Sage– Salvia officinalis or Common Garden Sage


Salvia is from Latin ‘salvere’ for “to save” or “to cure”

Officinalis is a Medieval Latin descriptive term referring to a plant or organism used in medicine, also known as herbalism. The literal translation “of or belonging to an officina” refers to a storeroom or apothecary where medicines were kept. In Medieval times a monastery was often the place where herbs were grown and herbal medicines were made and stored. Continue Reading »Sage

The Houston Farmer’s Market


The usual trip to the grocery store can seem such a chore, week after week. We follow a list of reminders dutifully buying food for our families. If you are new to Houston or simply haven’t been in awhile, a visit to Canino’s, Houston’s leading farmer’s market for over 50 years, is a splendid way to enjoy the bounty of spring. Located right in the heart of Houston at 2520 Airline Drive and open daily from 6 am to 8 pm.The store and it’s numerous back stalls are a voyage across time to a place of community, seasonal harvest, curiosity, and imagination.

Why You should visit the Houston Farmer’s Market Now!

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The assortment of locally grown Texas products are abundant, from fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to nuts, honey, jams and jellies. There is no refrigeration, so produce is fresh, ripe and colorful. The sweet delectable scent of fruits, permeate the fresh outdoor air.

Upon arrival crimson colored strawberries burst forth from their boxes next to fresh deep icy pink Texas watermelon. The bins overflow with fragrant honey tangerines, citrus of all varieties, colorful chilies fresh and dried next to magnificent purple onions and beets. The verdant leafy greens like cilantro, basil, lettuce and kale, stand like a forest throughout the many stalls. Chayote, prickly pear fruit, and cactus delight our curiosity begging for a wonderful creation. Ladies slice mangos, pineapple, oranges and coconut to wet the palate while walking the kaleidoscope of stalls. There is no duty to fulfill, just let your imagination soar with fresh epicurean possibilities.

Don’t forget to bring spring home with the plentiful variety of potted plants, vegetables, herbs, flowers and roses.


Helpful Tips :

Caninos’ Market accepts all forms of payment

The individually owned back stalls deal in cash

Take your own shopping bags


CalendulaCalendula officinalis, also known as Pot Marigold


Calendula is Latin for “little calendar or little clock” referring to the flowers tendency to open in the morning and follow the movements of the sun Continue Reading »Calendula

The Arrival of Spring

Warmer days and cooler nights, Spring is here.

After a long cold rainy winter, the sun’s brilliant glow warms our hearts in anticipation of wildflowers, sowing seeds, and dirt stained hands. The bulbs of Autumn are in vigorous full bloom from winter’s icy hand. Let there be sun, Spring is here.

In the temperate Gulf Coast climate, the over winter crops are lush and exploding with hope. Hope for the many fruits and vegetables soon to ripen. The following is a list of my top 5 most anticipated arrivals. Some are only a season long, while others are a few years old bearing their first crops.

The Globe Artichoke

1. The Globe Artichoke, Cynara scolymus, is a cool season crop bearing fruit in 150-180 days. The perennial Artichoke or Cardoon (wild or uncultivated) is a variety of thistle, native to the Mediterranean region. The globe artichoke is the most anticipated crop in the garden. There are 3 flourishing plants that will bear many fruit stalks, up to 5 feet tall per plant. Although they are edible and some will be eaten, leaving a few to ripen will yield glorious thistle-like purplish flowers. Many say it is a sight to be seen. Lucky for the neighbors, these fabulous plants border the sidewalk for all to see.


2. The Peach Tree, Prunus persica, is a deciduous tree native to China. On average, a peach tree may take 3-5 years to bear fruit. A friend whose grandfather has a homestead farm in El Campo, Texas, gave my peach tree to me. Her family has been living in Texas since the Republic of Texas. The grandfather passed away last May and this is the first year the tree will bear fruit. I only planted the tiny tree last year after torturing it in a pot for the previous 2 years. After planting in the Earth, the tree grew faster than any plant in my garden. In fall, I had to prune it heavily as it was growing into the neighbor’s yard and power lines. Luckily, heavy pruning is what helps peaches, plums and other stone fruit produce. This year I hope to harvest enough peaches to make a cobbler or pie. Yum!


3. The Wildflower Garden, Bluebonnet, Cornflower, Indian Blanket, Cosmos, Poppies, Mallows, Coreopsis, Wine cup, Coneflower, Sunflower and so many more! The time to plant wildflowers is in the Fall through January. For many months there is only greenery. Boring and exciting at the same time, so many seeds sown yet which will the winter bear. Previous years have given the standard hearty Coreopsis, Cosmos and Verbena. These tolerate drought and that is what we had in 2011, 12 and 13. But 2014 brings much rain and an abundance of weeds. A strong year for weeds equals an excellent year for wildflowers. Wildflowers and weeds are really the same; some are just preferred more than the other. Be careful with those anti-weed chemicals for your lawn, you may just be killing off some important wildflowers and herbs.


4. The Lemon Trees, Citrus “Meyers” and “Eureka”, the first a China hybrid and not a true lemon. The second a true lemon from Italian seed stock brought to California. Both are delicious but I have not sampled the fruit from my own trees. The Meyers lemon was the first tree my family planted. What an exciting moment to plant the very first tree upon your own property. The time was spring and the sun was bright. By November, the tiny tree spent almost four months in the shadow of the house. No sun equals no fruit. This is the fourth year and the tree has grown and reached for the winter sun for spring bloom. The back yard smells lovely with the profuse display of flowers. The bees are happy.

The Eureka lemon, our second citrus child, was fortunate to have gardeners that knew better about placement. Just a little variegated baby given to me free by a nursery in Fall of 2012. We placed it in a large pot in a sunny location and only a year and a half later, Eureka tripled in size with blooms and fruit. Oh how I look forward to marinades and lemonade.


5. The Grape Vines, Genus- Vitis vinifera x aestivalis, “Black Spanish”  & “Blanc DuBois” vines are growing rapidly along the fence. As a lover of history and antiquity, the study of plants dispenses the wisdom of genetics, archaeology, and cultural traditions. Yes, all this from grapes growing on my fence. How one might ask? History reveals itself in the scientific names ‘vinifera’ and ‘aestivalis.’ The first, ‘vinifera’, are the grape varieties from Europe and Southwestern Asia, where 6000 years ago the first vessels of wine are found. The second variety, ‘aestivalis’ is native to North America and primarily used by Native Americans for it’s edible fruit and juice. The cross pollination of the two varieties by European colonists lead to new cultivars. The Black Spanish and Blanc DuBois vines growing in my garden are for fruit, jam, juice and wine. This is the third year and should be the year to bear fruit. A common saying for grape vines is, “The first year, they sleep. The second year, they creep. The third year, they leap!” After the educated pruning I performed in February, the vines are bursting forth. I am intoxicated by all of Spring’s  possibilities already.


Chamomile– Chamomilla recutita or  Matricaria chamomilla (an annual)

Chamaemelum nobile (a perennial)

Chamomile is Greek for ” ground apple” due to the apple like scent


chamomile True ChamomileChamomilla recutita

A member of the Asteraceae or Sunflower family Continue Reading »Chamomile


Lemongrass– Cymbopogon citratus

lemongrass picphotograph by silhouetteartpress

Greek for “kymbe”-boat and “pogon”-beard, likely referring to the flower spike

A member of the Poaceae (syn- Gramineae) or true grasses Continue Reading »Lemongrass


Basil–  Ocimum basilicum- Sweet Basil

        Ocimum sanctum- Holy Basil

Sweet Basil in bloom

 photo by

 Greek for “basileus” meaning “king”

A member of the Lamiaceae or Mint Family Continue Reading »Basil


Arugula– Eruca sativa or E. vesicaria

photo by

A member of the Brassicaceae, also known as the crucifers or the cabbage family Continue Reading »Arugula


Patchouli (patchouly or pachouli)

 photo by

Pogostemon cablin- also P. commosum, P. hortensis

A member of the Lamiaceae or Mint Family Continue Reading »Patchouli

Perennial versus Annual

Perennial versus Annual

To a beginning gardener the soil, sun and water requirements of each and every plant can quickly bury the best of intentions. The novice gardener will soon realize that not all plants live for years no matter how meticulous the care. To avoid frustration and upset, one must distinguish between perennial plants and annual plants.

The origin of the word perennial is Latin- per meaning “through” and annus meaning “year”.  A perennial is a plant when properly placed and cared for will live for 2 or more years. Perennials include herbaceous plants, as well as trees and shrubs, and generally grow and bloom over spring and summer, then die back in the autumn or winter. However, they return from their rootstocks rather than reseeding like an annual plant. Perennials do produce seeds and can be grown from seed.

Depending on your climate zone, some perennials may be treated as annuals due to the extreme temperatures of winter or summer. Ask a garden specialist at a nursery in your area.

Lilies are a perennial flowering plant

Examples of perennial plants:

Aloe                                         Ginger                                     Periwinkle

Artemisia                               Gingko                                    Poppy

Bay Laurel                              Ginseng                                 Plumbago

Canna Lilies                          Gladiolus                               Rosemary

Calla Lilies                             Green tea                               Sage

Catnip                                      Hibiscus                                Savory

Chives                                      Hyssop                                 Scented Geraniums

Chrysanthemum                    Iris                                          Skullcap

Columbine                               Lantana                                 Tansy

Coreopsis                                Lavender                                 Tarragon

Dandelion                               Lemon Balm                          Thyme

Echinacea                               Lemongrass                           Uva Ursi

Esperanza                                Lovage                                   Valerian

Fennel                                       Marjoram                              Verbena

Four O’Clock                           Mint                                         Violets

Firebush                                  Oregano                                   Yarrow


Annual plants germinate from a seed, grow, flower and die in a year or season. Nevertheless, annuals will reseed themselves or the seeds drop into the soil and germinate the next season or when conditions are right. True annuals only live longer than a year if prevented from going to seed. There are both summer and winter annuals. Winter annuals will germinate in fall or winter, sprout, flower and produce seed in warmer months.

Calendula or Pot Marigold is a warm season annual

Example of warm season annuals:

Arugula                                   Garlic                                      Sunflowers

Basil                                        Geranium                                Salvia

Beans                                      Impatiens                                 Savory

Bulbs (some)                          Marigold                                 Squash

Calendula                                Melons                                    Swiss Chard

Cayenne                                  Morning Glory                       Tomatillo

Chamomile                             Nasturtium                             Tomato

Cilantro/Coriander               Okra                                        Watermelon

Cosmos                                   Petunia                                    Wildflowers

Dill                                           Potulaca                                   Zinna

Pansies are a cool season annual

 Example of winter annuals:

Alyssum                                  Lettuces                                   Petunia

Broccoli                                   Lobelia                                    Potatoes

Bulbs (some)                           Onion                                      Radishes

Cauliflower                             Pansy                                      Snapdragons

Cabbage                                  Peas                                         Violas

A home garden or landscape benefits from both perennials and annuals. Always consider the sun and water requirements and plant garden beds accordingly. Perennials will stay in your garden for years, so choose dependable species for your area. For annuals, pick accessible places for ease of changing plants each season. Most Importantly, have fun arranging the profusion of colors, heights and shapes of perennial and annual plants.


Photographs by


Better Homes & Gardens. 1979. Complete guide to gardening. Meredith Corporation:Des Moines, IA.

Reader’s Digest. 1996. 1001 hints & tips for your garden. The Reader’s Digest Association:NY.

Welsh, Douglas F. 2007. Texas garden almanac. Texas A&M University Press: College Station.

Wikipedia Online.