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Monday, December 12, 2016

Is Holiday Kissing Permissible?

* Gathering of Mistletoe

The Christmas custom of gathering mistletoe had its beginning even before the birth of Christ.
Mistletoe dates back thousands of years, say, from the Celtics of the 1st century A.D.  It was then  noted for its healing properties.  The Greeks used it to cure spleen disorders, and, one Roman naturalist, "Pliny the Elder", used mistletoe as a balm against epilepsy and ulcers.

In old-time Britain (England), white-robed priests, or Druids, would climb a sacred oak tree in order to cut the mistletoe, using a golden sickle.  Mistletoe was believed to have mystical powers, and, the Druidess maidens would hold a white cloth to catch it before it touched the ground.  Mistletoe was regarded as a sign of peace and good fortune, and it has been said that the Druids actually brought romanticism to the plant.  The plant is evergreen, and could blossom during the winter, bringing forth the belief that mistletoe is a symbol of vivacity.   Thus, mistletoe was administered to humans and animals, in hopes of restoring fertility.

Yes...Druidess, a female member of the Druids is a word.
courtesy of

Mistletoe sprig that fell to the ground * photo by Suzanne
Little Fossil Park * Fort Worth, Texas

*** from the Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine: 

In alternative medicine, the leaves, twigs, and sometimes the berries of mistletoe are used. In Europe, mistletoe remedies range from tea made with mistletoe leaves to injections of Iscador. While European research indicates that mistletoe is safe and effective, sources in the United States maintain that the berries are poisonous and that the herb can cause liver damage.

Well, then, enough tutoring for one day, you think?  Mistletoe grows pretty much everywhere in Texas.  It can be seen nearly everyday as you drive through the neighborhood.  Why...I believe anyone with a tree or two in their yard, probably owns a clump or two of it.  It just can almost hear it say, "Stop, and blow me a kiss!"   I just look up and smile, remembering days gone by!

  I grew up in Kansas City, and don't remember ever seeing mistletoe attached and growing from a tree...but, it was in high demand during the Christmas season for those fun holiday parties!

For a parasite, (well, some say it's a "partial" parasite), mistletoe brings a lot of laughter and joy to our hearts at Christmastime.  It carries a certain mystery with it...a certain "romantic" mystery.   And, tradition holds that, "Each time someone is kissed, a white berry should be picked.  When the berries are all gone, the power of the mistletoe is gone, too."  We pretend we don't want to get caught under it, but, we usually succumb to the spell!

I'd say Mistletoe is a keeper...what do you think?😘

~Mistletoe attached to tree * Little Fossil Park * Haltom City, Texas
photo by Suzanne * December 11, 2016

~ This is a large clump hanging from a tree branch at Little Fossil Park
photo by Suzanne * December 11, 2016

I'm going to stop for a moment and thank the following: 👍
Yahoo images, other than photos that are labeled
Little Fossil Park * Haltom City, TX

*** I want to thank you all for coming by today, and hope you are doing well!  I know you're all pretty busy right now, preparing for the holidays.  There's so much to do this time of year...getting ready for Santa is a real job!  But, if you get the chance, please step in to say hello.  I'd love to see you.

If I don't get to see you before Christmas, I want to wish you all happiness, health and love, always!  Merry Christmas from MyTexasGardens!

P.S.  Let me know if you get caught under the Mistletoe...I'm hanging mine up now!

"Christmas, my child, is love in action."
~Dale Evans

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanks to November!

~Branson, Missouri * photo by Suzanne

This year, Autumn has brought many amazing surprises to the forefront.  It has been a fast-moving season, and, I don't want to let go of it just yet.  How about you?

September blew in without a fuss, inciting anticipation of  red and gold leaves, along with cooler breezes.  Well...for a lot of us folks, temperatures remained in the upper 90's throughout most of the month, and the only leaves turning color were the ones that were dying! 

Oh...October!  School has been in session for a month, and, the spooks are getting restless for those tricks or treats!  October also opens up the inner child in a lot of us adults, bringing back the fun memories of hayrides, fall festivals, and, Halloween.

I know, enough is enough!  Just couldn't help myself!
~photo by Suzanne * October 28, 2016

BUT...November!  Wow!  This one roars in and blasts us with a powerful Presidential election to beat all elections so far in my lifetime!  And, we are finally graced with a rapid cool down into the 30's here in the Lone Star State, forcing department stores to bring out their winter wear for sale.   Then comes the lull before the storm, and preparations for Thanksgiving!   

My mother had mentioned that she and my sister would be leaving for Branson, Missouri in November, and, I whined that I wanted to go also.  Mom checked with the touring agent, and there was space on the bus for me.  Before I knew it, I had driven past the Red River into Oklahoma, and through the woods to good ol' Kansas!   A couple of days later, we were on the bus to Branson.  I didn't know what to expect since I had never been there, but, I was pleasantly surprised.

I had longed to see Autumn leaves, and there were still some in Branson.
  Below are just a few of the photos I took.


November is the month that brings a lot of us together to share memories, whether sad or happy.  This November has been a pretty emotional month for all, and, I think it will wind down with a lot of sharing and good cheer!   It has been a  month of celebrating veterans and servicemen all over the world.  And, it's been a thoughtful month of vows to help those in need.

 I am especially thankful for this November, because I enjoyed a week with my mother and family in Kansas and Missouri, with ideal weather.   The remainder of the week will be spent with my loving Texas family, and, I am ready for some Thanksgiving food!

***  As for you guys...don't forget the football games! ***


Thank you all for coming by, I always enjoy your visits.  Remember, I am the shy one, at least, that's what I told them on the tour bus as we were singing "tweet, tweet, tweet" to the 12 days of Christmas!

But, please stop in and say hello.  Remember to be safe this coming weekend.
   Don't text and drive! 

 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, from our house to yours, and, love to all from

~Pumpkins, anyone?

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Sweet Gala Tribute

~Farmers market * Haltom City, TX
photo by suzanne * September 26, 2016

Hello dear readers! Here we are into October, with a few cool breezes gracing our city, and, all is buzzing in anticipation of Halloween! 

Well...don't look so skeptical!!!

Today, we're going to touch lightly on a subject I don't know a whole lot about!  The home where I grew up, in Kansas, had an adjacent lot, and there were 3 apple trees already growing and thriving on this lot when my family moved to the home.  Two of the trees produced green apples (I'm guessing Granny Smith), and one tree produced an apple that would turn red (don't know what it was).  So, I must say, I spent more time eating the apples, than trying to figure out what kind they were, or how to grow them, lol!

Right now, though, I'm going to focus on the Gala apple, which seems to have originated from New Zealand in the 1930's, with an Orchardist by the name of 'Kidd', who crossed the Golden Delicious apple with the Kidd's Orange Red.  This union made the Gala one of the most widely grown apple varieties in the world!  Gala apple is known for its sweet, pleasant, flavor, and, good keeping qualities.  It is said to be suitable to drier, warm climates, and, available year round from northern and southern hemisphere suppliers.  The tree is capable of reaching heights over 20', with a maximum spread of 22'.   And one tree can take over an entire yard if the conditions are right.  Gala was introduced into the United States around 1974, after a plant patent for the cultivar was obtained in October of that year.  This is interesting, as, I figured that we in the US always had Gala apples!!!  
"Gala is aromatic and juicy, great for slicing or sinking your teeth into raw!"
~Southern Living Magazine

Now, if you're about to purchase some Gala apples and, are wondering how old they are, the color is a good indicator.  If the apple is very pale, then it's probably from the new season crop and was picked early.  If the apple is very dark, possibly it has been in cold storage for a while, where it matured, or, was left on the tree longer in order to mature.

Gala apples keep well in cold storage.  Though the season only lasts 9 to 10 months, the Gala can be refrigerated for some months, making them available all year in some of the Australian markets.  In the UK, the season begins in August, and, storage makes the fruit available nearly all year long.

Moving right along!

Here are some useful pruning tips for young apple trees that I will be using myself.

These pruning tips are alphabetical & coincide with the drawing that follows:
A.  Suckers
B.  Stubs or broken branches
C.  Downward-growing branches
D.  Rubbing or criss-crossing branches
E.  Upward or interior branches
F.  Competing leaders
G.  Narrow crotches
H.  Whorls


Well, my gracious readers, we're about to come to a close on our Gala apples program.   I hope this information helps you with any future apples purchases.  And, I'll bet you're ready to devour one of those juicy fruits as we speak!  I can't just yet...I just had some dental work done, and, it's soup for me tonight! 

As I said earlier, "I don't know much at all about raising apple trees".  But I just so happen to have an apple tree in my front yard.  I hope that what I've learned through my research will aid in success of Karo's tree.  So far, so good!

  The story goes like this:
My husband Karo was eating a Gala apple one day, and, a seed fell out with a small root attached.  So Karo, planted it in a tiny pot.  It did start growing, and before long, it was planted in a coffee can.  He really didn't expect much from it, and eventually planted it in a larger pot, where it stayed for a little over a year.  He was so skeptical about the future of this tree, but, I finally convinced him to plant it in our yard.

~Apple tree * April 24, 2014
* photo by Suzanne

~ Apple Tree * September 10, 2016
photo by Suzanne

~Karo's apple tree * October 1, 2016
Scootie and Me * photo by Rusty

It's hard to see in the sun, but, the tree towers way above my head now.  The leaves will drop soon, and, then I will do some pruning as Winter's close nears.


I am dedicating this post to my husband Karo, who passed away in January this year.  I am so proud to watch this tree as it grows, and, I am looking forward to its first blooms.  I have to chuckle about it, because Karo was sure it wouldn't grow to be very large! 
He would be pleasantly surprised!   

* I will keep you informed of this tree's progress as time goes by.

and now, my thanks to:
Southern Living

And, my sincerest thanks to you, dear friends for stopping by to see what's happening at MyTexasGardens!   If you have time, step in and say hello!  I'm always glad to hear from you.

Prayers and best wishes for safety and well-being going out to the folks in the path of Hurricane Matthew.

Take care, love and laugh!  I will see you next time.

Oh...EEK!!!  Really?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Dashing Divider

The Flowers: Iris by Alphonse Mucha 1898

I've been asked by several friends if it is safe to divide Iris in September.  Yes, I say!!!  Actually it is safe to divide them when they're blooming season is over in  late Spring.  I have Iris planted in several different areas of my yard, so I have a bit of a job in store for me.

~Spring 2016 * photo by Suzanne

While I was thinking and planning where to start my fall cleanup, I wondered, "Just exactly where did the Iris come from in the beginning?"  I grew up with Iris plants in Kansas-my parents had them placed in groups strategically throughout a terrace that faced the street.  Not much else would grow there, but the Iris of various colors always made an appearance in the Spring.

With a little bit of research, I did find a few answers.  It appears as though the Syrian landscapes were generously endowed with Iris way back in the 1400's.   In 1479, King Thutmose III of Egypt, conquered Syria, and, upon discovering the Iris, decided that the plant should be immortalized in Egyptian drawings as symbols of the renewal of life.  Being a gardener himself, King Thutmose III took Iris and various other plants back to Egypt from Syria for their gardens.

Locating a picture of Iris engravings on King Thutmose III tombs and monuments was difficult, however, I was able to find this carving of the Kings' Botanical garden, Festival Hall, Karnek.

~Thutmose Botanical garden relief

Hence, we move all these years forward, and, the Iris still survives, having traveled miles from home, and, into our society!

~photo by Suzanne, April 9, 2016

Okay, now we're back!  Throughout the summer months, the Iris leaves can turn brown, but they don't die back.  They just look bad!

Here is my self made video, Part 1, from a few years ago (actually November 2011) of a small flower bed makeover.  In this video, I clean out the area, and freshen it up by mixing top soil and potting mix.   Potting mix is not dense, and, when mixed with top soil or any other potting soil, it helps keep the soil airy.  In addition, it adds nutrients to keep your plants healthy.

Watch what I do next.  And, please excuse my stutterings...I'm shy and I actually filmed this video with one hand, while I worked with the other! It is a little over 12 minutes can probably skip 6 minutes of it, and jump to where the Iris are planted.

* I hope you were able to watch my video-hilarious, wasn't it? does give you an idea of how you can plan and easily put a small flower bed together that will be pretty and easy to maintain.

 The following Spring brought beautiful, rich color to this small garden!  It just turns out that all of the Iris in this bed are snow white.
My little grandson was only too happy to help maintain!

~small floral garden * March 2012

This was a few years ago, but, the Iris are still doing well and blooming, and I change out the bedding plants each year.  And, you can see that the Iris foliage is stout and healthy!  I will clean out again this fall, and we'll have another look see at any changes I might make. little grandson is a little bigger now-hopefully, he can help in a bigger way!

I am so glad you came by for a visit, and I hope you were able to view my video-yes, that crackling voice was mine!  It sounds like my son when he was 11 and his voice was changing, lol!


I am truly grateful for my family and friends, and would like to thank:
Yahoo images
You Tube
My little assistant, Shawn
Southern Living Magazine

Every month I receive a copy of Southern Living Magazine.  It's a great publication, with tips and advice on home decorating, foods, travel, and gardening.

I love the 'Grumpy Gardener' section of the magazine-he's so full of, I mean, he's so full of great information on planting issues.  Below is one such issue:

Mowing Nightmare
Q.  When my son cuts the grass, he leaves clumps all over the yard, and it looks terrible!  My neighbors are ready to run me off the block.  What is he doing wrong?

A.  Don't be so hard on the guy.  Many people have sons who just hang out in the 'man cave' all day texting and playing video games-at least yours cuts the grass (albeit badly).  The reason for the clumps is either the grass is getting too high between cuttings or he's cutting it when it's wet.  Explain this to him.  You'll need to send him a text!

* Thank you 'Grumpy Gardener' for your expert advice on how to handle this situation!  We shall certainly see you again!

So, adieu, mes amis * be safe, love a lot, and laugh a lot!
See you next time! ♥

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Autumn is just lite days away!

~photo by Suzanne * Fort Worth, Texas *

Autumn is well on it's way, I can almost smell the scent of fireplaces and fir trees!  As we enjoy the drum rolls and brass of the high school band during half time at our favorite football game, a strange, slow, breeze passes through the stadium on a whim!  It's a breeze that sends flirtatious leaves floating downward, showing off their hues of red and gold.

falling leaves gif photo: falling leaves 64405526b14c7f6064e7d661b984cd15a8fdb781.gif

♫"Since you went away, the days grow long.
And, soon I'll hear, old winter's song." ♫
Autumn Leaves
~written by Joseph Kosma in 1945

Isn't Autumn Leaves just the greatest song?  We sang this song in my high school Glee Club, and, I  remember how lovely it sounded.  

Well, now-down to the business of the day!  The summer has been so hot and muggy...actually, it's not over yet, even tho it is September.  Needless to say, I didn't have much going on in my Summer gardens.  With my son's help, we kept some of the herbs alive, and the fern and canna lilies continued to thrive.

  One plant that returns faithfully every summer is my Umbrella plant, aka, Umbrella Palm.  See how it billows and waves around my flag?  Well, actually, this one needs to be thinned out.  Although this  plant is not deep rooted, it can be stubborn and hard to dig up.  And, when you plant them, you need only scoop out a ditch just wide enough and deep enough to lay the root in.  At first, I thought this was a shade lover, but alas, I found that the Umbrella prefers the sun.  Umbrellas die back in the winter, and I cut the palms down to the ground.  They start to peek out in early Spring, but, sometimes are too frail for the coolness that still lingers from the Winter.  Just give them a chance, tho, and, they'll continue to ease up as the sun becomes warmer.  I love to watch the Umbrellas sway in the breeze, and glisten at night under the stars and moon.

~photo by Suzanne * September 4, 2016

In my Texas garden, roses come early in the Spring. Even with the cool mornings they can bask and breathe in the warm sun.  I now only have two producing rose bushes...I don't know why!!!   I planted two new rose bushes, in the same area as the other two this past Spring, but they died early on.   Do any of you have ideas as to why I may have lost them?  One of them looked sick from the beginning to me.  I'll just have to try again this coming Spring, but, be more selective and keep health issues in mind.

~Chicago Peace Rose * photo by Suzanne
April 26, 2016

~photo by Suzanne * April 2016

~ Don't they make the prettiest cut flowers?

The white roses are called 'Garden Party'.  It is a hybrid tea rose with delicate white flowers, edged in pink, and puts off a heavenly fragrance.  I've only had this rose for a few years, and it produces more with each season.  They are so delicate, that I cut them as the buds are just thinking about opening and bring them inside to open up.  I have to confess that, originally, I only bought this rose because the name makes me think of Rick Nelson!  And, I'm glad I did!

Soon, it will be time for me to prune back these rose bushes, but, sometimes I get a few blooms in the fall, as the weather cools down.  So, I'll wait just a bit to see if that happens before I start pruning.

Well, I'll be moving along for now.  We still have planting tips and issues to discuss for fall, so I will return soon with some more Texas garden fun!

I haven't been around for a while, and I am currently trying to update and dust off this blog.  Oh...I won't change the design, but, I believe a few current items will give it a fresher appearance.

* Thank you so much for coming by, I hope you've had a pleasant summer, with, not too hot temperatures.  It's been pretty hot here in the Lone Star State, and I'm ready for a cool break.  If you have the time, please stop in and say hello!  Don't be shy-that's my job! ♥

"Do what you can to show you care about other people,
and, you will make our world a better place."
~Rosalynn Carter