Gardening News, Features


     Presentation on Bees Given


Henderson County Master Gardener Assn. will host Master Beekeeper Beth Derr on Thursday, Aug. 10, 6 p.m., at The Library at Cedar Creek, 410 E Cedar Creek Pkwy, Seven Points, TX. This presentation is free and open to the public. 

You might spread honey on a biscuit without thinking about the process it took to make the sweet concoction. According to NASA, honey consumption in the U.S. averages around 1.3 pounds per person, and each forager bee makes only 1/12  of a teaspoon over their lifetime. There is strength in numbers, though. Since hives average 50,000 bees, each hive can produce a little over five gallons of honey. 

Bees Column pic 7-31-233

Of course, honey is not the only benefit man receives from bees. Bees pollinate approximately 130 agricultural crops in the US. This includes fruit, nut, vegetable, and fiber crops. Ornamental plants also need to be pollinated for continued blooms and/or seed.

So, you can see that bees are quite important to every person, whether or not they like honey. During Derr’s fun and informative presentation, you will learn just how important both bees and honey are to your existence and your health. Honey is an amazing food since it never goes bad. Still-edible honey has even been found in a 3,000-year-old pyramid.  

Smithsonian Magazine says the reason honey can survive all those years and still be edible is because honey does not have the moisture necessary for bacteria or microorganisms to survive. Additionally, honey has a very low pH. But the true magic comes from the enzymes in the bees themselves, which forms hydrogen peroxide. That is one reason why honey has healing properties. When put on a wound, the honey will draw out moisture while administering a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. 

Come learn more about these fascinating insects and the honey they produce at Derr’s presentation. 

For more information, call 903-675-6130,or email .

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HCMGA Certified Butterfly Garden


Henderson County Master Gardener Assn. (HCMGA) is pleased to announce their Butterfly Garden is now certified through the North American Butterfly Assn.

The butterfly garden is located within the Harvest Garden, inside the fairgrounds at Henderson County Regional Fair Park, 3356 State Hwy 31 E, Athens.


The North American Butterfly Assn. (NABA), established in 1992, is the largest membership-based not-for-profit organization in North America (Canada, U.S. and Mexico) working to save the butterfly species. Their program for butterfly gardening promotes the creation of habitats that increase the world’s declining population of butterflies.

Consisting of host plants for caterpillars and nectar plants for butterflies, a butterfly garden combines food and shelter for all four stages of the butterfly life cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly.

For basic certification, NABA requires a $40 fee along with an application listing three host plants and three nectar plants within the butterfly garden. Henderson County Master Gardeners chose dill, dutch pipevine, fennel, parsley, passion vine, and rue as host plants. 

Parsley, fennel, and dill are host plants for Black Swallowtail butterflies. Rue is the host plant for Giant Swallowtail and Common Buckeye butterflies. Passion vine is the host for Variegated Fritillary and Gulf Fritillary butterflies. Dutch pipevine is the host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail. 

For nectar plants, bee balm, butterfly weed, cleome, marigold, mist flower, and zinnia were chosen. Nectar plants offer food to all butterflies and various other pollinators. A certified Monarch Garden requires an additional fee along with a list of milkweed plants. Antlerhorn milkweed was planted in the Master Gardener Butterfly Garden.

Certification demonstrates HCMGA’s commitment to promoting a habitat for butterflies as well as other pollinators.

For more information, call 903-675-6130, or email


Add a Summer-Blooming Tree to Your Landscape


In addition to many annuals and perennials that bloom during the summer, there are several summer-blooming trees which can bring a bit of majesty to your garden. 

Most gardeners think of crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia) when they think of summer-blooming trees. Not only do crape myrtles bloom in summer, they have an interesting winter form and beautiful shedding bark. Their blooms come in various colors, from purple, pink, red, and white. They are heat and drought tolerant, and are available in a wide selection of heights.

Rose of Sharon pic 6-26-23

Crape myrtles are not native to the U.S., although they have been grown here since the 1700s. Unfortunately, crapemyrtle bark scale has become a concern over the past twenty years. Crape myrtles are so popular, you may believe they are the only summer-blooming tree you can plant. But that is not the case. Instead of adding another crape myrtle to your garden, you may want to consider Vitex, Mimosa, desert willow, Southern magnolia, Rose of Sharon, or buttonbush. 

Vitex is not a native plant. However, it has become popular because of its long spikes covered in blooms. It attracts bees and its leaves have an unusual shape. It has been designated a Texas Superstar.

Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) is another tree introduced into the U.S. in the 1700s. It is considered invasive in nine states, but not in Texas. It blooms in summer with fan-shaped blooms on branches with fern-like leaves. 

Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) is native to Central Texas south to Mexico and west to California, so it prefers soil that is not too acidic and should not be irrigated heavily. It has delicate leaves and large orchid-like blooms. 

If you are looking for an evergreen tree that blooms in summer, consider a Southern magnolia. Be certain to consider the mature height and width when planting. It is native to the U.S., including East Texas.

Looking for something smaller than a Southern magnolia? Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is native to Asia and is considered a shrub, but it will grow to 12 feet, depending upon the cultivar. Its large blooms come in a variety of colors.

If you are not into flowery blooms but want a short tree with summer interest, buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a Texas native which forms unusual round balls in summer. Although its blooms are not in a flower form, they still attract butterflies. It is also considered a shrub but can grow to 12 ft tall. 

So, in addition to crape myrtles, there are several summer-blooming trees available. Give a little consideration for your conditions and you can find just the right one for your landscape. Surround your summer-blooming tree with annuals or perennials and enjoy the magnificent show every year. 

For more information, call 903-675-6130, or email .

Elevenses Spring Tea attendees enjoy event hosted by the Frankston Garden Club

— Courtesy Photo

Frankston Garden Club hosts

March Elevenses Spring Tea 

Members of the Frankston Garden Club hosted an Elevenses Spring Tea on March 25 at the Bank-Quet Room Event Center located at 126 West Main Street in Frankston.

Tickets were quickly purchased and were soon sold out to an ethusiastic public.   Many of the attendees were  attired in “elegant, lovely and interesting hats and fascinators”. The club uses the proceeds from such events for a scholarship program and for a variety of other community centered endeavors.

The Bank-Quet Room is a historic bank transformed into a “charming venue, a beautiful combination of classic and rustic decor”. Tables had been set and decorated by individual club members. Members used fine china, linens, flowers  and decorations from their own collections to create “whimsical and unique” table designs.  

Guests were served with a variety of teas, Earl Gray, Hibiscus Tea and Raspbery Tea. Strawberry Spring Salad, and a variety of “scruptous” sandwiches were also served. Of course no tea is complete without something sweet and “tea cakes, teapot shaped butter cookes with pink icing and pastachio cookies were enjoyed by all”.

After the reading of a teacup story, guests selected three winners in the hat contest. The catagories were for the pretties hat, the most elegant hat, and the funniest hat. The three lucky winners were Peggy Melrose for prettiest, Julie Melrose for funniest and Carolanne Szumal for most elegant. Each winner received a prize of a lovely teacup.  

The Frankston Garden Club expessed thanks for the donations and contributions received from many generous businesses and for the support of the public that makes it possible for the work they do. 

“Without the help of the community, these events would not be possible nor as successful as this year’s Tea has been,” according to the sponsors. • © The frankston citizen 1999-2023