February 9, 2011

Welcome to Texas Gardener’s Seeds, the weekly newsletter for Texas gardeners. Please do not reply to this e-mail because the sending address is not monitored. See the bottom of this newsletter for information on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editor.


Five questions to ask yourself as you plan your garden

Seed Savers Exchange

With winter season in full swing, now is the best time to start planning your spring and summer garden. As you pour through seed catalogs to help you decide what to grow, Diane Ott Whealy, co-founder of Seed Savers Exchange, suggests asking yourself the following questions to help guide you in your planning:

1. What do I want from my garden?

Do you want to grow your own food? Do you want to harvest enough produce to provide for friends and family? Do you envision flowers in your home’s landscape — like Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glory — or are you hoping to fill vases in your home with fresh cut flowers — such as Irish Eyes sunflowers?

2. What kind of vegetables do I like to eat?

Consider what you like to eat when choosing vegetable varieties to grow in your garden. Knowing your own taste will help you to narrow your choices and save hours wondering about seed descriptions in catalogs.

3. What vegetables and flowers will grow in my climate?

It’s important to choose plants appropriate for your USDA climate zone. “Different plants have different needs, so be sure to take that into consideration when planning your garden,” Whealy suggests.

4. Where will my garden be located?

The location of your garden might determine what you can grow successfully in your garden. Is your soil clay or sand? Is the garden area shaded or sunny? If you have limited space, many vegetables and flowers thrive in containers — such as Purple Dark Opal basil, tomatoes like Austin’s Red Pear; peppers including Nosegay and flowers like Johnny Jump-Up Pansies. Most catalogs provide planting and growing information.

5. When should I start planting?

“Seeds require different time and growing conditions,” says Whealy. Some plant types can be sown directly into the soil after the danger of frost has passed — such as beans. Cold-tolerant varieties, such as peas, actually thrive in cooler conditions and need to be directly sown outdoors before the last frost. Other varieties, requiring longer growing seasons like tomatoes and peppers, need to be started indoors before they are transplanted outdoors.

“Taking time to make a garden plan will help you to grow a treasure trove of beautiful and delicious heirloom vegetables and flowers,” asserts Whealy.


 

Homeowners will get ‘charge’ out of new eXtension website resource

By Paul Schattenberg
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

What tax credits or rebates are there for buying alternative energy materials or systems for my home? Which type of programmable thermostat is best? How is using a tankless water heater less expensive than a regular water heater?

The answers to these questions, plus an abundance of additional information on home energy use, is available on the new Home Energy resource addition to the eXtension website at http://eXtension.org, said an expert with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

"The new resource contains useful information from Texas AgriLife Extension Service experts, as well as experts from other land-grant universities throughout the U.S.," said Janie Harris, AgriLife Extension housing and home environment specialist in College Station.

Harris said the new resource contains information on best home energy-use practices, money-saving tips, articles and answers to frequently asked questions.

"There's also an Ask the Expert feature where you can e-mail a specific question and receive an answer from one of the subject matter experts supporting the home-energy resource area," she added.

Harris said the information can be accessed by clicking on the eXtension site's Resource Area tab and selecting Home Energy.

She said the resource was developed as a "community of interest" among professional educators who joined together in a "multi-institutional, multi-state, multi-disciplinary effort" to bring objective, relevant and timely home energy-saving guidance to the public.

Harris said family and consumer science experts from AgriLife Extension, an educational agency of the Texas A&M University System, were among those from the country's land-grant universities providing input for the new resource.

"The Home Energy resource through eXtension.org gives users a compilation of objective, credible, research-based information that can help homeowners in Texas and throughout the U.S. lower their energy consumption and save money," Harris said. "It deals with home energy efficiency for existing homes and new homes, and gives information on alternative-energy systems."

She said some of the topics addressed include home alternative-energy systems, low- and no-cost actions to reduce energy use, energy-saving household laundry tips, fluorescent lighting and home weatherproofing.

"The collective knowledge and expertise represented in this new resource will be of benefit to residents of Texas and other states and will help address the issue of conserving energy resources and gaining greater energy independence," she said.


Gardening tips

"If you want your banana to bloom and set fruit this summer," writes Brent E. Moon, "don’t be tempted into cutting it back to the ground once winter is over. Doing so will likely ruin your chance at fruit from these one-time bloomers. Cut the stalk back a little at a time until you see fresh, green growth in the center and stop there."

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...

Freeze damage to citrus trees like oranges, lemons and grapefruit happens when the water in the fruit, leaves and branches freezes, rupturing the cell membranes. Deciduous trees such as elms, oak and pecan protect themselves from sub-freezing weather by shedding their leaves in the fall and entering a dormant state.


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.

Wimberley: Residents in the area around Hays and Comal counties interested in learning how to protect themselves from wildfire are invited to a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. on February 10 at the Wimberley Community Center, 14068 Ranch Road 12. Representatives from Texas Forest Service and the National Fire Protection Association will be on hand to answer questions and talk about what you can do to protect your home and family from wildfire. For example, you can reduce potential wildfire losses by adopting Firewise landscaping practices 100 to 200 feet around your home. That includes moving firewood and clearing dead and dense vegetation. Wildland Urban Interface Specialist Jan Fulkerson stressed that wildfires are a community-wide problem, which means reducing risks to homes and property is everyone’s responsibility. For more information, visit www.texasfirewise.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.

Austin: Learn which roses do well in Central Texas, how to make roses thrive and avoid costly mistakes at the Rose Workshop, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, February 12, at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin. $25 registration fee includes lunch and a one-year membership in the Austin Rose Society, instruction booklet on growing roses, propagating roses from cuttings, soils for roses, handling rose insects and pruning roses. Register at www.austinrosesociety.org or pay at the door from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. For additional information, call 512-836-4679.

Marion: 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 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 12, at Schulz Nursery: 100 West Huebinger Street, Marion. Cost is free. For more information, call 210-467-6575.

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. 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.

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.

San Antonio: Six horticultural educational opportunities for the general public, all but one of them free, will be available in and around San Antonio throughout February. The dates, locations and details of the remaining programs are as follows: February 12 from 2-4 p.m., Fruit Tree Seminar: Selecting, planting and maintaining fruit trees for the urban landscape. Hosted by Schulz Nursery, 100 W. Huebinger St., Marion. No cost to attend. For more information, call Angel Torres at 210-467-6575. February 16 from 6-8 p.m., Earth-Kind Landscape Series: Spring Vegetable Seminar — selecting, planting and maintaining vegetables for a backyard garden. Suite 208 of the AgriLife Extension office, Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge, San Antonio. No cost to attend. For more information, call Angel Torres at 210-467-6575. February 19 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Earth-Kind Educational Program: Pruning and Q&A Gardening Seminar — how and when to prune plants. Participants encouraged to bring garden samples for practice pruning. Schulz Nursery, 3700 Broadway, San Antonio. No cost to attend. For more information, call 210-804-0600. February 20 from 2-4 p.m., Spring Vegetable Seminar — selecting, planting and maintaining vegetables for a backyard garden. Cooper’s Garden Place, 87 Coopers Lane, Floresville. No cost for attending. For more information, call 210-467-6575. February 26, from 11 a.m-1p.m., Spring Vegetable Seminar — selecting, planting and maintaining vegetables in a backyard garden. Fanick’s Garden Center, 1025 Holmgreen Road, San Antonio. No cost to attend. For more information, call 210-648-1303.

Tyler: The East Texas spring landscape and gardening conference will take place February 12 at the Tyler Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive, Tyler. Topics and presenters will include: “Growing Great Roses,” Mark Chamblee, Chamblee’s Roses, Tyler; “Pruning Roses for Beauty and Health,” Keith Mills and Craig Reiland, former and current, respectively, Rose Garden supervisors; “Master Gardener on Wheels,” Gary; “What’s Bugging You? – Common Pests and Their Control,” Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Dallas; “Native Plants at Home in Your Yard,” Creech; “Pollinators in the Garden,” Janet Rowe, Rockwell Master Gardener and lifetime beekeeper; and “IDEA Garden through the Seasons,” Hansen, and Smith County Master Gardeners Cindy Harrington and Anne Pattullo. Following the formal presentations the conference will adjourn to visit the Tyler Rose Garden demonstration gardens. Registration for the program is $20 at the door and will include break refreshments, lunch, and educational materials. Registration will start at 7:30 a.m. For more information, contact Keith Hansen at 903-590-2980 or khansen@ag.tamu.edu.

Houston: The Houston Urban gardeners will meet Monday, February 14 at 6:30 PM at the renovated Houston Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Dr. in Hermann Park, Houston. To access parking go to Golf Course Drive and enter the lot right across from Miller Outdoor Theater. Nan Hildreth will lead a panel discussion on soil, soil fertility, biochar, and how growing vegetables at our homes helps the environment and with a little tweaking could help even more. Panelists will include soil expert John Ferguson of Nature’s Way Resources, Bruce A. McCarl, agricultural economist with Texas A&M, and Jason Aramburu, founder of Re:Char, a company based in Austin making biochar cookers for small farmers. Feel free to bring plants, seeds and snacks to share. Meetings are free and open to everyone. For additional information, visit www.houstonurbangardeners.org.

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.

Overton: A newly enacted federal food safety law that will impact growers will be only one of the topics addressed at the East Texas Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Conference set February 15 in Overton. The legislative aspect is only one new thing at this year’s annual event. This year, the conference will be held in a new location, the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton – not the Harvey Convention Center (in Tyler) as in past years. Another new feature is a “diagnosis clinic” where Dr. Karl Steddom, AgriLife Extension plant pathologist, and Dr. Scott Ludwig, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist, will walk producers through a process to accurately diagnose crop problems. But the “hot topic” with growers is likely to be how the new federal regulations will affect them. Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension statewide vegetable specialist, said the law, which was passed through Congress with largely bipartisan support and signed into law by President Obama on January 4, is the first major overhaul of food safety laws since the Great Depression. The new law will rely more on farmers and food processors to come up with ways to prevent contamination and test for it. The old law relied upon government inspectors. Registration is at the door only, is $25 per person, and will include lunch and break refreshments. Participants will earn three continuing education units towards renewal of their pesticide applicator’s license — 1.5 units in integrated pest management and 1.5 units in laws and regulations. Presenters will include AgriLife Extension specialists, local growers and a representative of Brookshires Grocery Company. Topics will include: “Vegetable Disease Management,” “Management of Fire Ants and Leaf Cutting Ants,” “Food Safety and Government Oversight of Famers Markets, etc.,” “Herbicides for Crop Weed Control,” “Diagnosing Crop Problems,” “Blackberry Production” and “A Growers Panel on Marketing Your Produce.” For more information contact Keith Hansen at 903-590-2980 or khansen@ag.tamu.edu.

San Antonio: Learn about selecting, planting and maintaining vegetables in your backyard garden. Horticulturist David Rodriguez of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will guide you to a successful garden this spring from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 16. Your host will be the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite #208, San Antonio. Cost is free. For more information, call 210-467-6575.

Seabrook: Heidi Sheesley, owner of Treesearch Farms, will present a preview of the fruit and citrus trees that will be offered at the upcoming Master Gardener Plant Sale. Sheesley's presentation will be at 10 a.m.,  February 16 at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lake side), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public For more information, visit http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/hort.

Austin: There’s an old saying in the pest control industry: “There are two types of homes in Texas — those with termites and those that will have them within seven years.” Which category do you fit into? “Termite Training for Homeowners” will arm homeowners with information so they feel comfortable discussing management options for termites with pest professionals. Do you know how termites look for food? Can you tell the difference between ants and termites? Learn how to identify the types of termites found in Central Texas and their management options, from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., February 17 at Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600-B Smith Rd., Austin. For more information, call 512-854-9600.

The Woodlands: Marya Fowler with National Wildlife Federation will appear on Thursday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m. to share her passion for nature and garden design tips at Community Wildlife Habitats, the next Walk in the Woods Nature Lecture at McCullough Jr. High School, 3800 S. Panther Creek Dr. A growing trend in landscaping, wildlife habitats create a place for nature. Adding the delight of songbirds, hummingbirds and butterflies to the landscape is easy. Providing food, water, shelter and a place to raise young can turn any balcony, backyard or school campus into a wildlife habitat. Learn more at this free program of The Woodlands Township. For more information, call the Environmental Services Department at 281-210-3900 or visit Walk in the Woods Nature Lecture Series.

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.

Floresville: Learn about selecting, planting and maintaining vegetables in your backyard garden. Horticulturist David Rodriguez of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will guide you to a successful garden this spring from 2 p.m until 4 p.m., Saturday, February 20. Bethe guests of Cooper's Garden Place, 87 Coopers Lane, Floresville. Cost is free. For more information, call 210-467-6575.

Pasadena: The Harris County Master Gardener Spring Sale will feature tropical fruit trees for home orchards, tomatoes, peppers, citrus, berries and grapes, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Saturday, February 26, at Campbell Hall at the Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Bluff Road, Pasadena. There will also be a plant sale preview at 8 a.m. and educational workshops at 10 a.m. For more information, visit http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/hort.

Schertz: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners & Texas AgriLife Extension Service will host a Spring Garden Workshop at 9 a.m., February 26, in the Guadalupe County Annex Court Room, at the Schertz Community Garden, 1101 Elbel Road, Schertz. Dr. Noel Troxclair will discuss “Bugs in the Garden,” followed by Dr. Mark Black on “What’s Killing Your Plants.” Dr. Larry Stein will finish the workshop with a hands-on demonstration of “Fruit Tree Pruning” in the Garden’s orchard.  Entry fee is a food donation for the local food bank. For more details or to reserve your place, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or email jlbruno@gvec.net.

Wichita Falls: The Wichita County Master Gardeners will sponsor two days of gardening speakers at the 2011 Arts Alive Home and Garden Festival, February 26 & 27, at the Wichita Falls Multi Purpose Events Center, 1000 5th Street. Saturday's speakers will be Jeff Luedke, Natural Guard; Elena Lipkowski, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Steven Chamblee, Chandor Gardens; and Doug Hill, Red River Beekeepers. Sunday afternoon’s speakers will be MG Anne Dohrer and The MG Firewise Landscaping Specialists. For more information, visit overthegardengate.org or call 940-716-8610.

San Antonio: “Floral Design School” begins Tuesday, March 1 and runs through April 5 . Classes from 1-4 p.m. each Tuesday at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels @Funston. Tuition is $150. This includes all containers, fresh flowers and greenery. Take home a completed project each week. To register or for more information call 210 824-9981.

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.

Nacogdoches: The Stephen F. Austin State University Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden will host the annual Nacogdoches Azalea Trail Symposium Saturday, March 12, from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Room 110 of the Agriculture Building on Wilson Drive on the SFA Campus in historic Nacogdoches. Noted SFA horticulturist, Dr. David Creech, will be the featured speaker. Dr. Creech will share his enthusiasm for native and other azaleas in his lecture, “Deciduous Azaleas, New Landscape Accents for Your Garden.” He will discuss the unique features of deciduous azaleas, including their bright colors and fragrance, and how to use and grow them to best effect in home landscapes. Unlike the more common evergreen azaleas, deciduous azaleas bloom before the foliage emerges and sport fragrant showy flowers in unusual color combinations including bright yellow and orange. Dr. David Creech, Regent’s Professor, has been at Stephen F. Austin State University since 1978 and is director of the SFA Mast Arboretum and Ruby Mize Azalea Garden, and co-directs the Pineywoods Native Plant Center. Dr. Creech received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Horticulture from Texas A&M University and his M.S. from Colorado State. His research effort has focused on blueberry germplasm and production studies, alternative crop/alternative technology, crop nutrition, and evaluation of new plant materials for the South. Lunch is provided, followed by tips on propagating, growing, and pruning azaleas, plus a guided tour of the SFA Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden by Barbara Stump and Dr. Creech. The program is sponsored by Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens. Admission is $30 for SFA Gardens members; $40 for non-members. To register, call 936-564-7351 or e-mail info@visitnacogdoches.org. For more information e-mail sfagardens@sfasu.edu or visit www.nacogdochesazaleas.com.

San Antonio: Visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden during Spring Break for daily children’s programs for ages 7-11 beginning at 10 a.m. each morning. Registration and fees vary. Monday, March 14 Pioneer Life in the Garden. Explore the Garden's pioneer log cabins! We'll learn how early settlers raised animals and grew and preserved their own vegetables. Fee: $3 plus Garden admission ($5/child, members free). Tuesday, March 15 Japanese Gardening and Culture. As children tour our Japanese Garden, they will discover the hidden meaning of features such as the stone turtle, hills, and lanterns. Kids will also learn about Japanese culture by making crafts and learning fun words in Japanese! Fee: $3 plus Garden admission ($5/child, members free). Tuesday, March 15 Seed Balls: What is a seed ball? Seed balls are miniature gardens waiting to form. They are created by rolling together a mixture of native seed, clay, sand and compost into a ball. Finished seed balls can be distributed in areas where irrigation is limited and a wildflower garden is desired. The right amount of rainfall is all that is required for germination. Horticulturist Michelle Gorham will guide children ages 5-12 through this fun, messy and informative class. Register through NEISD Community Education at www.communityed.neisd.net. Fee: $27 (includes Garden admission) plus $5 supply fee due on the first day of class. Wednesday, March 16 Birding for Kids! From talons to camouflage, birds have amazing adaptations! Come join us to learn about how these adaptations help birds survive in the wild. We'll practice focusing binoculars and observing birds through them before we go birding in the Garden. Fee: $3 plus Garden admission ($5/child, members free). Thursday, March 17 Worm Bins. Kids can learn how to turn their carrot tops and leftover lettuce into food for worms. Finished reading that newspaper? Throw that in, too! Now you're ready for some pet worms to help turn your kitchen scraps into rich soil for your plants. Register through NEISD Community Education at www.communityed.neisd.net. Fee: $27 (includes Garden admission) plus $5 supply fee due on the first day of class. Friday, March 18 Junior Gardeners. Kids will get their hands on horticulture through fun crafts and gardening activities! Fee: $3 plus Garden admission ($5/child, members free). The San Antonio Botanical Garden is located at 555 Funston at North New Braunfels Avenue with free parking. The Botanical Garden is operated under the auspices of the City of San Antonio Department of Parks & Recreation and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, the public can visit www.sabot.org.

Burnet: The 13th Annual Hill Country Lawn and Garden Show, will be held at the Burnet Community Center, 401 E Jackson, Burnet, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Saturday, March 26. Free to public. For more information, contact sammyenmike@yahoo.com.

Houston: The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program Garden Tour: March 26 visit five Houston private gardens, open to benefit the Garden Conservancy and Peckerwood Garden. No reservations required; rain or shine. Visit website for complete garden descriptions and driving directions. Admission is $5 per garden; children 12 and under are free. See www.opendaysprogram.org or call The Garden Conservancy toll-free weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, 1-888-842-2442.

McKinney: The Collin County Master Gardeners will present The Garden Show, March 26 and 27 at the Myers Park and Event Center, McKinney. The Garden Show is packed with exciting and informative educational events with hands on activities and demos by local experts. Mariana Greene, Jimmy Turner, Dr. Dotty Woodson, Kim Schofield, Dr. Greg Church, Michael O’Keefe, Roger Sanderson, Dr. Steve George, Buddy Lee and many Collin County Master Gardeners will speak on timely information on outdoor living in North Texas. Tour Our Perennial Trial Garden; Learn How to Build a Rain Barrel; Creating and Using Compost; Building a Raised Bed; Vegetable Gardening; Growing Herbs; Planting for Summer Color; Learn How to Propagate Plants; Growing Great Turf Grass; Growing in Containers; What is IPM?; How do I Collect and Use Rain Water?; Improving Your Sprinkler System; Visit With Local Garden Clubs and Nonprofit Organizations; Learn How Our Collin County Cities Are Going Green; Visit the Great Vendors and Much, Much More. Admission is 2 cans of food or $2 per car for the North Texas Food Bank. 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.

Austin: There’s an old saying in the pest control industry: “There are two types of homes in Texas — those with termites and those that will have them within seven years.” Which category do you fit into? This class will arm homeowners with information so they feel comfortable discussing management options for termites with pest professionals. Do you know how termites look for food? Can you tell the difference between ants and termites? Learn how to identify the types of termites found in Central Texas and their management options at Termite Training for Homeowners, Wednesday, March 30, from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. at Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600-B Smith Rd., Austin. For additional information, call 512-854-9600.

Austin: Enjoy the pleasures of fresh homegrown vegetables. Imagine baskets of okra, tomatoes, squash and green beans from your own garden! Learn how to plant and maintain this garden from Master Gardener Vegetable Specialist and Texas Gardener Contributing Writer Patty Leander when she leads “Spring Vegetable Gardening,” from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., March 30 at Old Quarry Branch Library, 7051 Village Center Dr., Austin. She will share popular varieties for Central Texas, recommended planting dates and tips for organic gardening and insect control. This free seminar, packed with information and color photographs, will benefit both new and experienced gardeners, so don’t miss this great kick-off to spring gardening! Arrive early to ensure a seat as this is one of our most popular seminars. 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 www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Master Gardener Public Gardening Help Desk at 512-854-9600.

Austin: Learn the answer to “What’s Bugging my Vegetables?” Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. until noon at Homewood Heights Community Garden, 2606 Sol Wilson Ave, Austin. Learn about the most common garden insects…good and bad. Knowledge is power and you’ll walk away knowing you can identify the eggs, nymphs, and adults. Discover Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. Park in the neighborhood. Garden is on the north side of street west of Sol Wilson/Ridgeway intersection. 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 www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Master Gardener Public Gardening Help Desk at 512-854-9600.

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.

Dallas: The Greater North Texas Orchid Society will host "Expose Yourself to Orchids," an orchid show and sale, Saturday, April 9, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Texas A&M Extension Center, Pavilion Building, 17360 Coit Rd., Dallas. Free Admission. For additional information, visit www.gntos.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.

Brownwood: The Brown County Master Gardeners Association meets the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 605 Fisk Ave., Brownwood. For further information, call Mary Green Engle at 325-784-8453.

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.

Leander: The Leander Garden Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month (except July and August) at 10:30 a.m. at the Leander Presbyterian Church, 101 N. West Drive, Leander, unless there is a field trip or an event at a member's home. Following a short business meeting, there is usually a program, followed by a shared pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call Cathy Clark-Ramsey at 512-963-4698 or email texascatalina@yahoo.com.

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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