September 30, 2009

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  Bexar County Master Gardeners blooming success for 20 years

By Paul Schattenberg
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

For the past 20 years, the Bexar County Master Gardener program of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service has been helping beautify the community while spreading the joy of horticulture to people throughout the county.

"We currently have more than 420 volunteers in the program," said David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension county agent for horticulture. "Master Gardener volunteers go through extensive training provided by AgriLife Extension. In return, they agree to commit 50 hours of volunteer service their first year after being certified as a Master Gardener and 30 hours annually thereafter."

Training typically takes place one day per week over about a three-month period, Rodriguez said.

Master Gardeners work through AgriLife Extension and their program coordinator to identify and select educational and community service opportunities.

"They help establish community gardens and landscaping for area non-profits, provide information and technical expertise to county residents, plus speak, distribute information and give advice and hands-on demonstrations at public venues," Rodriguez said. "Master Gardeners also support the Homeowner Hotline, answer e-mail inquiries and provide instruction for various AgriLife Extension adult and youth horticulture programs."

In 2008, Master Gardeners provided 31,585 hours of volunteer service, which translated to more than $600,000 worth of in-kind services countywide per the national standard given for volunteer hours, said Barbara Lutz, the organization's current president.

"Master Gardeners are from all different walks of life," Lutz said, "but the thing they all have in common is a love of gardening and desire to use their skills and talents to help their community." Bexar County Master Gardeners also address resource conservation, environmental awareness and integrated pest management through their involvement in the Seasonal Irrigation Program with the San Antonio Water System, xeriscaping programs, rainwater harvesting workshops, demonstration gardens and educational events.

"The first Master Gardener training class in Bexar County was held in 1989, and marked the official beginning of the program here," Rodriguez said. "Since then, we've held another 49 training classes, and we now hold about three trainings a year due to the program's popularity."

Rodriguez said that training for green industry professionals, such as nursery and landscaping business owners and mangers, has been added, as has training for area educators interested in beginning a youth gardening program in their schools.

Currently, more than 250 area schools participate in the organization's Classroom Gardens program.

"We also get kids involved in horticulture through the Junior Master Gardener program and other youth-oriented programs," said Brady Yecker, youth gardens coordinator for AgriLife Extension.

Yecker said he and other AgriLife staff recently worked with Region 20 to present a fall Junior Master Gardener program training to 115 elementary, middle and high school teachers.

"This program was really successful and we got many positive comments from the educators who attended," he said. "We'll have another similar training next spring."

Master Gardener youth programs not only teach children the joy of gardening, they also teach them about the importance of environmental stewardship and human nutrition, he said, adding that much of their content is aligned with the state's mandatory Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards.

"The Junior Master Gardener program not only offers horticultural and environmental science education in a fun and interesting way that meets TEKS guidelines, it also helps kids develop life, leadership and citizenship skills," Yecker said.

Rodriguez said Master Gardeners also provide instruction to youth through the Children's Vegetable Garden Program at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, as well as through the botanical garden's annual "Children's Day in the Garden" event.

"The Master Gardeners are absolutely vital to the botanical garden," said Bob Brackman, San Antonio Botanical Garden director. "From presenting youth and adult gardening programs to plant propagation and maintenance, they are a critical resource that helps us keep the botanical garden growing."

Rodriguez said other ongoing Master Gardener projects include the program's speakers bureau, providing technical assistance for local Habitat for Humanity efforts, supporting the Schultze House Cottage and its garden, and providing information and expertise at public venues, including the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, the SAWS-sponsored Festival of Flowers, the Heritage Garden at the Institute of Texan Cultures, Earth Day and the annual Fall Garden Fair.

"Master Gardeners were also recently involved in the renovation of the Japanese Tea Gardens and helped build a community garden at the San Antonio Food Bank," he noted. "We often partner with other groups and service-oriented or volunteer organizations to benefit the community as a whole."

"The San Antonio Food Bank's community garden has already produced more than 2,000 pounds of produce – tomatoes, peppers, squash, broccoli, okra and more – for distribution to people served by the food bank," said Don Crites, a Master Gardener and garden specialist employed by the food bank. "Master Gardeners not only have helped establish the community garden, they've also worked in the sorting room and helped build food and 'comfort care' boxes for food bank users."

Crites said he and Ted Ritchie, another Bexar County Master Gardener, are training to become certified in square-foot gardening so they can go into the community and show food bank users how to grow their own produce at home.

"The Master Gardener program is a lot more than a garden club, it's an educational program that serves the community," Rodriguez said. "The program's volunteers help improve the overall quality of life for residents of Bexar County through their enthusiasm and knowledge of horticulture."

More information on the Bexar County Master Gardener program and a list of projects and volunteer opportunities can be found by going to and clicking on Horticulture and Gardening.

Fall gardening tips


Before you hang up your garden trowel this fall, gardening expert P. Allen Smith has teamed up with STIHL, a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, to give you timely advice on pruning, planting and tool care to ensure that your garden gets the treatment it deserves.

Feed the Birds. As the shelves in nature's pantry empty, it's time to get out the bird feeders. Before you fill them, make sure they are clean. Feeders can be sanitized with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water. Keep areas under the bird feeders clean of seeds.

Bring in Your Houseplants. When nighttime low temperatures get to around 50° F, it is time to start moving your houseplants inside. Before bringing them inside, check them carefully for any unwanted "hitchhikers," such as insects, that may have set up summer homes in your plants. Spray the foliage gently with the garden hose and wipe the leaves with a soft cloth. If you think your plant shows signs of mealy bugs or aphids, use a houseplant safe insecticidal soap following label directions.

Flower Gardens

Hydrate your Flowers. The end of the growing season can be hot and dry. These conditions are stressful for plants, particularly those that are in containers that have less soil around their roots than those planted in the ground. Keep flower pots, window boxes and especially hanging baskets well watered, and mulch your flowerbed to keep moisture in and weeds down.

Dig up Summer Bulbs. Before the ground freezes, dig up tender summer bulbs such as elephant's ear, caladium, gladiolus, canna and dahlia and store them for the winter. As you dig them up, check to see if the bulbs are soft or rotting. A healthy bulb will feel firm, not hollow or mushy. Discard those that aren't healthy. If you live in an area with mild winters, leave tender bulbs in the ground, but protect them over the winter with a layer of mulch three to five inches deep.

Protect Roses. By late summer, cut back on fertilizing your rose plants. Feeding stimulates new growth that could be snuffed out by winter's cold. After cold temperatures cause foliage to drop, prune the canes back to 36 inches to prevent damage from winter winds, and cover the plants with at least eight inches of loose, well-drained soil, mulch or compost.

Add Autumn Sizzle. Bring on a blaze of fall colors in your garden by adding plants in seasonal colors of fiery reds, warm golds and brilliant oranges. There are new varieties of fall plants such as 'Snowman' pansies that can thrive in temperatures well into the teens to give you weeks of beauty. Traditional annuals such as chrysanthemums, impatiens, and ornamental cabbage are also reliable plants that will add accents of color.

Divide Perennials. Transplant and divide perennials in the early fall to renew a plant's vigor, limit its spreading or to propagate more plants. Work on a cool, cloudy day to keep plants from drying out. Once the plants are divided, plant them as soon as possible. Transplants do best if they have a few weeks to develop some roots before the ground freezes. Check gardening resources to make sure the variety you move is suitable for fall division before digging.

Save seeds. If you have been removing spent blooms to stimulate the growth of more flowers, stop deadheading in late summer so the blossoms can produce seeds. Once the seeds have developed, allow them to dry and then crumble the dried flower heads into a container. Separate the seeds from the debris and put them in a labeled envelope to plant next spring. Some plants, such as four o'clocks, verbena-on-a-stick, and bachelor buttons are vigorous re-seeders so you can let them fall to the ground and they will return naturally. Just be sure they are plants you want to spread so they don't become an unwelcome returning guest in your flower beds.

Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs. The best time to plant bulbs that bloom in the spring such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocus is from mid-September until the ground freezes. Why plant now? Many bulbs require several weeks of chilling time before they will bloom. As you select varieties, note that they bloom at different times during the spring season; either early, mid or late spring. By selecting a range of flowering times, you'll enjoy a long sequence of color that will last for weeks. Prepare your soil before planting the bulbs. Work compost or other rich organic material into the planting area to a depth of 12-inches. The rule of thumb is to plant the bulbs to the depth of three times their height. For instance, a tulip bulb that is two inches tall should be planted in a hole six inches deep, so the base of the bulb is six inches below the surface, not the point or top of the bulb.

Clean up Debris. Clean up leaves, sticks, rocks and other late season leftovers that can harm next year's lawn and harbor pests and diseases over the winter, but leave enough cover and seedheads to provide wildlife some cover and food.

Trees and Shrubs

Prune Selectively. Fall pruning can stimulate new growth on some trees and shrubs. Tender new leaves won't have a chance to harden off before cold temperatures set in. So focus your pruning activities on dead or diseased branches. Prune those areas before the leaves fall because it is easier to see those areas while the foliage is still on the tree or shrub.

Water Deeply. Once the ground freezes in winter, particularly in cold climates, available ground water is locked up and can't be taken in by trees and shrubs. So give your plants a good soaking one last time before the onset of below freezing temperatures. Newly planted or recently transplanted trees and shrubs need special attention and must be well watered to help them survive the winter.

Tool Care

Clean up Hand Tools. Before you store your hand tools for the growing season, spray them off with water to remove potentially corrosive chemicals and dirt. If you can't remove the dirt with water, try lightly scrubbing off the dirt with a wire brush. Because wooden handles on shovels, hoes and other types of hand tools are constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions and use, the wood can wear and start to splinter. Clean the wooden handles with water and let them dry. Apply a coat of linseed oil and let the oil soak in before you store them for the winter. Oil any moving parts on tools such as pruners and garden loppers.

Clean up Power Tools. It's not too early to start thinking about preparing your power equipment for winter storage. When it is time to put your gasoline-powered equipment away for the season, drain the fuel by letting it run at idle until the engine stops. If fuel is left in the tank, it can gum up the fuel system, which can be costly to repair.

Empty Hoses. Drain the water from garden hoses at the end of the season. Coil them and store them in a spot where they won't freeze.

Prepare Winter Power Tools. Chain saws and other engine-driven equipment that will be used during the winter should be drained and refueled with winter-grade gasoline. Consult manufacturers' instruction manuals for details on maintenance, cleaning and storing.

Road maintenance may help spread invasive plants

Invasive Plant Science and Management

Roadsides often have an accumulation of unsightly trash, but a less noticeable, organic litter also pollutes land adjacent to forest roads. Roadsides are prime locations for the growth and distribution of invasive plant species; it is crucial to keep this in mind during road maintenance to minimize spread of these plants.

Road maintenance, such as grading and mowing, disturbs the seedbank on a roadside. The seeds are then easily transported by water or other means. Taking steps to minimize disturbance of the road edge can provide an effective means of slowing the spread of invasive plants.

A study in the upcoming issue of Invasive Plant Science and Management finds a greater distribution of invasive plants in proximity to forest roads, which provide corridors that facilitate the dispersal of plant material.

The study was conducted in the Green Ridge State Forest in western Maryland along the Potomac River. The forest has a mix of protected natural areas, managed by The Nature Conservancy, and spaces for recreational use. The 32,000-ha area is dissected by paved and unpaved roads and trails.

Researchers recorded the presence and percent cover of more than a dozen species of invasive plants, the most prominent being Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum. Results from both a large-scale survey of existing invasive plants and a patch-scale planting experiment are presented in the study.

Patches of Japanese stiltgrass were deliberately planted and allowed to expand naturally over the course of four years before being controlled. This natural spread was found to be much slower than the spread of the plant adjacent to roadways, as observed by forest managers.

As budgets for invasive plant management are increasingly strained, knowledge of distribution methods can help in the development of manageable solutions.

  The compost heap
Burr Oak

"I am looking for about 50 Burr Oak acorns from this year's crop." writes Bobby Cooke. "I am willing to pay for shopping. I can be contacted at P.O. Box 254, Portland, Texas 78374."


Gardening tips

"To spray summer oil, winter oil and webworm control in my trees, I use one of those 'super-soaker' type water guns for kids," writes Tina Gallagher. "They can shoot up to 50 feet away, and it's easy to get coverage to the tops and branches of my trees without a ladder. It's fun!"

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 2010 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did You Know...

You can help those plants you bring inside during the winter survive by painting the wall in the room opposite the window white or another light color. The light color wall will reflect more light from the window onto the plant.

Upcoming garden events

College Station: Gardening Study School will be at Texas A&M University in College Station on October 15-16. Course II includes Understanding Plant Diseases and Garden Pests, Container Gardening, Techniques for Growing Vegetables, How New Plants Are Developed and Evaluated, Techniques for Growing Lawns and/or Lawn Alternatives and the Supplemental Subject is Judging and Selecting Produce. Dr. Joe Novak, TAMU Horticulture Department, will teach the course. Plus, students will visit two Centers on Research Parkway at TAMU and learn from Dr. Bhimu Patil, Director, Vegetable & Fruit Improvement Center, and Dr. Kevin L. Ong, Director, Texas Plant Diagnostic Lab. Gardening Study School registrations are requested by October 1. The registration form may be downloaded at the A&M Garden Club web page:, about 1/3 way down.

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.

Nocogdoches: The annual Fabulous Fall Festival plant sale at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Mast Arboretum will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 3, at the intramural field on Wilson Drive. Proceeds from the plant sale help support the SFA Mast Arboretum, the Ruby Mize Azalea Garden, the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, and educational programming. The public is encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information, call (936) 468-4404 or visit and click on "upcoming events."

Tomball: The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will present "The Madalene Hill Legacy," led by Ann Wheeler, Log House Herbs, Saturday, October 3, 10 a.m. This class will focus on plants associated with the South's famed herbal mentor and educator. For additional information, call (281) 351-8851 or visit

Hamilton: The Hamilton County Master Gardener Association and Texas AgriLife Extension service are offering a free seminar on October 6 from 6:00 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. at Fair Park, Park Road at McCaleb, in Hamilton, to demonstrate building a rainwater system for yourself. Billy Kniffen of Menard will describe how he built and operates his household only on the rainwater he collects. Kniffen, an ag agent with Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Menard County, has built an extensive system of his own. Want to expand the seminar into a workshop and build a collection system to take home with you? Pay only $30 to cover the cost of turnkey supplies, including a 55-gallon collection barrel. Just listening and observing? Then it's free, but reservations must be made in advance. Call the Hamilton County AgriLife office at (254) 386-3929 to reserve your space for the seminar or seminar and workshop.

Tomball: The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will present "Going Green with Greens!" presented by Jeremy Kollaus at 10 a.m., Tuesday, October 6, and covering fall and winter gardening, with a special emphasis on greens. For additional information, call (281) 351-8851 or visit

Kemah: The Kemah-Bay Area Garden Club will meet at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, October 7 at the Kemah Visitor Center and Schoolhouse Museum, 604 Bradford Street, Kemah. The program, presented by Clyde Holt, Master Gardener, will be “Bonsai Varieties.” Light refreshments will be served and the public is invited. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, call Mary Ellen Chapman, President, at (281) 559-1912.

Houston: The Garden Club of Houston's 67th Annual Bulb and Plant Mart will be held October 8 through 10, at Westminster United Methodist Church, 5801 San Felipe at Bering, just west of the Galleria. The mart will be open from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy tax-free days on Thursday and Saturday. For a list of available plants and bulbs, and for a list of scheduled speakers, visit

Huntsville: Walker County Master Gardeners will present a free seminar “Fall Plant Highlights” on Thursday, October 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the County AgriLife Extension Office, 102 TAM Road (located on the corner of Hwy. 75 North and TAM Road approx. 2 mi. north of the Pilot Truck Stop). The seminar will provide information on and a preview of the fall plant selections available at the Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, October 10. Speakers will discuss Fall bulb selections; an assortment of daylily cultivars; roses, including Earthkind varieties; the wonderful world of herbs — culinary and medicinal; and Texas natives and perennials. Come away with a list of plant ideas for your home and garden. For additional information, call (936) 435-2426.

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.

Tomball: The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will host "Fall into Spring with Natives," presented by Jason McKenzie, Pineywood Native Plants, at 10 a.m., Saturday, October 10. Learn about our beautiful and tough, but underused natives plants. For additional information, call (281) 351-8851 or visit

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

Pearland: Dr. Carol Brouwer, County Extension Agent for Horticulture, will present a program on trees as part of the Harris County Master Gardener Association's Green Thumb Gardening Series, from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, October 13, at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. Admission is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit

Tomball: The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will host "Proper Selection and Care of Trees," presented by John Warner, Certified Forester, Arborist and Texas Master Naturalist, at 10 a.m., Thursday, October 15. Learn to make the right tree choices. For additional information, call (281) 351-8851 or 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

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

Tomball: The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will host "Southern Heirloom Bulbs," presented by Chris Wiesinger, Southern Bulb Company, at 10 a.m., Saturday, October 17. Experience the allure of these wonderful old flower bulbs. For additional information, call (281) 351-8851 or 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.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardener Association and the Victoria County Office of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will sponsor an Earth-Kind Rose Symposium, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., October 17 at the Victoria County 4-H Activity Center, 259 Bachelor Dr., Victoria. For an agenda, registration information and forms, visit and select Earth-Kind Rose Symposium. Early registration will cost $65 and conclude Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. Late registration fee will be $75 and conclude Oct. 9. For more information, call the Victoria County Extension Office at (361) 575-2028.

Tomball: The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, will host "Pruning and Training of Trees and Shrubs," presented by Angela Chandler, at noon, Sunday, October 18. Learn how to enhance the beauty and health of your trees and shrubs. For additional information, call (281) 351-8851 or visit

Houston: Tour the Genoa Friendship Garden, maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners, Monday, October 19, 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: Mary Yurovich, member of the National Audobon Society and the Audobon Society of Galveston, will present a program on "Backyard Birding" as part of the Harris County Master Gardener Association's Master Gardener Lecture Series, beginning at 10 a.m., October 21, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. 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.

Wimberley: The Hill Country Unit of the Herb Society of America will present their Second Annual National Herb Day Celebration at the Wimberley Presbyterian Church, 956 FM 2325, Wimberley, Friday, October 23, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The $18.00 admission includes Culinary Lunch prepared by members from their favorite herbal recipes. Coffee, tea and muffins served before lunch. Saundra Winokur, owner of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, Elmendorf, will speak on “Olive Oil from the Kitchen to the Spa.” A silent auction will be held and winners announced after the program. Herbal products, including wreaths, aprons and baskets, will be for sale in the Gift Shop. For reservations contact Barbara Rawson at (512) 847-0521 or For further information, contact Anna Fisher at

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

College Station: Dr. Michael P. Parrella will be the Distinguished Lecturer for the 7th Ellison Chair in International Floriculture Distinguished Lecture Series at Texas A&M University. Parrella is professor of entomology and associate dean for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California-Davis. His topic will be "An International Perspective on Sustainable Production in Greenhouses." The event, on October 28, will begin with a reception at 2:30 p.m. in the Horticulture and Forest Science Building atrium. His address will begin at 3 p.m. in Room 102 there. The Distinguished Floriculture Lecture Series is sponsored by the Texas A&M horticultural sciences department's Ellison Chair in International Floriculture. Parrella’s talk will be co-hosted by the Texas A&M entomology department, as much of his research has focused on integrated pest management strategies on ornamental plants with an emphasis on biological control. He obtained a bachelor's degree in animal science from Rutgers University and his master's and doctoral degrees in entomology, both from Virginia Tech University. For more information about the Distinguished Lecture in International Floriculture, see

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

Kingsland: Learn to make beautiful flower arrangements at a class on "Principles of Floral Design" with Barbara Braunns at a free presentation by the Kingsland Garden Club on Friday, November 6 at 1:15 p.m. at the Kingsland Library, 125 W. Polk, Kingsland. Visit for more information.

Uvalde: The Texas Pomegranate Growers Cooperative, in conjunction with Texas AgriLife, will hold the first Texas pomegranate tasting from noon until 2 p.m., Friday, November 6, in the auditorium of the Texas AgriLife Research Station, 1619 Garner Field Road, Uvalde. The fruit of different pomegranate cultivars from around the world will be available for tasting. The fruit tasted is being grown in Texas, at the Uvalde and Pecos AgriLife stations and by TPGC members. Dr. Larry Stein is the advisor for the event. For additional information, contact Richard Ashton at or (325) 646-6857.

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

Austin: Learn to plant cool season vegetables with the Travis County Master Gardeners Association, 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., Friday, November 13, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office Demonstration Garden, 1600 "B" Smith Road, Austin. Learn how to plant seeds, which seeds need soaking, and proper transplanting methods. Planting using the square foot method and straight rows will be discussed during this hands-on session. For additional information, call (512) 854-9600 or visit

San Antonio: The Texas Invasive Plant & Pest Council will host the third statewide conference on invasive species, November 13 and 14, at Trinity University in San Antonio. The 2009 conference will be a professional-level meeting including keynotes, concurrent sessions, posters, field trips and symposia. This conference is designed to serve scientists, land managers, state and federal agents, local governments, the green industry, and other professionals interested in invasive species issues in Texas. To register or to learn more about the conference program, call for papers, abstract submissions, or sponsors and exhibitors, visit the 2009 Conference Web site at

Burnet: Join Master Gardener Sheryl Yantis for a free class on "Principles of Landscape Design Featuring Hill Country Gardens" in a Highland Lakes Master Gardener Green Thumb Program on Saturday, November 14 at 10 a.m. at the Herman Brown Free Library on the Town Square in Downtown Burnet. Visit for more information.

Houston: Urban Harvest's annual fruit tree sale will take place from 8 a.m. until noon, January 9, at the Rice University Football Station Concourse, Houston. The 2009 sale featured almost 6,000 trees and berries and the organizers except even more tree for this sale. For additional information, visit


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 at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month,  except December, at the Texas AgriLife Extension Bldg. at 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. An educational program preceeds the business meeting. The public is invited to attend. For topic or other information, call (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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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
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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.

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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 ●