March 21, 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.



Perle d'Or is named 2007 EarthKind Rose of the Year. (Photo: courtesy of Chamblee's Rose Nursery)
 

Old is new again in the recently named ‘EarthKind Rose of the Year’

By Steve Byrns
Texas Cooperative Extension

When it comes to tough roses, "tried and true" can be better than "brand-spanking new." This year's EarthKind Rose of the Year is a case in point.

Perle d'Or, a polyantha rose which was first introduced in 1894, recently got the nod as the 2007 "EarthKind Rose of the Year" by Texas Cooperative Extension's EarthKind team.

Dr. Steve George, Extension horticulturist at Dallas, said the honor created by Extension horticulturists recognizes the best performers in their EarthKind Rose program.

"The title comes only after years of field research during which roses are grown and evaluated under very tough conditions," George said. "They aren't fertilized or pruned. They must survive and thrive with little irrigation, and must never be treated with pesticides. The result are winners that are so easy to grow that anyone, even a novice, can enjoy great success with these outstanding cultivars.

"Perle d'Or, this year's winner, is a peach-colored, double, repeat-blooming rose," he said. "It is also very fragrant. It usually attains a manageable size of about 4 feet wide and tall. It's winter hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture cold hardiness zones 6-9. Its only limitation is that it usually doesn't do well in areas with high saline (salty) irrigation water."

The rose is very healthy and produces flushes of blooms from spring through fall, right through summer's heat, George said.

Like all EarthKind roses, Perle d'Or does best in a location with at least eight hours of direct sun daily and good air flow over its foliage, George said. It is very heat- and drought-tolerant once established.

"Of all the old garden roses that we have tested, Perle d'Or is one of my most favorite," he said. "We recommend planting this wonderful old rose throughout Texas.

"Perle d'Or makes a medium-size, very full, very handsome landscape shrub. Its growth habit and shape are very attractive even with no pruning. Plant it in groups of three or five in the middle of a bed or border to create a strong design element."

All the EarthKind roses are true winners because they return so much for so little care, George said.

Two new additions to the list of EarthKind roses for 2007 are: Ducher, an 1869 pure white China rose, and Georgetown Tea, a repeat-blooming pink blend rose, he said. Both cultivars are recommended for USDA cold hardiness zones 7-9.

The EarthKind Environmental Landscape Management System was created by Extension to help provide beautiful landscapes with minimal maintenance and maximum environmental safeguards, George said. The entire list is available on the Web at http://earthkindroses.tamu.edu.



Honeybees exploring the limb of a tree. (Texas Cooperative Extension Photo by Jerrold Summerlin)

  Beekeepers alarmed by bee losses

Environmental News Service

U.S. beekeepers are baffled by an alarming die-off of honey bees across the nation. Two dozen states have been affected by "colony collapse disorder" (CCD) and as more beekeepers in cold wintering locations get into their colonies, the number of states affected is expected to grow.

Industry experts say the situation has beekeepers fighting for commercial survival and crop growers wondering whether bees will be available to pollinate their crops this spring and summer.

"This has become a highly significant yet poorly understood problem that threatens the pollination industry and the production of commercial honey in the United States," said Maryann Frazier, apiculture extension associate at Penn State University.

"During the last three months of 2006, we began to receive reports from commercial beekeepers of an alarming number of honey bee colonies dying in the eastern United States," Frazier said. "Since the beginning of the year, beekeepers from all over the country have been reporting unprecedented losses."

"There is little doubt that honey bees are going to be in short supply this spring and possibly into the summer," Frazier added.

Reports on their losses coming from beekeepers vary widely. Some commercial beekeepers are reporting their losses as about the same as the last several years. Others report losing thousands of colonies: one lost 11,000 of his 13,000 colonies; another 700 of 900; another 2500 of 3500; another virtually all of his 10,000.

Researchers are scrambling to determine what is causing the affliction and to develop management strategies and recommendations for beekeepers.

They contend that mites and associated diseases, some unknown pathogenic disease and pesticide contamination or poisoning are likely factors causing or contributing to CCD.

Initial studies of dying colonies revealed a large number of disease organisms present, with no one disease being identified as the culprit.

Ongoing case studies and surveys of beekeepers experiencing CCD have found a few common management factors, but no common environmental agents or chemicals have been identified.


  Gardening tips

"We have a lot of rabbits in our area," writes Chuck Mowrar, "and use the old tried-and-true remedy to keep them at bay in our small patch of veggies by simply spreading moth balls alongside the rows. It keeps a herd of rabbits out."

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...

Lightning to the north or west usually means a thunderstorm is coming toward you but lightning to the south or east indicates the lightning has passed. This is a good rule of thumb but we still recommend staying out of trees anytime you see lightning or hear thunder, regardless of the direction.


 

  Upcoming garden events

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 AMGCPhoto@yahoo.com or visit www.sallysfamilyplace.com/Clubs/GardenClub.htm.

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 www.festivalhill.org.

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.

Austin: It's About Thyme, 11726 Manchaca, Austin, will host "How to Create a Beautiful Easter Wreath," a workshop led by Diane Winslow, Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m. Learn about the materials to use and the secrets of arranging them. $30/person. To register, or for more information, call (512) 280-1192 or visit www.itsaboutthyme.com.

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: Jacksontx@tamu.edu.

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.

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 info@zilkergarden.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 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.

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 IdaliaAguilarV@hotmail.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 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.

Austin: It's About Thyme, 11726 Manchaca, Austin, will host "New Native and Adaptive Xeriscape Plants for the Austin Landscape," a free lecture by Pat McNeil, Sunday, April 15, at 2 p.m. Learn about the the mazari palm, the mountain pea, and other exciting, new drought tolerant plants. For more information, call (512) 280-1192 or visit www.itsaboutthyme.com.

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.

Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners will have a plant sale on Saturday, April 21, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jackson County Services Building Auditorium, 411 North Wells, Edna. Shrubs, bedding plants, flowering shrubs, and plants propagated by the Master Gardeners are being sold. Yard accessories being sold include decorative indoor and outdoor birdhouses. The public is invited.

Longview: The Northwest Texas Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas is having its annual plant sale at Wal-Mart, 2440 Gilmer Road, Longview, on April 28 beginning at 8 a.m. and usually sells out by noon. Attendees who join the NPSOT will receive a plethora of butterfly plant seeds. For additional information, contact emmanell@peoplepc.com.

Austin: It's About Thyme, 11726 Manchaca, Austin, will host "How to Select, Plant and Grow Palm Trees in the Austin Area," a free lecture and demonstration by Hays County Free Press gardening columnist Chris Winslow, Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m. For more information, call (512) 280-1192 or visit www.itsaboutthyme.com.

Tyler: The Smith County Master Gardeners will host the 6th annual Spring Home Garden Tour May 5, Tyler. Area gardens will be showcased and will offer visitors ideas an inspiration for their own garden, large or small. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions or discuss planting ideas. For more information, call (903) 894-7950.

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 www.salado.com 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 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 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit www.main.org/aog.

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 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.


  Book Sale:
  Garden Bulbs for the South

In Garden Bulbs for the South, acclaimed garden expert Scott Ogden introduces Southern gardeners to more than 200 warm-climate bulbs that will perform wonderfully in their garden — bulbs new, exotic, extraordinary, or unjustly neglected. A bulb for any need and any reason — many of which will return to increase in beauty. With nearly 200 gorgeous, full-color photographs, Garden Bulbs for the South is an inviting way to take the guesswork out of bulb planting. This book is not available through the on-line bookstore. Limited supply available.

 $24.50 while supplies last!
 

  Gourds in Your Garden

At last! Ginger Summit's complete, easy-to-use guide to help you identify popular gourd shapes; plan and prepare your garden; grow, train and harvest a bountiful crop of gourds; and prepare your gourds for use, from recipes to art projects. This book is not available through the on-line bookstore. Limited supply available.

 $21.30 while supplies last!
 

  The Louisiana Iris

A comprehensive guide to the culture of the Louisiana Iris, Marie Caillett and Joseph K. Mertzweiller's The Louisiana Iris represents more than 200 years of combined experience of the editors and 18 other contributing members of the Society for Louisiana Irises. This book is not available through the on-line bookstore. Limited supply available.

 $29.84 while supplies last!
 

  Roses in the Southern Garden

In this valuable review of 100 antique roses, from and for southern gardens, G. Michael Shoup shows each rose as a separate personality. Included in Roses in the Southern Garden are hundreds of evocative photographs illustrating creative and imaginative gardens blended with Old Garden Roses. This book is not available through the on-line bookstore. Limited supply available.

 $37.36 while supplies last!
 

  Southern Lawns

If you're tired of your neighbor bragging about his superior lawn, this is the book for you! Southern Lawns provides complete step-by-step instructions for planting and/or maintaining every major type of southern grass lawn, including Bermuda Grass, Centipede, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass. In addition to a special "month-by-month" section with activity lists for every month of the year, author Chris Hastings includes a complete glossary of lawn care terms. This book is not available through the on-line bookstore. Limited supply available.

 $26.62 while supplies last!
 

  Texas Wildscapes

Noreen Damude and Kelly Conrad Bender's Texas Wildscapes helps gardeners design gardens to provide habitat for native wildlife. More importantly, it furnishes lists of beautiful and useful native plants appropriate to the specific region of Texas in which you live. This book is not available through the on-line bookstore. Limited supply available.

 $26.63 while supplies last!

Order any of the above books by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(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