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Gardening: Plumeria Image

Summer is truly the season for plumeria lovers. Taking the small amount of time and effort to provide your plumeria with the basic needs will reward you with many weeks of beautiful flowers.

Photo Credit: William M. Johnson

Gardener's Calendar for August

By Dr. William M. Johnson, Galveston County Extension Agent - Horticulture

Aug. 1, 2007

No need to remind you that August is the peak of the heat season in Galveston County. The good news is that we have received an abundance of rainfall over the last few weeks in most areas of the county and temperatures have been rather moderateórelatively speaking anyway.

Plants in the landscape and garden will require attention if they are to remain vigorous and provide us with many desirable benefits including color, shade, beauty, etc. Working outside this month tends to be more tolerable during early morning or late evening hours but some plants do need attention.

The gardeners' calendar of activities for August includes the following:

- If you just moved to this area from one of the many states suffering from drought, you will likely wonder about the following educational program on irrigation. An upcoming seminar entitled "A Homeowner's Guide for Low Volume Irrigation (LVI) Systems" will be conducted on Saturday, August 18, 2007, from 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. at the Galveston County Extension Office in Dickinson. There is no registration fee but seating is limited and reservations are required (281-534-3413, Ext. 12 or

Yes, it takes audacity to promote an educational program on irrigation when there is water, water everywhere. But this is not our normal mid-summer weather and experienced gardeners know that dry weather spells are going to occur.

Low Volume Irrigation (LVI) systems comes in many different forms but can be described as the practice of applying water where itís needed and when itís needed with minimal lost to evaporation or to runoff into storm sewers, drainage ditches or waterways. LVI distributes a measured amount of water over a specific period of time using a system of delivery and distribution pipes and application emitters. LVI systems are designed to maintain an evenly moist root zone.

- No room in your yard to grow tomatoes orr cucumbers? Is your vegetable garden taking up too much space? Then try a different approach. Certified Master Gardener John Jons will provide a seminar on Square Foot Gardening on Saturday, August 25, 2007 from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. at the Galveston County Extension Office located at 5115 Highway 3 in Dickinson. There is no registration fee but seating is limited and reservations are required (281-534-3413, Ext. 12 or

Square Foot Gardening has been around for a long time and is a tried and true method for intensive gardening in a small area. "This popular award winning program teaches you a proven method on how to successfully grow vegetables, flowers or herbs in a four foot-by-four foot area," says John Jons. "Itís an ideal way of gardening for novice and experienced gardeners who have a limited amount of space and/or time."

- The Gulf of Mexico has been relatively qquiet thus far but we should be on the alert for tropical storms and hurricanes as August and September can be rather active months in this regard. The high winds and driving rain accompanying severe tropical weather conditions can be quite destructive.

This is a good time to survey your landscape for weak limbs and overhanging branches that may cause damage in the event of violent weather. It is wise to consider calling a professional for help with big jobs who have the know-how and equipment to avoid injury.

- Have you performed a "smell test" on pluumeria flowers? Most plumeria flowers are very fragrant and some are downright intoxicating. Each flower can last for several days, whether on the plant or brought indoors and placed in water.

Plumeria are heavy feeders and will bloom and grow vigorously if provided the proper amount of soil nutrients. Plumeria enthusiasts recommend fertilizers that are low in nitrogen (the first number) and high in phosphorous (the middle number), such as "Super Bloom" or "Carl Pool's BR-61" or Peters "Super Blossom Booster 10-50-10." Other specialty plumeria fertilizers can be used as well. Plumeria growers typically provide a light application of fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.

To perform at their best, plumeria require ample soil moisture. The abundant rainfall this summer has nurtured the production of striking displays of plumeria flowers. However, plumeria plants do not tolerate "wet feet," so their root system must be provided with good soil drainage whether they are grown in containers above ground, in containers sunk in the ground, or directly in the ground.

- When extended periods of rainfall occur in the summer, a bright yellow slimy blob is commonly seen on mulched flowerbeds. The slimy blob is a type of slime moldóit is not pretty (even if you like yellow) and it soon gets uglier. The yellow blob turns gray, becomes hard, then breaks down into a brown powder. Slime molds may be ugly to some, but they are not harmful.

- If you'll remove the faded blooms of thee colorful crape myrtle, this versatile plant will reward you with a second bloom. Flower buds are waiting to come forth if the gardener will simply prune out the old blooms. This is also an ideal time to select crape myrtle varieties for the landscape while they are in bloom for planting now or later this fall.

The sultry, sweaty days of August have arrived. So, carry an extra large glass of iced tea or water and make sure to wear a hat for protection from the sun..

Dr. Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County Extension Office of Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University. Visit his web site at

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Gardening: Gardeners' Checklist For January Includes Several Educational Programs - January 7, 2005 article

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Gardening: Gardening for Texas Wildlife - January 28, 2005 article

Gardening: Wide Variety of Citrus to Be Available at February 5 Fruit Tree Sale and Home Citrus Production - January 31, 2005 article

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Gardening: March Gardening Calendar Includes Seminar On Butterfly Gardening - March 2, 2005 article

Gardening: Gardeners' Q&As From The Galveston Home & Garden Show - March 10, 2005 article

Gardening: Extension Offers Program On "Living To Be 100 . . . A Commonsense Approach." - March 16, 2005 article

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