February 10, 2010

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Plant Life on Pandora

Weed Science Society of America

Scientist Jodie Holt typically spends her days researching thistles and other invasive weeds that can play havoc on planet Earth. But when the producers of the blockbuster Avatar called, she suddenly found herself immersed in the lush plant life of Pandora, the remote moon where much of the film’s action is based.

“The filmmakers were looking for someone to help actress Sigourney Weaver prepare for her role as a field botanist in the film,” says Holt, a Fellow of the Weed Science Society of America and Chair of the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California at Riverside. “I agreed to show her how someone in the profession would dress and behave and how to approach a plant to take samples.”

But Holt’s involvement soon broadened. She found herself using what she knows about plants and weeds to help filmmakers round out the new world they were creating.

When the book Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide was being created as a companion to both the movie and an Avatar videogame, Holt wrote a chapter on the flora of Pandora. It features vivid descriptions she created for an array of imaginary plants — from botanical characteristics to ecological details. She even established a simple taxonomy with both common and Latin names.

“It was one of the most fun aspects of the project,” she says.

Information from producer James Cameron on the moon’s environment became a starting point for deciding how plants in his imaginary world would have adapted. In the absence of a strong gravitational pull, for example, Holt explained that some plants would grow to gigantic heights and that roots wouldn’t always point down.

“Originally he wanted the plants to have a nervous system,” she said. “But I thought that was too far-fetched and suggested signal transduction instead. It’s a type of cell to cell communication that is being actively studied today, and it seemed credible to me that 150 years into the future, at the time the film is set, we would know a lot more about it.”

Many of the “nastier” plant characteristics Holt envisioned are directly informed by her background in weed science and botany, including exploding seed pods, caustic oils and resins, the ability to trap and digest small animals — and more.

One example: Pandora’s scorpion thistle (Scorpioflora maxima), also known as “poison-water plant,” exudes an acidic sap that can even eat through rock. It clears the soil at the base of the stalk and creates a nutrient-rich bed for seed germination. Holt’s inspiration was the artichoke thistle (Cynara cardunculus), her specialty back on Earth. It can produce hundreds of seeds from a single flower head that drop and germinate near the base of the parent plant.

“Fortunately it’s only on Pandora that weeds shoot poison-tipped darts,” she jokes. “If our weeds truly had some of these traits, we’d be in real trouble.”

Holt’s weed science background is perhaps best reflected in a short essay for the field guide on the dangers of introducing Pandora’s plants on planet Earth. It echoes the current-day concerns weed scientists have when plants are transported from their natural environment to someplace new. She writes that even seemingly benign species have the capacity to become weedy invaders that can “profoundly impact native biodiversity and permanently alter natural ecosystems.”

Though Holt’s father now calls her the “botanist to the stars” and both her son and nephew finally think she’s cool, she says one of the greatest rewards of the project is promoting an interest in weed science and botany.

“I’m a teacher at heart, and it’s exciting to see how the movies can teach while they entertain,” she says.


Invasive species watch: Emerald ash borer

By Buddy Gough
The Nature Conservancy of Texas

Guardians of forest health in the eastern half of the United States have their own mission of security: tracking and monitoring an invasive pest known as the emerald ash borer beetle. The iridescent green Asian beetle is only a half-inch long, but is capable of altering entire native ecosystems wherever it spreads.

Thought to have arrived in the U.S. in the early 1990s as a stowaway on cargo ships, the invasive insect has killed tens of millions of ash trees on its alarming march of destruction through 10 states.

Emerald ash borers were first detected in Michigan in 2002 and subsequently in Ohio in 2003, Indiana in 2004, Illinois and Maryland in 2006, Pennsylvania and West Virginia in 2007, Wisconsin, Missouri and Virginia in 2008 and Minnesota, New York and Kentucky in 2009. The southerly spread of the beetle into Missouri has now put Arkansas and Texas on the watch list.

Although adult beetles will feed on ash leaves, it’s the voracious larvae imbedded beneath the bark that do the killing, putting a risk all 16 species of the estimated 15 billion ash trees found in forests, cities and suburbs in North America.

While an individual emerald ash borer can only move a short distance, the species’ rapid spread is believed to have been caused by businesses and individuals unknowingly transporting the insects in firewood, logs and nursery trees — a theory supported by the frequency of infestations found near campground.

The affected states have established quarantines to prevent the transport of potentially infested ash wood, and The Nature Conservancy and partners are encouraging campers, landscapers and anyone else who may come in contact with emerald ash borers to help stop the spread of costly invasive species.

According to Dr. Jim Bergan, director of science and stewardship for The Nature Conservancy of Texas, there are many ways to help. “For campers, ‘buy where you burn’ is the best motto,” said Bergan. “instead of bringing in potentially infested firewood, buy wood within 50 miles of your campsite.”

Dr. Bergan also advises being alert for potential infestations by looking for small, D-shaped holes in the bark of ash trees where adult emerald ash borers may have exited. “Trees getting a lot of attention from woodpeckers are another sign,” he adds. “Emerald ash borer larvae are a favorite food of woodpeckers.

Any potential infestations detected should be reported to the Texas Forest Service or your local county extension agent.

For more information about The Nature Conservancy's work in Texas, including other invasive species we help control, visit nature.org/texas.


 

Gardening tips

The best time to prune shrubs like hollies, boxwood, ligustrums and photinias is in late winter, just before spring breaks. Don’t be shy — clip them back by a third or so if they have outgrown their bounds. Otherwise, there is no need to prune them at all.

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...

Henry David Thoreau from Walden Pond fame found the sun-loving summer annual that we call portulaca portulaca grandiflora growing in a cornfield, boiled it and had it for dinner, claiming it was satisfactory.


Upcoming garden events.

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.

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.

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.

Lindheimer: The monthly meeting of the Lindheimer Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 18, at the AgriLife Building, 325 Resource Drive, Lindheimer. Ray Laxson, will speak about "Those Amazing Whitetails, But Enough Already." The talk will include the lifecycle of whitetails and include an update on efforts to manage whitetail population growth. Laxson, an engineer by education and a naturalist at heart, operates his property near Spring Branch as a Wildlife Management Area. He has also raised whitetail deer for a number of years under a TPWD program called the Scientific Whitetail Breeder Program. The public is welcome.

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.

Tomball: Chef Chris Crowder & Jeremy Kollaus will present “From the Garden to the Table,” Saturday, February 20, at 10 a.m. at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. Chris and Jeremy combine their knowledge of gardening and cooking talents for healthy culinary delights. For additional information, visit www.arborgate.com or call (281) 351-8851.

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.

Tomball: Anne Mahon, Nutritionist, will present “Green Eating,” Tuesday, February 23, at 10 a.m. at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. This energetic nutritionist and mother will teach the benefits of organic gardening. For additional information, visit www.arborgate.com or call (281) 351-8851.

Tomball: Linda Crum, Texas Master naturalist, will present “Attracting Bluebirds To Your Garden,” Thursday, February 25, at 10 a.m. at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. Experience how easy it is to attract and protect the bluebirds in your garden. For additional information, visit www.arborgate.com or call (281) 351-8851.

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.

Tomball: Bill Adams & Tom Le Roy will present “Vegetable Gardening,” Saturday, February 27, at 10 a.m. at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. Experienced and novice gardener alike will be educated and entertained by these experts. For additional information, visit www.arborgate.com or call (281) 351-8851.

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.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardeners Association will hold a "Spring Fever" Symposium March 6 at its new VEG Pavilion, located at 283 Bachelor Dr., Victoria. Topics will include creating cut flower arrangements, running a vineyard and making wine, and selecting unique perennials. Brunch will be served. Early registration will be $30 through March 1, and thereafter cost will be $35. For more information telephone Victoria County Extension Office at (361) 741-9148 or visit www.VCMGA.org for a printable brochure and registration form.

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.

Austin: Enjoy juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and delectable green beans straight from your garden. Learn how to plant and maintain a spring vegetable garden from Master Gardener Vegetable Specialist and Texas Gardener Contributing Writer Patty Leander, who will share her expertise on vegetable varieties that perform well in Central Texas, recommended planting times, and composting Saturday, March 13, from10 a.m. until noon, at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. This seminar is loaded with basic facts and helpful ideas, useful to both new and experienced vegetable gardeners. This seminar is free and open to the public. This is one of our most popular seminars, so please come early to get a seat. Presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For information, visit www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Master Gardeners desk at (512) 854-9600.

Nacogdoches: The Stephen F. Austin State University Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden will host the annual Nacogdoches Azalea Trail Symposium March 13 in Room 110 of the Agriculture Building on Wilson Drive on the SFA Campus in Nacogdoches. Noted Texas A&M horticulturist Dr. William C. Welch will be the featured speaker. Dr. Welch will share his enthusiasm for camellias and other heirloom plants in his lecture "A Passion for Camellias." Dr. Welch is the author of Perennial Garden Color, Antique Roses for the South, The Southern Heirloom Garden, and The Bountiful Flower Garden. Southern Heirloom Gardening by William Welch and Texas Gardener Contributing Editor Greg Grant will be published by Texas A&M Press in the spring of 2011. Bill Welch is a regular contributor to Southern Living magazine. His homes and gardens have been featured in books and articles throughout the South, and he was recently presented the Great Gardeners Award by the American Horticulture Society. In his lecture, Dr. Welch will present the many benefits of adding fall-blooming Camellia sasanqua and spring-blooming Camellia japonica to residential azalea gardens. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.; the program is from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Lunch is provided, followed by tips on pruning camellias, propagating azaleas, and a guided tour of the SFA Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden by Barbara Stump and Dr. Welch. The symposium is sponsored by SFA Gardens and the Texas Chapter of the Azalea Society of America. Admission is $30 to SFA Gardens members and $40 to non-members. For more information and to register, contact the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau at (888) OLDEST-TOWN or www.nacogdochesazaleas.com. For information about the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, e-mail sfagardens@sfasu.edu or call Barbara Stump (936) 468-4129.

Rosenberg: Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their annual Perennial Sale and Seminar on Saturday, March 13 at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds, Building D, 4310 Highway 365, Rosenberg. At 8 a.m., Heidi Sheesley, owner of TreeSearch Farms, will give an overview of plants at the sale. The sale will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 1 p.m. or until sold out. Visit www.fbmg.com for more information about varieties that will be on sale.

Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardeners will hold a plant sale at 9 a.m., March 20, at 9020 FM 1484, Conroe. Beginning at 8 a.m., Tom LeRoy will discuss sale items. For additional information, call (936) 539-7824.

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.

Austin: Cool Plants for the Shade Garden is a free, in-the-garden discussion to be held Friday, April 9, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. in the Demonstration Garden at AgriLife Extension Office of Travis County, 1600B Smith Rd., Austin. See some of the shade loving plants growing and learn about other perennials and annuals which require limited sun. This seminar is free and open to the public. It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For information, visit http://www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis County Master Gardener's help desk at (512) 854-9600.

Stephenville: The annual Native & Heirloom Plant Fair will be held Saturday, April 17 on the grounds of the beautiful Stephenville Museum in Stephenville.  A wide variety of vendors offer native & adapted plants, herbs, garden supplies, concessions, books, produce, yard art, seeds, and arts & crafts. Informative speakers will share gardening ideas. Vendor space is free; contact Russell for details at pfau@tarleton.edu or (254) 968-9761. For additional information, visit http://www.stephenville.com/museum/.

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association will present DIY Pond Building, Wednesday, April 28, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Always dreamed of a little pond in your yard? Not only can you have one but you can build it yourself. Attend this free seminar and learn step-by-step lessons on the basics of building a pond yourself. This seminar will help you determine the supplies and equipment needed for the job, gather information about pond plants, and determine which fish will do well in your pond. In addition, hear instructions on general pond maintenance, installing pond lighting and how to prevent unwanted critters in your pond. This seminar is free and open to the public. For more details, visit http://www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis County Master Gardener's help desk at (512) 854-9600.

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.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Daylily Society Show and Sale will be held Saturday, May 15, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels, San Antonio. For additional information, call (210)-824-9981.

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.


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