January 27, 2010

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Top 10 cool-season plants from the Dallas Arboretum Trial Gardens

By Jimmy Turner
Director of Horticulture Research
Dallas Arboretum

One of the great advantages of gardening in Texas is our long, cool falls and usually mild winters that allow us to garden year-round. This is why Texas is the leading market for pansy and other cool-season crops such as dianthus and snapdragons. As a home gardener, though, which varieties of the 100s of pansies, violas, snapdragons and dianthus should you choose from? Well, we've done the work for you! Every winter the Dallas Arboretum's Trial Garden is filled with thousands of plant entries in our constant search for the best varieties to use in our area, and I've listed my favorite varieties of our most-used cool-season annuals to help you out.

Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana). Pansies are the most common cool-season bedding plant in Texas for a good reason. They consistently perform and they come in every color. But something most Texans don't know is that bigger flowers do not mean better plants. We've found that the mid-sized varieties flower more, return faster after hard freezes and last longer in the heat. The best performers historically in our trials are the 'Nature' and 'Panola' series of pansies. They have compact plants with 2.5-inch flowers in many colors that are held just above the foliage.

Violas (Violacomuta). If you really want a lot of color for your money, then choose the smaller-flowered violas, Believe it or not, plant-for-plant vs. pansies they deliver more flower power. They show wonderfully from a distance because there are so many blooms, and the plants are tough. The best-scoring varieties for us have been the 'Sorbet' series, 'Penny' series and the 'Skippy XL' series. Truthfully, there isn't a bad viola out there!

Dianthus (Dianthus x hybridus). Who doesn't love sweet-scented dianthus flowers? These carnation relatives are one of our favorite fall- and winter-planted annuals because they love alkaline soil. Though they may not flower heavily through the winter months, if planted now they will explode into huge flower displays in early spring. There are numerous choices in this group, but the varieties that have performed best for us are "Elation,' 'Telstar' and 'Floral Lace' series. All form compact plants with large flower heads lasting into the spring. If you want something a little taller, try the 2-tall 'Amazon' series dianthus, which produces softball-sized flower heads on glossy foliage.

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus). For best performance, they should be planted in the fall. When it comes to picking varieties your first thought should be how tall you would like them to be as they range in size from 6"-tall little balls to 5'-tall plants. My favorite dwarf variety is currently the 'Chimes' series, which tops out at 10" tall. It has the classic upright spike flower we most relate with snapdragons. If you want something a little taller, go for the 'La Bella' series, which will reach 18" to 20". This series also has open-type flowers that don't "snap." For the taller types, look for the 'Liberty' and 'Sonnet' series. Both of these get to 2- to 2.5-feet tall with large spikes of flowers.

Iceland Poppies (Papaver nudicaule). Everyone knows what poppies are but few gardeners realize that this particular group does exceptionally well as a cool-season annual in Texas. If fall planted, Iceland poppies will grown into 10" mounds of light green foliage all winter, rewarding you in mid-spring with hundreds of 5"-across flowers in shades of apricot-bronze, orange, pink, scarlet, yellow, and creamy white. The variety that has performed the best for us is 'Champagne Bubbles.'

Linaria hybrida 'Enchantment.' A beautiful plant with a terrible common name: "Toadflax." This winter-flowering annual has very fragrant blooms of intense magenta with a gold center that are produced continuously. Wonderful addition to winter containers, or try under-planting it with spring flowering bulbs.

Erysimum species 'Citrona' Series. This exceptionally floriferous annual has performed well and delighted us the last few years in our trial garden. Bright orange or yellow, sweetly scented flowers last from fall until spring. Wonderful mixed with pansies or violas in containers.

Digitalis purpurea 'Camelot.' Everyone knows what foxglove is, but did you know it makes a great spring flowering annual for us? That is, if you remembered to plant them in the garden before January. Fill the gaps in your perennial border with this winter-hardy plant and your garden will be filled with 4-ft. tall spikes of the classic flower. We like the 'Camelot' series because it forms multiple flower spikes and doesn't need staking. Just remember in Texas this plant is a winter annual only.

Ornamental Kale (Brassica oleracea). The garden isn't always about flowers, but sometimes ornamental foliage. Ornamental Kale is indispensable to the winter landscape. There are just not many choices for fall plants to use in the back of the bed or in containers. For that reason three of my favorite kale varieties are big! 'Red Bor' is my absolute favorite with deep burgundy red foliage from early fall until April. This plant will easily reach 3 feet tall and look perfect all winter long. 'Feather' and 'Peacock' kale both form large rosettes of deep red or white colored leaves that can reach 3 ft. across. All kale are heavy feeders so fertilize them a couple of times over the season.

Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus). This relative of the edible globe artichoke is guaranteed to get your neighbors talking. The silvery arching foliage will form a 3-foot across clump during the winter and in spring large bright blue thistle-like flowers appear. I use these in mass plantings and as container accent plants. Not only is it beautiful, the young tender stems taste like artichokes.

Editor's Note: Gardening news is slow in January, and many gardeners are unable to work in their gardens during winter. We thought you might enjoy a change of pace during this slow season, so following is the fourth of five gardening-themed short stories we are presenting for your enjoyment. — Michael Bracken

Fertile Fiction
War of the Roses

By Stephen D. Rogers

Tapping my steering wheel to the song on the radio, I suddenly found myself tailgating the van in front of me. Before slowing down, I read the signs "How am I driving?" followed by a telephone number and "This vehicle makes frequent and unusual stops."

I wondered for a moment how many people actually called to report bad driving, and how often it was justified. Then, as if to illustrate an unusual stop, the van swung off the road and smashed into a tree.

Too shocked to react quickly enough, I pulled over and ran back to check on the driver.

The florist delivery van had done its best to climb the tree, and I looked away from the smashed area of the windshield (concentric circles which sparkled red) to tug at the front door until it opened.

The driver was leaning forward against his seatbelt, blood running down his face to drip off the end of his nose and chin.

"Are you all right?"

He slowly turned to face me. "I think I just lost my job."

"Don't move. Do you have a radio or a telephone in here?" I had neither, and hadn't seen anyone else on the road for probably fifteen minutes.


Going around the back of the van, I opened the passenger door and climbed in to call 911, glad to be able to talk to someone who could take responsibility. "Is it safe to move the driver?"

"It's probably best not to unless the vehicle is on fire. Just wait with the driver until the ambulance arrives. Get a blanket if you have one."

I ignored the conflicting nature of the orders to run back to my car, opening my trunk for the blanket I kept there to warm myself in case of car problems on a cold, lonely road. The idea of this old blanket soaking up the blood of the van driver was almost enough to make me sick.

Back at the van, I tucked the blanket around him. "Does it hurt?"

"People are crazy."

Unable to follow his answer (although secretly agreeing with his point), I simply nodded as I looked around the interior of the van. This was my first accident and I felt more than a little helpless. Taking a deep breath, I tried to be dispatcher-calm. "Why did you drive off the road?"

"Plant food."

I nodded as if the answer made sense. The driver must have hit his head harder than was healthy, and perhaps he had a concussion. I resisted the urge to call 911 again for more information (and reassurance).

The driver continued. "He must have put plant food in the brake fluid."


"They've always hated each other."

"Who?" I wasn't sure if getting him to talk was good or bad, but I'd rather he talk than pass out on me.

"Foster and Parades. Until I wrecked the van, I worked at Foster Florist."

"You think Foster put plant food in your brake fluid?"

"No, Parades. Parades Plants and Foster Florist have always been at war. Last year, they almost put each other out of business because they kept trying to undercut each other on roses, which is the usually money-maker. This year has been the worst."

"Why?" I started to feel like a reporter, and was glad for the opportunity to distance myself from the situation.

"Parades started it. He sent a bouquet to Foster wishing him a prosperous new year."

Even though I hadn't been in an accident, my head too was beginning to hurt. "Parades shouldn't have sent Foster flowers?"

"It was an iron fist beneath the velvet petal glove. They're enemies. While the bouquet might have seemed like a thoughtful gesture to an outsider, in reality it was an insult."

"I don't know much about the flower business."

The driver shifted in his seat. "Foster got his revenge by sending Parades a much bigger bouquet for Groundhog Day."

"I see," I said though I didn't.

"Then Parades sent one to Foster on President's Day that was even bigger. On and on it went, each trying to outdo the other with extravagant arrangements of rare blooms."

"Kill with kindness I guess." I wondered what was taking the ambulance so long.

"Then they got silly. Foster placed an ad in the newspaper claiming a 50% discount on all purchases at Parades Plants. Parades bought radio time claiming a Foster Florist Going Out Of Business Sale."

I chuckled. "You have to admit that it's kind of funny."

"Then things turned ugly. Foster sent someone to Parades Plants to salt a flower bed. Parades sent someone to Foster Florist with a bottle of Japanese beetles."

"I always thought of florists as sensitive people."

"Then things turned violent. Foster ordered flowers delivered from Parades Plants, and had the delivery person beat up."

What if the driver was talking so much because this was a deathbed confession? "Did Parades call the police?"

"No, Parades called Foster to say that there was more than one use for plant food. We've been waiting a week to find out what it was. Now we know."

I shook my head at the story. "Have you ever thought about a less risky line of business?"

"Flowers are what I know."

"It sounds like guerilla warfare is what you know. I had no idea that the flower trade was so competitive."

"Florists learn about competition from the flowers."

"Flowers are competitive?" I was beginning to wonder if the driver hadn't been dipping into the plant food before he crashed.

"If flowers weren't competing for the attention of the insects and animals needed to cross-pollinate, flowers would all look the same. Their beauty is a direct result of competition."

"I never thought of it that way. Ah, there's the ambulance."

In fact, there were two ambulances racing towards us, one coming from the north and one coming from the south. Remembering the competition in the health-care field, I began to wonder if this was such a safe place to be.

See what else Stephen is growing at his Web site, www.stephendrogers.com.

"War of the Roses" originally appeared in Greenprints magazine (Summer 2002). Reprinted by permission of the author.

The compost heap
Protection from cutworm damage

"This appeared in the most recent newsletter ('Gardening Tips,' Seeds, January 20, 2010)," writes Allan Cruickshanks. "Damage to young seedlings that appears “overnight” is often caused by cutworms. To protect against cutworm damage, place a margarine bowl, coffee can or other container with the bottom cut out over each plant. If you can’t locate any appropriate containers push a short stick, the diameter of pencil, into the soil along side each seedling to prevent damage.'

"Two questions. Do you cover the seedling just at night? Is the can open at both ends or just one?"

You should remove both ends of the container before placing it over the plant. It should be left on the plant both day and night — no reason to remove. — Chris S. Corby, Publisher


Gardening tips

"In addition to the vines mentioned in the tip January 13," writes Cindy Pierce, "there are a few other plants that I have personally found do the trick in attracting hummingbirds. Cypress Vine (a very beautiful, dainty, fern-like vine with red blooms also called Cardinal Climber), Turks Cap and Autumn Sage will welcome the little hummers to your landscape as well!"

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...

Did you know that T. V. Munson (1843-1913), the noted Texas horticulturist, developed over 300 grape varieties specifically for Texas and the rest of the southwest, but he is best known for saving the world’s wine industry from the phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century. His solution was to graft those puny French grapes onto some disease-resistant native Texas rootstock and the rest is history!

Upcoming garden events.

Joshua: The Johnson County Junior Master Gardener After School Program begins January 27. Classes will be held from 3:45 p.m. until 4:45 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month until May 28. Students aged 7 through 11 will learn the basics of Back Yard Habitat Gardening and earn their Wildlife Gardener Certification while studying bluebirds and other wildlife. There is a supply fee of $15. To register, or for more information, call Pat Kriener at (817) 793-4625.

Overton: Speakers at the East Texas Turfgrass Conference, set February 4 at Overton, will cover a variety of management issues, ranging from disease updates to weed identification and control of feral hogs in urban and suburban settings. The conference will be held at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton. Registration is $25 and will include lunch, refreshments and educational materials. Holders of Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide applicator licenses will receive 5.5 continuing education units. The program is designed for professionals who maintain school districts grounds, city parks and recreation facilities, and commercial lawn and landscape companies. Homeowners and Master Gardeners may find the information useful, too. Registration for the program is payable by check or cash on the day of the event. Checks should be made payable to: TCE Account no. 218305-60001. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and the conference will adjourn at 3:10 p.m. The Overton center is located approximately 2 miles north of Overton on FM 3053 N. Maps and driving directions can be found online at http://overton.tamu.edu/maps.htm. For more information, contact Dennis Smith at (903) 236-8428 or dg-smith@tamu.edu.

Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners will present a program on vegetable gardening during their monthly education program at 6:30 p.m., February 8, at the Citizens Center, 209 SW Barnard, Glen Rose. For additional information, contact Shirley D. Smith at somervellmg@gmail.com.

Buchanan Dam: Master Gardener Robert Yantis will present "Living with Purple Martins" at a free Green Thumb program as part of the Lakeshore Library Speakers Series, at 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 9, at the Library located 7346 Hwy 261, 3.6 miles past the intersection with RM 1431 in Buchanan Dam.

Fort Worth: Fort Worth Botanic Garden is seeking volunteers to assist with. Butterflies in the Garden, a living exhibit of 12,000 exotic butterflies in the tropical conservatory, February 27 through April 4. To volunteer, contact Gail Manning at gail.manning@fortworthgov.org with your choice of training date. You must attend one of the training sessions (Tuesday, February 9, 9 a.m. to noon; Saturday, February 13, 9 a.m. to noon; or Tuesday, February 16, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and volunteer for a minimum of five shifts.

Pearland: The Harris County Master Gardener Association will present a program on vegetable gardening, from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, February 9, at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Austin: "Growing Your Own Potatoes" will be presented from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., Saturday, February 13 at the Texas AgriLife Extension Office of Travis Country, 1600-B Smith, Road, Austin. This hands-on demonstration includes planting potatoes in the ground and in baskets, recommended varieties, and tips for success. The demonstration presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association is free, open to the public and requires no reservations. For additional information, visit http://www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis County Master Gardener's help desk at (512) 854-9600.

Seabrook: Ed Self, president of the the local chapter of the Rare Fruit Society, will speak on the various citrus trees that do well in the Houston area, as part of the Harris County Master Gardener Association's Master Gardener Lecture Series, at 10 a.m., February 17, in the Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside) 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. For additional information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardeners will hold a Fruit and Nut sale from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. (or until all the plants are sold) February 23 at the Texas AgriLife Extension office, 9020 FM1484, Conroe. More than 3,000 plats will be available for sale and Tom LeRoy will present a program at 8 a.m., prior to the sale. For additional information call (936) 539-7882 or visit www.montgomerycountymastergardeners.org.

Highland Lakes: Classes to become a Master Gardener in the Highland Lakes area will start on February 23 in Marble Falls. Visit www.tinyurl.com/hlmgws to get full information on classes for Burnet and eastern Llano Counties.

Austin: Roses aren't just for Valentine's Day — they can bring color and sweet smells to your garden year-round! “Everything’s Coming Up Roses!” a free seminar on selecting, planting and caring for roses in your garden, presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association, will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., Saturday, February 27, at the Demonstration Garden at AgriLife Extension Office of Travis County, 1600 B Smith Rd, Austin. Following the presentation portion of the seminar, a hands-on demonstration of pruning roses in the Extension Demonstration Garden will take place. Seminar leaders will discuss site selection, soil amendments, and bed preparations plus showcase a number of Earth Kind Roses worthy of consideration in your garden. This seminar is free and open to the public. Space is limited so please call the Travis County Master Gardener's desk at (512) 854-9600 to reserve a spot. It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. http://www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Pasadena: The Harris County Master Gardener Spring Sale will be held from 9:15 a.m. until 1 p.m., Saturday, February 27, at Campbell Hall at the Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Red Bluff Road, Pasadena. At 8 a.m. prior to the sale will be a variety of seminars, including: a plant sale preview with Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms; "Backyard Citrus Care" with Herman Auer; and "Growing Tomatoes and Peppers" with Dr. Carol Brouwer, County Extension Agent for Horticulture. For additional information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Schertz: Grow Local Festival will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, February 27, at the Schertz Civic Center, 1400 Schertz Parkway. Hosted by Guadalupe County Master Gardeners. Admission: $5.00 for adults, children under 18 free. Includes a complimentary Gardener Goodie Bag. Thinking about putting in a vegetable garden this spring? Don’t know what to do to get started? Need to know about those bugs in your garden? Then this may be the place for you to be. Seminars include "Spring Vegetable Gardening" by Patty Leander, a Texas Gardener contributing writer, from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and "Good Bugs, Bad Bugs" by Molly Keck from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Get advice from local experts on gardening and landscaping. Shop for bedding plants and seeds, annuals, fruit trees and other quality garden products. For more information visit www.growlocalfestival.com.

Houston: The River Oaks Garden Club will host the 75th Anniversary Azalea Trail. March 5, 6, and 7. Azalea Trail features tours of four private homes and three well-known historic sites: Bayou Bend, Rienzi and River Oaks Garden Club Forum of Civics Building and Gardens. Tickets for seven admissions: $15 before March 1, $20 during the event, or $5 per location. For additional information, visit www.riveroaksgardenclub.org or call (713) 523-2483.

Kingsland: Learn how to propagate your favorite plants from Master Gardener and expert propagator Rose Lackey at a free program presented by the Kingsland Garden Club on Friday, March 5, at the Kingsland Library at 1:15 p.m. Rose has taught propagation techniques at the Master Gardener certification classes for many years. Visit http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/events.aspx for information about upcoming events in the Highland Lakes area.

Kingsland: Join Master Gardener Violet Carson for an interesting and informative presentation on Spring Vegetable Gardening at a free Green Thumb program from the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners and the Kingsland Library Lunch & Learn series at noon on Wednesday, March 10, at the Kingsland Library. The Master Gardeners will provide drinks and dessert. Visit http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/greenthumb.aspx for information on the Green Thumb Program and how you can be notified of our free programs.

Austin: “Starting Your Vegetable Garden Right” a seminar about soil and the first steps of starting a vegetable garden, will increase participants’ vegetable gardening knowledge. Learn about soil amendments, the correct way to prepare and handle transplants and how to prepare and plant seeds. This demonstration presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association is free, open to the public and will be held: Friday, March 12, 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., at the Demonstration Garden at AgriLife Extension Office of Travis County, 1600B Smith Rd., Austin. For additional information, call (512) 854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Tyler: The East Texas Orchid Society will host "The Golden Age of Orchids Show," 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday, March 27, and noon until 4 p.m., Sunday, March 28, at Discovery Science Place Annex, 302 N. Broadway, Tyler. For additional information, visit www.centraleasttexasorchidsociety.org.

Waxahachie: The Ellis County Master Gardeners will hold their 10th Annual Lawn & Garden Expo on Saturday, March 27, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Waxahachie Civic Center, IH-35E and 287 Bypass. Neil Sperry will be the keynote speaker. More than 100 exhibitors will be selling and promoting lawn and garden-related products. Ellis Master Gardeners will hold workshops throughout the day, and there will be a children's workshop area and door prizes. For additional information, visit www.ecmga.com or call (972) 825-5175.

Houston: Dr. Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, will speak in Hamman Hall, Rice University, on Wednesday, March 31. The event begins with a social at 6:30 p.m. Tallamy's lecture begins at 7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion from 8 until 8:30 p.m. For parking information, visit http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~hamman/parking.htm. For additional information, call Houston Audubon, (713) 932-1693.

Rockport: The 10th Annual Hidden Gardens Tour by Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, May 8. Tickets are $10 and are available from the Aransas County Texas AgriLife Extension office, 611 E. Mimosa. In the event of rain, the tour will be rescheduled for May 15. For additional information, call (361) 790-0103.

Nacogdoches: The Stephen F. Austin State University Pineywoods Native Plant Center will host the 5th Lone Star Regional Native Plant Conference June 2-5 in Nacogdoches. The conference will be held on the SFA campus, home to the Mast Arboretum, the Ruby Mize Azalea Garden , and the 40-acre Pineywoods Native Plant Center. Join a unique blend of naturalists, horticulturists, nurserymen, landscapers, and gardeners and for talks ranging from green roofs to landscape design and native azaleas, guided tours featuring unique local flora, and educational workshops. Registration begins February 1. For more information, visit http://arboretum.sfasu.edu or contact Dawn Stover at (936) 468-4404 or dparish@sfasu.edu.


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

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

Allen: The Allen Garden Club meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, February through December, at the Allen Heritage Center, 100 E. Main St., Allen. For more information, visit www.allengardenclub.org.

Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit www.main.org/aog.

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 http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu or call (281) 991-8437.

Schertz: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) meets the second Tuesday of each month 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 guadalupecounty@npsot.org.

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

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 http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.

Orange: The Orange County Master Gardeners meet at the Salvation Army in Orange on the second Thursday of each month. A covered-dish dinner at 6:30 p.m. is followed by a speaker and business meeting at 7 p.m.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels (corner of Funston & N. New Braunfels). For more information on programs, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org.

College Station: The A&M Garden Club meets on the second Friday of each month during the school year at 9:30 a.m. at the 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 www.sallysfamilyplace.com/Clubs/GardenClub.htm.

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

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 http://www.jcmga.org/.

Arlington: The Arlington Men's Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month (except December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact Lance Jepson at LJepson@aol.com.

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

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

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 www.somervellmastergardener.org.

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

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 http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

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

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

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets 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 www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

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 www.dogc.org.

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

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

Texas Wildscapes:
Gardening for Wildlife

By Kelly Conrad Bender

NEW EDITION of the popular Texas Parks & Wildlife book, now with fully searchable DVD containing all the plant and animal information you need to customize your backyard habitat.

Whether you have an apartment balcony or a multi-acre ranch, the Texas Wildscapes program provides the tools you need to make a home for all the animals that will thrive in the native habitat you create.

In Texas Wildscapes, Kelly Conrad Bender identifies the kinds of animals you can expect when you give them their three basic needs: food, water, and shelter. She then provides guidelines for designing and planting your yard or garden to best provide these requirements for the many birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates the environment will attract.

$31.88 includes tax and shipping

Order online with credit card at www.texasgardener.com 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 20 (November/December 2000 through September/October 2001),
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

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

*Other volumes will be available soon.

Doug Welsh's Texas Garden Almanac

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

$26.63 plus shipping*

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

*Mention Texas Gardener’s Seeds when ordering by phone and we’ll waive shipping charges. (Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

Fiber row cover valuable year-round

Grow-Web encourages plant growth and development, and also provides protection from insects, birds, diseases and frosts. It is also air and water permeable and allows for ventilation. Grow-Web provides excellent protection to seedlings when applied directly to the seedbed.

$30.64 per 12.3’ x 32.8’ roll (includes shipping!)

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

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

Texas Gardener’s Seeds
is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2010. All rights reserved. You may forward this publication to your friends and colleagues if it is sent in its entirety. No individual part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.

Missed an issue? Back issues of Texas Gardener’s Seeds are available at www.texasgardener.com/newsletters.

Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

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