March 7, 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.

After careful planning, this gardener choose raised beds. Photos by Chris S. Corby)

  From the yellow pad to the garden plot

By Michael Bettler
Lucia's Garden

Jim Nollman, author of Why We Garden, wrote that gardening is "...cultivating a sense of place. Gardens are real places. They are a way to recreate a bit of paradise within an imperfect world. There are people living in tiny studio apartments above and beyond the nearest patch of dirt who still manage to grow parsley on a sunny windowsill...a pocket paradise...on the ninety-ninth floor."

There are tomato can gardens on back porches and in window sills everywhere. A collection of cans or terra cotta pots might even have a theme, such as Plants of the Bible or Plants of the New World. There are gardens to honor someone you admire such as Shakespeare, Jefferson, Virgin Mary, Buddha, Grandpa's Garden. You can accent one color (blue, white, yellow or red), a scent or a flavor (lemon, mint or rosemary) with several varieties that hold that scent planted together. You can have a children's garden, tea garden, potpourri garden or perfume garden. Celebrate the bees and butterflies with their own gardens. Mix ferns and grasses, bulbs and roses, cottage gardens, meadow gardens and everlasting gardens. Become astrological with a zodiac, knot, wheel, moon or spirit garden. Set a theme, name it, find out which plants are representative of the theme, plant it out and then invite your friends over to enjoy it. It is that "...little bit of paradise."

If you open a copy of Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay's Southern Herb Growing to page 9, you will see a photograph of one of my "favorite gardens." It is in my own backyard. But that is not the reason it is one of my favorite gardens. I show it to students in my gardening classes and tell them, also, that this is my "mistake garden." The design is called a "Cross Garden" — two intersecting brick walkways with a bird bath in the center. Each quadrant holds a different planted theme: culinary, medicinal, magical and medicinal, with representative plants in each. I dug this garden in 1978 and it has had several incarnations since, still in its original form. However, the reason I call it my "mistake garden" is that not knowing about raised beds at the time I created it, I dug this 17 foot diameter by 9 inch deep hole in the ground in Houston's finest gumbo clay. Upon completion, the heavens blessed it with two days of rain, and I wound up with a swimming pool. I found out that gumbo does not drain well, and the following Sunday's newspaper had an article on "raised beds." (Look at the photograph again and you will see raised beds behind and beside it.) Raised beds give you "supervisory management possibilities." They are an artificial environment that allows you to participate fully in one of Mother Nature's greatest gifts.

In the January 24, 2007 issue of Seeds, I wrote of raised beds and soil mixes. Build the garden beds you want and adjust the soil as you need. I once heard it stated that Texas has two kinds of soil: Bad and Worse. This is an old joke, but there is truth in that old saw. Either it is a high alkaline caleche gravel or an acidic gumbo or bottom sand. We sit at the bottom of the alluvial drifts of several ice ages and as a result we really do have wonderful soils. All we have to do is add amendments. Your local Texas Ag Extension Service office (and several independent soil testing companies) in your area can send you a soil sample kit that you mail back to them for soil makeup and chemistry analysis. Or talk to your neighbors across the fence or down the road, whoever has a beautiful, healthy garden. Ask them about their success stories with garden soil, such as sources and amendments. Gardening is community. In the words of Madalene Hill, one of the best loved herb gardeners in the State of Texas, known around the United States and Canada and in both Western and Eastern Europe, "Grow where you are planted." It all begins with the soil. (If you want to visit some beautiful gardens, visit the McAshan Gardens on the grounds of the International Festival-Institute, Round Top, Texas. They are the design and love of Mrs. Hill, who has taught so many the wonders of gardens and gardening, especially herbs and herb gardening. See the activities calendar below for the Herbal Forum at Round Top, March 24, 2007.)

So you've spent time with your yellow legal pad. Now it is time to think about what you want to plant. As Charles Voigt, Director of Ag. Experimental Gardens at the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana, counsels, "Grow what you want to eat." This is advice to try all the herbs you have eaten or cooked with before, even if you've gotten them from your local "grocery store garden" (produce cooler) next to the carrots, lettuce, summer squash, cucumbers, string beans and onions.

Think about the flavors you enjoy in food: fresh basil, chives, cilantro, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Now get to know each one, as to whether it is an annual (one year life cycle), biannual (two year life cycle) or a perennial (there for as long as you want it to be and it is happy to be in your garden). Ask your local nursery supplying the herbs if the herb is "cold sensitive" or "heat sensitive," shade tolerant or able to thrive in Texas' summer sun. For the average beginning herb gardener, you can begin with a wonderful and varied herb garden in 1/2 of a whiskey barrel set outside your kitchen door. (Be sure to drill four to five 1/2" holes in the bottom for drainage, and put the whiskey barrel where you want it before you fill it with your garden soil mix: you are not going to move it.) Also take into consideration the "wet feet/dry feet" factor with herbs. Some herbs like a lot of water (basil, mint) and some do not like much water (rosemary, sage). If you plant them next to each other, you may dry one of them out or drown the roots of the other. One key: look at the leaves: narrow or broad; waxy or simple? This is not all you have to think about.

Too complicated? Nah! Mother Nature is very forgiving. She is also a great teacher. There are some herbs that thrive where you live, and some that languish, even within a named family, such as the "Mint Family," some falling into each category, depending on the season. Take notes!

I am going to move this article from planning the garden to planting the garden and growing culinary herbs, beginning with "seeds vs. 3-inch to 4-inch pots," with specific herbs in mind. I will touch on the more commonly known herbs and expand to some of their less-well-known cousins, to build out your "collections" and beautify your gardens. This, too, is part of the fun of gardening: the excitement of varieties. For instance, there are more than 50 varieties of basil. How many varieties do you need for your tomato-mozzarella-basil salad or pesto with shrimp over pasta? There are more than 100 varieties of rosemary. How many varieties do you need for that marinade or to mix with baked cubed potatoes, carrots and onions as a side dish, or with a chicken breast or loin roast? One major reward of herb gardening: you "...grow what you want to eat."

Manfreda maculosa, one of many plants discussed in Agraves, Yuccas, and Related Plants. (Photo by William Scheick)

  The garden reader:
Southwestern bounty

By William Scheick
University of Texas at Austin

Mary Irish. Perennials for the Southwest: Plants That Flourish in Arid Gardens. Timber Press, 2006. $29.95. 312pp.

Mary and Gary Irish. Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants: A Gardener's Guide. Timber Press, 2000. $34.95. 312pp.

For many of us a visit to a plant nursery amounts to an outing. Who knows what enticing beauties await, what welcome temptations will come our way? I refer of course to the lovely plants we fall instantly in love with at a nursery and then impetuously take home even though we know precious little about them. How many gardeners can honestly say they have never been guilty of such an impulse plant purchase?

And how many of us have afterward felt twinges of anxiety? It's not the money that worries us. Generally a plant doesn't cost that much. The problem is we now realize how little we know about the plant, especially whether it is likely to survive at our home.

There is some help — in the form of a book, not a pill. Mary Irish's Perennials for the Southwest can lessen worries associated with impulse plant purchases at the local nursery. Half of her book is devoted to descriptions and photographs of specific plants suitable for Lone Star gardens. A capsule heading provides quickly-read data about each plant's size, bloom period, light requirements and hardiness zone. Below this outline follows a two-page discussion of pertinent horticultural information.

Visiting a nursery with this book in hand potentially allows for a practical second thought to counter any impish whim to run off with some unfamiliar plant. If the plant in question is included in the book, you will find out sooner rather than later what you need to know about it. If a plant isn't in the book, then worrying might be appropriate.

With our impulsiveness on hold, Irish's book can serve as a guide to plants which will thrive in our yards. The ones she recommends are worth special consideration because, as the National Arbor Day Foundation reports, Texas is now hotter and dryer than indicated by the standard and outdated USDA hardiness zones for our state. Irish unfortunately does not consider heat zone information, which is often more important than hardiness zone data. (See But since she highlights southwestern native species, it is safe to assume that her selections are generally accustomed to the heat and drought presently typical of our state.

Irish also provides 60 pages on how to care for and design with southwestern perennials. She offers advice on attracting wildlife, on planning for year-round color in the garden and, of particular note, on blending perennials and succulents.

Which brings me to Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants, another outstanding book. In this well-illustrated work Mary and Gary Irish offer the latest information about Agave, Yucca, Hesperaloe, Furcraea, Manfreda, Beschorneria, Polianthes, Nolina, Dasylirion, Beaucarnea and Calibanus.

If any of these names are unfamiliar, then that's all the more reason to peruse this book. It describes a host of wonderful, often neglected but easy-to-grow gardening possibilities. It also demonstrates that such familiar groups as Agave and Yucca include far more diverse horticultural species than is commonly appreciated.

Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants is so evidently a labor of love that it gifts the reader with a fresh and deep appreciation of a group of succulents too often overlooked or taken for granted.

  Issues, opportunities outlined for 2007 nursery plant industry

By Kathleen Phillips
Texas Cooperative Extension

Labor and environmental issues are among the greatest concerns for plant nursery operators, but niche marketing and alliances offer opportunities that could help businesses survive.

That's according to Jim Prewitt of Coppell, owner of Landmark Nurseries, Inc., who recently keynoted the third Distinguished Lecture Series on International Floriculture at Texas A&M University. The lecture is sponsored by the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture in the department of horticultural sciences.

Prewitt said while state and federal governments grapple with labor issues and immigration reform, local municipalities and small businesses are bearing the brunt of costs involved in managing labor.

"I lost 30 percent of my workforce after Hurricane Katrina because they could get higher paying jobs in cleaning up after the storm, and I haven't gotten them back," said Prewitt, whose company has several production, distribution and sales outlets in Texas. "To lose people who are trained and skilled is a tremendous drain on a company."

Prewitt said he "bristles" when he hears the plant industry referred to as low-paying, saying his non-skilled laborers are paid about $8 per hour, an amount higher than minimum wage and which he said is typical in the plant nursery industry in surveys he has seen.

He said plant producers struggle with increasing energy costs and with seeking ways to be more environmentally friendly with the products they use and discard.

"We have to both heat and cool our greenhouses," he said. "Anyone who doesn't believe that, doesn't live in Texas."

He said industry leaders are developing new ways to create energy, such as by burning biomass or recycled plastics which have been pelleted.

All of these efforts — from labor to environmental techniques — require money, he noted, and that gets passed to consumers. Yet consumer demand for plants and other "outdoor living" items is strong.

"We live in an increasingly urbanized world and people want more and more green space, so they seek products for that," he said. "Our land is chopped up with houses and concrete and that means people have a stronger desire for plants."

Prewitt said two things — student interns and more research — can help the industry learn how to meet current consumer demand.

Student interns not only learn by working for a company in their major, they also bring information to employers and back to faculty and thus help each be more current on topics such as consumer trends, for example.

In the meantime, Prewitt said, plant companies should continually look for niche markets and perhaps new alliances to stretch dollars into profitability.

  Gardening tips

"Even though the weather has been spring-like as of late," writes Beverly Nord, "do not fertilize your lawn until April 15 or you see it greening up. You will be wasting your money fertilizing dormant grass. Do you eat when you are asleep?"

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...

Potato scab can become a serious problem in alkaline (high pH) soils. Use of high rates of manure increases the possibility of potato scab. Use of sulfur to lower the soil pH and long-term rotations will help.


  Upcoming garden events

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.

Mineola: The Wood County Master Gardeners, in cooperation with the Texas Cooperative Extension, are hosting the "2007 Spring Home Gardening Conference" from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 10, in the Oak Room of the Mineola Civic Center, 1150 North Newsom, Mineola. Sessions include "Native Plants," led by Carol Feldman, landscape architect; "Ornamental Grasses," led by Keith Mills, horticulturist, Caldwell Zoo; and "Rainwater Harvesting," led by Dottie Woodson, Texas Extension Service. Admission is free. For additional information, visit or e-mail

Tomball: Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will host the Second Annual Rose Festival, Saturday, March 10, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. This popular event includes guest speakers and informative booths. More than 100 varieties of old and antique roses will be available! Free. For more information, call (281) 351-8851.

Austin: Texas Cooperative Extension and the Travis County Master Gardeners will sponsor "A Passion for Plants" garden fair in East Austin from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 17 on the grounds of the Horticulture Building at Austin Community College Riverside Campus at the intersection of Grove Boulevard and Hogan Street. The event is free and open to the public. Plants and seeds will be given to attendees while quantities last. Activities will include hands-on demonstrations and how-to instructions for growing trees, plants and vegetables. Educational topics will include composting and mulching, vegetable planting, preparing soil, growing plants from seeds and cuttings, and growing plants in containers. Other topics will be insects, plant diseases, native and adapted plants for East Austin, environmental awareness, tree planting, lawn care and weed control. Children's activities will include games and a display of live tarantulas and centipedes, as well as a giant cave cockroach, by "The Bug Lady," Wizzie Brown, Extension entomologist. Experts from Extension and several East Austin gardening organizations will be available to answer questions relating to horticulture. Horticultural demonstrations and instruction will be targeted to >those living on Austin's east side, but those from other areas also can benefit from attending, he added. For more information, call the Travis County Master Gardeners at (512) 854-9600.

Tomball: Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will host the Sixth Annual Herb Luncheon Saturday, March 17, 11 a.m. featuring Molly Fowler, The Dining Diva, and Ann Wheeler, Log House Herb Farm. Learn about different types of herbs and how to grow them while you enjoy a scrumptious lunch. $35 Due upon registration. For more information, call (281) 351-8851.

Conroe: Montgomery County Master Gardener Association Annual Spring Plant Sale, Saturday, March 17. Lecture 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. featuring varieties available in the sale. Sale 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sale will feature perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, herbs and vegetables selected for outstanding performance in our area. Montgomery County Extension Office, 9020 FM 1484, Conroe. For more information, call (936) 539-7824.

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 p.m. to 4 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.

Bryan-College Station: The A&M Garden Club is sponsoring a photo contest at their April 11 Horticultural Celebration. The deadline for entering the contest is March 21. Winning photos will be displayed at the A&M Garden Club's 70th Anniversary Horticultural Celebration on Wednesday, April 11, 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. For additional information about the contest, contact or visit

Round Top: The 12th Annual Herbal Forum, "A Celebration of Lemon-Scented Herbs and Lemon Balm, Herb of the Year 2007," presented by The International Festival-Institute at Round Top and The Herb Society of America-Pioneer Unit, will take place at Festival Hill near Round Top, from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Saturday, March 24, with optional participation workshops the previous day. The forum includes lectures by Lucinda Hutson, celebrated food, garden and lifestyle writer; Jim Johnson, director of the Benz School of Floral Design; and Henry Flowers, garden director at Festival Hill. While the plant sale, gift shop and bookstore are free and open to the public, registration for the forum is $75, with additional charges for lunch, dinner, and the Friday workshops. For more information, call (979) 249-3129 or visit

Tomball: Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will host “Vegetable Gardening for the Gulf Coast” Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m. Learn great tips as well as garden basics from Tom LeRoy, Extension Horticulturalist, and Bill Adams, Horticulturalist Emeritus. Free. For more information, call (281) 351-8851.

Tomball: Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will host “Herbs Made Easy” featuring Ann Wheeler, Log House Herb Farm, Sunday, March 25, 1 p.m. With the knowledge from this class you can start your own herb garden or simply add herbs to your existing beds. Free. For more information, call (281) 351-8851.

Edna: "Oak Trees and Oak Wilt" will be the subject of Jackson County Master Gardener's "Come Grow With Us" program on March 27.  Mike Hiller, CEA, Jackson County will speak at 7 p.m. at the Jackson County Service Building, 411 N. Wells, Edna, Texas.  All seminars will be free to the public, and pre-registration is not required. We offer 2 CEU hours for Master Gardeners. For more information contact: Jackson County Extension Office, 411 N Wells St., Ste 105, Edna, TX 77957, call (361) 782-3312, fax (361) 782-9258, or e-mail:

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

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 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

Austin: Zilker Garden Festival will be held at the Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Garden Springs Road, Austin, March 31 through April 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This annual festival heralds the start of the gardening season for many Austin-area gardeners and has something for every member of the family. There are clinics for gardeners, an activity area for children, music and food. Colorful booths with garden-related crafts of all sorts are everywhere; potters, soap makers, jewelers and other craftspeople sell their wares. There are plants of all sorts by the thousands — herbs, orchids, cacti, succulents, annuals, natives, perennials, houseplants, water garden specimens — as well as the tools, soils and best of all, information to grow them. Gate admission is $5 per person, free for ages 12 and younger. Advance tickets are available for $3 at the gift shop so buy your tickets early. All proceeds from the Zilker Garden Festival benefit the activities of the Austin Area Garden Council and Zilker Botanical Garden. Please note that dogs are not allowed on the grounds during the festival. The grounds will be closed to the public and to photographers all day Friday, March 30 in preparation for Zilker Garden Festival. NO DOGS will be allowed on the grounds during festival. For additional information, call 477-8672 ext. 13 or e-mail

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 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 or visit

Bryan-College Station: The A&M Garden Club Horticultural Celebration will host "70 Years of Gardening in Brazos Valley," a celebration of the club's 70th anniversary, Wednesday, April 11, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. This community-wide activity will include horticulture and design entries and educational displays by local garden clubs, local horticulture businesses, and a photo contest for individuals. The Horticulture Tables will have three classes: Foliage Plants, Cactus and Succulents, and Flowering Plants, with correct nomenclature, groomed pots, and specimens placed on top of the tables. Admission is free. For additional information, contact Idalia Aguilar at

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

Cedar Hill: Petal Pusher's, 813 Straus Road, will host "English Gardening Texas Style" by Master 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

Salado: The 4th annual Salado Yard and Garden Tour, a tour of yards and gardens in the historic village of Salado, will highlight characteristic and varied private and public gardens for the Central Texas landscape. From large to small, rambling to organized, annuals to perennials, water wise planting to courtyard container gardens, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The tour will be Saturday, May 12 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 13 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Gardens will be self-guided with volunteers helping to answer questions when needed. Tickets will be $15 to view all gardens and are good for the two days. Maps will be available leading to each location with a description of each garden. Tours will be conducted rain or shine. The tour is sponsored by the Salado Garden Club and the Public Arts League of Salado. For further information, visit the Village of Salado website at or call (254) 947-8300.

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 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

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 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit

Rockport: An herb study group founded in March 2003 meets the second Wednesday of every month at the ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport at 10 a.m. to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including the historical uses of the herbs and tips for successful propagation and cultivation.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday 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

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

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 March 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
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