 4 parts water. Boil to dissolve sugar and cool. May be refrigerated for 2 weeks.

· Plant dill, fennel and parsley as host plants for swallowtail butterflies.


Container Gardening

· Plant spring containers with good quality potting mix. Choose plants that share the same water and light requirements. Water root balls slowly. Use a good quality, time-released fertilizer once a month and water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks to keep plants in containers healthy.



· Fertilize shrubs and perennials with slow-release fertilizer.

· Stay on top of weeds; don’t make new plants compete for space and nutrients.

From:  Texas Master Gardeners

Palace Purple Huechera Plant


Palace Purple Heuchera is what gardeners are looking for if they want to liven up their yards with color.

Foliage ranging from olive green to plum – sometimes on the same leaf – make this perennial a perennial favorite.

A Palace Purple Heuchera tends to stand out in the spring, when it sprouts small, white, bell-shaped flowers that stand out against its darker leaves. Its pink stems also add a noteworthy contrast.

Heuchera Palace Purple is a low-growing plant that is ideal for creating borders or for edging, especially when it comes to adding variety to single-color areas.

Palace Purple thrives in some shade, so you might consider planting it under slightly taller bushes or shrubs.

If you follow a few simple steps, you can easily care for the Palace Purple. Despite its ability to thrive in the sun, the shrub prefers a shady spot in warmer climates in order to prevent color fading. It also needs rich soil and regular watering.

From:  Plant Native

Purple Huechera Plant.png

Neal Sperry's Favorite Perennials

I spent 6 weeks writing Chapter 9, Perennials,” in Lone Star Gardening, including the 11-page, ultra-comprehensive chart that gives details of the 120 best perennials for Texas. It’s difficult to choose my favorites from that huge group, but I would begin with:


Spring color: Narcissus and jonquils (buy types that establish, multiply and rebloom year after year), grape hyacinths, thrift and other trailing phlox, candytuft, iris, autumn sage (blooms from spring until frost), Byzantine gladiolas, St. Joseph lily, crinums, and purple coneflower.


Summer color: Goldsturm gloriosa daisies, daylilies, cannas, hardy hibiscus (mallows), and summer phlox.


Fall color: Fall crocus (Sternbergia), naked lady lily, oxblood lily, spider lily, Mexican bush sage, Gulf muhly (grass), fall aster and chrysanthemums.


Winter color: Hellebores and sweet violets.

From:  Neil Sperry’s Article Planning Perennials

3/1/223 March Gardening Checklist and Society Garlic Plant

March Gardening Checklist


· Begin pruning to shape spring flowering shrubs and vines as they finish blooming throughout the season.

· Pruning of evergreens and summer flowering trees should be completed by early March.



· Begin planting shrubs, perennials and annuals.

· Late in March, begin planting warm season vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, cucumbers and squash.


Watering Wisely

· Perform an audit of the irrigation system.



· Dig and divide summer and fall flowering perennials just before they initiate their spring growth


From:  Texas Master Gardeners

Society Garlic Plant


The Society Garlic is distinguished by its lilac-colored blooms and its lush, grassy foliage with a variety of earthy green hues.

Aside from its beauty, it is also one of the most versatile groundcovers that is available, especially because of its slow growth rate and easy propagation.

Basically, this means that you can use it wherever and whenever you need.

Also, in colder climates, it makes a great house plant with a showy appearance.

Since the Society Garlic is tolerant of both cold and drought, it imparts visual interest to a garden or landscape year-round, irrespective of the weather conditions outside.

From:  Plant Native

society garlic plant.png

2/1/223 February Gardening Checklist, Nepeta Catnip and Patriot Hosta Plants


February Gardening Checklist


· Prune rose bushes by 30-50% around Valentine’s Day. Make each cut just above a bud.

· Prune shrubs: first remove any dead or damaged branches, then thin out by removing 1/3 of the oldest stems at ground level, and shape the rest of the plant following its natural form.  (Check forecast for any future freezes.)



· Plant cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and potatoes.



· Feed the birds. Don’t forget fresh water!



Begin clean-up in the garden and landscape. Remove weeds and debris, prune out dead foliage and cut back perennials.


From:  Texas Master Gardeners

1/1/2023 January Gardening Checklist and Garden Inspiration Poem

January Gardening Checklist


· Check junipers and other narrow-leaf evergreens for bagworm pouches where eggs overwinter. Remove by hand. 


· Prune peach and plum trees to maintain a spreading growth habit and an open center.


· Order seeds.

· Plant fruit trees, grapes, blackberry canes, asparagus, snap peas and onions.


· Transplant established shrubs and trees while dormant.

· Make ‘the right plant in the right place’ your New Year’s resolution. Begin your garden and landscape plans now.

From:  Texas Master Gardeners

Garden Inspiration - My Garden by Raymond Slaton

Walker’s Low Nepeta Catmint Plant


The Walker’s Low Nepeta blends color and fragrance into an easy-to-grow perennial that elevates your garden.

Walker’s Catmint blooms in late spring with lavender-blue blooms that smell of mint, hence the name.

What could be better? Its blooms last throughout the summer! Deer are also repelled by its alluring appearance despite its deterrent effect.

From its ability to attract wildlife and pollinators such as bees to its ability to adapt in bad soil and drought conditions, the Catmint can do it all.

Watch the vibrant, aromatic blooms take off when you plant it along driveway borders, flower beds, and beyond.

From:  Plant Native


Patriot Hosta Plant


As a result of its bright white edges and deep green leaves, Patriot Hosta makes for a standout star in shady areas of the garden.


Patriot Hosta was awarded the 1997 Hosta of the Year Award because of its beautiful coloration as well as its resilience as it thrives both in the shade as well as in the sun.


Patriot’s leaves are shaped like teardrops, and its lavender-purple flowers are borne on tall stems, encouraging graceful pollinators to visit your garden.


It is easy to grow, heat tolerant, and able to thrive in shade and it is easy to maintain!


The Patriot Hosta has so much to offer; its beauty, beauty, and eco-friendliness speak for itself.

patiot hosta.png

My Garden is a special place, and so near and dear to my heart.
So in the early morning there, I watch the new day start.

The flowers nod their sleepy heads to shake the morning dew,
And then the sun peeps shyly up to climb a sky of blue.

The birds wake up and start to sing, a happy little song.
They'll build their nests and lay their eggs, it won’t take very long.

I look at the rocks in my garden; I've found them far and wide,
From the desert sand to the ocean shore, and on the mountain side.

And I look too at a bird house that hangs up in my tree,
I think of the one who bought it, and hung it there for me.

My Cactus all are blooming now, in colors bright and fair,
And in my garden I find peace, and shed my every care.

As summer nears, the days grow long, I still my vigil keep,
I walk now in the evening cool, as the world prepares to sleep.

The butterflies are sleeping now, insects no longer hum,
They're resting and they are waiting, for the new day to come.

The days now start to shorten, but Mocking Birds still sing,
My garden waits for Autumn and the changes she will bring.

As summer's flowers fade away, and hardy Mums now bloom,
My garden is like a newly redecorated room.

The trees are dressed in colors now, so lovely and so bright,
The one that's in my garden is a truly splendid sight.

The bird bath has no bathers now; the birds sought warmer climes,
The breezes play a melody on gently swinging chimes.

The pelting rain is colder now; the leaves float from the trees.
As winter blows across the land, it's breath a chilly breeze.

Azaleas all are budding now; the Jade plants start to bloom,
So in my precious garden, there never can be a gloom.

My garden now will take a nap, and dream of coming spring,
Knowing well the loveliness and magic it will bring.


bottom of page