January 24, 2007

Welcome to Texas Gardener's Seeds, the weekly newsletter for Texas gardeners. Please do not reply to this e-mail as the sending address is not monitored. See the bottom of this newsletter for information on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editor.

  Raised bed herb gardens

By Michael Bettler
Lucia's Garden

Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. Brought to the dinner table, they are aroma and flavor enhancers and add decorative beauty. They will grow in small containers on a porch or window sill or in large containers in patios or formal gardens. They are fairly adaptive to different soil conditions, like to keep their feet on the dry side, and require little maintenance on the part of the gardener.

Since it is still cool outside, take out that pencil and yellow pad and start plotting the frame of your gardens or the number of containers. Think in terms of (1) which herbs you already like to cook with, (2) which new herbs you would like to cook with, and (3) which herbs you would just like to try. For each gardener and each cook, the lists will vary with experience and family food traditions. But for the novice in either area, category #1 might find sweet basil, a couple of varieties of mints, Greek and Italian oregano, rosemary, and English, French or lemon thyme. In the #2 category you might include lemon and Thai basils, garlic and onion chives, cilantro-coriander, dill, fennel, lemon balm, lemon grass, marjoram, (more varieties of) mints, parsley, sage, savory, tarragon (or "Mexican Mint Marigold,” aka "Texas Tarragon"), and violets. The #3 category might consist of plants that take up a bit more planting space and a bit more time to bring to maturity, such as shrubs and small trees like allspice, bay laurels, Cuban oregano, gingers, scented geraniums, jasmine, lemon verbena, pineapple sage (and the different flavored salvias), roses, and yarrow. Most gardens, from the beginner to the experienced gardener, usually contain a variety of the three groups, so don't feel intimidated or lacking. I still have not tried all the herbs I'd like to.

One common thing that all these herbs need is a good friable soil, friable meaning "soft, crumbling, able to hold water and drain well.” And it has to have a good base of rotting plant material in it called compost and humus.

The way Mother Nature engineers soil (not "dirt") is to recycle her own materials. She is the original "Green Machine.” A leaf growing on a tree dies (natural cycle), falls to the earth and is called "MULCH.” (Mulch is "plant litter,” anything of plant origin that was living, has died and fallen to the earth, and forms a "cover" to the soil.) Mother Nature then acts on this mulch with the soil (loam, residual sediments, clay and sands) and both soil-borne and air-borne chemicals to breakdown (natural cycle) these materials. As the leaf breaks down, it forms "COMPOST" (by decomposing — natural cycle), releasing the mineral elements back into the soil (natural cycle) to serve as plant food called "HUMUS.” The cycle is complete when the plant's roots take up the "food" and the plant creates a new leaf.

All this takes place out of sight, over time and continuously. It just needs a place for this to happen, a place we call the garden.

All plants need three elements: soil to stand in and receive their food from, oxygen and water. Too much or not enough of any of these three elements and the imbalance can cause the plant to weaken or fail. There is no one perfect soil for all plants. So what can we as gardeners do? Build the garden beds we want and create the soils that make our plants feel at home.

And it is easier than it sounds. The secret is "raised beds.” These can be raised as in "containers,” or raised as in "above ground.” The key is to have a thriving and active "biomass" of soil in the top 6 to 9 inches of soil you plant in. This can be done by using pre-mixed designer blends or by mixing bags of garden products yourself. Mother Nature does not measure inches or pounds, as we do. She goes with "approximates.” There are many fine soil sources around Texas that offer several "garden blends,” for roses, azaleas, vegetable blends, hanging basket blends, top dressing, etc. The important questions to ask your chosen "soil source company" are about: (1) the balances of sand, compost and soil, (2) how much animal manure is in the mix, (3) how long the animal manure has been composting (can you smell if it is of a fowl or four-legged source — you should NOT be able to "tell by the smell"), (4) how long has the soil blend been composting as a blend (composting of more than three months will kill a lot of weed seeds), (5) how well does it drain, (6) how friable the soil is once it is in the garden, (7) what types of materials are used in the composted elements of the soil (leaf litter or leaf mold, grass cuttings, hard or soft wood bark chips, lumber mill saw dust)? The more information they give you will indicate a "soil source" that has pride and confidence in their product, and they will be able to explain all of the elements in each of the soil blends they offer. (These folks are in sales: take their time to get your questions answered completely.)

The next set of questions deals with "How much do I need?" This is where your pencil and that yellow legal pad come in handy. List the number of containers you have by their sizes, remembering to make them at least 9 to 12 inches deep, and calculate the length and width of your garden beds (keeping these 3 to 4 feet wide so you have access to the plants in them without stepping in them) and then calculate your raised beds to be 6 to 9 inches in loft above the surface of the "ground" (l x w + 9" = the amount of soil.) When you present your "soil source" with your calculations, they should sell you the amount you need, and no more (unless you ask for a little more). They will want you to be happy and to come back to them as you expand your gardens or move things into larger containers.

They will speak in terms of "yards.” A "yard" is "approximately" the size of the bed of a standard pickup truck; a "half-yard" is the size of the bed of a utility pickup truck. Bags will have their "square footage" marked on them.

Rule of Thumb: 1/3 soil; 1/3 composted mulch; 1/3 contractors or playground sand. (I'll talk about soil amendments in another segment.) If you are planting herbs that like their feet a little drier, lessen the soil and compost and increase the sand to 1/4, 1/4 & 1/2. (Mother nature goes with "approximates.”)

Now what's with this "6 to 9 inches"? The soil has two layers, essentially, the first layer being "aerobic,” using a lot of oxygen in the first 6 to 9 inches. The second layer is largely "anaerobic" using gradually less and less oxygen. (There are no straight lines marking the different layers.) Each layer has its own set of macro- and microorganisms that process the soil elements to make the nutrients available to the roots. Microorganisms are things like earthworms; microorganisms are things like bacteria, fungi and other polysyllabic-microscopic forms of life that make your soil a living entity. Certain of them live within those top 6 to 9 inches and they support the flow of certain nutrient elements to the microscopic life below. Plus, the anaerobic layer also serves as a repository for certain elements that can then be "drafted out" to the hungry plants above through one more of Mother Nature's amazing processes.

The "trickle down economics" we heard of in the 1980s and '90s really are factors in supporting healthy soil in the garden. Every time you water, every hot day in the sun, every addition of compost to the top layer of the soil creates pathways for nutrients to be distributed to the roots below. Respect your soil, replenish it with organic matter, feed it with organic fertilizers which support the macro- and microlife within the container or the garden, and your plants will thrive and give you their bounty.

A pair of gnomes caught lingering in Germany. (Photos by Alf B. Meier)


  The lighter side of gardening
Roaming gnomes roam through Europe

By Roberta Beach Jacobson
Freelance Writer

Starting in late March or early April each year, whimsical creatures known as garden gnomes emerge from hibernation to decorate gardens throughout Europe. Gnomes have been likened to one or more of the Seven Dwarfs or to Santa's elves. But each gnome has a characteristic charm all his own, made all the more comical when he is observed standing guard over a patch of red and yellow tulips that tower over their little sentry.

Considered distant relatives to leprechauns, but unschooled in finding pots of gold, gnomes are more likely to encounter pots of dirt. Folklore has it that gnomes store treasures deep within the earth, though scientists have yet to uncover any evidence.

There are few rules in gnomedom, except that it remains male-dominated territory. Ceramic gnomes of yesteryear have given way to more modern plastic models. The wee folk (10 to 24 inches tall) usually sport droopy caps and most favor white or silver beards. Most are dressed in work clothes and often hold rakes, hoes or buckets. Gnomes typically tend to carry a little extra bulk around the midsection, apparently due to their lack of exercise. Standing stationary in a petunia patch doesn‘t help to work off those extra ounces.

The bigger the garden, the larger the gnome population — not! It's a matter of personal taste. Estate-sized gardens may well have an "only gnome," while a postage stamp-sized city garden could have half a dozen.

Known as Gartenzwerge in German gardens or nains de jardin in French gardens, these proud little fellows may soon be on the endangered species list. An international group known as the Garden Gnomes' Liberation Front (FLNJ), headquartered in France, kidnaps gnomes from private gardens to "free" them in nearby forests. The notorious band has been operating primarily in the French regions of Alencon, Renes and Caen since 1996. Typically, gnomes are given new identities (in other words re-painted), so owners won't be able to recognize them. Whether the gnomes themselves actually desire to be set free is a matter of considerable debate among Europeans.

Europeans do seem to associate owning gnomes with having good luck, but that‘s only part of the draw. Traditionally, gnomes have been considered part of the family unit, much like a pampered pet. Owners boast that these low-maintenance fellows don't bark, won't claw the furniture and will bite only if strongly provoked. Dog owners rarely own a gnome, for the obvious reason that Fido could easily mistake the little guy for a grinning fire hydrant.

Perhaps you've been charmed by these little garden folk yourself and are considering opening your heart to a garden gnome or two during your upcoming European travels. They can be adopted from gift shops or the garden section of most department stores starting at the equivalent of about Euro 9 (about $12).

  Gardening tips

"When I plant ornamental sweet potatoes in my perennial border, I chose the direction I want them to travel and anchor them to the ground with hair pins," writes Marcia Richardson. "They are tiny and can't be seen, works great as I can control where they crawl, they usually put down roots where the hair pins are."

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. If we publish your tip in Seeds, we will seed you a free Texas Gardener T-shirt. Here's a chance to get published and be a garden stylist as well! Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

  Did you know...

Damping off disease is common problem with some organic potting soils as well as those made at home. To solve this problem, try sterilizing your soil by placing it in a shallow pan or cookie sheet and bake it a 360 degrees F for 45 minutes. The heat will destroy the pathogens that affect young seedlings. This can smell up the kitchen so you may want to try this outside using a barbecue pit.


  Upcoming garden events

Mesquite: The Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association will present the 6th annual Texas Conference on Organic Production Systems, "The Local Food Revolution: Bringing Texas Home" January 24 through 27, in Mesquite. Speakers include Fred Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow from the Leopold Center and Jessica Prentice, chef, educator and author of Full Moon Feast. Included among the activities will be farm tours, a new farmers workshop, and an organic home gardening workshop. For additional information, call (877) 326-5175 or visit www.tofga.org.

Canyon: Vegetable growers, processors and gardeners can renew their production and marketing skills at the fifth annual High Plains Vegetable Conference in Canyon. The January 25 conference will feature information relevant to marketing, pest management, food safety, biosecurity and agriculture. Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. at the West Texas A&M University Alumni Banquet Facility at the corner of North Third and 25th streets in Canyon. The cost is $25 per person before Jan. 15, and $30 per person at the door. This fee covers all materials and lunch. Door prizes donated by agribusiness exhibitors will be awarded. The morning session will focus on marketing strategies, potato breeding, head and moisture stress, and integrated disease management. The afternoon session will address weed and insect control, a Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide update, biosecurity and agriculture, foodborne diseases and food safety. For registration or exhibit information contact Russ Wallace or Wendy Durrett at (806) 746-6101.

Conroe: Montgomery County Master Gardener Association Annual Fruit and Nut Tree Sale, Saturday, January 27. Lecture 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. featuring varieties available in the sale. Sale 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Montgomery County Extension Office 9020 FM 1484 Conroe. For more information, call (936) 539-7824.

Marble Falls: Highland Lakes Master Gardeners and Texas Cooperative Extension will offer classes to become a Master Gardener starting February 1, on Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m. for 11 weeks in Marble Falls. Class size is limited so call the extension office at (512) 756-5463 or go to http://hillcountrylgshow.com to get additional information on the classes and the Master Gardener program. Answers to additional may be obtained by calling Robert Yantis at (325) 388-8849 or Carol Kowing (830) 693-5377.

Tyler: Drought-stressed shade trees, water-challenged azaleas, rainwater harvesting – all these topics and more will be addressed at an upcoming conference in Tyler on February 10. "The drought of 2005 – 2006 made us all aware of just how dependent we are on water to maintain our yards and gardens," said Keith Hansen, Texas Cooperative Extension horticultural agent, Smith County. With the drought in mind, Hansen, program planner of the 14th East Texas Spring Landscape and Garden Conference, has arranged for a variety of speakers on drought management. Jim Bohlmann, certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture, will give suggestions on avoiding stresses, drought and otherwise, that affect tree health, Hansen said. Steve Brainard, former president of the Azalea Society of America, will tell how to successfully grow azaleas in various landscape conditions and conserve water in the process. Billy Kniffen, Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Menard County, will give a presentation on rainwater harvesting. Hansen noted that Kniffen is recognized for being the statewide expert on rainwater harvesting. And not everything has to be about the drought, Hansen said. Mary Wilhite, co-owner of Blue Moon Gardens in Edom, will talk about selecting plants to attract butterflies and birds to home landscapes. The Saturday conference will be held at Tyler Rose Garden Center. Registration is open to the public and will be at the door from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. The $15 registration fee will include lunch. The program will end at 3:30. During the breaks, commercial exhibitors will display lawn and garden plants, products and equipment, Hansen said. For more information, contact Hansen at (903) 590-2980 or by e-mail at khansen@ag.tamu.edu. "This popular all-day program provides both green and brown thumbers with practical and interesting gardening information specific for East Texas conditions," Hansen said.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston, will host "Chocolate Day," Saturday, February 10, 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Activities include chocolate tastings, chocolate mint plant giveaway, exotic fruits tastings, and children's crafts. Admission to the garden: $6 adults, $3 children 3-13, $4 students, military and senior citizens. Admission to the event is included with admission to the garden. For more information, contact (210) 829-5100 or visit www.sabot.org.

Sequin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners are hosting the first in a series of Gardening Workshops, Saturday, February 17 at the County Extension Office at 210 East Live Oak, Sequin.  9:15 Pruning and Jump Starting Your Roses for Spring  with Ed Bradley of the San Antonio Rose Society, who will demonstrate "how to" prune your roses; 9:15 Traditional Vegetable Gardening with vegetable expert Larry Taylor; 10:30 Daylilies, The Perfect Perennial  with Marcia Richardson of the San Antonio Daylily Society; 10:30  Raised Bed Gardening with Bob Grafe. Arrive early at 9:00 for hot coffee and linger late for great door prizes. Four classes will be offered free to the public. Space is limited, so please register early by calling the Extension Office at (830) 379-1972.

Longview: Gregg County Master Gardeners are hosting their Spring Garden and Landscape Seminar, Saturday, February 24, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at First Methodist Church Faith Center, 400 N. Fredonia St., Longview. Garry McDonald, Horticultural Research Associate, Texas A&M University will present "Beautiful Plants for Hot, Humid Summers" and "Future Texas Superstars-Maybe." Daniel Duncum, District Forrester with Texas Forest Service, will address "What's Killing My Trees and What Can I Do About It?" Garden related vendors, door prizes and refreshments are offered. Advance tickets $10 and $12 at the door. Call 903 236 8429 for more information or visit www.greggmastergardeners.org/.

Houston: Volunteers with Texas Cooperative Extension in Harris County will present a gardening workshop 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. February 27 in the Extension auditorium, 3033 Bear Creek Drive, Houston. Members of Master Naturalists' Gulf Coast chapter will present "Green Home and Garden Workshop." The volunteers will give presentations that will include selecting low-cost plants, planning neighborhood beautification projects, identifying invasive plants and designing landscapes using plants that require less water to thrive. "The Master Naturalists have developed this program to help any homeowner make his home an oasis," said Wayne Thompson, Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Harris County and the coordinator of the Master Naturalist program. "However, they are also inviting housing developers, builders and boards of directors from homeowners associations. Many individuals in these groups are not only homeowners, but they also are responsible for planning and landscaping public areas in subdivisions, so the information will benefit many." The $20 registration fee will cover the program and lunch. For registration information, call Diana Todd, (281) 855-5600. A registration form can be downloaded from the Harris County Extension agriculture and natural resources events calendar at http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/anr/events.htm.

Houston: The River Oaks Garden Club will host its 72nd annual Azalea Trail March 2 through 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Azalea Trail will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Miss Ima Hogg's gift of her beautiful home and gardens, Bayou Bend, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The trail includes stops at River Oaks Garden Club Forum of Civics Building, 2503 Westheimer at Kirby; Bayou Bend, 2940 Lazy Lane or One Westcott at Memorial Drive; Rienzi Home and Gardens, 1406 Kirby Drive at Lazy Lane; 3425 Del Monte Drive; 2456 Inwood Drive; 56 East Broad Oaks; and 415 Shadywood. Tickets for seven admissions are $15 before March 2 and $20 during the trail. Single admissions are $5. For more information and complete descriptions with pictures of all the homes and gardens, visit www.riveroaksgardenclub.org.

Cedar Hill: Petal Pusher's, 813 Straus Road, will host "Going Native, Texas Style," native plants for the landscape by designers "Native Dave" and Christy Ilfrey on Saturday, March 10 at 10:30 a.m. This event is free. For more information, call (972) 291-7650.

Cedar Hill: Petal Pusher's, 813 Straus Road, will host "Perennials and Roses that are Texas-Tough" with Vickie Thaxton on Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m. This event is free. For more information, call (972) 291-7650.

Woodway: The Woodway Beautiful Commission for the City of Woodway will hold A Gardeners Gathering Sunday, March 18 at the Carleen Bright Arboretum from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. This event is free and will feature representatives from many garden organizations to share information as well as a Children's Corner, local garden vendors, a walk with the Audubon Society, Country Store, and featured speakers throughout the afternoon. Music and refreshments will be provided.  For information call the Arboretum (254) 399-9204. In the event of rain the event will be held in the Woodway Family Center.

Bonham: The Fannin County Master Gardeners are hosting their 3rd Annual Garden, Lawn and Home Expo on March 31, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Multiple Purpose Complex in Bonham. One of the speakers, Mark Chamblee of Tyler's Chamblee's Rose Nursery, will talk about Earthkind Roses. The educational event also features varied vendors for plants, garden crafts, and more. For more information, call (903) 583-7453 or visit www.fannincountymastergardeners.org.

Marble Falls: The Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association will sponsor the Ninth Annual Hill Country Lawn & Garden Show March 31, at the Lakeside Pavilion in Marble Falls. It is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free Admission and seminars. It features garden related vendors, demonstrations, a children's booth, raffle and seminars by Malcolm Beck, Bill Luedecke and the Antique Rose Emporium. For more information go to hillcountrylgshow.com or call (325) 388-8849.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston, will host a Spring Plant Sale, Saturday, March 31, 9 a.m. until sold out. Purchase healthy, hardy plants suitable for the San Antonio environment and get expert advice from SABG volunteers, many of whom are Master Gardeners. Admission to the garden: $6 adults, $3 children 3-13, $4 students, military and senior citizens. Admission to the event is included with admission to the garden. For more information, contact (210) 829-5100 or visit www.sabot.org.

Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group will present the Third Annual Rockport Herb Festival Saturday, at the Rockport-Fulton High School Commons, 1801 Omohundro, Rockport, April 7, from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The festival will include a variety of herb programs, herb cooking demonstrations, herb booths with lots of information and products for sale, and a plant sale that will include herbs, roses, heirlooms, orchids, bromeliads, tropicals, palms, garden art and pottery. There is no admission fee. For additional information, contact Linda T. Collins at ltcollins_1@charter.net or visit www.rockportherbs.com.

Nacogdoches: The annual Spring Garden Gala plant sale at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Mast Arboretum will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the intramural field on Wilson Drive, Nacogdoches. “We will offer a great selection of rare, unusual, and Texas-tough trees, shrubs, succulents, and herbaceous perennials, as well as many heat loving tropicals,” said Dawn Stover, Mast Arboretum research associate. “All of the plants are produced at SFA by the staff, students and volunteers.” Greg Grant, Pineywoods Native Plant Center research associate, will have a number of his introductions available as well, including the pink flowered ‘Pam Puryear’ and large flowered ‘Big Momma’ Turk’s cap. “Many of the rare Aromi hybrid deciduous azaleas will be offered, as will a good number of the rarely available native East Texas red buckeye,” Stover said. Proceeds from the plant sale help support the SFA Mast Arboretum, the Ruby Mize Azalea Garden, the Pineywoods Native Plant Center and educational programs. For more information, call (936) 468-4404 or visit http://arboretum.sfasu.edu/.

Cedar Hill: Petal Pusher's, 813 Straus Road, will host "English Gardening Texas Style" by Maste Gardener and British Native Andrea Rucker on Saturday, April 14 at 10:30 a.m. This event is free. For more information, call (972) 291-7650.

Cedar Hill: Petal Pusher's, 813 Straus Road, will host "Petal Pusher's Picks" by nationally known landscape architect Rosa Finsley on Saturday, April 14 at 1 p.m. This event is free. For more information, call (972) 291-7650.

Waco: "Easy-Care Roses for Busy People," an EarthKind Rose Symposium hosted by McLennan County Master Gardeners and Texas Cooperative Extension, will take place in Waco, Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., at Texas State Technical College, 3801 Campus Drive. Among the speakers will be Dr. Steve George, Professor and Landscape Horticulture Specialist, Texas Cooperative Extension, Dallas; Mark Chamblee, owner Chamblee Rose Nursery, Tyler; Gaye Hammond, President, Houston Rose Society; Steve Huddleston, Senior Horticulturalist, Fort Worth Botanic Garden; and Rachelle Kemp, Landscape Design Instructor, Texas State Technical College, Waco. Registration is $56 per person and pre-registration is required. Registration includes snacks, beverages, all course materials, and a two-gallon rose. For more information, call (254) 757-5180 or visit www.mclennanmastergardeners.org.

Tyler: The 6th annual Spring Home Garden Tour, sponsored by the Smith County Master Gardeners, will be held Saturday, May 5. Area gardens will be showcased and will afford visitors ideas an inspiration for their own garden, large or small. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions or discuss planting ideas.

Ft. Worth: The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society presents its 21st Annual Herb Festival May 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens in Fort Worth. The Festival will feature the sale of herb plants and herb-related products. There will also be a silent auction, crafts, music, demos, food and much more. Special event speakers will be Randy Weston of Weston Gardens and Mary Doebelling of Our Thyme Garden. Admission is $5 for adults. The Botanic Gardens are located at 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd Dr., Fort Worth. For more information, please visit www.greaterfortworthherbsociety.org or call (817) 966-7126.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Botanical Garden is sponsoring a trip to Italy September 4 through 15, featuring Italy's villas and gardens. Escorted by Bob Brackman, the Director of the Garden, an exceptional itinerary has been designed for lovers of leisurely travel and beautiful homes and gardens. Famous for their gardens, Italians still build on their ancestors' legacy with the creation of exquisite country villas surrounded by terraced, fountain-filled gardens that have become symbolic of Italian style. Experience the rich cultural heritage of Italy. Visit special gardens, famous museums, the important cities of Florence and Rome, plus the Lake District, and the small villages which make Italy so charming, such as Cinque Terre, Santa Margherita and Tuscan villages. Feast on fabulous Italian cuisine and enjoy la dolce vita. Land cost per person sharing is $3550 plus air, which includes a $100 tax deductible donation, most meals and gratuities. For more information, contact Marianne Martz of Fuller Travel at (210) 828-6311 or marianne@fullertvl.com.

Garland: 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.

Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners meet at 7:00 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit www.main.org/aog.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels (corner of Funston & N. New Braunfels). For more information on programs, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org.

Dallas: The Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 6:45 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the Fretz Park Recreation Center, located at the corner of Hillcrest and Beltline Road in Dallas. For more information, call (214) 824-2448 or visit www.dogc.org.

Arlington: The Arlington Organic Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month (except November and December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact David at (817) 483-7746.

If you would like your organization's events included in "Upcoming Garden Events," please contact us at Garden Events.

  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 January and we'll waive shipping charges. (Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

  Fiber row cover valuable year-round

Grow-Web encourages plant growth and development, and also provides protection from insects, birds, diseases and frosts. It is also air and water permeable and allows for ventilation. Grow-Web provides excellent protection to seedlings when applied directly to the seedbed.

 $30.64 per 12.3' x 32.8' roll (includes shipping!)

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

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)


Texas Gardener's Seeds
is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2007. 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.

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

Publisher: Chris S. Corby Editor: Michael Bracken

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