February 16, 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.


Tips for Eco-Friendly Lawn and Landscape Care

In the early 20th century, lawns became a central part of the American landscape. The White House without its lawn, for instance, would be unthinkable. Today, home lawns throughout the nation comprise roughly 21 million acres. Back yards and front yards are undeniably part of the human landscape, and along with trees, shrubs and other plants, provide important lessons in photosynthesis, water filtration, carbon storing, and more.

Parents and children can ensure their home landscape not only provides a healthy place to play and relax, but also does its part in creating oxygen, capturing carbon and keeping the home cooler during hot summer months. Additionally, by following some simple steps that the whole family can enjoy together, the back and front yard can work for the larger environment, too.

Below are tips from TurfMutt, a caped dog crusader — and the face of a new Discovery Education program — who aims to help kids get outside and understand the importance of the everyday green spaces all around us.

Fertilize Naturally. Lawns take up the largest amount of carbon when they recycle nitrogen contained in grass clippings. So, take off that mulcher bag and leave clippings on the ground while mowing to break down and feed your grass naturally. And, how about applying some compost to your lawn in the spring or fall with your seed spreader?

Plant the Right Plant. It’s important to choose grass or plants that are right for the climate in which you live. Then, plants will need less water and fertilization to survive. Go to your local nursery or online to find your climate zone and discover what plants are native and will grow well in your area. For instance, if you live in a drought-prone area, select plants and grass that withstand heat and need less water.

Prune Regularly. A single grass plant can have 300 miles of roots. Roots grow strong with appropriate watering and proper pruning. Mowing your lawn regularly, similar to pruning perennial plants and flower gardens, keeps grass healthier, thicker, and in a “growing state,” ensuring carbon is captured and oxygen is emitted at their highest levels.

Water Early. Watering in the early morning before the sun is intense helps reduce the water lost from evaporation. Installing rain gutters and collecting water from downspouts also helps reduce water use. Trickle irrigation, drip irrigation or smart controller systems help reduce water use and meet the needs of plants. Or, when drought conditions exist, let the grass go dormant.

Create More Green Space. Lawns and other green spaces lessen the “heat island” effect, especially in urban areas, keeping surrounding areas cooler. Is there an area in your neighborhood that could benefit from some green space? If so, plant a garden for tasty veggies or a lawn area for play and relaxation.

Try one or more of these tips to keep your backyard healthy and “green” in a responsible way.

Reprinted with permission by OPEI Education and Research Foundation Copyright © 2011


 

Crapemyrtle conundrum: To prune or not to prune

By Brent E. Moon
Freelance Writer

Well, it’s time to prune your crapemyrtles again . . . or is it?

This is technically the proper time to prune crapemrytles, as they are dormant right now. However, contrary to popular belief, crapemyrtles do not have to be pruned at all. They will still bloom just fine this summer if you don’t. Many people do it because they see others doing it.

Crapemyrtles can be pruned at this time of year if you need some height control but please try not to commit “crape murder.” This is what we call it when limbs are indiscriminately hacked off, leaving huge stubs that only encourage spindly, weakly attached growth to sprout the following spring. This is analogous to topping a tree, something else one should never do.

The best way to prune crapemyrtles is to first remove any dead or diseased growth, followed by any crossing on inwardly-growing branches.

Next, observe your plant; does it block a window or a view? If not, consider only removing growth that is no bigger around than your finger or better yet, don’t prune it at all.

It is OK to thin the branches a bit but wholesale cutting back of all the branches is a huge no-no, even though many, many people do this. As mentioned before, this type of pruning causes dormant buds to break into growth on the trunk; these buds are generally very weakly attached to the main stems and can break off in high winds and storms. This also causes your plant to expend huge amounts of energy each year to regenerate its canopy; energy that would otherwise be spent in producing those beautiful blooms. In addition, the huge cuts resulting from this type of pruning opens a pathway for insects and diseases to enter your plant.

The cardinal rule to remember when pruning your crapemyrtle this winter is that less is more.


Gardening tips

"This is for people who have back problems and cannot stay bent over for very long at a time," writes Melinda Perkins. "Instead of having all of my annual color in the ground, I have hay-rack cradle planters which stand on the porch. I sit in my armless rolling office chair (that I used as a school teacher) by the planters while I hand shovel the old soil into a bucket. The new soil and then later the mulch is placed on my "garden buddy" rolling cart which makes the materials the perfect height for shoveling into the planter. The cart is also a stage from which to access the new plants. My rolling chair really saves my hurting back!"

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...

Short of a greenhouse, the best way to have the earliest tomatoes on the block is to plant a few tomato transplants in dark plastic pots, 1 to 5 gallons in size. Keep them on the south side of your house where they will be protected from those cold north winds until after the chance of freezing weather has passed before planting in the garden. If freezing weather threatens, move the plants into a protected area like a garage or covered patio.


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.

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 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.

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.

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, February 17, in Room 110 of the Agriculture Building located at 1924 Wilson Drive. Kiki Fontenot, LSU AgCenter vegetable community/school garden specialist will present “Students Dig It…Gardening with Youth.” Since being hired by the Louisiana State University AgCenter, Fontenot has been busy working with a growing number of statewide schools interested in starting community gardens as tools for promoting healthy eating and to help teach math and science concepts. Fontenot also runs the demonstration garden at Louisiana House, the state’s model residence for green and sustainable living. 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.

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.

Nacogdoches: SFA Gardens will host a garden seminar “Garden Tool Maintenance for the Mechanically Challenged” on February 26 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Agricultural Mechanics Shop on College Street, next to the Military Science Building. Dr. Craig Morton, Ag Mechanics professor, promises to help even the most severely challenged gardeners learn how to sharpen hoes, maintain lawnmowers, and make the weed eater purr like a kitten. Come dressed to get dirty for this hands-on workshop. Cost is $20 for Friends of SFA Gardens members and $30 for non-members. To register, contact the Elyce Rodewald at 936-468-1832 or erodewald@sfasu.edu.

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.

Kingsland: "Container Gardening" with Master Gardener Timi DeBusk begins at 1:45 p.m., Friday, March 4 at the Kingsland Library. Learn about the proper care and great ideas for your container plantings in a program presented free by the Kingsland Garden Club. Arrive early and attend the meeting at 1 p.m.

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.

College Station: "Gardening Study School I" will be March 17-18 at the Texas A&M University Horticulture Building, College Station. Taught by Dr. Joe Novak, Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture, the course includes botany, soils, houseplant basics, plant propagation, garden ecosystems.  Admittance is limited to 35 attendees. Registration of $100 is due postmarked by February 24 to Texas Garden Club GSS State Chairman: Jane W. Cohen, 3655 McCullough Road, College Station, TX 77845; 979-690-3500. A registration form may be downloaded from: 1) NGC web site at www.gardenclub.org, then Schools, then Gardening Study Schools, then March 17-18; 2) Texas Garden Club web page at http://www.texasgardenclubs.org/, then events, then March 17-18, Registration Form; 3) A&M Garden Club web page at http://www.amgardenclub.com/activities.htm, then activities, then Gardening Study School. The classes usually go from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., with sign-in the first 15 minutes. The Gardening Study Schools are a series of 4 schools. Each school may be taken individually. Courses are usually offered about 6 months apart. Attendees who take all four within a seven-year period, may become a Gardening Consultant. Schools are offered regularly through Texas Garden Club sponsorship.

Kingsland: Get ready for "Spring Vegetable Gardening" with Master Gardener Violet Carson in a free Green Thumb program presented by the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners on Thursday, March 17 at noon at the Kingsland Library, 125 W Polk. For more information, visit http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/greenthumb.aspx.

Austin: A Passion for Plants: An East Austin Garden Fair will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, March 19, the last weekend of Spring Break, at New Covenant Fellowship of Austin Church, 1507 Wilshire Blvd., Austin. The theme of the fifth annual fair is Edible Landscaping. This free public gardening event will feature hands-on demonstrations of how to dig a garden bed, harvest rain water, grow fruits and vegetables organically, start plants from cuttings and seeds, and how to cut back on chemicals that harm our environment and ourselves. Come for the free advice from on-site experts who will answer all of your gardening questions, for tips on living healthier and happier, and for fun educational activities for kids to get them out in nature in your own back yard! Get ready for spring with all the free information needed to start an edible landscape, whether it’s one plant in a pot or a whole yard full, and enjoy eating healthier and being healthy! Hosted by Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Travis County Master Gardeners Association, the Sustainable Food Center, and the Holistic Education and Health Network. Call the Texas AgriLife Extension Service at 512-854-9600 for more information.

Lufkin: A Spring Native Plant Seminar will be presented March 22, at 6:30 p.m. at Angelina County Extension Office, 2201 South Medford Drive, Lufkin (next to the Farmer’s Market on the Loop). Dawn Stover, Research Assistant at SFA Arboretum will speak on “Native Plants in the Landscape.” Dawn will discuss her favorite native plants and how to include them in your landscape. This event is hosted by Angelina County Extension and the Angelina Master Gardener Native Plant Committee and is open to the public. For more information, call 936-634-6414 or visit go-lufkin.com/mastergardeners.

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.

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., 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.

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.rockportherbs.org or http://rockportherbies.blogspot.com.

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.

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: 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.

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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