NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — I consider myself a novice gardener, my efforts have largely centered on edible landscapes. I only started putting in ornamentals in my backyard two years ago, after I visited an organic winery in California that used “pollinator oases” to reduce pesticide use by increasing beneficial insect populations.

I put in a pollinator garden I bought in a box from Texas A&M AgriLife and it was a huge success. Just yesterday I watched a couple of hummingbirds dart in and out of it several times to get at the Turk’s cap and Lantana. Now I’m suddenly willing to surrender more space to add some color, looking for perennials that give that color as much of the year as possible.

I found two ways to best search out plants that I want. I walk around my neighborhood and if I see someone growing something I like, I’ll ask them about the plant. As I’ve found, every plant has its own particulars: how much light, how much water, when do you prune it, what do you feed it, etc. . I found the best person to ask is the person who has been growing it.

The other way I search out plants that I might want? I visit the various botanical gardens in my area. My favorite from day one after moving here is the Fort Worth Botanical Garden. The Japanese Garden became the afternoon get-away spot for my family as we adjusted our sons to life in Texas. I have become good friends with several of the experts over at the Garden and at the BRIT (they are actually taking over management of the 90-year old garden starting October 1). One of my favorite things to do is to walk around their expansive grounds and see what I might want to try in my own yard. This is one reason I believe their bi-annual plant sale is such a huge success.

The plant sale is Garden’s biggest fundraiser. In the past, the sale would happen on a weekend at the facility. By late day the plants would usually be sold out so you would have to show up early. There have always been over a hundred different varieties to choose from, but the best part is that you were likely to find the exact variety you admired on their grounds.

Here in the age of COVID the sale has changed. For the first time in 19 years of the plant sale it will happen on line, NOT AT THE GARDEN. So don’t get in your car and drive there, get in front of your computer and start ordering. I highly recommend that you visit the Trial garden over the next couple of days if you are looking for ideas. If you have the time walk the rest of the botanical garden, most of the plants growing across the grounds are marked so you will know what you might want to buy.

In the past they would have staff and Master Gardeners work the sale so you can ask all your questions about how to care for your new plant. This will also be transferred to on line so get ready to type away.

I have already made a list of the plants I’m going to buy. The fall season is the best time of year to put something in the ground. It’ll have a chance to establish its’ roots before winter sets in then take off in the Spring of next year.

After you select and purchase your plants on line, you’ll show up at the Garden the following weekend to pick them up.

Next week I’m running a story about Fall greens. The Fall growing season is my favorite one, there are literally dozens of edible plants to grow right before the winter freeze sets in.

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