July 28, 2010

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Pink Flare hibiscus. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Pink Flare hibiscus might be too gaudy for some, but not Texas

By Robert Burns
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

In the mid-1990s, Dr. Sam McFadden of Somerville, Tenn., a well-known plant breeder, developed a hibiscus whose color he didn't like, one whose gaudiness actually embarrassed him a bit, according to a Texas AgriLife Research horticulturist.

The best he could do was say it was the same color seen when a road flare is struck at night: a brilliant, hot florescent fuchsia, said Dr. Brent Pemberton, AgriLife Research scientist and chair of the Texas Superstar executive board.

But what might have been too gaudy for Tennessee would play well in Texas, especially in the southwest part of the state where blindingly bright sun washes out more subtle colors, decided Texas Superstar board members.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas AgriLife Researchers extensively test and designate plants as Texas Superstars that are not just beautiful but perform well for Texas consumers and growers. They also must be easy to propagate, which should ensure that the plants are not only widely available throughout Texas but reasonably priced too, he said.

In 1998, Flare along with Moy Grande, a red hibiscus variety with 12-inch diameter blooms, and Lord Baltimore, another red variety, were named Texas Superstars. All three became popular thanks to promotional efforts, Pemberton said.

But since 1998, two new colors, Pink Flare and Peppermint Flare, were found and named Texas Superstars for 2010.

But why name a variety as Texas Superstar a second time? Because the original Flare was not pink. It was fluorescent red, giving Texas gardeners further options for landscape design, Pemberton said.

Though the colors of its sister plant, Peppermint Flare, are more subdued, it is directly related to the same "mother" Flare variety that was nearly abandoned to obscurity in Tennessee because it was too scarlet. Peppermint Flare is true to its name, resembling a huge peppermint candy, only streams of fluorescent red in the center reveals the family ties to its more flamboyant sister, he said.

Like most hibiscus varieties, Pink Flare and Peppermint Flare are easy to grow, Pemberton said. Though the blooms grow 8 inches to 10 inches in diameter, the plants themselves remain relatively small, about 4 feet — what horticulturists call "dwarfy."

Though dwarfy above-ground, hibiscus plants have an extensive root system, which means they can be grown all over Texas and survive the winter without mulching, he noted.

They are easy to grow and able to thrive with a modest amount of added nutrients. “It does well in any soil type,” Pemberton said.

The plants are also practically sterile, not producing seed, which encourages a "luxuriant" re-blooming, he said.

By practically sterile, it's meant they produce seeds but only rarely, he explained.

Texas Superstar is a registered trademark owned by Texas AgriLife Research. More information about the Texas Superstar program can be found at http://texassuperstar.com/.

Blue Princess verbena was renamed a Texas Superstar after new virus-free stock was developed. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

The Blue Princess verbena regains its Texas Superstar crown

By Robert Burns
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

One of the newest Texas Superstars, virus-free Blue Princess verbena is not like other princesses, said the executive director of the Texas Superstar board.

For one thing, the Blue Princess likes the heat; in fact, it thrives on the Texas summer sun, said Dr. Brent Pemberton, Texas AgriLife Research horticulturist. And the same goes for its sister plant, virus-free Rose Princess verbena, which also was named a Texas Superstar for 2010.

"Most people make the mistake of pampering it," Pemberton said. "It must be planted in the sunniest, best-drained spot in your landscape. It will not bloom profusely unless the plants get plenty of sunlight."

Plenty of sunlight means eight to 10 hours a day of direct "sunbathing sunlight," he said.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service and AgriLife Research personnel extensively test and designate plants as Texas Superstars that are not just beautiful but perform well for Texas consumers and growers. They also must be easy to propagate, which should ensure that the plants are not only widely available throughout Texas but reasonably priced too, Pemberton said.

Using virus-free stock for cuttings is not a new thing. The practice dates back to the beginnings of the last century. Most plants are susceptible to plant viruses that reduce their vigor, he said.

"If they're not virus-free, they don't bloom and perform nearly as well as they do if they are virus-free," Pemberton said. "You don't do as well if you're sick as when you're healthy and well, and it's the same for plants. This is true of roses and everything else. They're just weaker if they're infected."

To produce virus-free stock, plants are carefully selected that have no disease symptoms. Once these plants are identified, they are grown in their own individual plots under "protected" conditions, he said.

The resulting stock, called the "mother stock," is continually monitored for disease symptoms, and any suspects are discarded. Cuttings are taken from the mother stock and increased. This process of selection may take years. From these "increases" more cuttings are made and the plants are sold to commercial growers, Pemberton said.

The original Blue Princess verbena Texas Superstar was brought back from the United Kingdom by Texas Gardener Contributing Editor Greg Grant, a former AgriLife Extension horticulturist who is now with Stephen F. Austin State University.

Grant, working with other AgriLife Extension and AgriLife Research horticulturists, made selections from the English stock that were adapted to the hot conditions of Texas.

"You wouldn't think a plant that came from foggy old England would be adaptable to the hard and mean conditions of Texas, but it was," Pemberton said. "We suspect, but we don't know, that it was so because it was originally brought to England from South Africa."

Not only was Blue Princes verbena heat tolerant, it was also more cold tolerant and produced larger flower heads than any previously available verbena, he said. The original was also more disease and insect tolerant as well, which lead to its nomination as a Texas Superstar.

The 1998 Texas Superstar description reads, "Blue Princess verbena is the most floriferous and vigorous growing variety in Texas when propagated from virus-free stock."

But the virus-free condition became a kicker. A few years later, the original Blue Princess mother stock became contaminated. A seedling selection from Blue Princess named Dark Lavender Princess was found and grown in virus-free conditions before it could be contaminated. The virus-free variety was eventually sold as Blue Princess, Pemberton said.

"We've got several producers in the state now who are selling only virus-free stock of these verbenas," he said. "Growers periodically buy virus-free stock. After a period of time — say six months or so — plants may become contaminated, and the growers reorder new stock rather than start new plants off of existing contaminated cuttings."

Both verbenas produce brilliant blooms, but though they need not be pampered, keeping them bright and beautiful requires discipline on the part of the gardener, Pemberton said.

The problem is that many gardeners are hesitant to prune the plants when there are still blooms, he said.

"After the first spectacular bloom display, cut-shy people will be looking at ugly for the rest of the season and wondering why," Pemberton said.

After the first abundant bloom, when the plant appears to be shutting down, the answer is to perform a light pruning, which will produce another lush crop of flowers. But some people will not want to cut them back "as long as one pitiful-looking bloom endures," he said.

"People who cannot discipline themselves to shear old blooms periodically should not grow verbena," he said.

Texas Superstar is a registered trademark owned by Texas AgriLife Research. More information about the Texas Superstar program can be found at http://texassuperstar.com/.

The United States needs 13 million more acres of fruits and vegetables to meet the RDA

American Farmland Trust

"We don’t produce enough fresh fruits and vegetables in the United States for everyone to eat a balanced and nutritious diet,” said Jon Scholl, President of American Farmland Trust (AFT). “In fact, it is estimated that we need at least another 13 million acres of farmland growing fruits and vegetables just for Americans to meet the minimum daily requirement of fruits and vegetables set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2005 dietary guidelines.”

“This statistic is even more poignant with the release of the USDA’s new Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, which calls for Americans to include even more fruits and vegetables into their diet,” Scholl added. “With the majority of these fruits and vegetables grown in the path of development, and the need for 13 million more acres, we must ask how can we afford to lose another acre of farmland and still expect to improve the health of our nation?”

“Consumers help drive demand for fresh, healthy foods, and one way they can do that is to shop locally or regionally for these products. It helps support the farms and community economically,” said Scholl. “I also hope to bring the message to the agriculture community that the demand for fruits and vegetables, and other farm-grown products seems to be at an all time high — it’s a great opportunity for farmers to expand into fruit and vegetable production, and to consider farmers markets or other similar venues in their marketing strategies.”

Scholl noted that there are several things consumers can do to help ensure there is better access for all Americans to fresh, healthy foods and to help save the farms and farmland that are critical to supplying that bounty. Among them are:

  • Supporting local farmers markets, CSAs and other direct-farm outlets
  • Getting involved in local land trust or conservation organization to help protect working farm and ranchland

Gardening tips

"Can't take the sun?" writes Sandra Williams. "If you have a sunny garden, it can be difficult to keep up with the weeds. A portable beach umbrella ($8.00 at a local discount store!) stuck into a garden bed will provide shade while weeding or planting that bed. This tip was passed on by a gardening friend and has extended my shaded hours in the garden."

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 Texas Gardener hat. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did You Know...

One of several old weather folk lore sayings goes as follows “If the first week in August is unusually warm, the coming winter will be white and long.” That kind of winter is hardly likely in Texas but it is nice to dream about this time of year!

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.

Weslaco: A seminar to help new and established fruit and vegetable growers will be held from 8 a.m. to noon on July 29 at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco. The center is located at 2401 E. Highway 83, at the intersection of FM 1015 and Business 83. Admission is free. This seminar will provide small- and medium-acreage farmers with funding information they need to start producing fruits and vegetables, both conventionally and organically. The seminar could also be of interest to larger producers interested in making the transition to organic production. The funding seminar is the first of four that will be held as part of an effort funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help small-acreage growers. The next seminar, on food safety for producers, will be held Aug. 18. Future workshops will be held on production, budgeting and marketing, she said. The document and other information will be available on a website also developed as part of this effort. It can be found at http://texaslocalproduce.tamu.edu. Topics at the seminar include an overview of the Farm Bill for specialty crops; loan application assistance for farmers, ranchers and FFA and 4-H youth; grants for value-added vegetable production; and loans for small family farms. For more information, contact Helen Rodriguez at 956-968-5581, or email hrodriguez@ag.tamu.edu.

Houston:n: A Prospective Wine-Grape Grower Workshops will be held August 6 at the AgriLife Extension office for Harris County, located at 3033 Bear Creek Drive, Houston. The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m., with sign-in starting at 8:30 a.m. “The Prospective Wine-Grape Growers Workshop is a one-day educational program designed to provide an overview of the unique requirements and risks associated with establishment and operation of a commercial vineyard in Texas,” said Fritz Westover, Gulf Coast viticulture advisor for AgriLife Extension and state viticulture program coordinator. The workshop was created to address the most common concerns potential grape producers may have prior to committing valuable resources toward a commercial vineyard enterprise, he said. Program topics include: necessary viticulture expertise, vineyard site selection, risk factors, vineyard labor requirements and vineyard economics. The fee for each workshop is $125 per person or $200 per couple, and includes educational materials and lunch. Registration for each of the workshops can be completed online through AgriLife Conference Services at http://agrilifevents.tamu.edu. The workshop also serves as a prerequisite for application to the Texas Viticulture Certificate Program offered by Texas Tech University and AgriLife Extension. For more information on the certification program, go to http://winegrapes.tamu.edu and look under Educational Opportunities.

Austin: for the fall and winter season. Join Master Gardener Vegetable Specialist and Texas Gardener Contributing Writer Patty Leander to learn the basics of vegetable gardening with an emphasis on varieties that flourish in the fall and winter months when she presents “Fall Vegetable Gardening,” from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, August 7, at Southwest Hills Community Church, 7416 W. Hwy 71, Austin.. Broccoli, lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes and spinach are among the fantastic crops that grow well in our cooler season. Vegetable gardens don't end in fall, so come learn how to keep yours going year round. 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.

Pearland: The Harris County Master Gardener Association will present a program on Landscape Maintenance, from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, August 10, at Bass Pro Shops, Highway 288 at the Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Seguin: Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is now accepting applications for Evening Training Classes. School will be Wednesdays, August 11 through December 1, 6-9 p.m. at the Texas AgriLife Extension Building, 210 Live Oak, Seguin. Interested in learning about vegetable and flower gardening, trees and the environment? Enjoy sharing knowledge of plants and gardening with people in your community? Want to participate in positive community service programs with volunteers that have similar interests? Then the Master Gardener program could be for you. Learn from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialists, staff and local experts, including Malcolm Beck, Texas Gardener Contributing Writer Patty Leander, Flo Oxley, John Dromgoole and Drs. Larry Stein and Mark Black. Topics cover botany & plant growth, entomology, xeriscaping, propagation, herbs and vegetables, tree care and pruning principles, composting and organic horticulture, water conservation and much more. Sign up now before the classes are full. Registration is $170 with a 10% discount for early payment. For more information, please contact Robert Teweles at 210 289-9997, email rteweles@satx.rr.com or visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, August 12, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. Dan Hardy will present "Butterflies as Botanists." Visitors welcome. For additional information, contact Susan Waitz at 512-948-5241 or visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.

Henderson: The 2010 Bluebird Symposium will be held Saturday, August 14, from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at New Civic Center at Lake Forest Park, 1006 HWY 64, Henderson. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. for registration and Silent Auction. Early Bird registration ends July 1 (ten extra door prize tickets.). To register, visit http://www.texasbluebirdsociety.org/documents/symposium2010.pdf. For additional information, contact Andrea Brown at 903 836 2197.

Seabrook: Dr. Carol Brouwer, County Extension Agent for Horticulture, will present a program on Landscape Design Tips beginning at 10 a.m., Tuesday, August 18, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside),. 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Denton: The Elm Fork Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists will hold a Membership Roundup from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., August 19, at the Ben E. Keith community room, 2801 North I-35, Denton. For additional information, call 940-349-2883.

Austin: “How to Manage Garden Insects” will be presented Saturday, August 21, from 10 a.m. until noon at the LCRA Redbud Center, Room 108N, 3601 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin. Insects can be one of the biggest challenges for gardeners. But you can deal with pests effectively without spraying general insecticides all over your plants. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) can teach you how to protect your garden without harming the environment or your plants. Learn to distinguish beneficial insects in your backyard from harmful insects. Basic IPM strategies will be described that can help manage insect pests throughout the landscape, in vegetable gardens, even in the home. 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. www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Travis County Master Gardener's help desk at 512-854-9600.

Seabrook: In preparation for the the Harris County Master Gardener Precinct 2 annual fall plant sale, Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms will give a presentation from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m, August 24, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabroo, on plants that will be available for purchase at the sale in September. Sheesley's presentation will include pictures, growth habits and other details of each plant. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, September 9, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. Dr. Pat Richardson will present "Rainbow Soil: Managing for the Ultimate in Soil Quality." Visitors welcome. For additional information, contact Susan Waitz at 512-948-5241 or visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.

Fredericksburg: 5th Annual Wildscapes Workshop — Better Basics: Backyards, Birds & Butterflies. September 11, Registration & Plant Sale open at 8 a.m., Seminars 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Garden Tours 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. United Methodist Church, 1800 North Llano Street, Fredericksburg. Take a comprehensive look at using native plants to provide a sustainable environment that will attract the local wildlife to your landscape. Speakers will show how to expand your living space by creating outdoor retreats using native plants and hardscape. The cost of $35.00 includes morning snack and lunch, along with afternoon tours of gardens that exemplify the information taught during the seminars. Raffles, a big door prize and a silent auction will be ongoing throughout the day. Several local nurseries will be selling hard-to-find native plants and volunteers from the Fredericksburg Chapter will be selling even harder-to-find books about native plants. For more information visit www.npsot.org/Fredericksburg or contact Lynn Sample at 830-889-1331.

Shelby County: The SFA Gardens of Stephen F. Austin State University will host a tour of two historic Shelby County homes from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, September 11. Dogtrot houses were built with breezeways or “dog runs” through the middle of them for air circulation. “Without electricity or air-conditioning, these homes were designed for air to flow through the middle and circulate through cross-ventilated doorways and windows in a Southern climate where the hot humid summers were much more unbearable than the brief winters,” said Elyce Rodewald, SFA Gardens education coordinator. “Of course dogs could circulate through them as well!” These homes, the original “green” houses and were once common throughout the South, have practically disappeared in modern society, Rodewald explained. One of the homes that will be toured in the Arcadia community belonged to the maternal grandparents and great-great-grandparents of SFA Gardens research associate Greg Grant, contributing editor to Texas Gardener and co-author of Home Landscaping-Texas and The Southern Heirloom Garden. The other home belonged to Grant’s paternal great-grandparents. The properties feature Grant’s pocket prairie, where he rescues and grows native wildflowers from imperiled local roadsides, as well as his tall grass prairie restoration project. The properties are home to more than 100 bluebird houses that Grant has constructed and erected. He also grows an annual crop of sugar cane on one property for syrup making. Grant will also display his collection of historic family quilts. Cost is $25 for SFA Gardens members and $30 for non-members. Transportation is provided from the SFA Mast Arboretum. Space is limited, and advanced registration is required. To register call 936-468-1832 or e-mail erodewald@sfasu.edu.

Rockport-Fulton: Rockport-Fulton’s 22nd HummerBird Celebration will be held September 16 through 19. Celebrate the ruby-throated hummingbird migration and other birds in the area with four days of speakers, bus birding field trips, boat birding trips, hummer home guided bus tours and programs. More than 90 vendors are located in the HummerBird Malls. Outdoor exhibits include butterfly tent, live birds of prey, and nature centers. For additional information or to register, visit www.rockporthummingbird.com or www.rockport-fulton.org or call the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce at 800-242-0071.

Austin: “Growing a Great Lawn” will be presented Saturday, September 18, 10 a.m.-noon at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin. Knowing how to grow a great lawn can help you save money, water and have a wonderful area to complement your house. Learn the best information on the care and feeding of your lawn. Topics will include choosing the right turf for your site, irrigation, fertilization, proper mowing technique, and disease diagnosis and treatment. This class is free and does not require reservations. For more details, visit http://www.tcmastergardeners.org or call The Travis County Master Gardeners help desk at 512-854-9600.

Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners Association will hold its fall plant sale from 8 a.m. until noon, Saturday, September 18, at the Services Building in Edna. Citrus and fruit tree orders may be placed at the sale for October delivery. A list of plants for sale will soon be available at www.jcmg.com.

San Antonio: "Gardens by Moonlight" offers the best live music, culinary treats and romance under the stars from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m., Saturday, September 25, at the San Antonio Botantical Garden, 555 Funston at N. New Braunfels, San Antonio. Moonlight and beautiful landscape lightinthe Botanical Garden's beautiful 33 acres. Admissn is $20 for ad. For additional information, call 210-829-5100 or visit www.sabot.org.

College Station "Gardening Study School IV" will be October 11-12 at the Texas A&M University Horticulture Building, College Station. Taught by Dr. Joe Novak, Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture, includes Outdoor Identification of Plants, Specialized Styles of Gardening, Growing Woody Ornamentals, Growing Fruit, Herbs, Home Irrigation, and The Garden and Health. Admittance is limited to 35 attendees. Registration is due October 1 to Texas Garden Club State Chairman: Jane W. Cohen, 3655 McCullough Road, College Station, TX 77845; 979-690-3500. A registration form may be downloaded from: http://www.texasgardenclubs.org/p/GSSRegistrationFormOct2010.pdf.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, October 14, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor, 402 W 8th St., Georgetown. George Damoff will present "Native Earthworms." Visitors welcome. For additional information, contact Susan Waitz at 512-948-5241 or visit http://www.npsot.org/WilliamsonCounty/default.htm.


Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners meet at noon the first Tuesday of each month at the Texas AgriLife Extension, 3033 Bear Creek Drive (near the intersection of Highway 6 and Patterson Road), Houston. For additional information visit http://hcmga.tamu.edu or call 281-855-5600.

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.

Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the second Tuesday of each month except August at The Library, 500 Bulldog, Marion. There is a plant exchange and “getting to know you” at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For more information or an application to join NPSOT visit www.npsot.org/GuadalupeCounty/.

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.

Atlanta: The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Horne Enterprise building in Atlanta at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Kay Lowery at frostkay268@aol.com.

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.

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.

San Antonio: The Native Plant Society of Texas San Antonio Chapter meets the fourth Tuesday of the month, except August and December, at the Lions Field Adult & Senior Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio. Social and plant/seed exchange at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.npsot.org/sanantonio or call Bea at 210-999-7292.

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.

Sale! A book so good, even the insects like it

That’s right. We have a small quantity of The Vegetable Book that have been nibbled on by silverfish. The result is very minor cosmetic damage. We can’t sell them as new books at full price so we are forced to drastically reduce the price to $13.87 (includes tax and shipping). That is more than half off the regular price! This should appeal to all the tightwads out there as well as those who would like to have a second, not-so-perfect copy of Dr. Cotner’s timeless classic to carry with them to the garden as a working copy. Hurry while supplies last!

$13.87 includes tax and shipping! (while supplies last)

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

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

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 customizTexas Wildscapes program provides the tools you need to make ahome 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.)

Become a Texas Gardener fan on Facebook

Become a fan of Texas Gardener magazine on Facebook. See what we're up to at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Gardener-Magazine/301356291835?ref=nf.

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