February 3, 2010

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Hummingbirds. (Photos by William Scheick)

   The garden reader:
Winged sublimity in the garden

By William Scheick
University of Texas at Austin

Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air. DVD, 2010. $19.99.

Botany of Desire. DVD, 2009. $29.99.

This month the garden reader column features two garden viewer DVDs, both originally aired on PBS.

Hummingbirds are native only to the Americas, and in Texas we get to enjoy 18 or so migrating species of this smallest of earth’s warm-blooded creatures.

Incidentally, if you are interested in identifying the ones passing though your gardens, visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/texas_nature_trackers/hummingbird_roundup/identification/county_ecoregions/.

Anyone who has run afoul of incensed hummingbirds knows that these tiny cute avians are not all sweetness and light.

While helicoptering mere inches from my face, they have vociferously chided me for standing too close to their favorite flowers. And I have seen them fuss even more harshly at each other.

I have watched them intimidate butterflies plying the tiny orangey-red flowers of my Mexican hummingbird bushes (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii). And they have even tried to budge bees from the orange blooms of my trumpet creepers (Campsis radicans).

This is behavior I am able to see. Yet, there is so much about hummers that we are unable to see.

With hyper-active hearts sometimes beating over 1,000 times a minute and with wings exercising at about 100 times per second, hummingbirds move so rapidly that few of us can quite make out what they do, much less how they do it.

But now Ann Prum’s Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air relies on the latest filming technology, including an ability to capture 500 images a second, to render up-close, slow-motion images of hummingbirds in action.

The result is breathtaking, a gorgeous revelation — a film to awaken our sense of wonder again and again. Presently, it can be viewed for free at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/category/video/watch-full-episodes/.

Never mind that my hummer stats a few paragraphs back differ from those reported in the film. These mysterious birds just keep us guessing despite our latest equipment.

Of course, the documentary also features a host of exquisite flowers. It’s fun to identify them, and several of these floral hummer magnets can be grown in Texas gardens.

Watch in particular for two sequences involving a migrating ruby-throated hummingbird pilfering nectar from a wild candy corn cuphea. That and other cupheas will be highlighted in an article scheduled for a future issue of Texas Gardener.

In one of her lighter moods, poet Emily Dickinson celebrated hummingbirds. She playfully suggested that “every Blossom on the Bush / Adjusts its tumbled Head” to greet and accommodate the majestic little winged visitors.

I can’t say that I have ever seen that particular floral stunt any more than I have witnessed hummers snatching insect prey out of the air. But Dickinson’s image of cooperating flowers would appeal to Michael Pollan, who unequivocally asserts that plants respond and adjust to us, even use us as much as we use them.

In his book and its DVD version, both titled Botany of Desire, he provocatively announces that it is a failure of our imagination to think we are in charge, that we “call the shots,” when it comes to the horticultural history of plants.

In four discreet segments Pollan profiles apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes. These plants, he argues, have benefitted themselves by evolving in ways designed to satisfy us, particularly our yearnings for sweetness, beauty, inebriation and management.

In America, for example, apples expanded their geographic range in tandem with our own national expansion westward. Apples accomplished this feat by “remaking” themselves — they increased their sweetness over time specifically in response to our taste preferences.

Maybe. But even if you might not agree with every one of Pollan’s convictions, his informative and memorable history of these four plants offers wholesome food for thought.


Editor's Note: Gardening news is slow at the beginning of the year, 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 final of five gardening-themed short stories presented for your enjoyment. — Michael Bracken

Fertile Fiction
I Can’t Touch the Clouds for You

By Michael Bracken

The old man paused to inhale deeply. The scent of roses permeated the cool breeze flowing from one end of the corridor to the other. Around him, holographic images of flowers glistened with dew, birds flew overhead, and the horizon hinted of early morning. He even heard squirrels chattering.

From somewhere behind him, a child’s voice called out.

“What are you doing in here, Grandfather?” Sherry asked as she rushed up to his side.

“Just walking.” He brushed a gnarled hand through his thinning gray hair. He hadn’t been feeling well.

“Momma says you shouldn’t be in the corridors all alone,” she said.

“But I’m not,” he said. “I have my memories.”

Sherry smiled up at her grandfather. Momma said he had the fever, like some of the other old-timers. She said he was Earth sick and it was getting worse.

Sherry matched her grandfather’s pace and together they walked through the Rose Garden. After a few minutes of silence, she said, “It’s time to go back, Grandfather. Momma’s going to be worried.”

“Can’t you smell that?” he asked, waving his hand in the perfumed air. “This is as close to home as I ever get.

“As a child, I ran barefoot through wheat fields on my father’s farm and went swimming in the pond. Mosquitoes bit my bare arms and mud squished between my toes.

“We went into the city every month, and I rode elevators thousands of feet above the Earth. Once we even drove to the ocean and...”

Sherry interrupted. “Do you want me to call a cart, Grandfather?”

“Yes, please,” he said with a sigh.

She ran to an intercom. When the cart arrived, they stepped out of the Rose Garden and into the main corridor. Behind them, false dawn turned to darkness, the chatter of squirrels faded to silence, and the scent of roses turned to machinery oil.

A few days later, Sherry rode the elevator to the Moon’s surface. There, a small dome covered the only portion of the underground lunar city that extended above ground.

From the viewing station, she could see Earth beyond the horizon. It might be thousands of years before it was safe for repopulation, but someday they would return.

Sherry stared at Earth for a long time, trying to imagine her grandfather’s childhood. She had never seen real flowers, nor climbed trees, nor awakened to the crowing of a rooster.

Like her parents, Sherry had been born on the Moon. Her grandparents had been scientists stationed at one of the three research facilities. Barely more than 100,000 people stationed on the Moon had survived the last World War. Now only a few remembered what Earth had been like.

That night, Sherry’s grandfather picked at the cold, gray mush in his bowl, and then looked at her. “I remember picking apples from the trees on my father’s farm.”

Sherry swallowed her mouthful of mush.

“Green, sour apples bigger than my fist,” he said. “They crunched between my teeth.” He dropped his spoon into the bowl. “I’m not hungry.”

Sherry’s grandfather always complained about the food, but she had never known any different. They ate a protein-rich, vitamin-balanced paste, relying on artificial flavors to distinguish breakfast paste from dinner paste.

Her grandfather coughed into his fist and her mother comforted him. After they helped him to bed, Sherry’s mother told her, “He hasn’t much longer.”

The next day, Sherry stood in the hydroponics garden with her classmates, staring at some scraggly heads of lettuce.

“This is where the great gardens will be,” her teacher explained. “One of the first things the scientists began work on after the war was our diet.

“We were already eating nutritionally balanced meals, but many of the original settlers complained of blandness. First, the gardens were constructed, and then the genetic engineers began reproducing the few fruits and vegetables we had available to us.”

When she was certain that no one was watching, Sherry carefully removed a lettuce leaf and slipped it into her pocket.

“I brought this for you, Grandfather,” she said that night.

He opened his eyes and looked at the lettuce leaf. When he realized what it was, he slowly raised himself up on one elbow. “You shouldn’t have taken it.”

“I know.” Sherry knew something was wrong with her grandfather, and she wanted to make him happy.

He placed the tiny leaf in his mouth and chewed slowly. After he swallowed, he said, “Take me to the Rose Garden.”

“I can’t,” Sherry said. “Momma won’t...”

“Then I’ll go alone.” He rose from the bed, but lost his balance and fell against her.

“Grandfather, will you be OK?”

“I’ll be fine.”

Sherry called a cart and soon they were at the Rose Garden. As they stepped into the corridor, the garden came to life. The squirrels began chattering, the scent of roses filled the air, and images of birds flew across the projected sky.

Sherry sat on a bench beside her grandfather, and he wrapped one frail arm around her shoulders. Together they watched as the image of the sun slowly crept down the projected sky and the Rose Garden grew dark.

“This is as close as I’ll ever get to home, Sherry,” her grandfather said.

She hugged him silently.

“Remember Earth for me.”

Sherry’s grandfather fell asleep on the park bench.

He never awoke.

In addition to editing SEEDS, Michael Bracken is the Managing Editor of Texas Gardener, and the author of 11 books and 800 short stories. Learn more at www.CrimeFictionWriter.com.

“I Can’t Touch the Clouds for You” originally appeared in Sun (July 25, 2005). Reprinted by permission of the author.


 

Gardening tips

If you have a soggy spot in your landscape that takes days to drain after a big rain consider planting a bald cypress. Bald cypress will also grow where drainage is good, but it thrives in swampy soil and along creek beds.

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...

Broccoli raab is an interesting vegetable to add to the early spring garden. It resembles broccoli but is actually more related to turnips. It does not produce a large head like broccoli. Instead, it produces many flower shoots an inch or so across. These flower shoots, along with the stems and leaves, can all be harvested and are delicious when steamed or sautéed and mixed with pasta and parmesan cheese.


Upcoming garden events.

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.

Houston: The Houston Urban Gardeners will host a panel discussion — Getting Started: All the dirt on soil testing, irrigation systems, raised beds and more — at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 10, at the Houston Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Dr. in Hermann Park, Houston. For directions, call (713) 284-1989.

Georgetown: Jill Nokes, author of Yard Art and Handmade Places: Extraordinary Expressions of Home, will be the guest speaker at the Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas's meeting Thursday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Georgetown Public Library, Georgetown. For additional information, call Billye Adams at (512) 863-9636 or visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.

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.

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their annual Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale and Seminar on Saturday, February 13, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds - Building D, 4310 Highway 36S, Rosenberg. Heidi Sheesley, owner of TreeSearch Farms, will give an overview of plants at the sale at 8 a.m. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and will run until 1 p.m. or until sold out. Visit www.fbmg.com for more information on varieties that will be be on sale.

Tyler: The East Texas Spring Landscape and Gardening Conference will be held February 13 at the Tyler Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive, Tyler. Dr. Billy Higginbotham, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, will talk about controlling deer and wild hogs in the landscape and home gardens. Dr. Joseph G. Masabni will talk about “Home Vegetables – Getting Started and What’s New” in the morning session. Masabni, who works with both commercial and home vegetable growers statewide, will also talk about “Extending the Vegetable Harvest with High Tunnels” in the afternoon. "High tunnels” are greenhouses without additional heating and cooling, Masabni explained. High tunnels are effective in reducing pesticide use, extending the growing season, increasing yields and reducing nutrient-leaching in the soil. Monte Nesbitt, AgriLife Extension fruit specialist, College Station, will discuss “Fruit Gardening in the Landscape.” Detailed programming can be found  at http://easttexasgardening.tamu.edu/. Registration for the program is $15, payable by check or cash at the door at 7:30 a.m. The fee will include a catered lunch and refreshments at the breaks. Speakers will begin at 8:30 a.m. The program will conclude at 3:20 p.m. with the awarding of door prizes. For additional information, contact Keith Hansen at (903) 590-2980 or k-hansen2@tamu.edu.

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.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens will host its monthly Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 18, in room 110 of the Agriculture Building on Wilson Drive on the SFA campus. Celia Jones, from Gibsland, Louisiana, will present Granny’s Daffodils. Celia restored her grandmother’s Louisiana bulb farm and in the process learned that heirloom daffodils, jonquils, and narcissus were much more adapted to southern gardens than commercial Dutch daffodils. Celia’s grandmother, Annie Lou Holstun Jones, along with her helper Jake Gibson, propagated and cultivated naturalized bulbs gathered from roadsides and old homesteads to earn much-needed pocket money during the Depression. She later made enough to help send Celia’s father to college. After years of decline, Celia reclaimed the farm and cottage and created a lasting testimony to her grandmother’s love. Celia Jones is a member of the Southern Garden History Society and the American Daffodil Society. She and her husband, Steven Templin, are active foresters. The Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series is held the third Thursday of each month at the SFA Mast Arboretum in Nacogdoches. For more information, contact Greg Grant at (936) 468-1863 or grantdamon@sfasu.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.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

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