April 7, 2010

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Buddy up to an anole for organic snail control. (Photo by William Scheick)

The garden reader:
Going compostal

By William Scheick
University of Texas at Austin

Annie Spiegelman. Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva’s Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening. Perigee [Penguin], 2010. $15.00.

If you are still fairly new to gardening and hoping to get really serious about it, you will find Annie Spiegelman’s Talking Dirt to be a handy companion.

It is an easygoing work written in a populist manner. “My plan was,” the author explains, “to compress, simplify, and put a little clown hat on all the scientific research, jargon, and botanical gobbledygook.”

With excellent design features, including “Don’t Be a Chump” boxes and beautiful plant drawings, Talking Dirt offers a step-by-step guide to organic gardening. It can be read from beginning to end as a whole or it can be consulted, as needed, topic by topic.

A detailed table of contents and a conscientiously constructed index aid readers inclined to skip to the parts pertinent to their immediate needs.

As an attractive bonus, Talking Dirt often provides useful information on print and electronic sources for readers seeking more detailed discussions of a subject. The topics of the book range from conditioning soil and growing native plants to harvesting vegetables and cultivating roses.

“Roses Are My Weakness,” Spiegelman bluntly confesses in a chapter title. Rose addicts, she admits, “seem somewhat normal on the outside but we’re not.” Their most determined efforts to stop “adding just one more rose” never take root.

“We’re done” until “we realize we can get rid of some other boring shrub and plant another English rose there instead. No one will suspect. We’ll divide and conquer at dark wearing a ski mask.”

Her admitted rose addiction aside, it’s to the author’s credit that she draws attention to heirloom seed saving efforts and also takes a stand against polluting pesticides, artificial fertilizers, leaf blowers and outmoded lawns. She cites, for example, a 2007 research finding “that spending an hour mowing your lawn can spew nearly the same amount of oily pollution into the air as a 100-mile car trip.”

Sometimes Talking Dirt can be a bit too succinct and could benefit from a productive cautionary tweak here and there.

Cocoa hulls, for instance, do indeed “look awesome, and [their] chocolate scent is scrumptious.” But dogs find them enticing, too.

That’s unfortunate because studies have shown cocoa hulls to contain the same chemicals which make chocolate dangerous to dogs. So using this mulch might imperil your or a neighbor’s pet.

In another instance, Talking Dirt recommends iron phosphate products for snail management, but fails to add that these pellets kill all snails, including eco-beneficial ones. So the die-hard organic gardener is left with handpicking snails and buddying up to anoles or toads.

And wouldn’t it be helpful when mentioning bone meal as a good phosphorus source to suggest a little care about applying it? While there is (to my knowledge) no evidence that anyone has contracted bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) from specifically American-rendered bone meal, advising care in handling this product seems sensible.

But enough whistle-blowing. Any breezy approach to a subject has limitations, and it’s also true (I’ve learned the hard way, alas) that no book is perfect.

Appreciated as an introductory gardening handbook, Talking Dirt is readable, reliable and recommended.



Mulching. (Photo courtesy Melinda Myers LLC)
Spring into the garden season

Make this your best gardening season yet. Melinda Myers, nationally known horticulturist and gardening expert, suggests you “invest a bit of time now to ensure a bountiful harvest and beautiful landscape throughout the season.”

Start by caring for spring flowering bulbs. Water thoroughly, if needed, and fertilize established plantings as the leaves appear. Myers likes to use a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer because it will give bulbs a blooming boost.

Remove spent flowers on tulips and hyacinths to direct the energy back into the bulbs instead of setting seeds. Do the same to improve the appearance of daffodils. And, if you are overrun with grape hyacinths and squills, a little deadheading will help slow them down.

Keep the leaves on your bulbs until they naturally yellow and dry. The leaves produce energy needed for beautiful blooms next spring. The longer you have the leaves intact the more energy and better bloom for next season.

Hide the declining bulb leaves by planting annuals between the bulbs. “I like to add some perennials to bulb displays for a more permanent solution. As the bulbs decline the perennials will grow and mask the declining foliage,” says Myers. She likes to mix with spring blooming perennials for double the impact or combine with summer and fall bloomers to extend bloom time.

Now that your bulbs are cared for you can start preparing a strong foundation for new plantings. Properly prepared soil can help new plantings survive the heat, drought and pest attacks of summer. Myers advises gardeners, “Add several inches of organic matter to the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. Compost, peat moss, aged manure and other organic materials improve drainage in heavy clay soil and increase the water holding capacity of sandy and rocky soils.”

Incorporate a slow release low nitrogen fertilizer before planting flowers and vegetables. The low nitrogen formula makes it goof proof so you will not harm young tender plants. The slow release formula provides small amounts of fertilizer over time. This encourages overall growth without preventing flowering and fruit production that can occur when too much nitrogen is applied.

Myers recommends homeowners “improve the health of trees and shrubs with proper watering and mulch.” Water new plantings whenever the top 4 to 6 inches of soil are crumbly and slightly moist. And she reminds owners to “care for those established plantings as well. These need a helping hand during extended periods of drought. Always water thoroughly to encourage deep drought resistant roots.”

Maintain a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around trees and shrubs. Woodchips, shredded bark and other organic materials help conserve moisture, suppress weeds and improve the soil as they decompose. Keep mulch away from the trunk of trees and crowns of other plants to reduce the risk of disease.

So, warm up those gardening muscles, break out your tools, and get started gardening.


 

Gardening tips

"I grow sunflowers in the middle of my cucumbers as a climbing resource," writes M. Morrow. "The cucumbers like to climb the sunflower stalks."

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...

Begonias are native to Brazil. They love warm weather and will bloom throughout the summer with foliage that is as attractive as the blooms and you can even eat the flowers. Some varieties like the sun; others prefer shade. Pinch them back in the late summer for more blooms into the fall. Now is the time to plant this versatile color plant in most of the state. (They are very tender. So, make sure all danger of frost has passed).


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.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) will meet on Thursday, April 8, at the Georgetown Public Library, Georgetown, at 7:00 pm. Speaking will be Lee Sherman, a Stream Restoration and Water Quality Engineer for the City of Austin Watershed Protection Dept., on stream restoration projects and best management practices for water quality improvement. Visitors welcome. For additional information, visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/new/NPSOT_Williamson_County/Welcome.html call Billye Adams at (512) 863-9636.

Tomball: “What’s New and Unique in The Plant World,” will be presented by Rand Hopkins, Monrovia Plants, Thursday, April 8, beginning at 10 a.m. at The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. Get a sneak preview of what’s new from this industry leading nursery. For additional information, visit www.arborgate.com or call (281) 351-8851.

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.

Belleville: The Bluebonnet Master Gardeners Annual plant sale will be held on Saturday, April 10 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Austin County Fairgrounds Pavilion in Bellville. There will be directional signs to the fairgrounds on sale day. Expect flowers, shrubs, trees, roses, houseplants, herbs, gifts, books and more. Expert gardening advice, too. Proceeds will advance education, scholarships and beautification for Austin, Colorado, Fayette and Washington counties. For additional information, contact Judy at (979) 877-4706 or visit www.bluebonnetmastergardener.org.

Quitman: The Governor Hogg Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. 100 Gov. Hogg Parkway. Quitman, will host a Plant Sale and Dogwood Fiesta Saturday, April 10, at 9 a.m. and is over when the plants are gone. Find new, uncommon and Texas-tough perennials, ornamental grasses, hanging baskets, exotic plants and natives. For more information, visit www.woodcountyarboretum.com or call Pam Riley (903) 466-4327.

Glen Rose: Somervell County Master Gardener Rainwater Specialists Julie Conner and Greg Marsh will discuss some simple “How tos” that result in the WOWs of collecting rainwater and will provide great ideas and examples of systems currently in use. Monday, April 12, 6:30 p.m., at the Citizen’s Center, 209 SW Barnard St., Glen Rose.

Pearland: The Harris County Master Gardener Association will present a program on WaterSmart Landscapes, Tuesday, April 13, from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. For more information, visit, http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

San Antonio: Sandy Ross and Kathy Carroll will discuss plant propagation and give demonstrations on semi-hardwood and root cuttings at the Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meeting 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 13, at the Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio. For additional information, contact quadalupecounty@npsot.org.

Hermann Park: The Houston Urban Gardeners will meet at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 14, at the Houston Garden Center in Hermann Park. Dianne Norman with Wabash Antiques and Feed Store will talk about "What to Plant NOW." For additional information, visit www.houstonurbangardeners.org.

Austin: The AgriLife Extension Office of Travis County, 1600 B Smith Road, Austin, will host "Plant Propagation" from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., April 17. Learning how to propagate from existing plants is a great way to populate your garden or pass along your favorites to friends. This seminar covers various propagation methods including cuttings, layering, and division, and help you overcome that fear of starting plants from seeds. The seminar will be part presentation, part participation so class size is limited to 30 participants. Please call the Master Gardener Help Desk at (512) 854-9600 to reserve your place. Participants must also bring scissors and an empty, clear plastic, 2-liter soda bottle with lid for the hands-on project. This seminar is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis County Master Gardener's help desk at (512) 854-9600.

Beaumont: The Jefferson County Master Gardeners will host their annual spring plant sale and Market Day April 17, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Southeast Texas Regional Airport, Hangar #4, Jerry Ware Drive, Beaumont. This event is the largest of its kind in the Golden Triangle, complete with vendors of all kinds and, of course, a huge plant sale. Gardening seminars are offered free of charge and Master Gardeners are on hand to answer questions and to help you choose the right plants for your landscape. For more information, call (490) 835-8461.

Cleburne: "Texas Tuff Plants" is the theme of the Johnson County Master Gardener Plant Sale on Saturday, April 17. The sale to be held at the Cleburne Senior Center, 1212 Glenwood Drive, Cleburne, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. will feature perennials, shrubs, and annuals selected for their ability to perform well in harsh Texas conditions. There will be talks by gardening specialists and master gardeners will be available for consultations. For additional information contact Joan Leach, leach@ticnet.com.

Georgetown: Spring Garden Fair, sponsored by Williamson County Master Gardeners, will be held April 17, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the WilCo AgriLife Extension Office, 3151 Inner Loop Rd., Georgetown. The fair will include gardening classes, a country store, demonstrations on rainwater harvesting, identifying oak wilt, a huge plant sale and so much more!  A Plant Preview class is offered at 8 a.m. highlighting the plants available; attendees will get early admission to the sale.

Granbury: Lake Granbury Master Gardener's Annual Plant Sale will be held Saturday, April 17, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Hewlett Park Pavilion, Granbury, across from the Conference Center. All of your favorite plants will be offered as well as some new items. Mini seminars will be presented by Master Gardeners and will include drawings for prizes. For more information, contact the Hood County AgriLife Extension office at (817) 579-3280.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches will host its annual Garden Gala Day on April 17 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the lower arboretum parking lot on Wilson Drive. Stephen F. Austin State University Outdoor Pursuits will host an Earth Day Celebration in conjunction with this year’s sale. The event features the annual spring plant sale fundraiser benefiting the SFA Mast Arboretum, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, and educational programs hosted at the gardens. All the plants are produced at SFA by the staff, students and volunteers. A wide variety of hard to find, “Texas tough” plants will be available. The public is encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information, call (936) 468-4404, or visit http://arboretum.sfasu.edu and click on “upcoming events.”

San Marcos: Heirloom tomatoes and native plants will be for sale along with free garden tool cleaning and sharpening service, Saturday, April 17, at the San Marcos Nature Center, 430 Riverside Dr., San Marcos. Bring your dull shovels and hoes. Get ready to plant your purchases. Sponsored by Hays County Master Gardeners and San Marcos Nature Center.

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/.

Rockport: David Ilfrey, Landscape Designer, will present "Deigning with Native Plants" from noon until 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 20, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361) 790-0103 or visit http://aransas-tx.tamu.edu.

Seabrook: Diana Foss from Texas Parks & Wildlife will present "Backyard Pollinators" beginning at 10 a.m., April 21, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Tyler: The Tyler Men’s Garden Club will host Spring Fling, their spring plant sale, in the parking lot on the north side of the Broadway Square Mall, Tyler, on Saturday, April 24, 2010, from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The plants available for sale are locally grown. The feature plant of Spring Fling has always been the oak leaf hydrangea. These are gorgeous plants with large pendulous white blooms. Their foliage turns beautiful red burnish colors in fall. There will also be ‘pass along’ plants such as butterfly ginger, red spider lily, confederate rose, and Turk’s cap. Plant shoppers will also find a range of other plants, such as Japanese maples, cannas, day lilies, irises, orchids, root beer plants, maple hibiscus, bromeliads, and some vegetable seedlings.

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners Association will present "Growing Vegetables from Seeds," Wednesday, April 28, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Why pay for vegetable transplants when you can easily grow them yourself? Learn about supplies, timing, varieties, seeding how-to and tips on transplanting to the vegetable garden. 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.

Austin: "Gardening for Butterflies & Hummingbirds" will be held at the Demonstration Garden at the AgriLife Extension Office of Travis County, 1600 B Smith Road, Austin, from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., Friday, May 7. This seminar is appropriate for anyone wanting to incorporate the correct plants into the garden to attract these beauties. Learn plant food sources, host plants and nesting places for the most common butterflies and hummingbirds in Central Texas. This seminar is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis County Master Gardener's help desk at (512) 854-9600.

Denton: The Denton County Master Gardener 2010 Spring Garden Tour and Plant Sale will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, May 8. Tickets $8 in advance; $10 at the gate; $5 single garden. Children under 14 free. For additional information, including locations of the gardens, visit www.dcmga.com or call (940) 349-2883.

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 Antique Rose Emporium and the Comal Master Gardener Association will present their annual Herb Affair at the Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio, Saturday, May 8, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Dill, the 2010 Herb of the Year, will be featured. Demonstrations will include the many ways to use herbs throughout the home and garden, including herbs for pest control, cleansers, nature printing and other crafts. For additional information, visit www.antiqueroseemporium.com, http://grovesite.com/mg/comal, or call (210) 651-4565.

Highland Lakes: Join a discussion of “Texas Tough Plants” which are suitable to Central Texas and view examples of Native and Native adapted plants that grow well in Hill Country gardens. This free Green Thumb program is presented by the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners and the Lakeshore Library Speaker Series on Tuesday, May 11 at 2:30 p.m. at the Lakeshore Library located at 7346 Hwy 261, 3.6 miles past the intersection with FM 1431 in Buchanan Dam. Highland Lakes Master Gardener Sheryl Yantis has a beautiful program showing and discussing the plants that are recommended to grow vigorously in the area. Get a preview of some recommended plants at http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/sherylsgarden.aspx.This is a free program but attendees must reserve their seats. Call the library at (325) 379-1174.

Alvin: The Lone Star Daylily Society will hold a daylily and plant sat, May 15, from 9 a.m. until sold out, at the Alvin Senior Center, Alvin. Judging of flowers begins at 10:30 a.m. and the show opens to the public at 2 p.m., For additional information, visit www.lonestardaylilysociety.org or call Michael Mayfield at (281) 996-9310.

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.

Austin: "How to Create a Wildlife Habitat" will be presented from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., Saturday, May 22, at the Demonstration Garden at AgriLife Extension Office of Travis County, 1660 B Smith Road, Austin. Learn how to attract butterflies, birds, insects, toads, and other creatures by utilizing plants which create food, cover, water and places to raise young. A Master Naturalist volunteer will lead the discussion. This seminar is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis Country Master Gardener's help desk at (512) 854-9600.

Brenham: The Barrington Living History Farm's gardens will be open Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30 from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Learn about the foods pioneers grew to feed their families in the Brazos Valley in the 1850s. See the heirloom varieties Republic of Texas President Anson Jones may well have been growing on his farm. Barrington Living History Farm is located at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site off Highway 105 on FM 1155 between Navasota and Brenham. Admission: adults $5; students, $3; children 6 and under free. For additional information, call (936) 878-2214, ext. 246, and ask for Kellie, or visit www.birthplaceoftexas.com.

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.

Weatherford: The 26th annual Parker County Peach Festival will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Saturday, July 10, in downtown Weatherford. More than 200 arts/crafts, produce and food vendors will line the historic streets. Admission is $5 for adults; children 12 and under are free. For additional information, visit www.peachfestivaltx.com or contact info@weatherford-chamber.com or (888) 594-3801.

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, Schertz. 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 Gardeners meet the third Monday of each month at McGregor house on the corner of West Henderson and Colonial Dr. in Cleburne. A program starts at 6 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet with refreshments and a short business meeting. For information 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 precedes 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.

Brackenridge Park: The Native Plant Society San Antonio Chapter meets every fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Lions Field Adult and Senior Center, 2809 Broadway at E. Mulberry, Brackenridge Park, except August and December. Social and seed/plant exchange at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bea at (210) 999-7292 or visit www.npsot.org/sanantonio.

Dallas: The Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month at the North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd.,  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