Belinda’s Dream rose may bloom at Christmas if the weather is mild.

Q: What can I do now to get ready for fall gardening?

A: Whether you are a gardener or not, we all know that the August heat in Houston is a challenge. Now is a great time to enjoy your air-conditioned home and make your gardening plans for when the cooler weather arrives. While northern gardeners spend freezing winters dreaming of spring displays, here in the subtropical gulf coast we can plan for an entire cool season of gardening.

As you sit with iced tea sporting sprigs of home-grown mint, research online for gardening ideas. Visit local nurseries where they are readying their shelves with plenty of soil amendments to improve your garden beds and stocking seed packages before the fall weather arrives.

This is also a great time to start fall leafy vegetables from home-sown seed or small plants. Fall is great for many herbs, especially cilantro, parsley, sage, thyme and lavender to grow alongside vegetables and spring perennials and to mix with colorful annuals. Early October is the best time to sow wildflower seeds in prepared beds and winter is ideal for planting hardy shrubs and trees. Often there are roses blooming at the holidays alongside poinsettias, followed by camellias heralding the new year.

Your garden will always look great when you take time to reflect and plan ahead for the coming season.

Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Suzzanne Chapman is the botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens and promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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