January 19, 2011

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State poster contest helps teachers school their students about the benefits of trees

Texas Forest Service

Fourth and fifth grade teachers tasked with educating their students about trees and the benefits they provide have a tool to help liven up their lessons — the 2011 Texas Arbor Day Poster Contest.

A diverse community forest is a healthy community forest, and that’s just the point that the state poster contest is focusing on this year.

Sponsored by Texas Forest Service and open this year to both fourth and fifth grade students, the contest carries the theme Trees are Terrific in all Shapes and Sizes! It’s designed to boost students’ environmental stewardship by having them create a community complete with not just trees but the right trees planted in the right places.

The contest — and included environmental lessons — are correlated to the state curriculum for science and art, said Contest Coordinator Pete Smith.

“It’s just a fun way to educate students about the benefits that come from the trees that surround us,” Smith said. “It’s not about forests somewhere else; it’s about trees where we live, trees that we see every day. Hopefully, the lesson will instill in them an environmental ethic that they can carry forward.”

Rules

Unlike previous years, the national contest sponsored by The Arbor Day Foundation will not be held. As such, rules for the state competition have been tweaked this year.

Both fourth and fifth grade students are eligible to participate.

Posters may be no larger than 11 inches by 17 inches.

The deadline for each school to submit its winning poster is March 25, 2011.

Prizes

The winning student will receive a $500 savings bond and a year-long family pass for Texas state parks, as well as a framed copy of his or her poster and an invitation to the Texas Arbor Day ceremony in Pearland on April 29, 2011.

The winning teacher will receive a personal iPad and $250 to go toward classroom supplies.

The winning school will receive $250 for environmental books or supplies and a tree planted on the campus as part of an Arbor Day celebration.

For more information about the contest or to download the 2011 Activity Guide, visit the 2011 Texas Arbor Day Poster Contest website. Or, email Poster Contest Coordinator Pete Smith at postercontest@tfs.tamu.edu.


Editor's Note: Gardening news is slow at the beginning of the year, and many gardeners are unable to work in their gardens during winter. We thought you might enjoy a change of pace during this slow season, so following is the third of four gardening-themed short stories presented for your enjoyment. — Michael Bracken

Fertile Fiction
The Primrose Paths

By Jack Bludis

"Where do the paths go, Aunt Anna," I asked that summer when me and my hound Mange stayed with her.

"Anywhere you want them to go, darlin'," she said. "Just don't ever go down the lake path."

She seemed to spend more time taking care of the primrose along the paths, than all of the bright flowers in the garden that surrounded her cottage.

That night I thought about the paths even more.

Wherever I want them to go, what a great idea!

After I finished my prayer, I gave Mange a pat on the snout.

"No crawling in bed with me, tonight. You know Aunt Anna doesn't like the dog hair."

I let him lick my chin and I giggled. Mange backed away, wagging his curly tail.

He paraded a little circle around his most comfortable place, and flopped with a thud. He looked up, gave me his little whimper of "goodnight," and rested his chin on his paws.

As I tried to sleep, I thought about Aunt Anna's beautiful garden, but I thought too about all the places I might want those paths to go.

The first place I thought was heaven. I could go there and see my Gramps and Granny. But if I went, would I be allowed to come back to stay with Mommy, Dad, and Aunt Anna?

I'd better think of something else, maybe to Arlington and the big amusement park with those wild rides? Nah, too scary without an adult. And they probably wouldn't let Mange ride anyhow.

"Where do we want to go, Mange?"

Mange raised his head, gave off one of his whines that said, "can't you see I'm trying to sleep," and he laid his chin on his paws. He looked at me for a few seconds, and finally, he let his lids close.

Out in space with Buzz Lightyear would be neat. Or how about going UP to Paradise Falls with Mr. Frederickson and Russell. That would be neat too, but I might never get back to Texas.

In the middle of the night, Mange woke up howling at the little window.

"Shhh, you're going to wake the neighbors," I said, and then patted him. He whimpered again, and was back to sleep before I was.

When the sun came up on the opposite side of the house and light flooded the room, Mange howled. Then, real quick, he went to the big window and planted his paws.

"What do you see, Mange?"

I went over behind him, and there it was at the end of the path and across the morning-bright garden. It was an almost full moon, and it was still daytime. I never saw the moon in the daytime — not that I remembered.

"Buzz Lightyear's come to call ... Let's go, Mange. Let's go get the moon."

I slipped into my bedroom shoes, hurried through the house, and charged outside through the kitchen door, still in my pajamas. I was hurrying after the moon that seemed to be rapidly setting toward the end of the primrose path, the lake path, the way I was not supposed to go.

At first, Mange was following. Then he was leading. I was running like a deer trying to catch up and he kept getting farther away. We were most of the way to the lake when the moon began to dip slowly. The earth cut off a sliver at a time, and finally there was no moon.

I was as tired after all that running as Aunt Anna must have been after a long day in the garden. When the moon disappeared, I slowed to a stop, leaned my palms on my knees and watched as Mange continued to chase the moon that was already gone. "We ain't supposed to go that way. That's the lake," I said.

"Mange!" I cried, but that old hound kept on running along the primrose path, with the buds as bright and yellow as ever.

I called again. Then I sat in the dust and waited. I wondered why Aunt Anna planted so much primrose.

"Never go all the way to the lake — or even close," Aunt Anna always said.

But I wanted Mange. I walked another hundred yards and I could see the water. I stood there until the sun was overhead and the primrose buds began to close.

"Mange," I called.

A few clouds darkened the sun and, in what seemed no time at all, there were lots of clouds, and they were getting darker. It was time to go home.

"Mange?" It was not even a call, more of a whisper.

He'd be along, I was sure.

Just before I reached the house, huge raindrops began to slam holes in the dust and shatter the silence of the garden with plops and patters. By the time I reached the kitchen door, I was soaked.

I hurried into the house but I could not find Aunt Anna. I went to the window where the moon had gone down. It was as dark as night and I could barely see to where the path began.

I comforted myself that I hadn't gone all the way to the lake, but it was no comfort at all. I called for Aunt Anna, but I couldn't find her.

I started to cry because I had disobeyed her very clear order. Then I was not crying about that anymore, I was crying about Mange. I curled in the middle of the floor in his best space, and I dreamed of the beautiful garden.

After a while I felt his lick on my cheek, and I awoke, smiling.

"You OK, boy?" Gramps said from the doorway and I wasn't sad anymore.

Jack Bludis is a novelist and short-story writer. His book Munchies and Other Tales of Mystery and Suspense will be published soon.


The Compost Heap
More about sassafras

“As an addendum to your article on sassafras, Sassafras albidum, (‘Did You Know’; January 12, 2011)," Michael Bettler writes, “I would refer you to pages 550 - 552 of The Big Book of Herbs, written by Tucker, A.O., Ph.D., and T. Debaggio (Interweave Press, 2000). These two highly respected authors are well published in the areas of the propagation, cultivation, testing and use of herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes.

“The information you reported on the aspects of root beer and cancer (particularly liver cancer) in the tradition of making root beer from sassafras roots the presence of safrole is affirmed in The B.B.H.

“However, to balance out your notice, an extract (powder) of the true leaves of the sassafras plant are used in the making of the traditional ‘cajun cooking’ filé, a ‘...thickener and flavoring in soups and stews.’ (The name ‘gumbo’ comes from the Choctaw Indian name for the dish, kombo ashish.)

“Lordy, I couldn't make gumbo without the real deal and look folks in the eye while they ate it. (An ‘artificial flavoring’ is made from wintergreen, a member of entirely different plant family. Check your ingredients label.)

“Your readers might want to know that the Sassafras tree has several chemical anomalies.

"Keep writing.

"I love it!”


Gardening tips

Everyone is getting the itch to start planting, but before setting tender new plants into the garden setting it is important to harden them off first. Start about 7 to 10 days before planting by setting them outside on a patio or porch for a few hours per day then move them back into a protected location until they become accustom to the environment. Be sure to keep them well watered.

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...

Crown vetch is one of the most effective erosion control plants around. Did you know it is closely related to vetch but is, botanically speaking, not a vetch at all. A native of Europe, this creeping perennial legume is often seen along highways and road banks. The foliage provides a thick mat which holds rainfall and slows run-off. The soil conditioning action of the roots improves the soil’s ability to absorb moisture.


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.

Dallas: Free training for environmental educators, teachers, volunteers and others interested in presenting educational programs on water quality and conservation will be offered by the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas. Two training sessions will be offered on January 20: from 9 a.m. to noon; and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The training will be held in the pavilion at the Dallas center, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. The morning session will be targeted toward environmental educators with city, county and school districts. The afternoon workshop will be aimed at members of local chapters of Texas Master Naturalists, Texas Master Gardeners and other interested volunteers. Experts from the center are interested in training volunteers to form a water-education team to assist with presenting water-conservation and water-quality concepts at schools, environmental fairs and other community events. For more information and to register online, go to http://dallas.tamu.edu. The course registration is listed under "Upcoming Courses."

Marfa: Aspiring arborists wishing to learn the art of grafting and budding should not miss the Winter Tree Grafting and Landscaping Seminar to be conducted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. January 20 at the Marfa National Bank on South U.S. Highway 67 in Marfa. The seminar involves the AgriLife Extension offices in Presidio and Brewster/Jeff Davis counties. The grafting/budding session is only a part of the schedule with the remainder being devoted to tips on how to ready the winter landscape for the coming spring and summer. Topics and speakers will include: When and How to Prune Dormant Landscape Plants, Debbie Benge, AgriLife Extension horticulturist for Ector and Midland counties; Vegetative Propagation Using Cuttings, John White, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens curator at the University of Texas, El Paso campus; Winter Soil Improvement, Benge; Vegetative Propagation Using Grafting and Budding, White; Planting and Transplanting Techniques, White. For more information call Jesse Lea Schneider at 432-729-4746 or Logan Boswell, AgriLife Extension agent for Brewster/Jeff Davis counties, at 432-837-6207.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host its monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 20, in Room 110 of the Agriculture Building located at 1924 Wilson Drive, Nacogdoches. Naturalist Keith Kridler will present “Bluebirds Chase My Blues Away.” Kridler is co-founder of the Texas Bluebird Society and co-author of The Bluebird Monitors Guide. He maintains an extensive bluebird trail in northeast Texas with hundreds of nest boxes and lectures widely on the subject. He is also a Master Gardener, a commercial daffodil farmer, and an officer in the Texas Daffodil Society. The Theresa and Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series is generally held the third Thursday of each month at the SFA Mast Arboretum. 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 grantdamon@sfasu.edu.

Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardeners’ Fruit and Nut Tree Sale will be held Saturday, January 22, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., at 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. A program by Tom LeRoy, County Horticulturist, begins at 8 a.m. Apples, cherries, citrus, blueberries, blackberries, pluots, plums, nectarines, onion sets, seed potatoes and so much more will be available! Please bring your wagon and join us. Have your fruit trees pruned before you leave the sale! For more information, call 936-539-7824.

Nacogdoches: 2011 Family Fun Days planned through Nacogdoches Naturally, an outdoor education component of the Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens, will include exciting outdoor weekend programs beginning in January and extending through May. On Saturday January 22 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., the Family Outdoor Adventures program of SFA Nacogdoches Naturally will participate in Kid Fish at Lakeside Park, 4800 Pearl Street. There will be drawings throughout the day and fishing prizes for ages 0-8 years and 9-16 years will be awarded at the end of the day. A variety of activities will be set up by the various sponsors with Nacogdoches Naturally demonstrating outdoor cooking as well as offering Junior Angler education through a Texas Parks and Wildlife program. The city sponsored event is free and open to the public. For more information about the Parks and Recreation event, contact Tracy Rucker at 936-559-2960. Upcoming events include: February 12, Gardening 101 for the Whole Family by Dawn Stover, 9 a.m.-Noon, Meet in Room 110 in the SFA Agriculture Building, Wilson Drive, $10 per family; April 16, SFA Garden Gala Day Plant Sale and Earth Day Celebration, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet Street; April 30, Farm and Forest Day, 9 a.m.-Noon, SFA Beef Center, Highway 259; May 14, Lake Sam Rayburn/Caney Creek Recreation Area, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Lake Sam Rayburn Nature Center, $10 per family. Events are free unless otherwise noted. For more information or to register, call Kerry Lemon 936-468-5586 or email sfagardens@sfasu.edu.

San Antonio: Learn how to select, plant, train, prune and maintain your newly purchased or existing fruit trees. Horticulturist Dr. Larry Stein of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will show you the dos and don'ts of fruit tree management Saturday, January 22. Planting and pruning will be demonstrated. Hosted at Fanick’s Garden Center, 1025 Holmgreen Road, San Antonio. Starts promptly at 9:00 a.m. and concludes around noon. Free. For more information, call 210-467-6575.

Farmers Branch: Roses are rapidly becoming a mainstay of Farmers Branch landscaping and will be made easier for local gardeners by a series of five free classes, “Landscaping with Roses in 2011.” All classes will be held at the Farmers Branch Community Recreation Center, 14050 Heartside Place, from 7 until 8:30 p.m. each scheduled evening. Three classes remain. Dr. Greg Church closes out the month on January 25 with “Perennials for the EarthKind Garden.” On February 1, Tim Allsup and Jerry Haynes will speak on “The Art and the Care of Garden Tools — Creating the Patina & Perfecting the Edge.” Carole Mainwaring will offer “David Austin Roses — Ahhhh” on February 8. Following those classes, the series concludes with a Rose Pruning Clinic at 10 a.m. on February 12. Participants are asked to register for classes by calling the Farmers Branch Community Recreation Center at 972-247-4607. “Landscaping with Roses in 2011” classes are sponsored by the Farmers Branch Parks and Recreation Department, the Dallas Rose Society and the Dallas Area Historical Rose Society.

Stephenville: A Prospective Wine-Grape Grower Workshop will be held January 25 at the Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center in Stephenville, 1229 U.S. Highway 281 North. Registration will begin at 8:30 am, and program presentation will take place from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The workshop is a one-day educational program designed to provide an overview of the unique requirements and economic risks associated with establishment and operation of a commercial vineyard in Texas. Fran Pontasch, AgriLife Extension viticulture advisor for North Texas, and Dusty Timmons, AgriLife Extension viticulture advisor for West Texas, will provide program instruction. Weather permitting, a discussion during the workshop would take place in the AgriLife Extension vineyard at the Center. The program was created to address the most common concerns potential grape producers may have prior to committing valuable resources toward a commercial vineyard enterprise. 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 the workshop can be completed through AgriLife Conference Services at their website, http://agrilifevents.tamu.edu. The workshop 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, visit http://winegrapes.tamu.edu and see Educational Opportunities. For more information, contact Fran Pontasch 254-968-4144 or fmpontasch@ag.tamu.edu.

Killeen: Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA) will hold their annual conference on organic production systems January 28-30 at the Killeen Civic and Convention Center, Killeen. TOFGA is the only statewide organization focused on the people who practice organic and sustainable agriculture in Texas. This year’s theme is Texas Farms Direct. The conference is set up for folks who are either already producing or wanting to learn about organic and sustainably raised produce, livestock, dairy, and grains. Sessions will be offered on organic production, processing, marketing, and business management. There will also be opportunities to meet up with exhibitors and supporters of the organic agricultural industry in Texas. Highlights of the conference will include farm tours, keynote address, hands-on workshops with national organic farming experts, panel discussions, interactive exhibitors, regional meet-ups, farm direct organic dinner, book sales, and the movie screening of Fresh. The Keynote Speaker on will be Ana Sofia Joanes, Director of Fresh, brought in exclusively for the Farms Direct Organic Dinner, Saturday evening. Registration ranges from $100 for a day pass to $200 for the weekend. For more information on the schedule of events, or to register contact the TOFGA Office at 512-656-2456, or email admin@tofga.org or visit the website at www.tofga.org.

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 http://www.texasbluebirdsociety.org/documents/registration2011kick.pdf.

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 brazosmg.com or call 979-823-0129.

San Antonio: Learn about selecting, planting and maintaining fruit trees for the Urban Landscape. Horticulturist David Rodriguez of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will guide you to your best orchard ever from11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, January 29. Hosted at Schulz Nursery, 3700 Broadway, San Antonio. Free. For more information, please call 210-467-6575.

Kemah: The Kemah-Bay Area Garden Club will meet at 9:30 a.m, Wednesday, February 2, at the Jimmie Walker Community Center, 800 Harris Avenue, Kemah. Patricia Martin, Master Gardener, will present “Planting a Native Garden for Hummingbirds and Butterflies.” Light refreshments will be served and the public is invited. For additional information, call Anniece Larkins, president, at 281-842-9008.

McAllen: The Sustainable Agronomic Education Association will hold their 10th annual conference February 4-5 at the Renaissance-Casa de Palmas Hotel, 101 N. Main St., McAllen. Organized around the theme "Healthy Food Production — Keepin' it Local," the conference will feature presentations about integrated animal and crop production, free-range poultry, pasture improvement, composting and compost tea, marketing locally produced food to local markets, marketing to restaurants, wine grapes and Texas wineries, and water issues in the Rio Grande Valley. Registration for both days (includes dinner Friday and lunch Saturday): $95. Saturday-only registration (includes lunch): $45. Van tour Friday $50. For additional information, contact Barbara Storz at b-storz@tamu,edu or 956-383-1026.

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 www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Cat Spring: The Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Austin County Grape Growers Committee will co-sponsor the 19th annual Gulf Coast Grape Growers Field Day on February 11 in Cat Spring, about 75 miles west of Houston. The field day will be held at the Cat Spring Agriculture Society Hall, 13035 Hall Rd. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with presentations and activities scheduled from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Viticulture topics addressed at the field day will include grape pest and disease management, grape maturity for wine quality, management practices for new vineyards, grower discussion panels and the latest in Texas AgriLife vineyard demonstrations. Speakers will include experts from AgriLife Extension, industry, and the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. A minimum of three continuing education units will be available to licensed pesticide applicators. Registration cost, which includes lunch, beverages and a wine social, is $20. All registration for this year’s field day will be at the door and must be paid in cash or by check. For more information, contact Fritz Westover at 281-855-5608 or fawestover@ag.tamu.edu.

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 www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Rosenberg: Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their annual Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale and Seminar on Saturday, February 12, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds - Building D, 4310 Highway 36S, Rosenberg. An overview of plants at the sale will be given at 8:00 a.m. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and run until 1 p.m. or until sold out. Persons attending the sale are welcome to bring their own wagons. Visit www.fbmg.com for more information on varieties that will be on sale.

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardener Association Lunch & Learn With the Masters program will hold two programs in February: February 14 master gardener Jerome Janak will discuss "Rose Planting, Pruning and Care" and February 28 Alton Meyer will discuss "Planting and Growing Fruit Trees." The programs run from noon until 1 p.m., at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria, and are free to the public. Bring a sack lunch and drink. For more information call 361-575-4581.

Bryan: The Brazos County office of Texas AgriLife Extension and the Brazos County Master Gardeners will host "The 2011 Earth-Kind Gardening 101 Series" each month through October. These monthly meetings, ideal for beginning gardeners, will teach everything from how to amend soil and grow healthier plants to tips for selecting the best spot for a vegetation garden. The remaining classes will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., February 15, March 29, April 19, May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20 and October 18. Attend one session or attend them all. $10 per class session. Pre-registration is preferred, one week in advance of a session, but walk-ins are welcome. For more information or a registration form, visit brazosmg.com or call 979-823-0129.

Burnet: Join Master Gardener and Landscape Design Consultant Sheryl Yantis for "Texas Tough Plants" at a public Green Thumb program presented by the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners at the Herman Brown Free Library on the Courthouse Square in Burnet on Saturday, February 19. The program will start at 10:30 a.m. Learn about the beautiful plants recommended for the Hill Country. For additional information, visit http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/greenthumb.aspx.

San Antonio: Spring garden preparation and annual pruning are coming up on the calendar. Here’s a Saturday seminar that is just what you need to prepare for a garden of delights in your yard.  Extension Horticulturist David Rodriguez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Bexar County Master Gardeners, will lead Earth-Kind Educational Program: Pruning and Q&A Gardening Seminar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., February 19, at Schulz Nursery, 3700 Broadway, San Antonio. Don't hesitate to bring plenty of questions and garden samples. Cost is free. For more information, call 210-804-0600.

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 www.tcmastergardeners.org.

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 thegardenshow@dfwair.net or visit www.ccmgatx.org/thegardenshow.

Waxahachie: The Ellis County Master Gardeners will host their 11th Annual Lawn & Garden Expo on Saturday, March 26, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., at the Waxahachie Civic Center, 1950 N. I-35E, Waxahachie. There will be 100+ exhibitor booths focusing on lawn- and garden-related products and services. There will be educational opportunities with the emphasis on fun for the whole family. There are activities throughout the day, including children and adult workshops presented by Ellis County Master Gardener specialists. There will be a huge Master Gardener plant sale area, as well as an  information booth where specialists answer horticultural questions. Tickets are $5.00 at the door; children under 12 are free. Free tickets are available from our sponsors. For a list of our sponsors, as well as further information on the Expo, visit www.ecmga.com or call 972-825-5175.

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: http://txmn.org/elcamino/naturefest/.

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 www.rockportherb.org.

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 www.sabot.org.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

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: Rockport: Monthly meetings of the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners are held at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Aransas County Office, 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 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. 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 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 www.npsot.org/GuadalupeCounty/ or contact contact guadalupecounty@npsot.org.

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.

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 www.rockportherbs.org and http://rockportherbies.blogspot.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.

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.

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 LJepson@aol.com.

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardeners meet at 2 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at McGregor House, 1628 W. Henderson, Cleburne which includes a program and a meet & greet. For more information, call Diane Asberry at 817-558-3932.

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.somervellmastergardeners.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 7:00 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 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.


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