August 5, 2009

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Pelargonium capitatum (top) and P. citriodorum (bottom) have developed different leaf-fragrances remains a botanic mystery. (Photos by William Scheick)

The garden reader:
Amazing garden sense/cents/scents

By William Scheick
University of Texas at Austin

Beth Hanson (editor). Fragrant Designs. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2009. 119 pp. $9.95.

Emily Dickinson is not only famous for her brilliant and influential nineteenth-century poetry. Her gardening activity has also become a topic of interest.

Recent years have brought us two books on this subject: Judith Farr's The Gardens of Emily Dickinson (Harvard University Press, 2004) and Marta McDowell's Emily Dickinson's Gardens (McGraw-Hill, 2005). I purchased the first book, while the second was thoughtfully gifted to me by my sister in North Carolina (where Dickinsonian gardening is a heck of a lot easier than here!).

It shouldn't surprise us that Dickinson's devotion to her gardens easily merged with her devotion to poetry. My favorite merge-moment occurs in a verse concerning what Dickinson understood to be a poet's fundamental achievement.

A poet, she wrote, "Distills amazing sense / From ordinary Meanings — / And Attar so immense / From the familiar species / That perished by the Door."

A poet, in other words, is like a native-plant enthusiast. Both identify beauty and value in something — common experience/ordinary weeds — that most people take for granted as too familiar to merit much attention.

The key word in Dickinson's lines is "sense." This word suggests that a canny poet can find surprising insight (sense) in commonplace experiences just as a savvy gardener can find surprising value (cents) in familiar plants ordinarily overlooked by others.

Perhaps, among other plants close at hand, Dickinson was thinking of honeysuckle, which she intertwined with her climbing roses. Her niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, described these roses as "clap[ping] their hands high over two old-fashioned arbors" covered with honeysuckle.

Which honeysuckle species Dickinson grew remains unclear. It was likely a New England native or naturalized species, possibly Japanese honeysuckle, but not (as has been suggested) Hall's variety (Lonicera japonica 'Halliana').

This unruly selection was introduced to America in 1862, later than Dickinson's 1854 comment about her vines: "I went out before tea tonight, and trained the honeysuckle — it grows very fast and finely."

Had it been Hall's extraordinarily vigorous introduction, Dickinson would have been very late for tea many nights during this tough plant's long growing season. She would have struggled daily to keep it from strangling her roses.

Perhaps she grew coral (trumpet) honeysuckle (L. sempervirens), a beautiful, slightly fragrant and manageable wild vine native to New England as well as Texas.

Whichever under-appreciated plants Dickinson had in mind, her words "amazing" and "Attar" help associate unexpected insight (sense) and unrecognized value (cents), especially since attar refers to an essential oil derived from flowers. But in her poem the word "sense" is also a homonym for "scents," alluding to the use of floral essential oil (attar) in making expensive perfumes.

For Dickinson, then, a poet can astonish us with new insights and recover overlooked value in amazing ways that potentially re-sensitize us to our very lives — as, for instance, when we momentarily surrender to and become enraptured by a floral fragrance in the garden. For Dickinson, great poetry has a fundamental, nature-based scent (as it were), much like an exquisite flower-based perfume.

Of course, floral scents are not actually designed for our pleasure. Their purpose is to attract pollinators and to "communicate" with other plants.

Even so, floral scents can simply delight or deeply move us as they stir our limbic system. "This is where memories, emotions, and odors converge," Beth Hanson explains in Fragrant Designs.

Besides opening with a general discussion of the nature of scent and smell, the chapters of Fragrant Designs range from fashioning aromatic patches designed for wildlife or children to sections on enhancing front yards, pathways, containers and evening gardens.

"Wildlife-Friendly Fragrant Hell Strips" is an especially useful section on coping with the narrow band of hard-to-maintain land situated between a sidewalk and a street curb. "Hot and dry, assaulted by salt, sand, and passing dogs," Claire Hagen Dole writes, "this harsh environment requires first-class survivors, able to handle whatever weather and urban life can dish out." Even if all of her recommendations won't work well in every part of Texas, her plant profiles point the reader in the right direction.

Plant scent is found not only in flowers. As pelargonium ("geranium") lovers know, scent can also be a leaf-feature. Pelargonium fragrances include citrus, peppermint, rose, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, peach, apricot, apple, strawberry, coconut, pineapple, even celery, among others.

There are, as well, other pungent and not quite identifiable aromas — some considered unpleasant. In fact, some people dislike the smell of any pelargonium, while others differ about what smell they detect even when a plant is labeled for a specific fragrance.

Pelargonium foliage possesses tiny glands that break open when it is touched or brushed. These glands secrete a volatile oil, which is the source of the plant's odor.

What biological advantage leaf-scent gives a plant remains somewhat uncertain. It is likely that, as with our native lantana, leaf-fragrance is chemically designed to deter animals from eating the plant.

In some instances, too, leaf-scent from assaulted leaves signals neighboring plants of the same species to increase foliage-enzymes capable of deterring predation. In still other instances, such as eucalyptus, the secretion of leaf-oil can protect leaves from desiccation during intense heat.

Particularly puzzling, though, is why some plants, including pelargoniums, have developed so many different fragrances. Whatever the reason, what is apparently a bane to foraging animals is a boon for gardeners.

And so is Fragrant Designs, a cents-able (low-cost, high-value) guidebook, at once practical and gorgeous, that provides good sense about garden scents.

  Governor signs bill to celebrate Texas Native Plant Week

Native Plant Society of Texas

On June 16, 2009 Governor Perry signed a bill into law that will recognize the third week in October as Texas Native Plant Week. The bill is intended to emphasize the role of native plants in conservation efforts and to be used as incentive for the Texas education system to teach school children about the importance of native plants. It was the brainchild of Faye Tessnow, who teamed with State Representative Donna Howard to present the bill to the State Congress. The bill passed unanimously in both houses.

Tessnow felt it was important for the public be aware that native plant species are threatened by the encroachment of development and the invasion of many exotic plant species that have been introduced into Texas.

Tessnow is a longtime member of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT), a non-profit organization founded in 1981 by Carroll Abbott. Abbott, a former advisor to the Texas Democratic Party, was enamored with native plants and formed the organization to educate people about them. Abbott, who dedicated the last 14 years of his life to this cause, was honored by a joint session of the Texas legislature in 1983, attended by Lady Bird Johnson who personally requested to read the resolution before the state congress.

The Native Plant Society of Texas currently has over 1800 members and 33 local chapters around the state whose members are active in educational programs, building and maintaining demonstration gardens, and rescuing rare native plants among other volunteer activities. The purpose of NPSOT is to promote research, conservation and utilization of native plants and plant habitats of Texas through education, outreach and example.

To join or find out more about the Native Plant Society of Texas, contact the state office in Fredericksburg at (830) 997-9272 or visit their Web site at


Gardening tips

"To preserve peas," suggests Carl Wayne Hardeman, "we shell them and put them unwashed in a pillow case in the freezer. They will stay loose so when you want some in the winter, you can scoop out a mess, then wash and cook them and they will taste fresh-picked. Sure is a lot less trouble and more energy-efficient than blanching."

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...

Be careful when placing houseplants near an air-conditioning vent to keep them cool. The constant breeze on the plant's leaves will cause the plant to transpire at a much faster rate than is healthy.

Upcoming garden events

Seguin: Vegetable Gardening Workshop, Saturday, August 8, 9 a.m.-noon at the Guadalupe County AgriLife Building, 210 East Live Oak. Seguin. Taught by Master Gardener Vegetable Specialists. Learn how to improve your garden soil; when to plant your vegetables; the best varieties for our area, and disease/insect control ideas. Free of charge but class size limited to 30 students. For more information and registration call (830) 303-3889 or visit

Glen Rose: The Somerville County Master Gardeners Association will host "Butterfly Gardening," presented by Polly Parmer, at 6:30 p.m. August 10, at the Somerville County Citizens Center, 209 S.W. Barnard, Glen Rose. For additional information, call (254) 897-2809 or visit

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.

Pearland: Anthony Camerino, D.P.M., Harris County Extension Agent for Horticulture, will discuss Landscape Maintenance as part of the Harris County Master Gardener Association's Green Thumb Gardening Series, from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, August 11, at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit

Kingsland: Learn about "Preparing for Fall Gardening and Saving Seeds" with Master Gardener Violet Carson in a Highland Lakes Master Gardener Green Thumb Program at noon, Wednesday, August 12, at the Kingsland Library, 125 Polk St., Kingsland. Bring your lunch if you like. For more information on upcoming programs, visit and check out the Events Calendar.

Schertz: The next Guadalupe County Master Gardener training class is for anyone with a love for gardening and a desire to learn more about horticulture. Classes are on Wednesday August 12 to December 9 from 6:15 p.m. until 9:15 p.m. and two Saturdays at the Schertz Civic Center, 1400 Schertz Parkway, Schertz. Instructors include Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialists, staff and local experts, including Malcolm Beck, Patty Leander and Drs. Larry Stein and Mark Black. Topics include botany and plant growth, entomology, Xeriscaping, propagation, herbs and vegetables, tree care and pruning principles, composting and organic horticulture, water conservation and much more. Registration is $170 with a 10% discount if received by June 10, and $125 for 2nd household member if sharing a handbook. Payment plan also available. For more information, an application and a list of speakers, please email or call (830) 372-4690. Applications are also available on our Web site at

Woodway: Steven Chamblee, Chief Horticulturist at Chandor Gardens, Weatherford, will present "Texas Tough Plants" (Improving your Landscape), Wednesday, August 12, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Carleen Bright Arboretum, 9001 Bosque Blvd., Woodway. Topics include: Best choices for annuals & perennials, trees, groundcover, shrubs & bushes, roses and accent plants. This free event is sponsored by McLennan County Master Gardeners and McLennan County AgriLife Extension. For more information, contact (254) 757-5180.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet Thursday, August 13, 7 p.m. at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor, Georgetown. Flo Oxley, Director of Education at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, will discuss "Global Climate Change." Visitors welcome. For additional information, call Billye Adams, (512) 863-9636, or visit

Houston: Tour the Genoa Friendship Garden, maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners,Monday, August 17, from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., at 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions. For additional information, visit

Seabrook: Clyde holt, Master Gardener, will present "Bonsai for Beginners" as part of the Harris County Master Gardener Association's Master Gardener Lecture Series, beginning at 10 a.m., August 19, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. For additional information, visit

Austin: The 17th Annual Texas Bamboo Festival will be held August 22-23 at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin. There will be bamboo plants and crafts for sale, a live auction, and various presentations. For more information, visit

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association will sponsor "Fall Vegetable Gardening" from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, August 22, at Riverplace Country Club, 4207 River Place Blvd., Austin. Master Gardener Vegetable Specialist and Texas Gardener contributor Patty Leander will discuss the basics of vegetable gardening, with an emphasis on varieties that flourish in the fall and winter months. For additional information, visit or call the Travis County Master Gardeners' help desk at (512) 854-9600.

Humble: The Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, will hold a Tropical Symposium and Plant Sale, Saturday, August 22, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Speakers include Brent Moon, Urban Garden Program Manager for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and contributor to Texas Gardener, speaking about "Growing Bananas in a Marginal Climate"; Linda Gay speaking on "Architectural Foliage for Patio and Garden" and "Tree Ferns, Terrestrial Ferns, and Epiphytic Ferns"; and Tom Wood speaking on "Gingers of Asia." Registration is required: Mercer Society members $40; non-members $50. Lunch is included. For additional information, call (281) 443-8731.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Botanical Society is bringing David Rogers' Big Bugs to the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston at North New Braunfels Ave., this fall. The exhibit opens Labor Day weekend (September 5-7), and will remain on location through December 6. Featuring gargantuan sculptures of insects, the exhibit alters viewers' perceptions and magnifies the role of insects as nature's "hidden gardeners." Sculptures are constructed entirely from natural materials, complementing and blending with the existing landscape. Interactive programs for children and families, and integrated materials for educators, will be available at the Garden throughout the three-month exhibit. For more information, call (210) 207-3255, or visit

Kingsland: The Kingsland Garden Club will present “Gardening with Deer” by Llano County AgriLife Agent Jamie Osborne beginning a 1:15 p.m., Friday, September 11, at the Kingsland Library, 125 Polk St., Kingsland. For more information, visit

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association will present "Redesigning Your Gardens," from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., Saturday, September 12, at the Old Quarry Branch, Austin Public Library, 7051 Village Center Drive, Austin (off Far West Blvd.). The seminar is free and requires no reservations. For additional information, call (512) 854-9600 or visit

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association will present "Do-It-Yourself Pond Building," from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, September 19, at American Botanical Council, 6200 Manor Road, Austin. There is no charge for the seminar, but seating is limited. To register or for additional information, call (512) 854-9600 or visit

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association will present "For the Love of Trees," from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., Saturday, October 10, at the Old Quarry Branch, Austin Public Library, 7051 Village Center Drive, Austin (off Far West Blvd.). The seminar is free and requires no reservations. For additional information, call (512) 854-9600 or visit

Arlington & Fort Worth: The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program — Tour of Private Gardens in Arlington & Fort Worth will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday, October 11. Enjoy a self-guided tour of six private gardens. No reservations required; rain or shine. Cost: $5 per garden; children under 12 free. A portion of the proceeds collected will be shared with the Tarrant County Master Gardeners. For more information, visit or call The Garden Conservancy toll-free weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, 1-888-842-2442. For descriptions of participating gardens, visit

Fredericksburg: The Texas Gourd Society presents the 14th Annual Lone Star Gourd Festival, October 16 through 18, at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds, 530 Fair Dr., Fredericksburg. The festival will be open from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults; children 12 and under free. For additional information, visit

New Braunfels: Applications are now being accepted for the fall 2009-2010 class of the Lindheimer Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists. The Master Naturalist program is a natural resource-based volunteer training and development program jointly sponsored statewide by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Parks & Wildlife. The mission of the program is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers who provide education and service dedicated to the beneficial management of the natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the state of Texas. The Lindheimer Chapter in Comal County offers a course every year to train new Master Naturalists to be knowledgeable about the nature and wildlife of the Texas Hill Country and to assist in education and volunteer missions. The fall class begins with an orientation on October 26 from 6:00 until 9:00 p.m. Curriculum consists of 12 classes, held the first Tuesday of each month beginning November 3, from 6 p.m. until 9 pm. Curriculum includes 36 hours in the classroom taught by subject matter experts from a wide range of natural resource disciplines. In addition, 40 hours of volunteer work, and eight hours of advanced training qualifies trainees for certification as a Master Naturalist. Training is conducted at the AgriLife Extension Service, Comal County, at 325 Resource Drive, New Braufels, located behind the Comal County Recycling Center on Texas 46 West. Applications will be accepted through October 19 and are available at by clicking on “Comal Master Naturalists”; at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, 325 Resource Drive, New Braunfels; or at the Lindheimer Chapter Web site at Tuition is $120.00 and includes course materials. The class is limited to 20 students. For additional information, call the AgriLife Extension Service (830) 620-3440.

Dallas: The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program – Tour of Private Gardens in Dallas will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday, October 24. Enjoy a self-guided tour of five private gardens. No reservations required; rain or shine. Cost: $5 per garden; children under 12 free. For more information, visit or call The Garden Conservancy toll-free weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, 1-888-842-2442. For descriptions of participating gardens, visit

Austin: "Limestone & Water" — Four garden design experts share their experience with innovative design in a hot climate from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Saturday, October 31, at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin. Seminar speakers include Stephen Orr, Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden, and Dylan Crain Robertson. Co-sponsored by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas at Austin. Cost: $75 general admission; $65 Garden Conservancy/Wildflower Center members; $40 students. To register, visit or call The Garden Conservancy’s West Coast Program Office, 415-441-4300. For more information, visit

Waco: World Hunger Relief, Inc., will host its Fall Farm Day Festival from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, November 7, at 356 Spring Lake Road, Waco. There will be farm-fresh food, tours of the farm, hayrides and demonstrations. Plants, grass-fed meat and seeds will be available for sale. Directions: From Waco, go north of I-35. Take Exit 342B and follow the signs to World Hunger Relief Farm. For additional information, call (254) 799-5611 or email


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 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

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

Pearland: 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 Bass Pro Shop, Highway 288 at Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. For more information visit 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 except July and August 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

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

Beaumont: The Jefferson County Master Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the AgriLife Extension Office, 1225 Pearl Street, Suite 200, Beaumont. For more information, call (409) 835-8461.

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.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. 8th Street. Georgetown. For additional information, contract Billye Adams at (512) 863-9636 or visit

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

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 Senior Circle Rooms, College Station Professional Building II, 1651 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

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

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardener Association meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program each month preceding the business meeting. For information on topics call (817) 556-6370 or visit

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

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.

Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners meet at 10 a.m., the third Wednesday of each month at the Somervell County AgriLife Extension office, 1405 Texas Drive, Glen Rose. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call (254) 897-2809 or visit

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

If you would like your organization’s events included in "Upcoming Garden Events," please contact us at Garden Events. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details at least three weeks prior to the event.

Lone Star Wildflowers:
A Guide to Texas Flowering Plants

By LaShara J. Neiland and Willa F. Finley

Each spring throughout the celebrated Hill Country and well beyond, locals and visitors revel in the palettes and variety of Texas wildflowers. From the Panhandle canyonlands to the islands of South Texas, from the eastern Pineywoods to the farthest reaches of the arid Trans-Pecos, some 5,000 species dot Texas's 268,820 square miles. Now Lone Star Wildflowers offers easy identification through color grouping and a wealth of insight from the origin of scientific and common names to growth cycles, uses, history, and native lore.

Nieland and Finley have made countless forays with camera and notebook and have broadened their approach through years of research. In language accessible to every enthusiast, they offer wildflower lovers unparalleled enrichment.

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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.

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