February 4, 2009

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Plums poised to give blueberries run for the money

Kathleen Phillips
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

There's an emerging star in the super-food world.

Plums are rolling down the food fashion runway sporting newly discovered high levels of healthy nutrients, say scientists at Texas AgriLife Research.

Plainly, "blueberries have some stiff competition," said Dr. Luis Cisneros, AgriLife Research food scientist. "Stone fruits are super fruits with plums as emerging stars."

Far from fruit snobbery, the plum is being ushered in after Cisneros and Dr. David Byrne, AgriLife Research plant breeder, judged more than 100 varieties of plums, peaches and nectarines and found them to match or exceed the much-touted blueberries in antioxidants and phytonutrients associated with disease prevention.

The duo acknowledged that blueberries remain a good nutritional choice. But Byrne said their findings are plum good news, especially in tight economic times, because one relatively inexpensive plum contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a handful of more expensive blueberries.

"People tend to eat just a few blueberries at a time — a few on the cereal or as an ingredient mixed with lots of sugar," Cisneros said. "But people will eat a whole plum at once and get the full benefit."

Discovery of the plum's benefits — along with that of fellow stone fruits, the peach and the nectarine — came after the researchers measured at least five brands of blueberries on the market. Against those numbers, the team measured the content of more than 100 different types of plums, nectarines and peaches.

The first comparison was for antioxidants, molecules that sweep through a body looking for free radicals to knock out. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that lurk where diseases like cancer and heart disease are found.

"If the radicals aren't taken care of," Cisneros said, "they will cause the problems that lead to disease."

But the scientists didn't stop at knowing that plums and peaches were flexing their antioxidant muscles.

"Knowing that we had all these varieties with high levels of antioxidants, then the possibility of preventing these diseases would also be high with their consumption, so we went to the next step — how these compounds could actually inhibit chronic diseases," Cisneros said.

The team examined the full content of plums and peaches, then tested the effect of the compounds they found on breast cancer cells and cholesterol in the lab.

"We screened the varieties again with the biological assays," Cisneros said. "And that had never been done before, because it is expensive and a lot of work. But that investment is small in terms of the information we got, and how it can be used now for breeding efforts to produce even better fruit."

Byrne noted, for example, that one benefit the team found was that the phytonutrients in plums inhibited in vitro breast cancer growth without adversely affecting normal cell growth.

He said this type of research needs further study but is an indication that breeders ultimately will be able to produce new crop varieties with the best ratio of various phytochemicals to have an impact on disease prevention and inhibition. And these fruits will be available as fresh produce as well as in extracts for dietary supplements.

"Future work with stone fruits will focus on cardiovascular and cancer using animal models and identification of specific compounds that exert the properties," Cisneros added.

Bottom line from the researchers: "We suggest that consumers take seriously the recommendation to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables — or even more — every day and to make sure that plums are part of that," Byrne said.

Funding comes from the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M University and the California Tree Fruit Agreement.



In an rundown neighborhood the author found an old-fashioned rose of Sharon, likely 'Totus Albus.' (Photo by William Scheick)

The garden reader:
Fascinating plant back-stories

By William Scheick
University of Texas at Austi
n

Ken Druse. Planthropology: The Myths, Mysteries, and Miracles of My Garden Favorites. Clarkson Potter, 2008. 288 pp. $50.00.

A number of years ago, while I was walking through an old central Austin neighborhood of rundown houses, I spotted a scraggily bush with a few white flowers. It was obviously a rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) struggling to make do in too much shade.

What caught my eye, though, was the pattern and size of the flower petals. They were smaller and more spread apart — more wild-looking — than today's rose of Sharons, which are bred to feature well-proportioned foliage and large flowers with close-together petals.

For a brief moment, perhaps, I felt like a plant explorer who had just made a find. I was, in fact, looking at a rose of Sharon from the past, a cultivar no longer marketed in the U.S. because it had long ago been displaced by flashier newcomers.

With permission, I made cuttings and bred three plants. Every summer, all three bloom beautifully in my yard. They appear to be 'Totus Albus,' an H. syriacus expert has told me while asking for cuttings for herself.

Whenever I see these rose of Sharons, they remind me of my unexpected and very short stint as an urban plant adventurer on that discovery-day long ago. I love their wilder look as much as I am fond of their horticultural antiqueness. For me, they are plants with a back-story.

"Plants have tales to tell," Ken Druse writes in Planthropology. For instance, "there is a plant that a war was fought over, one that led to the collapse of a European superpower, and another that was used to dispatch enemies without a trace."

"Planthropology" is the word Mr. Druse has cleverly coined to refer to the study of such plant tales. For him, the word's meaning encompasses even the fascinating geometric mysteries of leaf and floral designs.

The horticultural back-story of some plants is often actually the history of obsessed plant collectors. My mentioning this topic was inevitable, as longtime readers of this monthly column know by now. Gardening obsessions are apparently one of my own perennial obsessions.

Mr. Druse revisits many of these accounts of plant obsession, some including "adventure, danger, and murder." It is little wonder that Carl Linnaeus, the eighteenth-century father of botanic classification, referred to such mania as the "melancholy fate" of plant-lovers who "desperately risk life and everything else" to possess some plant.

Of course, no plant back-story is complete without due consideration of botanic design and pollinator input. Then there is also the dark side of some plants, which Mr. Druse also expertly brings to light.

The textual portions of Planthropology stand out as independent short essays. Read as a unit, they lack an overall structure — no beginning, middle and end. The sequence of topics seems random.

Even so, Mr. Druse's collage of informed topics is always entertaining. Perhaps they are best approached as a free-wheeling, open-ended conversation with a welcome visitor to your home.

The photographs, mostly by Mr. Druse, leave nothing to grouse about. They are spectacular and are well worth the price of admission.


Gardening tips

"Make a mini greenhouse with clear plastic cookie containers by adding about 3/4" of potting mix and your seed," writes Judy Manning. "Moisten slightly, close the lid to keep moist. Sit in a bright, warm spot. The seed should germinate in 8-10 days. Transplant when they get first true leaves."

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 send 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...

It is a noble idea to conserve water whenever we can. Harvesting rainwater and using water efficient drip irrigation systems are smart ideas. However, avoid using gray water (household water excluding toilet water) in the vegetable garden since it can contain harmful bacterial. Instead, use gray water on ornamentals, shrubs and trees. Also, spent aquarium water should not be used in the vegetable garden since, in some cases, it has been found to contain a drug-resistant strain of salmonella bacteria.


Upcoming garden events

Schertz: The Guadalupe County Master Gardener will host the "Grow Local Festival," Saturday, February 7 from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Schertz Civic Center, 1400 Schertz Parkway, Schertz. This event, which is sponsored by Schulz Nursery, New Earth Soils and Compost, Fanick's Garden Center and the City of Schertz, is free to the general public. Shop for bedding plants and seeds, annuals, fruit trees and other quality garden products. See a demonstration of rain water harvesting. Get advice from local experts on gardening and landscaping. Running concurrently will be an in-depth gardening seminar. Patty Leander, Travis County Master Gardener and a contributor to Texas Gardener magazine will start off the "Backyard Vegetable Gardening" seminar. Learn The Best Vegetables to Plant, the basics of Raised Bed Gardening and How to Harvest Rainwater in your garden. Pre-registration seminar cost is $25 per person/$35 per couple; $30 & $40 at the door. Registration includes lunch by McBee’s BBQ and chances to win great door prizes. Registration form and more information are available at www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call (210) 363-8380.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Preparation for Vegetable Gardening," Noon-1 p.m., February 9, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Roy Cook will speak. Free to public. Free sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Houston: Dr. Carol Brouwer, County Extension Agent-Horticulture, will speak on Vegetable Gardening for the Houston area from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, February 10, at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Houston. This free lecture, hosted by the Harris County Master Gardeners, is open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Georgetown: The Native Plant Society of Texas, Williamson County Chapter meets from 7 to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Library, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. On Thursday, February 12, Matt Warnock Turner will speak on his new book Remarkable Plants of Texas. The book looks at how people have used plants for food, shelter, medicine, and economic subsistence; hot plants have figured in the historical record and in Texas folklore; how plants nourish wildlife; and how some plants have unusual ecological or biological characteristics. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Tyler: Smith County Extension's annual East Texas Spring Landscape & Garden Conference will be held February 14 at the Tyler Rose Garden Center, Tyler. It is an all-day program with a range of topics, including landscape design, tree establishment and maintenance, rainwater harvesting, and plants for the region. Cost is $15. For more information, call (903) 590-2980 or visit http://easttexasgardening.tamu.edu/programs/2009 Conference agenda 2 with agencies.pdf.

Rosenberg: Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their annual Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale and Seminar on Saturday, February 14 at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds, Building D, 4310 Highway 36S, Rosenberg. At 8 a.m. Heidi Sheesley, owner of TreeSearch Farms, will give an overview of plants at the sale. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and will run until 1 p.m. or until sold out. Visit www.fbmg.com for more information on varieties that will be on sale.

Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners will host an Open Garden Day from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., Monday, February 16 for the public to visit and tour their demonstration garden at Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston. See plant varieties that survive well in our local area. Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions. For additional information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners will host John Panzarella speaking on citrus trees that grow well in the Houston area, Wednesday, February 18, beginning at 10 a.m. at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1. Mr. Panzarella has 200 different varieties growing in the largest collection of citrus in Texas north of the Rio Grande Valley. He grows most of them in pots because he doesn't have room to plant them in the ground. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

New Braunfels: The Lindheimer Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists will have its February meeting Thursday, February 19, at the Agri-Life building on Resource Drive, New Braunfels. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Patty Leslie Pasztor, Botanical Consultant and co-author of Texas Trees — A Friendly Guide, will speak about Native Plants and Their Uses. Pasztor will give a slide presentation on native trees, shrubs & wildflowers and discuss how they were used for food, medicine, fiber, dyes and more by Native Americans and early settlers. Also included in the discussion will be landscape and wildlife uses/benefits of these plants. Pasztor has a bachelor of science degree in Range & Natural Resources Management from Texas A&M University. She has a varied and experienced background as a Horticulturist at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, as a Park Naturalist at Friedrich Wilderness Park, as a trainer for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Friedrich Park, and Cibolo Wilderness. She is a Master Naturalist instructor, teaches workshops on landscaping for birds and butterflies, plant ID, and Ethnobotany for landowners, teachers, and archaeologists. Pasztor has also taught native plant classes for Northwest Vista and Palo Alto Colleges in SA. For additional information, call Judy Brupbacher at (830) 885-2070.

Navasota: The Grimes County Master Gardeners are presenting their Second Annual Spring Landscaping & Planting Seminar at The Navasota Center, 101 Stadium Drive, Navasota on February 21. For additional information, or to register, visit www.grimesmastergardeners.org.

Sunset Valley: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association in partnership with the AgriLife Extension, Travis County, will present "Everything’s Coming Up Roses," February 21, from 10 a.m. until noon, at Sunset Valley City Hall, 3205 Jones Rd., Sunset Valley. Roses aren't just for Valentine's Day — they can bring color and sweet smells to your garden year-round! Come attend this free seminar on selecting and planting roses in your garden. Topics will include Earth Kind Roses, a designation indicating high performance and outstanding disease and insect tolerance, pruning, and the basics of rose care. For more information, call (512) 854-9600 and ask for the Master Gardeners desk or visit http://www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Types of Vegetables for Spring," Noon-1 p.m., February 23, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Gerald Bludau will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association will present "Getting Ready for Spring Gardening," February 26, 6:30 p.m. until -8:30 p.m., at the Yarborough Branch, Austin Public Library, 2200 Hancock Dr., Austin. Learn how a little planning now results in healthier and more beautiful gardens all year, what makes plants thrive, and pruning and fertilization techniques to get perennials, trees and shrubs off to a strong start. Also covered: lawn care, including the how and when of fertilization. Do your plants a favor and don’t miss this great kick-off to spring gardening. This seminar is free and does not require reservations. For additional information, visit http://www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners of Precinct 2 will hold a plant and fruit tree sale on Saturday, February 28, from 9:15 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Landolt Pavilion at Clear Lake Park, 5001 NASA Road 1. The sale will feature fruit trees and tomato and pepper plants. Heidi Sheesley, the owner of TreeSearch Farms, Inc., a wholesale grower of perennials, natives and unique plants, will present a lecture beginning at 8 a.m. to highlight fruit trees available at the sale. Heidi's lectures are packed with gardening information. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.

Houston: The River Oaks Garden Club's 74th annual Azalea Trail will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 6, 7 and 8, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day, and will feature four beautiful private homes and gardens. Tickets for admissions are $15 before March 6 and $20 during the trail or $5 per location. For additional information contact the River Oaks Garden Club at (713) 523-2483 or visit www.riveroaksgardenclub.org.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Weed Control," Noon-1 p.m., March 9, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Paul and Mary Meredith will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Georgetown: The Native Plant Society of Texas, Williamson County Chapter meets from 7 to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Library, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. On Thursday, March 12, Jason Radcliff, landscape architect with TBG Partners, designed the landscape at the Wolfe Ranch Town Center. He will talk about plants, design and a bit about maintenance.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Budding and Grafting Ornamentals," Noon-1 p.m., March 23, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. James Rother will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardener Plant Sale will take place Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., at Hulen Park, Cleburne. Natives, herbs, butterfly plants, tomatoes, peppers and much more will be available. Demos and lectures will be presented by the Master Gardeners throughout the day and there will be activities for the kids in the Jr. Master Gardener booth. For more information, contact Pat Kriener at (817) 793-4625.

Bonham: The Fannin County Master Gardeners will host the 5th Annual Fannin County Garden, Lawn & Home Expo from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., March 28, at the Multi-Purpose Complex in Bonham. There will be five guest speakers, a variety of vendors, and lunch may be purchased from the Fannin County 4-H Club. For additional information, call (903) 583-7453.

Stephenville: The annual Native & Heirloom Plant Fair will be held April 4, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Stephenville Museum, 525 E Washington St., Stephenville. Vendors will be offering native Texas plants, adapted plants, herbs and vegetables, arts & crafts, gardening supplies, nature and garden related gifts, concessions, and much more. Speakers will be delivering informative presentations and/or workshops. A self-guided nature trail along the Bosque River is on site. Vendor space is FREE; interested vendors should contact Russell Pfau at pfau@tarleton.edu.

Georgetown: The Native Plant Society of Texas, Williamson County Chapter meets from 7 to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Library, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. On Thursday, April 9, Kerry Blackmon, District Landscape Architect with the TxDOT Austin district, will discuss survey factors that have to be considered when designing roadside landscapes and native plant use. There will also be a question and answer session.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Color Your Landscape With Annuals and Perennials," Noon-1 p.m., April 13, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Nancy Kramer will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Nocogdoches: The SFA Mast Arboretum will host its annual Garden Gala Day on April 18 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the SFA Intramural Fields on Wilson Drive, Nocogdoches. This event features the annual spring plant sale fundraiser benefiting the SFA Mast Arboretum, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, and their educational programs. All of the plants are produced at SFA by the staff, students and volunteers. The public is encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information and a list of plants for sale call (936) 468-4404, or visit http://arboretum.sfasu.edu and click on “upcoming events.”

Rosenberg: The Texas Rose Rustlers and the Fort Bend Master Gardeners will present "Fling With Felder," 10 a.m., April 18, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds, Building C, Rosenberg. Felder Rushing has authored 15 gardening books, writes numerous newspaper columns, and hosts a radio garden talk program. He uses an off beat, “down home" approach with humorous anecdotes and irreverent garden metaphors to help gardeners get past the “stinkin’ rules” of horticulture. Admission is free. For additional information, contact Becky Smith at bas@wcec-wb.net.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Insect Control," Noon-1 p.m., April 27, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Helen Boatman will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Georgetown: The Native Plant Society of Texas, Williamson County Chapter meets from 7 to 9 pm on the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Library, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. On Thursday, May 14, Kelly Conrad Bender of Texas Parks and Wildlife, and author with Noreen Damude of Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife, will speak on creating wildscapes and how you can get the latest information, since the book is now out of print.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Rainwater Harvesting," Noon-1 p.m., May 11, Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Glen and Kathy Chilek will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Fort Worth: The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society's Annual Herb Festival will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., May 16, at the Fort Worth Botanic Center, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth. For additional information, call (817) 874-6405, e-mail festival@gfwhs.org, or visit www.gfwhs.org.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Essentials for Building a Trellis, Arbor and Raised Beds," Noon-1 p.m., June 8, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Ed Gregurek will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Water Gardening," Noon- 1p.m., July 13, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Pat Plowman will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners will present "Mulching, Composting and Water Conservation," Noon-1 p.m., August 10, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Monica Pilat will speak. Free to public. Bring sack lunch. For additional information, contact Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 575-4581.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

Rockport: The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners meets at 9 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the AgriLife Extension Office - Aransas County, 611 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, e-mail aransas-tx@tamu.edu or call (361) 790-0103.

Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 10 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at Wildwood Eco-Farm in Kilgore. For more information, call Carole Ramke at (903) 986-9475.

Allen: The Allen Garden Club meets on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the little blue-gray house located at 102 N. Allen Dr., Allen. For more information, visit www.allengardenclub.org.

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.

Friendswood: The second Tuesday of each month the Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold a free evening educational program for the public, called the Green Thumb Series, at Southeast Church of Christ, 2400 W Bay Area Blvd., Friendswood, about 1 mile west of I-45 and Baybrook Mall. For more information visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu or call (281) 991-8437.

Houston: The Clear Lake City Garden Club meets the second Tuesday of each month September through May at 9:30 a.m. in the Board Room of the Clear Lake Recreation Center, 16511 Diana Lane, Houston. This small garden club is open to all residents of the Bay Area interested in horticulture and making new friends. Visitors are welcome meetings. For further information, please e-mail Sue at flosflores@comcast.net.

Schertz: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Guadalupe County Annex, 1101 Elbel Road, Shertz. A plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by a program at 7. For additional information or an application to join NPSOT, contact guadalupecounty@npsot.org.

Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, meets the second Wednesday of each month, with the exceptions of June and July, to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including historical uses and tips for successful propagation and cultivation, meets at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport at 10 a.m. Sometimes they take field trips and have cooking demonstrations in different locations. For more information, contact Linda (361) 729-6037, Ruth (361) 729-8923 or Cindy (979) 562-2153 or visit www.rockportherbs.com.

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.

College Station: The A&M Garden Club meets on the second Friday of each month during the school year at 9:30 a.m. at the Exit Center, 1600 Rock Prairie Road, College Station. Expert speakers, plant sharing, and federated club projects help members learn about gardening in the Brazos Valley, floral design, conservation topics, and more. For more information, visit www.sallysfamilyplace.com/Clubs/GardenClub.htm.

Dallas: The Rainbow Garden Club of North Texas meets the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Meetings are held at member’s homes and garden centers around the area. For more information, visit www.RainbowGardenClub.com.

Rockport: The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners host Brown Bag events the third Tuesday of each month, from noon until 1 p.m. at Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For a complete listing of all events or additional information, e-mail aransas-tx@tamu.edu or call (361) 790-0103.

Sugar Land: The Sugar Land Garden Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month, September through November and January through April at 10 a.m. at the Sugar Land Community Center, 226 Matlage Way, Sugar Land. The club hosts a different speaker each month. For more information, visit www.sugarlandgardenclub.org.

Denton: The Denton Organic Society, a group devoted to sharing information and educating the public regarding organic principles, meets the third Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) at the Denton Senior Center, 509 N. Bell Avenue. Meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are preceded by a social at 6:30. For more information, call (940) 382-8551.

Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners meet at 1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Hood County Annex 1, 1410 West Pearl Street, Granbury. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program each month preceding the business meeting. For information on topics call (817) 579-3280 or visit http://www.hoodcountymastergardeners.org/.

Houston: The Native Plant Society of Texas — Houston (NPSOT-H) meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except for October (4th Thursday) and December (2nd Thursday). Location varies. For locations, for more information on programs, and for information about native plants for Houston, visit http://www.npsot.org/Houston.

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners meet at 7:15 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except December at the Bud O’Shieles Community Center located at 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg. For more information, call (281) 341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com.

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets the third Thursday of each month at the Texas AgriLife Extension Bldg. at 210 E. Live Oak at 7 p.m. For more information, phone (830) 379-1972 or visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

Longview: The Northeast Texas chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets the third Thursday of each month at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Longview. For more information, call Logan Damewood at (903) 295-1984.

Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners present their "Come Grown With Us" seminars on the fourth Tuesday of each month, January through October, beginning at 7 p.m. at 411 N. Wells, Edna. The seminars are free, open to the public and offer 2 CEU hours to Master Gardeners or others requiring them. For additional information, contact the Jackson County Extension Office at (361) 782-3312.

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Forth Worth meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month except July and December at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens main building. Refreshments are served. For more information, call (817) 274-8460.

Seabrook: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at The Meeting Room (on the Lakeside) at Clear Lake Park, 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

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. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details at least three weeks prior to the event.


The Southern Kitchen Garden

By William D. Adams and Thomas R. Leroy

A kitchen garden, or potager, is a celebration of the seasons: brimming with vegetables, herbs, flowers, and even fruit trees, it’s our link with nature and a source for fresh produce. The kitchen garden has always been an important part of life in the rural South, at times meaning the difference between being well-fed or going to bed hungry. In recent times, the kitchen garden has become more fashionable and now more and more homeowners are reaping the delicious rewards of growing their own food.

A kitchen garden needs little more than a small raised bed, so an aspiring gardener with only a modest backyard will have plenty of room to get started. If you have more space on your hands, then you can include some produce requiring a little more space like fruit trees, corn or pumpkins.

In the book, the authors with take you through the process of starting your very own kitchen garden from location to soil preparation to planting and then to harvest. It is also loaded with useful information on propagation, pest control and is laced with mouth-watering recipes and beautiful color photographs.

$21.30 plus shipping*

Order online with credit card at www.texasgardener.com or call toll-free 1-800-727-9020.

*Or with credit card by phone and receive FREE shipping. That is a $3.50 savings! Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.


Wish you’d saved them?

Are you missing an important issue of Texas Gardener? Or, perhaps, just tired of thumbing through stacks of back issues looking for the tips and techniques you need to make your garden grow? Three new CDs provide easy access to all six issues of volume 24 (November/December 2004 through September/October 2005), volume 25 (November/December 2005 through September/October 2006), volume 26 (November/December 2006 through September/October 2007), and volume 27 (November/December 2007 through September/October 2008)*.

$16.99 per CD includes tax and shipping

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

*Other volumes will be available soon.


Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac

Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac is a giant monthly calendar for the entire state — a practical, information-packed, month-by-month guide for gardeners and "yardeners." This book provides everything you need to know about flowers and garden design; trees, shrubs, and vines; lawns; vegetable, herb, and fruit gardening; and soil, mulch, water, pests, and plant care. It will help you to create beautiful, productive, healthy gardens and have fun doing it.

$26.63 plus shipping*

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

*Mention Texas Gardener’s Seeds when ordering by phone 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 or order on-line.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)



Texas Gardener’s Seeds
is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2009. 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