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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here


Weekly Column, Week of December 11, 2000 Prime Time Newspapers Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D., Director of Conservation, SAWS, and Horticulturist


Buying holiday gifts for gardeners is fun and relatively easy. There are many choices. The first thing that comes to mind is books. There are some wonderful books available that every gardener would love to have in his/her library.

Neil Sperry’s “Complete Guide to Texas Gardening” is the basic text for area gardeners. It has sections on turf, vegetables, color and landscape, with good photos and diagrams. “Perennial Garden Color” and “Antique Roses” are two outstanding books by Bill Welch. Andy and Sally Wasowski’s “Gardening with Native Plants in the South” is also a classic. The photos help ID native plants and the text provides ideas about how to use them. A less expensive book is Paul Cox’s and Patty Leslie’s “Texas Trees: a Friendly Guide”. The book relies on line drawings, so it isn’t the best guide for plant ID but the text is rich with anecdotes and the history of the trees and their role with Texas pioneers. Another local author, Scott Ogden, has two books that rate high on my list: “Gardening Success With Difficult Soils” and “Garden Bulbs for the South”. Vegetable growers will value “Texas Gardening: Vegetables” by Sam Cotner.

Wildscaping is a popular way of gardening. It is a form of xeriscape that emphasizes plants that attract birds and butterflies. Parks & Wildlife Press offers “Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife” by Damude & Benders available at local book stores for $24.95. Another stocking stuffer is the “Xeriscape Conversion Guide” offered by the Bexar County Master Gardeners. It is available at most area nurseries, the Botanical Gardens gift shop, and at the Master Gardener office. At $5 it is the best bargain around. The plant list is outstanding.

My favorite book on attracting birds is “Attracting Birds to Southern Gardens” by Thomas Pope, Odenwald and Fryling. It has great photos and includes all the plants like fire bush and firespike that are left out of books by northern authors.

Does your gardener complain about the squirrels at his/her birdfeeders? Consider two bird feeder options that resist the advances of the clever pests: (1) The Absolute brand feeder is steel and has a weight-sensitive perch so you can set the weight to accept cardinals but reject white wing doves and squirrels. I know the Absolute feeders work because I use them in my yard. At about $60 they are not cheap; (2) If you are willing to spend $120 and your gardener likes technology, consider the new feeders that feature a perch that spins the squirrels off when they visit.

After fighting the drought all summer gardeners that do not have drip irrigation would love the gift of one of the kits available at home improvement centers and some nurseries for vegetable gardens, containers, flower beds and even newly planted trees.

Rather than buy plants for the gardener in your life present a gift certificate so they can pick the plants that fit their plan when they are ready to plant them. Gift certificates also work well for mulch and compost. Such materials are not romantic but they are treasured and very important to the San Antonio area gardener.

The ”San Antonio Gardener” newsletter is a monthly publication produced by the Bexar County Master Gardeners. It provides articles by area gardeners and a comprehensive list of area horticultural events every month. To purchase a gift subscription send $12 to SAG Gift Subscription, Bexar County Master Gardeners, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr., Suite 208, San Antonio, TX 78230. Please send a note telling them who it’s from and who it is going to. The Master Gardeners will send a notice to the recipient notifying them of the gift.

Look for the gifts mentioned in this article and other gifts at your favorite neighborhood nursery or organic material supplier. Two other places to shop for gardening related items are the gift shops at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and the Schultze House at 514 HemisFair Park. Buy Christmas presents and enjoy the great gardens that surround the shops. Call the Botanical Gardens at 829-1227 and the Schultze House at 229-9161 for more information and business hours. Happy Holidays and good gardening!