April 1, 2009

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Coral bells selections with Heuchera villosa in their lineage, such as this petite 'Dolce Key Lime Pie,' are garden possibilities for northern parts of Texas. (Photo by Bill Scheick)

The garden reader:
Coral bells in gardens and imaginations

By William Scheick
University of Texas at Austin

Dan Heims and Grahame Ware. Heucheras and Heucherellas. Timber Press, 2005. 208 pp. $27.95.

Charles and Martha Oliver. Heuchera, Tiarella and Heucherella: A Gardener's Guide. B. T. Batsford, 2006. 160 pp. $29.95.

Most gardeners, I imagine, wish they could grow one or another plant not designed to survive in their locales.

My wish list of impossible plants is fairly long. I'll confess this much: it includes lilacs, old-fashioned fragrant bushes that hold nostalgic value for me.

In the long tradition of flower symbolism, lilacs represent memory — one reason Walt Whitman employed them in "When Lilacs Last in Dooryards Bloomed" to commemorate President Lincoln's abrupt death.

During my childhood, lilacs gloriously marked the end of each school year. My joy in lilacs, though, was actually more deeply embedded in their incredible beauty and scent.

And this is why I have, against the odds, been growing a Persian lilac in Oak Hill.

Persian lilacs are large bushy hybrids said to serve well in garden backdrops as far south as hardiness zone 7. Years ago, when I purchased mine, they retailed in the Austin area as suitable for local use.

A former student of mine in Cedar Park (hardiness zone 8a) had managed to keep her nearly 2-foot Persian lilac alive, and one spring she even saw a few blooms. Mine in Oak Hill (hardiness zone 8b), despite being thoroughly pampered, stayed well under 2 feet for most of its life.

Now, after 13 years, it's nearly 5 feet tall. But it's also very sparse and spindly — a mere wisp of the majestic plant featured in photographs and my imagination. If I were to be honest about its appearance, this plant couldn't be justified in my home landscape.

I can say this for it, though: it has managed twice (during March in both years) to produce a few small panicles of fragrant blooms.

Oak Hill has gotten hotter and drier since I planted my lilac, and the National Arbor Day Foundation now identifies Central Texas as hardiness zone 9. Zone 9 is simply too hot for any lilacs to perform like lilacs.
Not that I'm ever giving up on mine!

I love coral bells (Heuchera), too, but it's another bad-odds plant for my landscape.

Most coral bells are gorgeous North American woodland perennials valued for their exquisite foliage. Most of them don't flourish in Central Texas heat, humidity and soil.

Even when grown as in-ground winter annuals, they can't excel unless there is less heat and more rain than Central Texas has experienced recently.

It is tempting to think that at least Heuchera sanguinea, an alkaline-loving Southwestern native, could make a go of it in Central Texas. But, I found, it can be hard to keep. Surprisingly, Mary Irish, author of Perennials for the Southwest, also reports failing with this Arizona mountain native during her hot Phoenix summers.

Most coral bells demand shade, moisture and slightly acidic soil rich in humus. So some of these perennials, especially cultivates of H. villosa, can in fact perform in well-amended, draining clay settings in the northern parts of our state.

Whether heucheras are potted or planted as perennials or winter annuals, the best information on how to beat the odds with them comes from Dan Heims (president of Terra Nova Nurseries) and Charles Oliver (owner of The Primrose Path Nursery).

Heims and Oliver basically pioneered the coral bells trade, and they have brought to market a steadily growing number of striking heucheras. (Incidentally, as I was writing this, a good account of Charles and Martha Oliver's career-long breeding of heucheras appeared in the March/April, 2009, issue of The American Gardener.)

Heims's and Oliver's books handily distill their years-deep insights about heuchera. Because of their publication dates, neither of these beautiful books includes the latest heuchera creations. On the other hand, Heims's and Oliver's detailed advice on how to keep coral bells "ringing" remains timeless.

Both books are so well-illustrated that they should also appeal to anyone who (like me) longs for coral bells year-round in the garden but settles instead for an armchair appreciation of their deep-woods beauty.

A Bluebonnet by any other name?

By U.S. Sen. John Cornyn

Davy Crockett once famously said that Texas is "the garden spot of the world." If there's one icon that helps Texas live up to Mr. Crockett's compliment, it's our state flower, the bluebonnet. Every spring, the bluebonnet covers miles of Texas countryside in a sea of blue.

As it is always said, in Texas we do things bigger and better. Our state flower is no exception. Having just one state flower, as other states do, was not good enough for the State of Texas. In fact, Texas has five different species of the bluebonnet as our official state flower.

In 1901, the Texas Legislature took on what might have been an easy task in a less diverse state — selecting the state flower. Debate was heated, with different groups and legislators lobbying intensely for their favorite species. One legislator, Phil Clement of Mills, Texas, made an emotional argument for the cotton boll, because cotton was one of Texas' lead crops. Clement called the cotton boll the "white rose of commerce."

Another legislator from Uvalde, State Representative John Nance Garner, fought for the prickly pear cactus, lauding its durability and the beauty of its blooms. He ultimately did not win the debate, but because of his enthusiasm for the prickly pear, he was dubbed "Cactus Jack" — a nickname that stuck with him for the rest of his life. Cactus Jack went on to serve as Vice President to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The most compelling argument was made by John M. Green, of Cuero, Texas, with the help of an organization called the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Texas. When Green rose to the podium to suggest the bluebonnet, someone on the floor called out, "What the devil is a bluebonnet?" One explanation was given comparing the bluebonnet to the sunbonnets worn by Texas women in the pioneer days to protect their faces from the sun. Another called the bluebonnet by its Spanish nickname "el conejo" or "the rabbit" because of its resemblance to the tail of a cottontail rabbit.

Finally, representatives from the Colonial Dames organization stepped up to make their case for the bluebonnet with the help of a visual aide. They presented a painting of bluebonnets by Miss Mode Walker of Austin, which brought on a "deafening" round of applause. The bluebonnet had stolen the show. A resolution making the bluebonnet, specifically the Lupinus subcarnosus, the official state flower of Texas was signed by Governor Joseph D. Sayers on March 7, 1901.

The debate did not end there, however. Not everyone was content with the selection of the Texas Legislature. Different groups argued that the Lupinus subcarnosus was not the most attractive of the bluebonnet family. They claimed another species, the Lupinus texensis, was bolder, more beautiful and should be named the official flower. For the next 70 years, this debate would ensue. In 1971, a solution was finally reached. Governor Preston Smith signed a resolution on March 8, 1971, designating both species of the bluebonnet as the official state flower, along with "any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded." As it turns out, three other species have been discovered.

The 70-year debate did prove one thing: Texans were passionate about bluebonnets. Over the years, this bright blue flower, which usually peaks in late March and early April, has been a source of inspiration for artists, poets, and photographers. Even the Texas Highway Department was moved to incorporate the bluebonnet in a landscaping and beautification project in the 1930s. As a result of their efforts, Texans and those traveling throughout our state can see fields of bluebonnets alongside most of Texas' major highways every spring.

Towns across Texas have developed wildflower tours and festivals to showcase their bluebonnets as the best and most colorful in the state. Every April, thousands of visitors flock to the historic cotton town of Chappell Hill for the official "Texas Bluebonnet Festival," complete with bluebonnet contests and crafts.

I hope this spring we can all pause to enjoy the beauty of our state's flower — in any of its five forms. Indeed, the bluebonnet runs wild throughout Texas and deep in our state's history.

Gardening tips

"Be sure to hand-water new transplants or seeds well if you are using drip irrigation or soaker hoses in your vegetable garden," writes Brent E. Moon, Urban Garden Program Manager. City of Houston Parks Department. "Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are one of the best ways to water once plants are established. However, for the first couple of weeks, new plant's roots may not extend out far enough to reach the water provided by a drip system. Give your plants and the entire garden a good soaking with a water wand or sprinkler to make sure they get enough water in the early days of their life. Be sure to mulch as well to hold in that precious moisture and deter weeds."

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 copy of Texas Gardener's 2009 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did You Know...

Flowers are actually modified shoots with the ovary being a modified stem and the rest of the parts of the flower having evolved from leaves. The sepals are commonly the most leaflike part, surrounding the petals as the bloom continues to grow like a protective jacket and laying behind or below the petals as the flower opens. Source: Understanding Perennials, A New Look at an Old Favorite by William Cullina.

Upcoming garden events

Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardener Association Plant Sale will be held April 4, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the Hewlett Park Pavilion across from the Hilton Hotel. Texas natives, perennials, annuals, vines, vegetables, shrubs and trees will be available along with a limited amount of beautiful, handmade garden art. Master Gardeners will present hourly mini-seminars beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, contact Kristi Brooks at remuda1@aol.com.

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.

Bellville: The Bluebonnet Master Gardeners will host their 6th annual plant sale from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday, April 4, at the Austin County Fairgrounds Pavilion, State Highway 159 East, Bellville. Arrive early for best selection of annuals, perennials, shade, semi and full sun plants, roses, shrubs, trees houseplants tomato plants and more. Some plants that are not normally at local nurseries will be available. There will also be some "pass along" plants from the members. Master Gardeners will be available to assist customers in selection and maters regarding the culture of each plant. For additional, information, call Judy Manning at (979) 865-0102.

Kingsland: The Kingsland Garden Club will have their annual Plant Sale on Saturday, April 4, at 10 a.m. at the House of Arts and Crafts Spring Sale behind Well Fargo Bank on FM 1431 in Kingsland. A selection of mostly home grown plants will be offered at very reasonable prices. Come early for best selection. For more information, call (325) 388-8849.

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.

Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners Association will host a Community Horticultural Education Program at 6:30 p.m., April 13, at the Somervell County Citizens Center, 209 SW Barnard, Glen Rose. Wanda Riley will speak on Container Gardening and Marty Vahlenkamp will discuss drip irrigation. For additional information visit www.somervellmastergardeners.org or call (254) 897-2809.

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.

Pearland: Chris LaChance from the Texas AgriLife Extension Office will present a program on Water Smart Landscapes from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, April 14, at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. Chris will discuss drought tolerant Texas native plants and smart ways to water. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

League City: The Kemah-Bay Area Garden Club will again award a $500 scholarship to a graduating senior in the Dickinson or Clear Creek School Districts. Students planning to study Horticulture, Floral Design, Agriculture, Aquaculture, Landscaping, Forestry, Environmental and related subjects may apply. Last year's recipients may reapply. The deadline to submit applications is April 15. For applications and more information, please contact Eileen Gilley at (281) 535-1978.

Seabrook: Harris County Master Gardener Carol Fraser will present Shade Gardens for Harris County at 10 a.m., April 15, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. Carol's program will help you understand and develop your shade garden areas with innovative technologies and techniques. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Burnet: Join Master Gardener and photographer Robert Yantis for a free presentation "Local Butterflies and the Plants that Attract Them" as part of the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners Green Thumb Program at the Herman Brown Free Library, 100 E. Washington, on the Square in downtown Burnet on Saturday, April 18, at 10 a.m. For more information, call (325) 388-8849.

Edna: Jackson County Master Gardeners will host their Spring Plant Sale on April 18. The sale will be at the Jackson County Service Building, 411 N. Wells, Edna, and the doors will open at 8 a.m. A wide variety of beautiful and healthy plants — annuals, perennials, shrubs and fruit trees — will be available, as will garden art, raffle items, and planters. For more information, call the Jackson County Extension office at (361) 782-3312 or email the Master Gardeners at admin@jcmga.com.

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.

San Antonio: Spring is in full bloom April 18-19 at the San Antonio Botanical Garden! Hundreds of plant varieties, expertly cultivated by the San Antonio Botanical Society Plant Team volunteers and several other plant societies, will be on sale Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Budding gardeners and seasoned horticulturalists alike are invited to see (and smell) all the exquisite varieties available just in time for spring planting! South Texans looking to survive the drought will also be inspired by the bright blossoms and gorgeous greens of all the San Antonio-friendly species on sale! Bring the "little sprouts" too, and take the whole family on a little "Walk Across Texas!" This annual Fiesta event takes place on Saturday, April 18, from 9 a.m. until noon. Botanical Society members may get a "sneak peek" of the Plant Sale a day early, on Friday, April 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m., and at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. A second Spring Plant Sale is planned for Sunday, May 3, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Plus, enjoy $1 off every Sunday in Spring through May 31! The Botanical Garden is located at 555 Funston at North New Braunfels Avenue and is operated under the auspices of the City of San Antonio Department of Parks & Recreation. For more information, call (210) 829-5100 or visit www.sabot.org.

Houston: Tour the working and demonstration gardens maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., Monday, April 20, Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston. Visit a wonderful garden that includes an extensive vegetable garden, fruit orchard, perennials, roses, herb and cactus gardens and 2 working greenhouses. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions during this free event. Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Rockport: The Aransas/San Patrico Master Gardeners will host "The Well Designed Perennial Garden Landscaping," presented by Jeanna C. Godfrey, DVM, Master Gardener, as one of their Brown Bag events, from noon until 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 21, at the Aransas County Library, 701 Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, e-mail ararsas-tx@tamu.edu or call (361) 790-0103.

Rockport: The Aransas/San Patrico Master Gardeners will host Kids Garden Fest from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., Saturday, April 25, for children ages 4-12. A sack lunch will be provided. Parental supervisor required. Kids Garden Fest will be held at Green Acres, Children's Discovery Garden, 6111 Mimosa, Rockport. In the event of rain, the event will move to the Arasas County Library, 701 Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, e-mail ararsas-tx@tamu.edu or call (361) 790-0103.

Woodway: A Gardener's Gathering will be held at the Carleen Bright Arboretum, Woodway, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., April 26. The free event, sponsored by Woodway Beautiful, will include an opportunity to gather growing tips and advice, purchase plants, and enjoy an afternoon of music and events for the entire family. For additional information, contract (254) 399-9204.

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.

Tyler: 2009 Home Garden Tour, sponsored by the Smith County Master Gardeners, will be held May 2, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Five delightful homes, ranging from a large formal traditional garden in an historic neighborhood to a modest home in a country setting, spotlight a variety of landscaping styles and methods. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the tour. To order tickets: make checks payable to SCMG and mail to 14608 Foxwood Circle, Tyler TX 75703.

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.

Greenville: The Hunt County Master Gardeners Town and Country Tour will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. May 30 at Heritage Garden, 2217 Washington St., Greenville. In the event of rain, the event will be held June 6. For additional information, visit www.huntcountymastergardeners.com or call (903) 455-9885.

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.

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association are hosting "Becoming A Garden Detective: Diagnosing Plant Problems," from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., June 16, at Steiner Ranch Towne Square Community Center, 12550 Country Trails Lane, Austin. Just when you think you've done everything right by your plants, one of them starts to go downhill. One of the biggest challenges for gardeners is correctly diagnosing plant problems and finding effective, safe solutions. Is your plant dying because of an insect, environmental or disease problem? Learn the causes of plant problems, the process for diagnosing plant problems, and preventive garden management techniques. This class is free and open to the public. A plant clinic will run during the seminar to help you diagnose current problems so please bring samples of problem plants. For more information, visit http://www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis County Master Gardener's help desk at (512) 854-9600.

Quitman: The Friends of the Arboretum is hosting a photography contest to promote and document the natural resources, history and beauty of Wood County. Both amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to participate in this contest. Photographers are to submit electronic images of flowers, native plants, landmarks, architectural elements, and landscapes that depict one of the four seasons in Wood County. Images must have been taken within Wood County, and within the last two years. These photographs will be used by the Friends of the Arboretum various print and electronic media to be distributed at various venues and displayed on the Friends' website. First prize winners in each class will receive a professionally printed 11 X 14 canvas of their original work, which will be donated by jeb Originals in Winnsboro. Second and third place winners will each receive a ribbon. And, all prize winners will receive recognition from the display of their work in various venues and forums. Classes are: Adult Amateur, Adult Professional, Student Senior Division (Ages 17 to 14), and Student Jr. Division (age 13 and younger). There is no entry fee, but all entries must be accompanied by the completed official entry form, which can be downloaded at http://woodcountyarboretum.com. Entries must be received prior to midnight on July 1. Contestants may enter as many times as they wish, but a separate official entry form must be included for each entry. The Gov. Hogg Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, located in Quitman, is a 23-acre site dedicated to gardens, walking trails and the preservation of historic buildings. The development of the site is ongoing with volunteer help from Wood County Master Gardens, local garden clubs, various civic organizations and the generosity of the area businesses. The Friends of the Arboretum is a non-profit group dedicated to raising funds and volunteering time in support of the development of the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. For additional information, contact Pam Riley at (903) 967-2820 or email friendsarboretum@yahoo.com.

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.

Austin: The Austin Pond Society will host the 2009 Pound Tour July 18 and 19. Approximately 15 ponds will be included in the tour on Saturday and another 15 on Sunday. For additional information, visit www.austinpondsociety.org.

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.


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 at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, February through December, at the Allen Heritage Center, 100 E. Main St., 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.

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. NOTE: The April meeting date and location have changed. The April meeting will be held Tuesday, April 14, at the Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio. Robbi Will, former commercial plant nursery manager, will present a program on propagating native plants. As usual, the program begins at 7 p.m., followed by a short business meeting.

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.

Brownwood: Brown County Master Gardeners Association meets the second Thursday of each month, from Noon to 1 p.m., at the Brown County AgriLife Extension Office, 605 Fisk, Brownwood. For additional information, call Freda Day (325) 643-1077, or Mary Engle (325) 784-8453.

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.

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? These new CDs provide easy access to all six issues of
volume 23 (November/December 2003 through September/October 2004),
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