RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR
If you are looking for new year’s resolutions, we have a few suggestions that will improve
the environment in the decade to come and make our world a safer, healthier place to live.
Resolution No. 1: Discontinue use of all toxic products in your home and your landscape.
It is not that hard. Natural products for the landscape are readily available and work better
than chemicals. In your home, learn to use vinegar, baking soda, and orange oil as cleaners.
You will be amazed at how effective they are.
Resolution No. 2: Use less water. This is critical especially with the dry years we have been
having. In the landscape you can replace expansive turf areas with hardscape and beds filled
with low-water-use plants. Keep beds mulched and apply compost to the lawn twice a year. In
the home, be more conscious of the water you use and find ways to lower the amount. Also,
catch and use rainwater and condensate from your air conditioner.
Resolution No. 3: Garden more. Working in the garden is one of the healthiest forms of
exercise both mentally and physically. Gardens in general add beauty to the environment.
Resolution No. 4: Plant an organic vegetable garden. The produce you harvest will be safer
and more nutritious than any you purchase. Plus, vegetable gardening is very satisfying.
Resolution No. 5: Recycle all that you can. Take advantage of the opportunity to recycle
glass, paper, plastic, aluminum, and more through your municipal recycling program. If you
do not already have a compost pile, create one and turn yard and kitchen waste into a valuable
resource to improve your garden.
Warm your evenings and winter celebrations with Aspen Mulling Spice. Mix it with wine,
tea, cider, or use it in your baking. This tasty treat will exceed your expectations!
GOT EMPTY SPACES?
For most of us, the hard freezes in December took out most warm weather annuals and
perennials, leaving empty places and in some cases, entire beds without color. Winter without
color IS NOT FUN!
You can easily remedy this situation by planting an abundance of annuals that will perform
well in the cold, providing you with new and exciting sources of color. In sunny areas, plant
pansies with wild abandon and in the shade go crazy with cyclamen and primrose. These
plants will bloom through the winter, and everytime you see them you will smile and be glad
that you filled your beds with happiness!
We wish all of our wonderful customers and greatfriends a healthy and happy New Year filled withfruitful gardening adventures!
ENRICH YOUR HOME
Few additions to your home can create the warmth and beauty provided by plants. Yes, there
are fabulous fabrics, gorgeous furnishings, and amazing art, but plants are unique because they
add life to your surroundings.
On a scientific level plants filter toxins making the air you breathe more healthful, but on a
more mindful level, plants make you feel better––more relaxed and serene.
There are houseplants that will enhance any decor, but to be successful it is important to match
the light you have available with the light requirements of the plants. (We have new SunSticks to
measure your indoor light.) Properly placed, houseplants require little maintenance. When you
come in we would love to help you select just the right plants to complement your indoor decor.
We also have an extensive selection of containers to accentuate your plants.
Note: To keep your houseplants healthy and vigorous, feed monthly with Natural Solutions
THE TRUTH ABOUT WEEDS
Many people are very aware of weeds this winter. They are prominent for several reasons.
The past couple of years have been so dry that many lawns have thinned considerably, and weeds
have filled the empty spaces. Good rains after a long dry spell enable many different weeds to
sprout at the same time. Finally, we have had enough cold weather to turn lots of grass brown,
making the bright green weeds more obvious.
The presence of weeds does not mean you need to run for the herbicide. Actually weeds are
beneficial. Some help prevent loss of soil, others build the soil with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in
nodules on their roots. Most all weeds tell you something about the condition of your soil. Grassy
weeds with little root systems indicate that your soil is very deficient in nutrients and fertilizer is
needed. Clover and oxalis only occur in soils that are badly compacted indicating that compost,
compost tea, molasses, and Medina Plus would be helpful.
In all cases, take steps to improve your existing turf. Feed regularly, apply a thin layer of compost
twice a year, mow to keep weeds from producing seed for next year’s crop, and avoid toxic
herbicides. In most cases, healthy grass will effectively choke out the weeds in the spring.
BEWARE OF THE INTERNET
The internet is a truly incredible tool and an important part of life for most people. For
gardeners it is both a blessing and a curse. It can be a blessing because it allows one to research
new plants and products. It is a curse if you assume everything you read is factual, practical,
and beneficial in our area. The simple fact is that gardening is regional, and plants that grow
in one area may not grow in another. People posting information on the internet may or may
not be knowledgeable. Products and practices may not perform the same in all areas. For
example, milky spore fungus may be a great way to control Midwest grubworms but is a waste
of time in our area––it simply does not work on the type of
grubs that damage our lawns. ‘De-thatching’ may revitalize
a northern lawn but will absolutely ruin a southern one. The
list goes on. Even East Texas products such as bark mulch
are not useful in our area.
Enjoy the internet, but remember that local information
such as that found in The Garden Gazette and from the staff
of Shades of Green is your most reliable source of gardening
information for our area.
Start 2010 out right, switch yourvGarden Gazette
to the e-mail format. Tell us next time you are in, call
us, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org (this
address is only available for subscription purposes).
Please include the address where you are currently
receiving your newsletter so we can match the names
We will be going toseveral gift markets insearch of unique giftsand accessories for yourhome and garden. We
will give you a morecomplete report nextmonth, but the new
merchandise will beginarriving by the end ofJanuary.
Winter is a time of year
when the weather creates stress
for many creatures, especially
birds. Food and water may be
scarce, and they need protection
from the elements.
You can help by providing
nutritious food in the form of
seeds, suet, nuts, and peanut
butter. Offering a variety will
attract the greatest diversity of
birds. Provide protection from
predators and the weather by
putting up birdhouses and
planting dense shrubs in the
The Very Best
Fiskars pruners are our
first choice for quality tools
for many reasons.
n They have received many
awards for their exceptional
designs including the ‘Ease-
of-Use Commendation’ by
the Arthritis Foundation. Ergonomics
are considered in
the design process leading to
products that are comfortable
and require less muscle power
to use. They are designed to
reduce effort, increase power,
and minimize weight.
The reinforced fiberglass
composite handles are lightweight
and durable, and the
corrosion resistant, non-stick
blades reduce friction and stay
Fiskars’ Project Orange
Thumb reaches out to
communities by supporting
neighborhood gardens with
donations of plants, tools, and
Basically Fiskars is a great
aSet out lots of colorful annuals to brighten your
aApply beneficial nematodes to control thrips and
aPlant woody trees and shrubs
aPrepare soil for your spring vegetable garden
aApply compost to turf areas
aScatter rye seed for a green winter lawn and to
reduce mud and erosion in grassless areas
aContinue feeding houseplants and all plants that
have been brought indoors for the winter
aCreate an herb garden
aLiven up indoor spaces with lush, green
a Mulch tender tropicals and perennials, particularly
those that have frozen and been cut back
aKeep fresh water and food out for songbirds
aPlant wildflower seed
aRelocate any woody trees and shrubs (including
a Plant onions and snow peas
aResolve to help make our world a kinder, gentler
place to live.
This is a phrase you are probably hearing more and more as
we move toward buying things that are made or grown close
to home. Buying local is good for the environment because
items are not shipped as far, using less energy and creating
less pollution. When buying plants, it is good for you because
plants spend less time in cold (or hot), dark trucks and are
already adapted to our local soils, water, and climate. Buying
local is good for our community because your money stays
closer to home supporting our economy, creating jobs and
supporting the local government and charitable causes.
At Shades of Green, more than 60% of our plants are
grown within 30 miles of San Antonio and over 75% within
150 miles. All of our fertilizers, compost, mulches, and soil
mixes are made in Texas. Many of our gift items are manufactured
locally––windchimes (Austin), Celtic crosses (Kerrville),
wonderful skincare products (Elmendorf and Fredericksburg),
and CD’s by George Gaytan (San Antonio).
We believe in ‘buying local’ and are constantly searching
for additional sources that are close to home.
company which manufactures
comfortable, long lasting tools
that make your gardening jobs
We value your opinion. Next time you are in the store,
please ask to fill out one of our evaluation forms and
let us know honestly how we are doing.
Presort StandardU. S. PostagePaidSan Antonio, Texas 78209Permit No. 548
Address Service Requested
334 West Sunset Road
San Antonio, Texas 78209
Mon. - Sat. 9:00 to 5:00
Sun. 10:00 to 4:00
BE PROACTIVE WITH TICKS AND THRIPS
We usually recommend applying beneficial nematodes when you have problems––an outbreak
of fleas, an invasion of grubs or chinch bugs, or the appearance of fireants or termites. At this time
of year, however, we recommend an application to help prevent problems, specifically ticks and
thrips. This is the only time of year that ticks are actually down in the soil where the nematodes
can parasitize and kill them. It is also the time when the thrips insect is in its larval stage in the
soil. Applying beneficial nematodes now can diminish problems later in spring and summer when
control is much more difficult.
JANUARY IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN
Even though this is typically our coldest month of the year, there are still things to do in the
garden. You can set out onion plants both for green onions and for bulbs that will mature next
summer. Snow peas, either bush or vining varieties, and leafy greens can be planted at this time.
Be sure to inoculate the pea seed if you are planting them in an area for the first time. (Unused
tomato cages make great trellises for peas.) Also, you can prepare the soil for your spring garden
by putting down organic fertilizer and a thick layer of compost wherever you are going to plant.
By allowing these products to remain on the soil for the next few weeks or months, you will see a
marked improvement in soil texture and increased production.
ADD PLANTS TO YOUR LANDSCAPE
The fall and winter months are ideal times to plant new trees, shrubs, roses, groundcovers, and
other woody plants. In South Texas plants do not go fully dormant, so although there may be no
foliage production, roots will be actively growing. By summer the plants will be well established
and better able to tolerate hot, dry weather.
When setting out new plants, avoid planting too deeply, add generous amounts of compost to
the soil, water plants in with Super Thrive, and apply 2” to 3” of mulch around the root zones.
This is a great time to upgrade your landscape and to replace those plants that did not survive
the heat and drought of last summer. Note: When selecting new plants consider natives and other
well-adapted varieties over exotic selections. copyright Shades of Green, 2009