currently in Austin

the show

Fairy Gardens and Terrariums

air date: November 21, 2013

Enter a miniature world of fairy gardens and terrariums to intrigue children and adults with Sandra Killough from Bonnie’s Greenhouse. On tour, Lana and Bob Beyer turned their drought-fried grass into perennial wildlife fun. Daphne answers: are garden mushrooms toxic to dogs?  Her Plant of the Week is nasturtium, a beautiful (and edible) trailing plant to enjoy all winter. Trisha Shirey shows how to force dramatic amaryllis bulbs for holiday wonder or to plant as perennial presents outdoors.

Question of the Week

Are garden mushrooms toxic to dogs?

In cool weather rains, mushrooms pop up everywhere. And though your initial reaction might be terror, most fungi are actually beneficial and a sign of healthy soil.

But Jackie and Jon Holliday, have a curious Golden Retriever puppy, Sophie, who wants to eat mulch and its mushrooms.  Sophie’s in dog obedience training, but puppies do take a little time, as AUGIE can tell you!


So, Jackie wants to know: should she remove the mushrooms? Are they harmful?  We consulted Dr. T.J. Palvino at Austin Vet Hospital for the answer.

He reports that many are poisonous to dogs, as they are for us. Since most of us are not experts about mushrooms, he recommends removing them if your dog is inclined to eat them. He also notes that compost piles are very dangerous to dogs. Neurotoxins from bacteria and fungi in decomposing matter, which are good for the compost pile, can result in seizures in dogs if they scavenge it.

So, if your dog wants to forage, restrict or cover your compost pile and remove the mushrooms.  And the good news from Dr. Kevin Ong at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Plant Disease Diagnostic lab is that pulling up the mushrooms won’t destroy the mycelial network in the soil.

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Plant of the Week



Tropaeolum majus

Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus, is a beautiful cool-weather annual, perfect for a little winter cheer. There are so many different beautiful cultivars of this plant, it will be hard for you to choose just one. Nasturtiums are also edible, and that includes the flowers and the leaves. The flowers do make a beautiful addition to the top of any salad. Nasturtium flowers can also be lightly dusted in sugar and used to decorate a holiday cake. They're also lightly fragrant, and although they may not last long in a vase, only a couple of days, they really brighten up a room in part of cut flower arrangements. Seeds are easily sprouted right in the garden, which make them great for gardening with kids. Plant nasturtium in full sun for the best floral performance, but a little shade is okay too, and be careful not to overwater. The biggest problem with nasturtiums might be choosing just one, or even a few, of the gorgeous cultivars to plant. In addition to different flower colors, including white, yellow, orange, pink, red, and all variations thereof, there are also different sizes; from more upright choices, to more trailing choices, and everything in between. The leaves are also beautiful--round, and water lily shaped, and most are a deep, luscious green. But there are also cultivars with variegated leaves, which can be quite stunning too. Since seed packets are sold across the nation, seed companies have to put pretty generic information on them. So the seed packet that you get might say to plant nasturtiums in the spring, after all danger of frost has passed. And that would be true for more northern climates. But here in Central Texas, where we barely get cool before we start to heat back up again, nasturtiums really thrive in winter gardens.