December 22, 2010

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The Hedonist’s Garden

By John Hershey
Freelance Writer

In the springtime, garden writers everywhere rhapsodize about that glorious season of rebirth, when the earth comes alive, bursting with new vitality. This is all wonderful, but there has to be a flipside. If spring is the time of rebirth, then autumn must be the season of redeath.

While the spring garden teems with hope and possibility, a feeling of impending doom hangs over the garden in the fall. We count the days until the average first frost date, wondering if each tomato we pick will be the last one to ripen in time. The contrast is intense: Just as the garden reaches its peak lushness and finally begins to yield a bountiful harvest, a crisp new bite in the morning air reminds us of the inexorable passage of time that will suddenly turn it all into compost material.

The ephemeral beauty of the garden is a metaphor for our own lives. And long experience has led me to a profound insight that can help us make sense of these complicated feelings:

Life is like an ear rub.

Those of us lucky enough to have a spouse or significant other who occasionally massages our ears understand the fundamental paradox: The ear rub feels so good that it is difficult to enjoy, because you can’t stop thinking about the fact that it’s going to end.

For me, the lesson of the ear rub is that enjoying life is not effortless. It takes focus and creativity to get the most fun out of it without being distracted by its inevitable termination.

I keep telling my wife she should give me even more ear rubs, because that’s when I practice living each moment to the fullest. “You want me to have good life skills, don’t you, Honey?” This coping mechanism helps me deal not only with life in general, but with life in the fall garden, when I face challenges like basil. By late summer and early fall, my basil plants have grown into huge bushes, offering a superabundance of lovely aromatic leaves. This is when I really enjoy the two best things about home-grown basil: the fresh flavor, and the fact that a tiny plastic box of organic basil costs over three bucks at the store. My giant basil shrubs could fill so many of those little boxes that I can’t begin to calculate the street value of this herb. I could open a basil dispensary!

But like the ear rub, the fact that the basil is so sublime is what makes it overwhelmingly bittersweet. Just as life itself offers far more opportunities than we can possibly take advantage of in the short time we have, basil is so plentiful during its brief moment in the sun that there’s no way to use it all before it shrivels in the first cool breeze of October. The two most common uses of basil, of course, are pesto and the names of Thai restaurants. I’ll have to be much more creative than that to make even a dent in my basil hedge. But it’s a start, and making pesto lets me enjoy a lot of basil fast, without letting its imminent demise ruin the fun.

With such limited time in the garden and on the planet, I think the only thing to do is get as much pleasure as possible from both while we can. That’s why I grow a hedonist’s garden. I’m going to turn all that basil into a rich pesto, full of high-fat ingredients. I don’t care how bad it is for me—I’m living in the moment. There’s just one problem, of course: The olive oil and walnuts in the pesto contain healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 essential fatty acids, the leafy green basil (along with the chard and kale I sneak in to trick my kids into eating them) are packed with nutrients, and since I always add a zero to the number of garlic cloves the recipe calls for, there’s no avoiding its countless health benefits.

There must be something I can grow for pure pleasure. I love the usual garden veggies, but their nutritional value is too obvious. I want crops that do nothing but gratify my desires. If it feels good, grow it!

Coffee won’t survive in our climate, unfortunately. I do have hop vines climbing the balcony, producing bags full of aromatic flowers to brew my other favorite beverage. But this is no good either.  Many studies have demonstrated the salubrious effects of moderate coffee and beer consumption.

I keep trying to grow things for pleasure, but they all insist on being healthy too. Chamomile, mint and hops combine to make a tea so enjoyable and relaxing that it should be a controlled substance. But alas, these medicinal herbs also relieve stress, improve digestion and otherwise refuse to be hazardous to my health.

This fall I’m planting saffron crocus bulbs. Surely this pricey herb is a purely hedonistic extravagance, right? No such luck. The damn thing is packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants.

I don’t even eat the luffas I grow, so surely the luxurious body scrub from this homegrown spa treatment is a sheer indulgence. Nope: Exfoliation turns out to be really good for your skin.

OK, one last try at hedonism. This year I’m planting hazelnut trees in my yard. So in just five or six short years (Ooo, the anticipation!) I’ll enjoy the ultimate in locavore decadence: homemade Nutella!

But hazelnuts are one of the best sources of vitamin E, and with a little dark chocolate and wholesome honey from the backyard hive mixed in, my Nutella will be a frickin’ superfood!

I give up. I can’t grow junk food even when I try. Somehow, it has become the conventional wisdom that healthy foods taste bad and junk foods taste good. My garden—in fact, almost any garden—proves that “wisdom” completely wrong. “Eat your vegetables” is even a cliché, a business-jargon euphemism for doing something unpleasant but necessary. This is ridiculous. For the true pleasure of intensely delicious flavor, how can standing in line at Dunkin’ Donuts possibly compete with standing in the garden with a tomato just picked from the vine?

I’ve dedicated my life to the proposition that my “vices” are actually virtues, that the things I enjoy most are also good for me. From rich sauces and sweet desserts to near-hallucinogenic teas and even beer, the garden is the place that proves me right. It’s the perfect place for a hedonist: I can enjoy life while it lasts, and the fresh organic food from the garden will probably make it last longer. Now on to the next project: figuring out how to prolong my ear rubs.

"The Hedonist’s Garden" originally appeared in Edible Front Range and is reprinted with the author’s permission. To read more garden-variety humor and commentary, visit John's website:

South Texas Master Gardener classes start in January

By Rod Santa Ana
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

The Master Gardener Volunteer program in Cameron County kicks off its 13th-year in January with weekly instead of monthly classes, Texas AgriLife Extension Service officials say.

“We went to weekly classes so that we can have our graduation in March instead of July,” said Dr. Enrique Perez, an AgriLife Extension agent in Cameron County. “This way, graduates can complete their volunteer work and become certified Master Gardeners in the spring when many of our community gardening activities begin.”

A Master Gardener intern orientation will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 20 at the San Benito County Annex Building at Williams Road and U.S. Hwy. 83/77.

Classes begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 26 and meet every Wednesday through March 22, also at the annex building, said Jennifer Herrera, the AgriLife Extension county horticulture educator and manager of the Master Gardeners Association.

“We hold an orientation prior to the beginning of classes so that everybody knows what is expected of them before they sign up,” she said. “We’ll provide a class schedule, discuss our Master Gardener programs in Cameron County and the rules and regulations of attending classes. We want everybody to understand what they’re getting into, plus prospective students will meet other Master Gardeners and the association officers.”

Those who sign up for the training provided by AgriLife Extension agree to provide at least 50 hours of horticulture-related volunteer service to the community by May 2, she said.

“Once they become Master Gardeners, they can re-certify with 20 hours of volunteer service annually to stay active in the Texas Master Gardener program,” Herrera said.

At least 100 residents have become Master Gardeners in Cameron County since the program started there in 1999, Perez said.

“Of those, we still have about 60 active members in the Master Gardener Association,” he said. “Together, they’ve established a long list of still-active programs that serve our community well.”

The programs include an annual plant sale, the development of an arboretum next to the county building and a Master Gardener stewardship program that teaches gardening, water conservation, composting, tree care and vegetable gardening.

“Last year members brought in the Earth-Kind program, which is an integrated approach to gardening that stresses conservation with the use of composting to reduce the use of pesticides, fertilizers and water,” Herrera said.

The program has brought horticultural activities and awareness not present in Cameron County prior to 1999, Perez said.

“Each new group of Master Gardeners brings new ideas to the table to sustain the program with sound educational activities,” he said. “We manage our programs with several committees, including the marketing, education and program committees that are now managed by Jennifer Herrera.”

Class topics, taught by local experts, include landscape drip irrigation, insect control and identification, native landscaping, butterfly gardening, plant propagation, raised-bed vegetable and herb gardening, landscape fruit, and tree care.

For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office for Cameron County at 956-361-8236.

Gardening tips

Just because is now officially winter doesn’t mean you can ignore the water needs of the plants in your landscape. Yes, 2010 was good year for rainfall in most of the state but not so for the past several months. Many parts of the state have seen little to no significant rainfall since early September. If that is the case were you garden be sure to provide a deep soaking every few weeks or so while we are in this dry spell.

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 2011 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did you know...

Herbalists used foxglove Digiitalis purpurea for external treatment long ago but it wasn’t until the mid 1700s that an English physician discovered the medical usefulness of this valuable plant to treat patients. Today, foxglove is used in many heart related treatments.

Upcoming garden events.

If you would like your organization’s events included in "Upcoming Garden Events" or would like to make a change to a listed event, please contact us at Garden Events. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details at least three weeks prior to the event.

Bryan/College Station: Applications are being accepted for the Brazos County Master Gardener 2011 Training Class which will be held from January to May. Classes meet on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Applications and more program information is available at or contact the Brazos County office of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service at 979-823-0129 for more information.

Kemah: The Kemah-Bay Area Garden Club will meet Wednesday, January 5, at 9:30 a.m. at the Jimmie Walker Community Center, 800 Harris Avenue, Kemah. Nell Shimek, co-owner of Shimek’s Gardens, an American Hemerocallis Society National Display site in Alvin, will present “Daylilies.” Light refreshments will be served and the public is invited. For additional information, call Anniece Larkins, President, at 281-842-9008.

Kingsland: Master Gardener Sheryl Yantis will present "Hill Country Roses." Learn about the easy care roses that are beautiful, require minimal maintenance and grow in our area. This program is presented free by the Kingsland Garden Club at the Kingsland Library on Friday, January 7. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. and the program follows at 1:45 p.m. For more information, visit

Austin: “Grow the Best Garden Veggies Ever!” a free demonstration of how to grow the best vegetables you can, will take place from 10 a.m. until noon, January 8, at Sunshine Community Gardens, 4814 Sunshine Dr., Austin. It all starts below your feet, in the very soil your plants grow in; quality soil = quality vegetables. Master Gardeners will share techniques applicable to any soil type. Bring chairs if desired, but event will be rain or shine. Only street parking is available for this event. This seminar is free and open to the public. It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For more information, visit

Seabrook: The Harris County Master Gardener Association will present a program on Fruit Trees for Harris County Tuesday, January 11, from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lake side), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. Herman Auer, Galveston County Master Gardener, will be the lecturer. These lectures are free and open to the public. For more information visit:

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 13, at the Georgetown Public Library, 2nd floor. Ginger Hudson will present her new book Landscape Maintenance for Central Texas Gardens. Visitors welcome. For additional information, contact Susan Waitz at 512-948-5241 or visit

Austin: “Central Texas Gardening 101” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, January 15, at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. If you’re a newcomer to Central Texas or need a refresher on the, learn tips and tricks to making your Austin garden a success! Included will be a seasonal growing calendar, how to work with challenging soils, maintenance schedules for pruning and planting, valuable information about giving new plants a headstart and much more. Join Daphne Richards, Horticulture Agent at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service for Travis County to get the facts and ask questions of your own. This seminar is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Highland Lakes: The Highland Lakes Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of Texas AgriLife Extension, will start Master Gardener Training Classes March 1 in Marble Falls. Visit to learn about the classes, cost, application and the Master Gardener program. Enrollment is limited so get your application in by January 15.

Houston: The Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale will be held 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. or until sold out, January 15, at Robertson Football Stadium on the University of Houston campus, Scott Street at Holman Street, Houston. This annual sale brings together far more types and varieties of fruit trees than can be found anywhere else in the greater Houston area. Fruit trees are easy to grow in metro Houston, with little care and big results. Learn more about growing fruit trees from Urban Harvest. For more information, visit

New Braunfels: Registration has begun for the Comal Master Gardener Training Class which will be held from January 19 to May 11, 2011. Applications for the class are currently on the Comal Master Gardener website at or contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office at 830-620-3440 for more information. Class size is limited and applications are accepted in the order they are received. The class will meet each Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service Comal County Office, 325 Resource Dr., New Braunfels (behind the Comal County Recycling Center).

Seabrook: Dr. Carol Brouwer, Harris County Extension Agent, will present "Pruning Trees and Shrubs" at 10 a.m., January 19, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. Brouwer will discuss correct pruning techniques. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit:

Beaumont: Nesting Season Kick-Off 2011, presented by the Texas Bluebird Society and sponsored by the Golden Triangle Audubon Society, will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, January 29, at Beaumont Botanical Gardens in Tyrell Park, 6088 Babe Zaharias Drive. Beaumont. Join with other TBS members to explore solutions to the most predominant challenges faced in providing the best habitat and promoting solid conservation practices for our native cavity nesters. Guest Speakers include Texas Gardener columnist Greg Grant, speaking about “The Hole Truth: East Texas Woodpeckers,” and Cliff Shackelford, speaking about “Nuthatches in Texas: Nuttin' but the Truth.” Registration for this event is required. $12 Advanced Registration (includes hot lunch) deadline is January 15, 2011; at-the-door registration is $6 (no lunch). To register or for additional information visit

Bryan: "Earth-Kind Gardening Seminar" will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., January 29, at The Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Dr., Bryan. Learn all you need to know from experts for successful gardening in Central Texas. learn about easy-to-grow Earth-Kind roses and Garden Design from Gaye Hammond, Houston Rose Society, and Andrea Fox, MLA and Master Gardener. Learn how to grow fresh, flavorful vegetables and herbs from Dr. Joe Masabni, Extension Specialist, and Ann Wheeler, Log House Herbs. $50 per person. For more information and a registration from, visit or call 979-823-0129.

Austin: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, February 5, at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Roses add color and wonderful scent to the garden year-round! Attend this free seminar to learn how to select, plant, prune and care for these wonderful plants. Earth-Kind and Antique roses, which are known for their high performance, disease resistance and insect tolerance, will be featured topics of discussion. Travis County Master Gardeners Carolyn Williams and Holly Plotner will arm attendees with the tools they need to explore this fascinating area of horticulture! For more information, visit

Austin: “Planning and Planting the Spring Vegetable Garden” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, February 12, at Sunshine Community Garden, 4814 Sunshine Dr., Austin. This hands-on seminar provides information on plant and seed selection, tips for increased germination, spacing and other techniques to ensure gardening success. Street parking available only. This seminar is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Sunset Valley: “Taking Care of the Lawn,” two seminars on lawn care, will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, February 19, at Sunset Valley City Hall, 3205 Jones Rd., Sunset Valley. “It's Dead! How to Establish a New Lawn” will be presented from 10 a.m., until 11 a.m.; “How to Promote Lawn Health” from 11 a.m. until noon. Learn what to do to start a new lawn or replace a lawn, including grass varieties, soil preparation, and watering. Discover easy mowing, irrigating, and fertilizing tips for lawn maintenance. Park in the Tony Burger Center across the street from Sunset Valley City Hall. This seminar is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Longview: The 2011 Spring Garden and Landscape Seminar, sponsored by the Gregg County Master Gardeners, will be March 5, from 8 a.m. until noon, at the First Methodist Church Faith Center, 400 N. Fredonia, Longview. Tom LeRoy Extension Agent, Conroe, will speak on "Vegetable Gardening" and "Everything You Want to Know about Tomatoes." Leslie Halleck, Horticulturist, Botanist and Gardener, Dallas, will speak on "Growing Herbs." There will be door prizes, raffle, vendors, and refreshments. Advance tickets are $10 or $12 at the door. Call 903-236-8429 for more information.

McKinney: The Collin County Master Gardeners will present The Garden Show, March 26 and 27 at the Myers Park and Event Center near McKinney. The show is focused on providing research based horticulture information to area residents. For more information, contact or visit

Cameron: The 2nd Annual Milam County Nature Festival will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., April 9 at Wilson-Ledbetter Park in Cameron. This is an educational and fun family event for all age groups with presentations, exhibits and hands on activities in a variety of nature areas including birds, bats, insects, butterflies, snakes, horned lizards, fish, wild animals, wildflowers, native grasses, and much more. For more information, visit:

Rockport-Fulton: The Seventh Rockport Herb Festival will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the Paws & Taws Fulton Convention Center, 402 N. Fulton Beach Road, Rockport-Fulton. Featured speakers include Susan Wittig Albert, New York Times bestselling author of the China Bayles series, books that "contribute to our knowledge, information, use, or enjoyment of herbs"; the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series; and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries written with her husband Bill Albert under the pseudonym Robin Paige. Also speaking will be Judy Barrett, founder of Homegrown Texas Magazine and author of What Can I Do With My Herbs? and What Makes Heirloom Plants So Great? Chef Kevin Argetsinger will present a cooking demonstration, and there will be other on-going cooking demonstrations throughout the day. In addition, Jeff Transeau of Charta Olives will speak on growing Olive Trees in Texas and the Texas Olive Industry. Texas olive oil and olive trees will be for sale. For additional information, visit

San Antonio: Viva Botanica! — A Garden Fiesta for the whole family will be celebrated at the San Antonio Botanical Garden on the first Saturday of the Fiesta week in San Antonio, April 9, 2011. Decorate your stroller or red wagon and wear your finest Fiesta attire to enjoy the spring beauty of the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Start the fun with a children’s parade and the coronation of lucky young visitors to the Garden’s first ever Fiesta Flower Court. Viva Botanica crafts, music, inflatable “bouncies” and games combine the natural environment of the Garden’s 33 acres with Fiesta fun. Stamp your Fiesta Passport on your “walk across Texas” experience along the Texas Native Trail, where families can explore the East Texas lake, the Hill Country’s limestone spring and historic cabins, and the Bird Watch at the farthest reach of the South Texas region. Interactive stations along the way will engage guests of all ages in the wonders of the natural world. For home gardeners, the Botanical Society will host its popular Spring Plant Sale of San Antonio friendly plants, all lovingly grown in the volunteer greenhouse at the Garden. Viva Botanica activities will be offered 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Garden is open 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Anne Marie’s Carriage House Bistro is open for weekend brunch 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The San Antonio Botanical Garden is located at 555 Funston at North New Braunfels Avenue with free parking. Admission is $8 adults; $6 students, seniors, military; $5 children age 3-13. The Botanical Garden is operated under the auspices of the City of San Antonio Department of Parks & Recreation and is open year-round except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, 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 July and August at The Library, 500 Bulldog, Marion. There is a plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins 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 or contact contact

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.

Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, meets the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including historical uses and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. 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 and

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

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

Arlington: The Arlington Men's Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the third Monday of each month (except December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact Lance Jepson at

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

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 7:00 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.

In Greg's Garden:
A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family

An intimate and personal exploration of the life of one of Texas’s most beloved gardeners, In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family gathers in a single volume the first nine years of Greg Grant’s columns from Texas Gardener magazine.

Revised and updated from their original publication, these 54 essays reveal the heart and soul of a seventh generation native Texan who has devoted his entire life to gardening, nature and family. With degrees in floriculture and horticulture from Texas A&M University and extensive hands-on experience as a horticulturist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Stephen F. Austin State University, Mercer Arboretum and San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Grant has successfully introduced dozens of plants to the Texas nursery industry, all while maintaining long-held family property and renovating the homes of his ancestors in Arcadia, Texas.

In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family is a must-read for every Texas gardener.

Available only for Kindle. Order directly from Amazon by clicking here.

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),
volume 28 (November/December 2008 through September/October 2009) and
volume 29 (November/December 2009 through September/October 2010)*.

$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.

Missed an issue? Back issues of Texas Gardener’s Seeds are available at

Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

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