LA JOYA — La Joya school district officials held a news conference Monday morning to clarify what they said was misinformation being spread on social media amid protests by parents demanding information on allegations of a sexual assault at Tabasco Elementary last school year.

Silk floss trees (Ceiba speciosa) are blooming in landscapes across the Rio Grande Valley. These spectacular gems are native to tropical South America. In the United States, these trees are grown in Southern California, South Texas and Florida.

Every year, the American Horticulture Society and the International Jr. Master Gardener Program, which is at Texas A&M University, join together to celebrate quality gardening and environmental writing for children. This year’s winners of the Growing Good Kids Excellence in Children’s Li…

The Hidalgo County Master Gardeners and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are holding a Fall Garden Festival and Plant Sale with free educational workshops at the South Texas Master Gardener Educational Garden in North San Juan Park from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 20.

Torrents of rain come to the Rio Grande Valley once or twice a year.

Salvias are one of the most reliable plants for South Texas gardens. Salvia flowers support butterflies and hummingbirds, no matter the color of the bloom. Most salvias provide color throughout the summer and into early fall with the exception of the Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha, whic…

As we get ready for fall bird migration, a fun thing to think about is the ancient language art of collective bird nouns.

Are you planning a vegetable garden or putting in a cut-flower bed? If so, you will need to be familiar with soil, such as having the proper nutrient balance, fertilizers works for your garden and which to avoid.

Looking for silver foliage plants to fill in or to highlight the showy blooming plants in the garden? Artemisia Powis Castle is a bushy sub-shrub with a fine textured leaf structure that blends well with flowering perennials and annuals alike.

Identifying and controlling insects in a vegetable garden can be a challenge. However, more than 90 percent of insects are not pests, so it is important to identify which insects may be a problem, neutral in their relationship with your garden or which insects are beneficial.

Guava (Psidium guajava) is a small tree native to the tropical Americas. Once established, it is reasonably drought tolerant and, like many fruit trees, guava trees do best by removing branches that compete with the central branch so that the tree does not break from an overload of fruit.

Most people might think Antarctica is the most remote location on earth. It’s not. Easter Island is the most isolated place on the planet. It is located 2,300 miles west of Chile in the Southern Hemisphere and 2,500 miles east of Tahiti.

Are you planning a vegetable garden? Maybe you want to improve your financial picture by selling vegetables? Or, do you want to garden with the grandchildren or volunteer at you child’s school garden?

Statement of the obvious incoming: humans are diurnal animals. Sure, we often stay up late (some of us consider ourselves “night owls”), but even then we are constantly surrounded by artificial light.

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a tropical, night blooming cactus that originated in Mexico and Central and South America. Spanish explorers spread pitaya to tropical regions around the globe, especially in Asia and Indonesia, where it has become a major commercial crop.

If you pass by irrigation ditches in your travels around the lower Rio Grande Valley, you’re probably familiar with seeing a wash of white dotting the slopes that taper to the road. Chances are you’re seeing Alamo vine flowers.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in both Hidalgo and Cameron Counties, will hold its annual Master Gardener volunteer training from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. beginning Tuesday, Sept. 11 and running through Oct. 30. Classes will be held at the respective county offices with some joint c…

Starting seeds indoors in a sunny location or in a protected area on the patio is a good way to get the varieties you want in an economical way. By using transplants, you may avoid wasting space in the garden rows where it is easy to have skipped areas when some seeds wash away or fail to emerge.

As June makes way for July, one of the world’s showiest trees speckles the South Texas landscape with bracts of cascading canary-yellow flowers that fairly sizzle from the branches.

If you know me, you know I’ve said this before: “The fall vegetable garden is the best in South Texas!”

Succulents are fun, nearly care free and reproduce relatively easily on their own. They can make excellent ground covers and are just as interesting and easy to care for in pots and containers.

Rain gardens offer a way to reduce rainwater runoff, which contributes to flooding. These gardens filter the runoff and lessen the amount of pollutants that enter our waterways. With the right plants, rain gardens support wildlife.

Reseda odorata, also called Garden Mignonette, is an old-fashioned plant found in southern gardens, including those of South Texas.

Adding fresh vegetables to our diet is important in preventing diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Research shows the more color and variety we add, the more health protection we include in our diet.

Vitex, also known as the Lilac Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus), is a small, deciduous tree or large shrub native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia.

One of the best ways to reap the benefits of greens is to eat microgreens, which is a term used to describe young, tender plants germinated in soil.

Local chef, Marcel Fortuin, owner of the McAllen Culinary Academy, will provide a class at 10 a.m. today at the Growing Growers Farmers Market entitled “Creative Side Dishes for Safe Outdoor Events.”

You may have been following recent news about the City Nature Challenge in which Rio Grande Valley folks uploaded nature photographs to iNaturalist.org’s website database in order to document the diversity of the Valley’s habitat.

A surprise to none, summers are hot in South Texas. Scorching even. This means in order for our favorite plants to make it through the summer, we must prepare.

Tomatoes are enjoyed in many types of dishes, including sauces, salads, stews, soups, vegetable drinks and pizza. This fruit is “in demand” in grocery stores, farm stands and farmers markets across the United States.

Seasons are fluid in the Rio Grande Valley. Summer percolates through heavy September rains into an inconsistently warm and cool fall. Winter condensates behind the wingtips of migrating Snow Geese. Spring bubbles forth with the aromatic scent of huisache flowers, blossoms abounding with nec…

The Growing Growers Farmers Market has partnered with the South Texas Literacy Coalition to hold a free Family Health Literacy Festival from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday to help children and their families learn about good health habits and nutrition.

Designers of the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-litter slogan may not have been thinking of Texas prickly pear when developing the catchy phrase, but native cactus is nothing with which to dance the two-step.

Color in a garden imparts a sense of coolness or warmth. Color can also make us feel like we are looking at a serene landscape we want to sit in or, depending on what colors, it can get us moving along.

The Deep South Texas Master Gardener Association is holding its Spring Garden Festival from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at their South Texas Education Garden in north San Juan Park.

Tomatoes are one of the most popular produce. With our lengthy growing season, tomatoes should be easy to grow in South Texas, right? Wrong! Yellow leaf virus, a long list of insects that never sleep and wind make growing tomatoes a challenge in our area.

We are about to begin our “warm season” in the Rio Grande Valley. Plants may begin to grow as early as February, but the best time to plant extends into March and early April. As the weather gets milder, this is a good time to plant and add compost or fertilizer if needed. Get your plants re…

Get ready for the most colorful migration of the year with Quinta Mazatlan’s “Spring Songbirds, Colorful Travelers” from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 7.

Specialized landscaping to ensure security is an old concept. Walled gardens of Islam were known for their safety. The swept gardens of the southern states provided barren ground where chickens could be kept under a watchful eye; through this system other animals, including snakes, could be …

This member of the cabbage family (Brassica oleracea) is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. It is one of the most nutritious vegetables in this family, with twice the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C in a single serving (3.5 ounces)! This helps absorb the calcium and iron contained …

One of the most exciting things as a bird watcher is the rare bird. If it falls during the right season, or the bird is particularly rare, it can create a flutter (pun fully intended) of great proportion in the world of bird watching.

In South Texas we are proud of the tasty citrus fruit we produce. Our soils and temperatures contribute to making our citrus the finest in the world. But it doesn’t come without issues, as citrus greening disease is a problem in our region.

Lion tailing, or tipping, is an over-pruning method used on trees that removes so much foliage the natural shape of the tree is changed with the removal of too many branches.

Spring is here. I know because I saw an American robin — harbinger of spring in the Midwest — hopping around the yard. It’s an uncommon sight in the Valley, for sure, but an encouragement after such a feisty Rio Grande Valley winter.

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