September 2, 2009

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  Fire Ant Awareness Week a statewide effort

By Paul Schattenberg
AgriLife Extension Service

The Texas AgriLife Extension Service is again working to help Texas residents manage one of the most prevalent and least popular insects in the state.

During the second week of September, designated statewide as Fire Ant Awareness Week, AgriLife Extension experts will spread the word — along with lots of ant bait — to help control this perpetual Texas pest.

"Fire Ant Awareness Week was made official statewide more than 10 years ago and fire ant awareness efforts are still going strong," said Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist for Bexar County.

Keck said the week was established as a means of helping Texas residents realize the importance of fall treatment for fire ants.

"Most people only think about treating for fire ants in the spring, but it's equally important to treat for them in the fall to keep them from returning the following spring," she said.

According to the Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project, the impact of red imported fire ants in the state of Texas is estimated at about $1.2 billion annually.

The project's Web site notes that red imported fire ants can pose a serious health threat to plants and animals, and that the project's goal is "to find effective methods to eliminate this invasive species as a major economic and medical pest."

As part of awareness efforts, Keck will be presenting a fire ant program from 2-4 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the AgriLife Extension office in Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr., Suite 208. The program will address fire ant biology, the results of current research on fire ants and fire ant management tactics for homeowners.

One of the most effective large-scale fire ant management methods identified by the project and AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialists statewide has been coordinated community fire ant management efforts.

"Integrated pest management specialists in urban counties work with homeowners associations, property management companies and others to coordinate pest control activities in various subdivisions," said Elizabeth "Wizzie" Brown, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist for Travis County.

Fire ant control is more effective when homeowners commit to treat their yards at the same time so fire ants can't relocate and build fresh mounds in a neighbor's yard, she said.

"While people in South and South Central Texas in particular haven't seen as many fire ant mounds or as much fire ant activity lately due to the drought, just because they're out of sight doesn't mean they've disappeared," Brown said.

She said while fire ants have gone underground during the drought to escape the heat and find moisture, they will return to the surface and build mounds as soon as the area receives enough rain.

"Along with helping reduce fire ant population during the next spring, fall treatment more immediately reduces fire ant numbers, which is important because fire ants in Texas are typically active through the month of November," she said.

On Sept. 12, Brown will be helping coordinate a semi-annual community-wide fire ant management program in the Wood Glen community of Round Rock, north of Austin.

"I'll be working with two of the neighborhood leaders to do a bait hand-out and to answer questions and provide technical expertise on how and where to treat," she said. "This will be the fourth year the program has been held in that subdivision, and it has been very successful."

The Wood Glen community consists of more than 250 acres, 60 acres of which is greenbelt or flood plain area, according to the community's modification committee chairman, Samuel Myers.

Myers said only five of the community's 550 homeowners have opted out of the fire ant management program.

"We pass out appropriate quantities of bait for homeowners who choose to participate, typically about 150 to 200 families," he said. "They receive the bait and a hand-held spreader, along with information, including an educational pamphlet on fire ants and instructions on how to apply the pesticide."

Myers said he estimates the overall reduction in fire ants in the community to be about 90 percent and noted that only a few ant mounds have reappeared on the subdivision's greenbelt area, a section which previously had a significant fire ant problem.

Another recommendation of the fire and research and management project is the use of the "Texas Two-Step" approach to fire ant control, said Dr. Bart Drees, AgriLife Extension statewide fire ant specialist.

The first step involves broadcasting fire ant bait over an entire yard, using a hand-held seed spreader or a larger spreader for more spacious yards and landscapes.

The technique is most useful when there are five or more ant mounds per one-quarter acre or the equivalent of more than 20 mounds per acre, Drees said.

"Broadcasting will typically take care of 80 to 90 percent of the mounds, then you need to treat the remaining mounds," he said.

The second step of the two-step process involves applying bait to individual mounds, particularly those next to building foundations and high-traffic areas.

"But remember to read labels carefully before buying bait," Drees said. "This will help you determine if the product is effective against fire ants and will guide you on where to use it and how much to use."

He added that it is best to apply ant bait during temperatures between 65 degrees to 95 degrees as this is the range when fire ants typically come out to forage.

Drees said the project uses other methods of fire ant control, including the use of phorid flies.

"The phorid fly is a biological control and we have been establishing colonies of them throughout the state," he said. "They have been growing and spreading, and over time we expect there to be populations all over Texas."

Drees said further information on statewide fire ant research and control can be found at the project's Web site,

The notorious suicide tree (Cerbera odollam) bears fibrous-shelled fruits, each with two lethal seeds. (Photo by William Scheick)

The garden reader:
Looking into the seeds of time

By William Scheick
University of Texas at Austin

Jonathan Silvertown. An Orchard Invisible: A Natural History of Seeds. University of Chicago Press, 2009. 216 pp. $25.00.

When observing plants, it's sometimes easy to leap to faulty conclusions. For instance, it's easy to surmise, on the basis of their sheer number, that seed-producing flora must have always dominated the plant kingdom.

Or, on the flipside of this mistaken impression, it's easy to think of the non-seeders, including ferns and mosses, as odd deviations from the norm. In fact, though, seedless plants once ruled our planet's oceans and lands, and the "magic trick" of encapsulating sea-like nutrients inside a seed emerged at some later point in time.

When impression-nurtured beliefs are unchecked by bedrock science, mischief can ensue. Consider the sixteenth-century belief that ferns produce seeds because all plants must grow from seeds.

Never mind that no one could see any fern seed.

There were answers for that, including a legend about what happened to fern flowers. According to this ancient legend, ferns did not contribute any blooms to the Christ child's manger. As a punishment for such "bad-seed" irreverence, ferns were deprived of their flowers and their seed became invisible.

This curse notwithstanding, ferns were still thought long ago to be valuable for various medicinal remedies, and their now-invisible seed was especially prized by the gullible. Some even believed that fern seed could make a person undetectable.

Of course, collecting the invisible fern seed was deucedly difficult.

In An Orchard Invisible Jonathan Silvertown doesn't mention the fern flower legend, but he succinctly explains how invisible fern seed was harvested: "Fern seed could be collected on the stroke of midnight on Midsummer Night's eve, but only by catching it as it fell from the plant onto a stack of twelve pewter plates. It would pass through the first eleven, but be trapped by the twelfth."

A quaint belief, indeed! But I've been around awhile and seen too much, and so I can't help but wonder whether, even today, empty seed packets labeled "Rare Invisible Fern Seed" might sell pretty well.

As the Jack-and-the-beanstalk story highlights, seeds do seem to be magical. Seeds, though, are actually down-to-earth devices far more complex and ingenious than represented in any fairytale.

In An Orchard Invisible Silvertown explores the history and science of this complexity. He ponders various seed-mysteries, such as nature's always unsuccessful repeated "attempts to break the habit of sex in plants." Cross-fertilization, it turns out, is inextricably interwoven with genetic variation, random adaptability, inherited mutation and chance survival.

Why, Silvertown also wonders, is the nutrient-thick coco de mer so large — the biggest known seed, in fact? It's easy but mistaken to believe that, as its popular name suggests, this "bizarre and wonderful monstrosity" floats to and germinates on distant beaches.

A Maldive coconut is not the only strange fruit feature. Silvertown finds even fruit coloration to be more mysterious than meets the eye. And he examines, as well, why seeds that fly awkwardly on single, unilateral wings vastly outnumber those that glide.

Silvertown suggests, too, that caffeine in a coffee bean possibly functions like a poison deterring the encroachment of nearby plants. But, he adds, if it's obvious why some seeds are poisonous, why are so many not?

Silvertown doesn't mention it, but the world's most infamous, if understudied, poisonous seeds are found in the four-inch, fibrous-shelled fruits of the suicide tree (Cerbera odollam). The alkaloid toxin in the seeds of this tropical oleander relative has been implicated in numerous deaths — most of them decidedly not suicides.

Silvertown examines the place of unseen cheaters in our gardens. For example, while hardworking female yucca moths diligently collect pollen to fertilize the plant that will host their eggs, cheater moths skip pollen-collection and simply deposit eggs in fruit previously pollinated by the diligent moths. By colonizing already developed fruit unlikely to be aborted by a plant, these cheaters potentially jeopardize the entire symbiotic moth-yucca relationship — yet they somehow don't.

There aren't only selfish moths and wasps. Silvertown also puzzles over "selfish DNA" — free-agent "genes that jump around the chromosomes, sometimes playing havoc with the genome." Corn, for instance, is botanically notorious for its thousands of selfish DNA.

In An Orchard Invisible Silvertown "look[s] into the seeds of time," but unlike Banquo in Shakespeare's Macbeth, he is willing to speculate on the patterns behind "which grain will grow and which will not." The result is ample food for thought.


John Teas passes away

John Frederick Teas, born upstairs in the 1916 house on Teas Nursery property in Bellaire on October 10, 1934, passed away August 24, 2009. His parents were Frederick Augustus Teas and Blanche Bryant Teas.

John grew up around his father, grandfather, and uncles. Surrounded by these expert nurserymen, he soon learned about the nursery business and developed his lifelong love of flowers shrubs, and trees — anything that grows in the ground. He was a fourth generation nurseryman. The family business started in Henry County, Indiana, in 1843, came to Bellaire in 1910, and continues to help new and longtime gardeners.

His four years at Teas A&M University helped to further his understanding of plants. He then joined the family business and remained at Teas Nursery until his passing. He celebrated 50 years at Teas in 2007.

For a number of years he taught plant identification at the University of Houston and the Houston Community College. He enjoyed these classes because he took the students to different garden centers, arboretums, and gardens every week.

His interest in helping disadvantaged children led him to join the Salesmanship Club of Houston that helped children to have the opportunity to go to summer camp. He served as president of this organization for many years until it merged with the YMCA and became "Camp Pine Tree."

John served as president of Garden Centers of America, Houston Landscape and Nurserymen Association, and Texas Society of Landscape Architects. He served as governor of Region II of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association. He enjoyed serving as chairman of the beautification committee of the Bellaire Chamber of Commerce. John also served on the Scholarship committee of the Rotary Club of Houston to award Rodeo scholarships. His involvement on the committee in his Rotary Club led him to provide Christmas trees for the Burnet Bayland Home for Children.

The Houston Jaycees honored him by giving the "Faith in God" award to him for his love of church and his participation in its many activities. John was a charter member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist-Bellaire and served it in many capacities.

The YMCA also honored John with a plaque for his participation with the disadvantaged children, and placed the plaque in one of their summer camps.

John gave a number of garden club talks every year and participated in the Houston Rose Society and Camellia Society. He often gave talks at the Houston Rose Society. His many customers enjoyed the wealth of his knowledge of plants and gardening.

He provided information for several publications about plants. John was on TV and radio programs talking about plants and in the Teas Nursery TV commercials.

As a young man, John personally helped to plant trees along Fannin Street in Houston. Bob Hope (the entertainer) always stayed at the Warwick Hotel, which was between Fannin Street and Main Street, when he came to Houston. When asked what hotel he most enjoyed staying at during his many travels, he always said it was the "Warwick Hotel" because of the beautiful view of the trees and landscaping from his hotel window. This always pleased John because he considered those trees "his" trees.

In 1967, John married Patsy Ann Tutt and they enjoyed traveling and visiting beautiful gardens and garden centers. Many long-lasting friendships were formed during these travels.

John is survived by his beloved wife Patsy; his brothers, Thomas S. Teas and wife Diann, Charles B. Teas from Corpus Christi and wife Karen; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Donations in loving remembrance of John may be made to: First Church of Christ, Scientist, 4527 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire, TX 77401; or Camp Pine Tree-YMCA, 709 Riley Fuzzel Road, Houston, TX 77373.


The compost heap
Ugly garden winner reveals secret

"Now that I won the Ugly Garden Contest ("Ugly Garden Contest winners," Seeds, August 12, 2009), I will tell you my method," writes Beverly Nord. "Several years ago, I planted a baby fig tree within 10 feet of my garden. As the tree grew, my garden did progressively worse. The garden died from lack of water, but the fig tree had a bumper crop this year. Don't plant gardens close to thirsty trees or shrubs!"


Gardening tips

"Rooting cuttings in water on the kitchen windowsill is fun," writes Helen Quinn, "but the new roots are fragile. To avoid root damage when removing from the wide mouth container, try adding a little potting medium to the water as soon as roots appear, and repeat until the cutting is ready to transplant."

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...

The 1015Y Onion that is so famous for its size and eating quality was so named because October 15 or 1015 is the optimal time to plant onions in the Rio Grande Valley where the best onions in the world are grown. Move over Vidalia!

Upcoming garden events

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

Pearland: Jeannie Dunihoo, Harris County and Chambers Master Gardener, will present a program on herbs as part of the Harris County Master Gardener Association's Green Thumb Gardening Series, from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, September 8, at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit

The Woodlands: Greg Grant — renowned horticulturalist, native plant pioneer, gardening author and Texas Gardener columnist — shares gardening wit and wisdom on Thursday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the presentation, Gardening for the Birds and the Bees: Saving the World One Garden at a Time. Sponsored by Community Associations of The Woodlands, the free program will be held in the L.G.I. Lecture Hall at McCullough Jr. High, 3800 S. Panther Creek Dr. For information, call (281) 210-3900 or visit

Tomball: The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will present "Light Your Landscape" at 10 a.m., Thursday, September 10. Experience the beauty and enjoyment of landscape lighting with Rob Greening, NiteLites Lighting Company. For additional information, call (281) 351-8851 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

Tomball: The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will present "Light Your Landscape" at 10 a.m., Saturday, September 12. Experience the beauty and enjoyment of landscape lighting with Rob Greening, NiteLites Lighting Company. For additional information, call (281) 351-8851 or visit

Victoria: The Victoria County Master Gardener Association fall plant sale will be held September 12 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., or sellout, whichever occurs first. The sale will be held at the Victoria County 4-H Activity Center, 259 Bachelor Dr., Victoria Regional Airport, Victoria. Proceeds will go to VCMGA Victoria Educational Gardens. For additional information, contact

Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners Association will host a program on "Fire Ants" presented by Josh Blanek, CEA Ag/NR, Somervell County, at 6:30 p.m. September 14 at the Somervell County Citizens Center, 209 S.W. Barnard, Glen Rose. For additional information, call (254) 897-2809 or visit

Seabrook: Dr. Carol Brouwer, County Extension Agent for Horticulture will speak about fall vegetable gardening as part of the Harris County Master Gardener Association's Master Gardener Lecture Series, beginning at 10 a.m., September 16, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. For additional information, 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

Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners and Tarleton Langdon Center presenting The Fall Market at the Langdon Center, 300 East Pearl, Granbury, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., September 19. There will be crafts, plants, booths, lectures, and a children's workshop. Steve Huddleson, author of Easy Gardens for North Central Texas, will be signing his book. For additional information, visit

Tomball: The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will present Fall Vegetable Gardening with Tom LeRoy and Bill Adams, Saturday, September 19, 10 a.m. For additional information, call (281) 351-8851 or visit

Seabrook: Tthe Harris County Master Gardeners will have a Fall Plant Sale & HerbaPalooza featuring perennials, fall vegetables and herbs from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., September 26, at Landholt Pavillion, Clear Lake Park, 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. There will be an overview of the plants for sale at 8 a.m. and presentations on Fall Vegetable Gardening at 10 a.m. and Herbs at 11 a.m. For additional information, visit

The Woodlands: Offering sage tips for yard and garden, Woodlands Landscaping Solutions spotlights water-wise, earth-friendly methods with booths, demonstrations and a native plant sale on Saturday, September 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at 8203 Millennium Forest Dr. Debuting the garden's rainwater harvesting and drip-irrigation system, highlights also include container gardening; how-to care for gardening tools; and a vintage rose sale by Texas Rose Rustlers. The hands-on, how-to gardening event is a free program of Community Associations of The Woodlands. For information, call (281) 210-3900 or visit

Kingsland: Bring your gardening questions and contribute to the discussion at a free gardening forum presented by the Kingsland Garden Club on October 2 at the Kingsland Library, 125 W. Polk St., Kingsland at 1:15 p.m. Sylvia Williams of Stonebridge Gardens, which has been featured on TV on Central Texas Gardener, and other Master Gardeners will share gardening knowledge that will help develop a beautiful and successful Hill Country garden. For information, visit or call (325) 388-8849.

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

Huntsville: Walker County Master Gardeners' will hold their Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, October 10 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Master Gardeners Greenhouse located north of Huntsville on the corner of Highway 75 N. and TAM Road (102 TAM Rd.) approximately 2 miles north of the Pilot Truck Stop. Bring your wagon, your gardening and landscaping ideas and load up with fall vegetable transplants, herbs, daylilies, daffodil/narcissus bulbs, Texas natives and perennials, hard-to-find pass-along plants, fruit trees, blackberries, blueberries and much more. Many of these selections won't be found at the "big box" stores. If the 100+ heat relents, we may have fresh, seasonal produce. Come early and shop the Country Store for gardening shoes/boots, gloves, hats, books, tools. Refreshments will be available. Proceeds will be used to benefit Master Gardener community activities and educational projects including scholarships for high school grads planning to major in horticulture or environmental science. For more information, call (936) 435-2426 or visit

Marble Falls: Learn about the flowering plants and shrubs that are well-suited to grow successfully and beautifully in the Texas Hill Country in a program on “Texas Tough Plants” presented by Master Gardeners Sheryl and Robert Yantis in a Highland Lakes Master Gardener free Green Thumb program at 10 a.m., Saturday, October 10, at the Marble Falls Library. For more information visit the Garden Events page at or call (325) 388-8849.

Waco: Texas State Technical College and The World Hunger Relief Organization have teamed up to teach you how to garden more successfully in a pair of two-day gardening workshops. The he second workshop will be held from 8 a.m. until noon, October 10 and 17. Registration for the two-day workshop is $96, and is limited to 15 participants. To register, or for additional information, contact Melissa Curtis at (254) 867-3113.

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

Austin: Learn how to install one type of drip irrigation system, Friday, October 16, 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Demonstration Garden at Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 "B" Smith Rd., Austin. This is a hands-on demonstration, so you can help with construction or just watch. This free event is sponsored by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association. For additional information, call (512) 854-9600 or 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

Tyler: The Smith County Master Gardener Association, will sponsor its annual Fall Gardening Conference at Harvey Hall in Tyler, Saturday, October 17, from 9:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. A bulb and plant sale following the conference will offer thousands of bulbs to the public with many varieties not often found in local nurseries. The sale runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. During the exposition local Master Gardeners will provide a help-desk to answer gardening questions and perform demonstrations for the attendees. Admission to both the Gardening Conference and the Plant Expo is free. For additional information, call Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Smith County (903) 590 2980.

Chambersville/Farmer's Branch/McKinney: Celebrate roses at the second annual RoseDango in Chambersville, Farmer's Branch and McKinney, October 17 and 18. RoseDango features guest speakers Marilyn Wellan and Stephen Scanniello, this year's Great Rosarians of the World (GROW) honorees, as well as Mike Shoup of the Antique Rose Emporium and Dennis Jones, President of the Fort Worth Rose Society. 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: Learn which bulb varieties are best for the Austin area, Friday, October 30, 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Demonstration Garden at Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 "B" Smith Rd., Austin. Learn bulb requirements and planting methods to enhance your success with bulbs. This is a hands-on event. This free event is sponsored by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association. For additional information, call (512) 854-9600 or 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 library, 798 Schertz Parkway, Shertz. A plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by a program at 7 p.m. 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.

$37.22 includes tax and shipping

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

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 21 (November/December 2001 through September/October 2002),
volume 22
(November/December 2002 through September/October 2003),
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),
volume 27 (November/December 2007 through September/October 2008) and
volume 28 (November/December 2008 through September/October 2009)*.

$16.99 per CD includes tax and shipping

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(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.

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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

Publisher: Chris S. Corby Editor: Michael Bracken

Texas Gardener’s Seeds, P.O. Box 9005, Waco, Texas 76714 ●