Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Can I compost egg shells?

Compost Still-Life with Egg Shells

Can I compost egg shells? I'm including a picture.

Yes, you can compost egg shells, but you should be breaking them up first. Egg shells are mostly calcium carbonate, like the powdered lime you buy at your local garden center for adding to your garden soil. Since calcium carbonate is a mineral, it doesn't decompose like vegetable matter. Egg shells need to be broken down into itty-bitty pieces for full incorporation into your compost. From here on out, let the shells dry after you've cracked the eggs, then pulverize them before dumping into the compost bin.

Don't worry that the shells already in the compost bin haven't been pulverized. They'll be broken down eventually as you turn your compost pile or begin working the finished compost into your soil.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Houston, TX


Gate, Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens
After having visited Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Houston - or is it in Humble or Spring, Texas - once in mid-July, I've tried to imagine the hardships Thelma and Charles Mercer endured turning 14.5 acres of trees and brush into their garden paradise. Houston is miserably hot and humid that time of year. Who were these people who braved drought, floods, insects and Houston's climate to create such a place?

Like many of us, Thelma Mercer hardly knew one plant from another when they began, but her love of beautiful places and personal vision motivated her to learn. She became an accomplished, amateur horticulturist. Her husband, Charles, a retired communications engineer with the military, shared her vision and, of course, loved to please her.

After retiring, they decided to move to the Rio Grande Valley. Not wanting their former home and gardens to be bulldozed by real estate developers, they sold the property below market value to Harris County provided that the government establish it as a botanical garden and education facility.

Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Garden is divided by Aldine Westfield Road. The East Side includes botanic gardens and the visitor center while the West Side features walking trails through the arboretum. Cypress Creek forms the northern boundary.

Hopefully the following photographic images will entice you to visit Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Garden.


 

Blue Butterfly Clerodendrum (Rotheca myricoides)
Red Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
Koi pond
Nile Lily (Agapanthus africanus)
Rock Garden
Prehistoric Garden
Botanical imprints in pavement



Renaissance Garden

Color Garden
Aloe cooperi

Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Garden is a few minutes from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

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