June 14, 2006

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The Shakespeare Garden at Kilgore College, Kilgore. (Photos courtesy of Kilgore College)

  Shakespeare Gardens in Texas

By Bonnie Frederick
Freelance Writer

Shakespeare's works are so filled with references to gardening that it's no wonder many admirers have created their own themed gardens that include plants mentioned by the Bard himself. Surprisingly, you can create such a garden in Texas, and in fact you probably have a good head start already growing in your yard right now. If you have a rose, some iris, and plenty of weeds in your garden, then you're already launched on a little Stratford-in-Texas.

To make a complete Shakespeare garden, with all 147 or so trees, flowers, herbs, and vines that the Bard mentions, you'll need a sizeable piece of land with marshy water on it. A complete garden will include many plants that are hardy here, but it will also include some, such as the varieties of primula, that need more water and cool weather than most areas of Texas can manage. If you're interested in visiting a complete Shakespeare garden, go to the Kilgore College campus, where one has been planted to complement the Shakespeare Festival. (For Shakespeare gardens in the U.S., see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare_garden. Several, such as the one in Brooklyn, publish plant lists.)

But for those of us who think a Shakespeare theme would be fun — as long as it doesn't cost too much, need too much water, or require plants not found at Home Depot — there are other varieties of Shakespeare-themed gardens that don't aim for completeness. These gardens focus on one play (your roses are a head start on a Romeo and Juliet garden, for instance), one scene (Titania's bower, for which you'll need honeysuckle; or Ophelia's madness, which puts your rosemary to good use), or some other deliberately smaller-scaled project. Let's say that you like herbs. In that case, here's a Shakespearean herb garden for you: chamomile, lavender, marigold [calendula or pot marigold], marjoram, mint, rosemary, rue, savory [summer, not winter], sweet [lemon] balm, and thyme.

Enough English gardeners have reproduced Perdita's garden from A Winter's Tale that a cottage garden of this type is now called a Perdita garden. Here are the flowers that Perdita herself mentions, and quite a few grow just fine in Texas: carnation, crown imperial [frittilaria], daffodil, flower-de-luce [iris], gillyflower [clove pink], lavender, lily, marigold [calendula, but the discount store kind would be OK], marjoram, mint, oxlip [a kind of primrose], primrose, rosemary, rue, savory, and violet. Oddly enough, she doesn't mention roses, but fortunately one of the other characters does, so add an antique rose.

To track down Shakespeare's actual mention of the plant you have in mind, consult a concordance of his works. There are several available (ask the reference librarian). If you look up the word "lily," for example, you'll find this rather choice bit from a sonnet: "Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds." That would make a nice mosaic stepping stone, wouldn't it? Here's another motto for a stepping stone or sundial: "do not spread the compost on the weeds, to make them ranker" (Hamlet Act III, scene IV). I found that one by looking up "compost" in the concordance. There were also "manure" references, but alas, no "mulch."

There is one Shakespearean garden we can all manage to reproduce, and it grows beautifully in Texas, even in the heat of summer. Forget Perdita and her prissy cottage garden. Here is the Richard II garden: "full of weeds; her fairest flowers choked up, her fruit-trees all unpruned, her hedges ruined, her knots disordered, and her wholesome herbs swarming with caterpillars." And you thought a Shakespeare garden in Texas was an impossible dream!

Bonnie Frederick writes more about the Shakespeare Garden in the July/August issue of Texas Gardener.

Dr. Robert Coulson and Dr. Maria Tchakerian, both with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, look at one of the computer-generated maps that pinpoints the location where the Asian gypsy moth was found in Travis County. The same map is on the computer screen. (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station photo by Edith Chenault)

  Gypsy moth captured in Travis County

During a routine pest detection survey program, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) trapped a single male Asian gypsy moth in Travis County near US Highway 290, approximately three miles west of the intersection of US 290 and State Highway 71. This is the first time an Asian gypsy moth has been detected in Texas.

The larval stages of the Asian gypsy moth are known to feed upon more than 500 species of trees and shrubs, including evergreens and hardwoods such as live oaks and post oaks, and are capable of causing considerable damage. In an effort to prevent the establishment of Asian gypsy moth in Texas, the United States Department of Agriculture in cooperation with TDA applied by air one treatment of Disrupt II, a synthetic gypsy moth pheromone, over the 1-square mile area around the positive moth find on April 18, 2006. The property owners/tenants in the 1-square mile treatment area were notified several days in advance of the treatment date via door-to-door visits.

Disrupt II consists of tiny flakes containing a synthetic controlled-release material that mimics female gypsy moth pheromone, which attracts males of the species for mating. Disrupt II "confuses" the male and leads it to "empty" trails. Consequently, the male does not find the female for mating and reproduction is prevented.

For updated information on the treatment, please call the Texas Department of Agriculture Asian gypsy moth information line at 512-463-0709, to hear a recorded message.

For additional information on the Asian gypsy moth visit the web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/ispm/gm/index.html.

While the discovery of an Asian gypsy moth in Central Texas has caused some concern due to the voracious, defoliating nature of its caterpillar, cankerworms (pictured here) and oak leaf rollers have been an annual nuisance in the area for many years. The two established species may be an even bigger problem this year as many trees and bushes have already been weakened by drought. (Texas Cooperative Extension photo by Dr. Bart Drees)

  Beware gypsies, but remember other ‘dangling defoliators’

By Paul Schattenberg
Texas Agricultural Extension

An Asian gypsy moth found in Travis County has created some consternation among Central Texas residents, but other caterpillar concerns are more pressing, said a Texas Cooperative Extension entomologist.

"The trapping of the Asian gypsy moth in the Austin area by the Texas Department of Agriculture could be potentially significant in the event there are several more moths in the same area," said Wizzie Brown, Extension entomologist for Travis County. "In the caterpillar stage, these moths are voracious and can defoliate and possibly kill trees and shrubs. But we already have other species of moth larvae that are well-established in Central Texas and damage trees."

Oak leaf rollers and cankerworms are both types of moth larvae — caterpillars — that can harm trees and bushes, and are a nuisance to Central Texas residents, Brown said.

"Oak leaf rollers emerge when new leaves emerge on oaks and other types of trees they prefer," she said. "They pupate on twig tips or bark crevices or on plants near the tree. As for cankerworms, these drop from trees on silk strands in order to pupate on the ground."

Although oak leaf roller and cankerworm caterpillars aren't as destructive as those of the Asian gypsy moth, they make up for it in the sheer amount of foliage they eat and the number of large, unsightly webs the oak leaf rollers produce, Brown said.

"Throughout the spring you can see webs of oak leaf roller larvae and watch these caterpillars wriggle and dangle from trees on silken strands," she said. "For most people, it's not a very appealing sight."

While steps are being taken to ensure the Asian gypsy moth doesn't get a foothold in Texas, Brown said, oak leaf rollers and cankerworms are already persistent pests that show up each spring.

As oak leaf roller and cankerworm larvae are less destructive than Asian gypsy moth larvae and pose more of a nuisance than threat, large-scale and broad-range control methods are generally impractical, Brown said. But greater small-scale treatment by Central Texas residents may be a prudent idea this year because of drought.

"Oak leaf rollers and cankerworms may present an additional problem this year as there are already so many stressed bushes and trees from the extended period of drought," she said. "This has already weakened them so they may be unable to repair themselves as easily. As a result, people may want to consider treatment, especially on badly stressed foliage."

"If it looks like your bushes or trees are badly stressed and would benefit from treatment for oak leaf rollers or cankerworms, there are a number of pesticides available, " she said. "Treatment options include Bacillus thuringiensis variety kurstaki, spinosad and carbaryl."

Treatment should be applied when the caterpillars are small, she added. The number and density of bushes and trees to be treated will also have an impact on whether treatment would be practical.


  Readers' Gardening Tips

From Billy Don Edwards: "This time of year squash bugs can be a real problem. The best control is to find and destroy their egg clusters before they hatch. Just look for brownish red clusters of small, round eggs (usually on the bottom of the squash leaves) and scrape them off into a coffee can or similar container for later destruction or just 'squash' them between your fingers."

Have a favorite gardening tip you'd like to share? Texas Gardener's Seeds is seeking brief gardening tips from Texas Gardeners to use in future issues of the newsletter. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

  Upcoming Garden Events

The Bexar Land Trust is hosting three meetings in June to introduce the public to the idea of establishing community gardens in San Antonio: Tuesday, June 20, 6:00 p.m. at Guadalupe Community Center, 1801 W. Durango; Wednesday, June 21, 6:00 p.m. at Presa Community Center, 3721 S. Presa; and Thursday, June 22, 6:30 p.m. at YMCA, 1213 Iowa. The gardens will be neighborhood-based, open to the public and maintained by a co-op of interested parties from the area. The purpose of these initial meetings is to inform interested members of the community about different kinds of community gardens such as flower, vegetable, meditation, therapeutic, children's, passive recreation, and playgrounds. It is an opportunity for the Bexar Land Trust to meet members of the community who have an interest in seeing a park in their neighborhood. They can then begin to identify locations within the various neighborhoods that would be appropriate for a community garden. For more information about this event or the Bexar Land Trust, please call (210) 222-8430.

The Texas Bamboo Society will host the 14th Annual Texas Bamboo Festival at Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin on Saturday and Sunday, August 26 through 27, from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Darrel DeBoer, will present a program entitled "Bamboo Architecture Around the World." The festival will also feature bamboo plants, crafts, musical instruments, poles, presentations, demonstrations and educational information about bamboo. Admission is free and parking is $3. For more information visit, www.bamboocentral.net or call (512) 929-9565.

The Herb Association of Texas and the Antique Rose Emporium will host A Celebration of the Herbal Harvest: A focus on Culinary Herbs, September 22 through 23, San Antonio. The event will include a road trip, cooking classes, herbal refreshments, lectures and a vendor fair featuring locally grown herbs and related products. To register or for more information, contact Beth Patterson at (830) 257-6732 or e-mail info@texasherbs.org.

The Garden Conservancy will host a tour of five private gardens in Dallas, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., September 23. The tour is self-guided. The conservancy will also sponsor similar tours in Galveston, October 14 and Austin, October 21. Admission to each garden is $5, no reservations required, rain or shine. For more information, visit www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays.html or call toll-free (888) 842-2442.

ArtScape, September 23 and 24, 9 a.m. to 5. p.m., is the Dallas Arboretum's first ever fine art show and sale. The two-day art fair is a family-oriented event that will kick off the Dallas Blooms Autumn festival. ArtScape will feature artists from around the country, the Tour de Fleurs race, the Ultimate Tree Houses exhibit, entertainment and many exciting classes. ArtScape will complement Ultimate Tree Houses, a juried exhibit of 12 tree houses that will be on display throughout the garden. In addition, this year's event will kick off with Tour de Fleurs a 10k, 5k and 1 mile fun run. What a great way to start the weekend! For additional information please email jijams@dallasarboretum.org.

The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners will sponsor a Hidden Garden Tour, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., September 30, at Rockport. Enjoy touring Rockport and some of the area's private gardens plus Green Acres Demonstration gardens. Bus tours will be available for $15 per person and tickets must be purchased ahead. Self-guided tours are $10 per person. A plant sale will occur at Green Acres on the day of the tour. The tour will begin at Green Acres Demonstration gardens, located at the Aransas County Extension Office (611 E. Mimosa — behind Monroe's Furniture on Hwy 35).

The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners will sponsor the annual Hidden Garden Tour September 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Rockport. Enjoy touring Rockport and the surrounding area and tour some of the area's private gardens plus Green Acres Demonstration gardens. Bus tours will be available for $15 and tickets must be purchased ahead. Self-guided tours are $10. A plant sale will occur at Green Acres on the day of the tour. Green Acres Demonstration gardens, located at the Aransas County Extension Office (611 E. Mimosa — behind Monroe's Furniture on Hwy 35) is the start of the tour on September 30. Maps and additional tour information for the Hidden Garden Tour can be obtained by contacting the Aransas County Extension Office at (361) 790-0103.

The Johnson County Herb Society will hold its Herbal Thymes Show and Symposium, October 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Cleburne Senior Center, Cleburne. The event will feature speakers, demonstrations herb plants and related products. For more information, contact Esther Chambliss at (817) 263-9322 or visit www.cleburnearea.info/herbies/.

The San Antonio chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will host the groups' annual symposium Convergence and Diversity: Native Plants of South Central Texas, October 19 through 22, San Antonio. The symposium will feature guided tours to natural areas, seminars on native plants and a special program on cooking with native plants. For more information, contact (210) 733-0034, (830) 997-9272 or visit www.npsot.org.

The Garland Organic Club meets the first Sunday of each month in the little red school house at 1651 Wall St., Garland. All interested gardeners are invited to attend. For more information, call (972) 864-1934 or (800) 864-4445.

  Branch out with Texas Trees

In Howard Garrett's Texas Trees, you'll find everything you need to identify more than 100 varieties of Texas trees, along with easy-to-follow directions for selecting, planting and maintaining them. You'll also find Garrett's organic remedies for dealing with pests and diseases. Whether branching out by adding trees to your landscape or simply maintaining trees that were already there, this is the ideal resource.

 $31.97 plus shipping*

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020 or order on-line.

 *Mention Texas Gardener's Seeds when ordering by phone during the month of June and we'll waive shipping charges. (Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

  Two hats are better than one!

Let your friends and neighbors know that you are proud to be a Texas Gardener with this top-quality cap. Heavy construction, six-panel, pro-style brushed cotton twill, low-profile khaki with dark green bill and logo. Buy one cap and received a second at no additional charge.

 $17.07 (includes shipping!)

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020. Not available through on-line bookstore.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)


  Missed an issue?

Back issues of Texas Gardener's Seeds are available at www.texasgardener.com/newsletters.


Texas Gardener's Seeds
is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2006. All rights reserved. You may forward this publication to your friends and colleagues if it is sent in its entirety. No individual part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.

Publisher: Chris S. Corby Editor: Michael Bracken

Texas Gardener's Seeds, P.O. Box 9005, Waco, Texas 76714 ● www.TexasGardener.com