Calloway’s Gerry Butler Offers Spring Gardening Advice

When it comes to gardening, Gerry Butler is all thumbs—green thumbs, that is. And it is his mission to help others in the community brush up on their own gardening skills.

For the past five years, Gerry has been a fixture at Calloway’s Nursery in Flower Mound. You’ll likely find him surrounded by curious gardeners.

“I mostly answer a lot of questions. I’m the question guy,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve been in the business 45 years. I bring a pretty wide range of knowledge.”

In addition to answering customers’ questions on a daily basis, Gerry teaches several gardening classes at Calloway’s. Classes are held at 10:15 a.m. each Saturday.

“There is a different topic every week,” he says.

Past classes have addressed topics such as container design, vegetables, perennials and summer and spring annuals. Classes are free and open to the public.

Local gardeners have been shopping and learning at Calloway’s for nearly a decade. In fact, the nursery celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

“We are a pretty popular nursery,” Gerry says, adding that the Flower Mound location has become the fifth highest grossing Calloway’s store in the company.

Gerry attributes the store’s success to his knowledgeable and friendly colleagues and the many curious and talented local gardeners in the community.

“There are a lot of avid gardeners here,” he says. “Denton County is noted for its gardening. We have a lot of master gardeners and master naturalists here.”

How Does Your Garden Grow?

March is the month when homeowners get garden fever, but Gerry says it’s a risky time to do much planting.

“The month of March is a big question mark around here,” he says. “You never know what weather you’re going to get. Generally, the last frost is around March 15.”

He suggests covering plants during cold nights until the last frost passes, which sometimes is as late as mid-April.

Gerry says now is the prime time to plant shrubs and ground covers. It also is an optimal time to start vegetable seeds. In addition, early March is a good time to plant berries and other fruit plants and roses, he says.

“March is the month where everything sort of changes,” Gerry says.

As the weather becomes warmer, Calloway’s offers a larger variety of blooming plants.

For those looking for fool-proof garden blooms heading into summer, Gerry suggests planting sun-loving annuals like periwinkle, lantana and verbena and shade-lovers, such as begonias, impatiens and caladiums.

Other popular plants that thrive in our area include geraniums, gardenias, cyclamen and petunias, Gerry says.

“Also, citrus trees are a popular choice,” he says. “Many people grow those in containers so they can have limes for margaritas.”

Calloway’s offers a variety of lemon and lime trees. Gerry says they grow best outside. However, they must be moved inside during cold weather or when a cold rain is in the forecast.

“They do not like cold rain,” he says.

Though flowers, trees and shrubs are popular topics among Gerry’s customers, the No. 1 question Gerry is asked is how to grow grass in the shade.

He suggests covering shady spots in ground cover plants, like Asian Jasmine. Or, he says, homeowners can get creative and turn those spots into shade gardens by planting ferns and hostas.

“Turn it into a feature instead of an eyesore,” he says.

Above all else, Gerry says gardeners should pay close attention to their soil.

“One of the most important things to do in our area is soil preparation,” he says.

He suggests using a root stimulator and working compost into the soil.

“Follow up any planting with mulch to keep weeds down and keep moisture levels up. As the mulch breaks down, it turns into compost,” he says.

For more information about spring planting, including the store’s popular “Pick & Plant” program and upcoming Saturday classes, visit Calloways.com