God bless America …

Today, more than ever, we need to take these words to heart. As we celebrate July Fourth, take a moment to pledge allegiance and be thankful for our freedom.

Today is the time for Americans to come together, love one another and teach our children to respect our flag and honor our great nation.

Land that I love …

I would like to share a fun way to show your patriotism in your garden or landscape by simply planting blooming flowers in colors of red, white and blue. Your choice of flowers can be your own design for whatever you prefer.

Stand beside her and guide her …

Let’s take a little tour of the patriotic garden at the Victoria Educational Gardens (VEG), located at 283 Bachelor Drive, near the Victoria County airport.

The Master Gardener’s goal is to showcase plants for your enjoyment and to show our nation’s pride.

Through the night with the lights from above …

A “red” gerbera daisy is an attraction to birds, bees and butterflies. The assorted colors bloom from spring to fall. You can plant them in containers or in the ground. Planting in full sun to partial shade will enhance more blooms. A native of South Africa, these little burst-of-color flowers are not frost hardy.

If you have a larger garden bed, how about a “red” crinum lily. It is a hardy bulb and loves full sun to partial shade. The lily will bloom a large showy flower in the summer with a beautiful fragrance. This plant can reach 3 to 5 feet tall and the same around.

From the mountains …

The shooting star lily is an evergreen grass-like lily with small delicate star-shaped “white” flowers. Planted in full sun to partial shade, the lily will grow in clumps of 12-inch to 14-inch slender arching foliage almost year-round. This plant will give your garden the height needed for a perfect looking garden.

For your smaller garden bed, I like the “white” kalanchoe plant. You may know this plant as a thick-leaved succulent commonly grown indoors. However, they can be grown outdoors in partial shade. Too much sun will make the leaves turn brown. A suggestion is to plant it in a container that will compliment your garden so that you can bring it indoors if the temperature drops below 45 degrees.

To the prairies …

The popular “blue” plumbago, also known as the cape plumbago or sky flower, is also a South African native. This heat-loving evergreen shrub can be found growing year-round in the southernmost parts of Texas. This shrub needs plenty of room because it can grow 6 to 10 feet tall and spread the same. The blooms are a cluster of blue phlox-like flowers and will bloom all year long.

Keeping in mind the smaller garden, the “blue” daze is a heat- and sun-loving, low-spreading, tropical, summer annual plant. It has been named as a Texas Superstar by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension researchers. Blue daze can tolerate salty conditions, which make it a good option for our coastal gardeners. Try using this one as a border plant, ground cover or a spiller in hanging baskets.

God bless America — my home sweet home

From the homes of the Victoria County Master Gardeners to yours, have a safe and blessed July Fourth holiday. Remember to enjoy family and friends on a free garden tour at VEG, open from dawn to dusk every day.

The Gardeners’ Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or [email protected], or comment on this column at VictoriaAdvocate.com.