August 4, 2010

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Echinopsis hybrid ‘Big Bertha’ has survived as an in-ground plant in the Austin area. (Photo by William Scheick)

The garden reader:
The home garden in the big picture

By William Scheick
University of Texas at Austin

Janet Marinelli. The Climate Conscious Gardener. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2010. 119 pp. $12.95.

I suppose that, for some, The Climate Conscious Gardener will be a hot-potato book.

If so, that would be a shame — although understandable, given the extent of general confusion about the subject of climate change. Various allied interests have deliberately fostered this confusion.

So I know I am entering a roughly plowed field here, where I nonetheless hope to avoid spraining an ankle. I’d like to offer a small intervention: that acknowledging climate change as an observable event is not the same as getting entangled in specific efforts to identify culprits or remedies.

In other words, what contributes to or how we might best respond to climate change in our world is open to reasonable debate — a debate not engaged here. But climate change itself is a fact (for whatever reasons).

As gardeners, we know this fact firsthand.

Let’s return for a moment to an observation from my column for last month. At 20 years old, the USDA plant hardiness zone map is considerably outdated, while the more recent Arbor Day Foundation version ( reveals that Texas is hotter now than in recent decades.

Of course, long-term Lone Star gardeners already know this.

In USDA zone 8, for example, there are Austinites who for a number of years have successfully grown zone 9 and even zone 10 plants in the ground, including plumeria and ‘Big Bertha’ echinopsis.

Obviously Texas has gotten warmer, a trend not limited to our state.

Is Illinois turning into Texas? That’s a question asked by atmospheric scientist Don Wuebbles. If current climate patterns continue, his research suggests, the summer heat index in his Midwestern state could be similar to that of East Texas by the end of the century.

At present, cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. appear earlier than decades ago, and Chicagoans see snowdrops unexpectedly flowering in January. Those oleanders and brugmansias we tend to take for granted in most of Texas now survive in Atlanta — officially zone 7, incidentally.

These are just a few examples of many observed recent floral changes across our nation. Such a trend might seem a bonanza for gardeners relishing somewhat earlier spring flowers and summer harvests.

Alas, there’s blowback.

As regions grow warmer, some native flora decline, some local pests increase, some invasives territorially expand and some weeds become more noxious (especially poison ivy) and more pollen-laden (especially ragweed). Maple syrup yields in New England have already diminished significantly.

“Recent warming in the Southwest has been the most rapid in the country,” Janet Marinelli writes in The Climate Conscious Gardener, emphasizing that “temperature increases have made droughts in the region more severe.” Eventually, too, according to the National Wildlife Federation, the climate in 28 states will no longer support their presently designated state tree or flower.

With such a daunting big picture, what can a mere home-gardener do?

The Climate Conscious Gardener does not have all the answers, but it offers plenty of insight on how to create carbon-capturing gardens. Managing water and soil head the list of topics, followed by helpful observations on landscape materials and, among other advice, the placement of trees and windbreaks to offset home utility costs.

The advice is admirably honest about complexities. In the chapter on soil building, for instance, there is this frank admission: “The natural capacity of soils to act as carbon sinks appears to be finite” and “limited in duration.”

So there are no simple answers, not even to the controversy about greenhouse gas emitted by composting. Instead of simplicities, The Climate Conscious Gardener explores ways to think about and negotiate the environmental complexities associated with what we do in our gardens.

At a time when new gardening books seem mostly to reiterate the same old subjects, The Climate Conscious Gardener is a genuinely innovative book.

Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) (Photo courtesy of Robert Videki, Doronicum Kft.,
The deadly problem of poisonous weeds

Weed Science Society of America

Earlier this year a woman in Washington State died from suspected hemlock poisoning after gathering the leafy green weed and using it on a salad.

Unfortunately her death wasn’t an isolated occurrence. Each year dozens of people die or are sickened by weeds they didn’t know would cause them harm.

“It’s an easy mistake to make,” says Joseph DiTomaso, cooperative extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California at Davis, a member of the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and author of Weeds of California and Other Western States. “Hemlock and other poisonous weeds are often cousins of edible foods and share similar flowers, leaves, fruit and seeds. Backyard gardeners and wild food enthusiasts need to be well-informed in order to stay safe.”

Why are some weeds poisonous?

“While there can be a number of mechanisms at work, most plants produce their own naturally occurring pesticide to deter predators so they won’t be eaten,” DiTomaso says. “It’s a very competitive world, and no plant could survive without producing some defense mechanism.”

Though there are many toxic weed species, WSSA has assembled a “rogue’s gallery” of 10 that are especially problematic. The list is topped by two very dangerous genera of hemlock:

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is a biennial weed with fern-like leaves that can be easily mistaken for parsley. Like parsley, it is in the carrot family. The plant produces a number of toxic substances, but the most deadly is the alkaloid coniine — a neurotoxin that disrupts the central nervous system. Ingesting even the smallest amount can result in rapid respiratory collapse and death. One way to identify poison hemlock is by the purple-red blotches on its stems. This is the species responsible for the death of the Greek philosopher Socrates.

Waterhemlocks (Cicuta douglasii and Cicuta maculata) are also native perennials in the carrot family. They grow in wetlands and marshes and are easily mistaken for a variety of edible plants, including young carrots, wild celery, watercress, wild ginseng and particularly parsnips. Like poison hemlock, water hemlock is highly toxic. It produces a substance called cicutoxin that stimulates the central nervous system and can trigger violent seizures.

Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a woody shrub often planted in suburban landscapes and along roadsides. It is extremely toxic and produces a poisonous substance that can cause heart arrhythmia and cardiac arrest. DiTomaso cautions that you should never burn oleander branches — the fumes can be hazardous. He has even heard reports of severe illness when an oleander stick was used to roast a hotdog over an open fire.

Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) is an invasive weed related to both tomato and potato plants. It can be extremely toxic, and in fact, the juice from wilted leaves is deadly. The most common type of nightshade poisoning comes from eating its green berries, which turn red to purple in color as they mature.

Common pokeweed or pokeberry (Phytolacca americana). All parts of this weed are poisonous — especially the roots. “Pokeweed greens are sometimes gathered and eaten, but they need to be thoroughly cooked first to break down the toxins,” DiTomaso says.  “If they are prepared improperly, they can be really harmful.”

Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) is an invasive species in meadows or wet areas. It is known as an insect-repelling herb and is sometimes used as a tea. It is even found in some health food stores as an herbal medicine. But DiTomaso cautions that the weedy version of this plant is trouble if too strong a tea is made from the leaves. It can cause liver damage, lung damage and death. Both weed scientists and physicians say pennyroyal should be avoided. It’s not worth the risk.

Meadow deathcamas (Zygadenus venenosus) and other deathcamas species are native perennials in the lily family. They tend to grow in forested or meadowy regions. All parts of the plant are toxic. That includes its bulb, which is easily confused with edible wild onions. One differentiator between the two is that deathcamas lacks the distinctive odor typical of an onion.

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is an escaped ornamental plant that produces tall stems ringed with colorful bell-shaped flowers. The soft leaves at its base are easily mistaken for comfrey or sage, but lack the distinctive smell of the safer species. But looks can be deceiving. This invasive weed is very poisonous. DiTomaso says it produces a chemical that can speed up and strengthen heart contractions. The leaves on the upper stem are particularly potent; just a nibble is enough to be deadly.

Groundcherry (Physalis spp.) is in the tomato and potato family. Its leaves and unripe fruit are poisonous if ingested and can even be fatal. But the ripened fruit loses its toxicity and is sometimes made into jellies, jams and sauces. The ripened fruit of one species, tomatillo, is a very common ingredient of Mexican salsas. DiTomaso says it is not unusual for the toxins in a weed’s fruit to break down with ripening. In fact, it’s another survival mechanism. If a bird, deer or other predator eats the fleshy fruit, the seeds inside are spread and the plants multiply.

Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) is also in the tomato and potato family. It produces a dangerous poison that can be fatal to humans and animals, including livestock and pets. Jimsonweed produces seeds that are highly hallucinogenic and can trigger bizarre and violent behavior.

“Lots of weeds are edible, but there are many dangerous exceptions,” DiTomaso said. “If you have any doubt, avoid any contact with the plant until you can consult an extension agent or a trusted resource so you don’t make a dangerous or even deadly mistake.”

New expanded registry will benefit Texas wine industry

By Paul Schattenberg
Texas AgriLife Externsion Service

Wine-grape growers interested in selling their fruit, as well as winemakers interested in buying wine grapes or selling bulk wine, may find their "connection" through the new Texas Wine Grape Registry.

“The registry gives wine-grape and wine buyers and sellers a way to share information about grapes and bulk wines available for sale,” said Robert Champion, state coordinator for wine marketing at the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Champion said the online registry is authorized through the state’s agriculture code and is hosted and maintained by the agriculture department. It provides up-to-date information for users, and those adding listings are responsible for the accuracy of the posted content.

Mike Sipowicz, Texas AgriLife Extension Service enology program specialist in Lubbock, partnered with Champion and the department to make the new registry a reality. Sipowicz said the registry will greatly enhance communications between wine-grape and wine producers and prospective buyers, helping the industry remain connected.

“The registry provides a venue in which people in the commercial vineyard and/or wine-making aspects of the viticulture industry may find those interested in their products who they otherwise may never have known about,” he said.

Most importantly, the registry will help provide a backstop for wine-grape producers during times when fruit production exceeds demand, he said.

“As an example, for the past several years wine-grape production in areas of the state has been below average, and, if many producers start to experience excellent yields at the same time, this could potentially cause problems for many growers,” he said. “The industry needs an outlet available for regional or on-site producers who may become overwhelmed by the amount of fruit being produced and are unable to handle it. In such an instance, the worst thing you can do is nothing, so you need to prepare for the possibility and open up the supply to buyers.”

The Texas Department of Agriculture modified and expanded their existing grape registry to host information sent directly from buyers and sellers. Those interested in using the registry to place a listing to buy or sell grapes or wine should send contact information and details on quantity, variety and price to

“This registry has been in place for years, and we are excited this year’s wine-grape harvest allows for increased buying and selling of surplus grapes,” Champion said. “More wine-grapes mean more registry use. I encourage sellers and buyers to contact me with their information.”

To view the registry, go to

Gardening tips

It is the time of year when webworms can become a problem in your pecan and other shade trees. The can be easily kept in check with a little help from Mother Nature. First of all, don’t kill wasp nests around your home. Those wasps feed on the webworms. You can give the wasps a hand by poking a hole in the webs with a long bamboo pole. This will make it easier for the wasps to get to the worms. If you can’t reach the webs with a pole, try breaking them up with a stream of water from a pressure washer.

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...

There is a genetic difference between varieties of crapemyrtles that causes some to bloom several weeks earlier than others. To get the longest bloom period, check with a local nursery of garden center that specializes in crapemyrtles.

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: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 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 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 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

Houston: The Houston Urban Gardeners (HUG) will meet a 6:30 p.m., August 11, at the Houston Garden Center in Hermann Park. H.C. Clark will talk about local farms and hour backyard gardens tie into the bigger regional food system.

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 or visit

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

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 For additional information, contact Andrea Brown at 903 836 2197.

Livingston: Compost will be the topic of discussion at 6:30 p.m., August 17, in the meeting room of the AgriLife Office, 602 East Church Street, Livingston. Compost is one of the best all-round treats for the garden lawn, and potted plants, and compost heaps need not be large or smelly. For additional information or directions, call 936-327-6828.

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

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.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens will host its monthly Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 19 in room 110 of the Agriculture Building located on Wilson Drive on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus. Dr. Jerry Parsons, retired Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulturist will present one of his classic entertaining and often irreverent programs titled Seed Collection of Texas Heirloom Varieties and Unique Plants. Parsons received degrees in horticulture from the University of Tennessee, Mississippi State University, and Kansas State University, and worked for 33 years as the area vegetable specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in the winter garden area around San Antonio where he was widely known from his weekly television appearances as “the Weekend Gardener.” He also wrote popular weekly garden columns and hosted several popular radio programs. He introduced more new plants to the Texas nursery industry than any Texas A&M horticulturist in history and received every major Extension award available. The Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series is generally held the third Thursday of each month at the SFA Mast Arboretum in Nacogdoches. Refreshments are served by the SFA Gardens volunteers before the lecture with a rare plant raffle being held afterward. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Greg Grant at 936-468-1863 or

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. 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

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

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 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

Victoria: The Victoria County Master Gardener Association will hold its annual fall plant sale from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. September 11 at its new pavilion, 283 Bachelor Dr., Victoria (near the Victoria airport).

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 or 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 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

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

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:

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

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 1, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor Visitors welcome. For additional information. contact Susan Waitz at512-948-5241 or visit

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 9, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor. There will be a silent auction and potluck dinner. Visitors welcome. For additional information, contact Susan Waitz at 512-948-5241 or visit


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 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 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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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 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 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.)

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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.

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Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

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