March 2, 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.

The garden reader:
No plants; no tomorrow

By William Scheick
Book Reviewer

Bill Laws. Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History, 2010. 224 pp. $29.95.

In an 1800 memorandum, Thomas Jefferson spoke with his usual succinctness: “The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.”

Decades earlier, in Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift made a related point, though with a characteristic barb: “whosoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, woul. . .  do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.”

Put another way, as Bill Laws has observed in Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History, “If the world’s plants suddenly expired, we would have no tomorrow.”

Clearly, whatever else human history might be, ours is the story of various dependencies on plants — from the macro level (breathing their out-gassed oxygen) to the micro level (eating our veggies).

In the many crucial strata between our breathing and eating, there are plants that have played special roles in human history. These are plants that have been vital for shelter (English oak), medicine (white willow), commerce (white mulberry), technology (rubber), science (sweet pea) and even politics (tobacco).

Bill Laws provides a concise profile of each of the plants included in his well-designed book. These informed entries are enhanced by botanical drawings and other illustrations.

The entries make for entertaining reading. Even so, my favorite chapter feature was the sidebar box.

Inside these brief newsy boxes the reader gets a peek outside the box of the normal. It’s a peek at the wild cards that have emerged from the shuffled deck of human experience with plants, including

  • Italians harvesting pasta from a spaghetti tree,
  • English sugar addicts craving white bread,
  • French rioters dumping cartloads of grapes into a river,
  • colonial massacres over spices and
  • family members informing hives of their beekeeper’s death.

There’s more in other sidebar boxes, such as the claim that silkworms will not perform in the presence of “dirty people” and that pineapple juice cures a variety of human ailments. Tea, too, offers more than meets the eye since it has a long history of being adulterated by peculiar additives.

Another sidebar box puzzles over whether there is a difference between ale and beer or a yam and a sweet potato? And just how did foxglove and Jerusalem artichoke get their odd names?

You’ll enjoy finding the answers in Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History.


Carbon dioxide pollution helps weeds thrive, lowers impact of herbicides

Weed Science

With global warming comes increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which benefits at least one species — weeds. Carbon dioxide acts as a fertilizer to invasive exotic grasses, resulting in higher growth rates and larger leaves. These stronger plants are also proving more resistant to the world’s most important herbicide, glyphosate, commercially known as Roundup.

A study published in the journal Weed Science reports the effects of elevated carbon dioxide levels on four species of grass. The research also gauged the tolerance of these plants to the most widely used herbicide for weed control, glyphosate.

The four species tested are all invasive exotic plants in Australia that previously have been chemically controlled with glyphosate. The plants were grown in glasshouse experiments at ambient and elevated carbon dioxide levels.

Mature plants were then sprayed with the recommended amount of glyphosate. When treated with the herbicide, three of the four species showed a significantly higher survival rate under the elevated carbon dioxide level compared with ambient levels.

The herbicide works by inhibiting an enzyme the plant needs for biosynthesis. However, when the plant is exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide, it increases its growth and biomass production in a way that heightens its tolerance to glyphosate. The plant is experiencing reduced stomatal conductance and creating greater total leaf area.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased greatly in the past two decades because of the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use. Preindustrial carbon dioxide levels were rated at 280 parts per million (ppm), while 2005 levels reached 379 ppm. By the year 2100, it is predicted that carbon dioxide will reach 700 ppm; this level was represented in the elevated growth test.

With carbon dioxide helping to create a better weed, use of herbicides may be increased to counter the effect. More weeds and larger amounts of herbicides could have significant economic and environmental impacts.

Gardening tips

If you love the fragrance of gardenia but have trouble growing it, try planting in a container on a porch near an entrance to your home. Gardenias need good drainage and an acidic soil like you would find in the piney woods of East Texas. For those who garden elsewhere, it is tough to grow those acid-loving plants unless the soil is highly amended or they are grown in containers. Use a good quality commercial potting soil mix or half sandy loam and half peat moss.

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...

Green garlic can be harvested and used just like green onions. Just dig up the immature bulbs and use them in salads, soups and other recipes that call for green onions. Green garlic has a much milder flavor than mature garlic cloves.

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.

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.

Austin: The annual Sunshine Community Gardens Spring Plant Sale will take place on Saturday, March 5, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the Sunshine Gardens, 4814 Sunshine Drive, Austin. There will be musical entertainment, food and drink for sale, and seedlings, seedlings, seedlings. More than 100 varieties of organic and heirloom tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and herbs will be on sale at very low prices. Bags of rich organic compost will also be available for purchase. Admission is free. For more information, visit

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

Victoria: The Victoria Master Gardeners will hold their annual Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, March 5, at the Victoria Regional Airport Pavilion. The sale will start at 8 a.m. For additional information, contact the Victoria County AgriLife Extension Service at 361-575-4581

Seabrook: Dr. Carol Brouwer, Harris County Extension Agent for Horticulture, and Karen Breneman, Harris County Master Gardener, will present "Great Plants for Houston" from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake (on the lake side), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

San Antonio: The San Antonio Garden Center Spring Plant Sale will be held Friday and Saturday, March 11-12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 3310 N. New Braunfels @ Funston, San Antonio. Shop for beautiful, quality plants along with an assortment of unique plants at the donation station contributed by members from their own yards and gardens. For more information visit, or call 210-824-9981. Note: Cash and checks only.

Moulton: Keep Moulton Beautiful (KMB)’s next “Breakfast with the Masters” program is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the Moulton Community Center. Planting season is just around the corner, so Gerald Bludau, master gardener from Victoria, will present “Spring Vegetable Gardening.” This session is offered free to the public and KMB will be providing free coffee and doughnuts. For more information, contact KMB President Kathy Hughes at 361-596-4433.

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 For more information e-mail or visit

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their Annual Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, March 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 a.m. The program is free and open to the public, no reservation required. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and will will run until 1 p.m. Visit for more information about the plants that will be at the sale.

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 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 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

Round Top: The 16th Annual Herbal Forum at Round Top Plant Sale and “Thyme Well Spent” gift shops presented by the Pioneer Unit of the Herb Society of America will be open to the public Friday and Saturday, March 18 and 19 (Friday from 9a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). They will be located adjacent to the Festival Hill Concert Hall, which is on Jasper Road, 1/2 mile north of Round Top off of Highway 237. This plant sale has become one of the most anticipated plant sales in the area for gardeners seeking herbal plants and other garden plants suitable to this area that are seldom available in local retail outlets. Henry Flowers, the Director of Gardens at Festival Hill, will present an overview of the plants at the sale Friday morning at 10 a.m. The gift shops offer many garden-related hand-crafted items, including herb-based products. Proceeds support the gardens at Festival Hill and the educational activities and scholarship programs of the HSA-Pioneer Unit. Herbal Forum information is at or 979-249-3129.

Seabrook: Gaye Hammond, past president of the Houston Rose Society, will present "The Rose — America's True Native" at 10 a.m. March 26, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake (on the lake side), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

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, then Schools, then Gardening Study Schools, then March 17-18; 2) Texas Garden Club web page at, then events, then March 17-18, Registration Form; 3) A&M Garden Club web page at, 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

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

Lake Charles, La.: 2011 Southwest Louisiana Garden Festival, March 25-26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, La. The Southwest Louisiana Garden Festival inside the Burton Coliseum is celebrating gardening with its 12th Annual Show and Plant Extravaganza about gardening, flowers, trees, shrubs, garden accessories, books, demonstrations, educational lectures, and general garden tools. Area, regional and interstate exhibitors and vendors will be there to assist you with your plant and garden needs. The Federated Garden Clubs of Southwest Louisiana will present: “Lovely Louisiana” their 2011 flower show theme. They will be displaying their floral design and horticulture talents. There will be new and exciting educational programs about garden topics of interest by LSU AgCenter specialist, as well as, regional, state and national guest speakers. The festival attracts more than 4,000 garden lovers, residents, and visitors each year. There will be a Plant Health Clinic with professionals from the LSU AgCenter as well as Master Gardener volunteers who will help diagnose plant problems and answer garden questions. Educational garden seminars will be on-going throughout the two day event. The 4-H ‘Rent-A-Kid’ will be there to help festival-goers carry out items to their vehicles. Educational programs include Home Vegetable Gardening and Fruit Production held on Friday while programs on Ornamentals and Landscape Gardening & Herbs being held on Saturday. The SWL Master Gardeners will present their Garden Fest Preview Party with a Gumbo Supper & Silent Auction in the Chalkley Room of the Burton Colisem on Thursday, March 24, 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Donation of $10.00 in advance for admission. Tickets can be purchased at the LSU Agcenter, 7101 Gulf Hwy., Lake Charles. Attendees will enjoy the gumbo supper, participate in the Silent Auction, preview the Garden Show and purchase from the Garden Fest vendors that evening. Regular Garden Festival hours are Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults and free for children 12 and under. For more information, visit, or contact Robert Turley or Pat Ortego at 337-475-8812.

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

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 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 or visit

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 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 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 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 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:

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 or

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

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

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


Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners meet at noon the first Tuesday of each month at the Texas AgriLife Extension, 3033 Bear Creek Drive (near the intersection of Highway 6 and Patterson Road), Houston. For additional information visit or call 281-855-5600.

Rockport: 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 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

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

Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the second Tuesday of each month except July and August at The Library, 500 Bulldog, Marion. There is a plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For more information or an application to join NPSOT visit or contact contact

Pearland: The second Tuesday of each month the Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold a free evening educational program for the public, called the Green Thumb Series, at Bass Pro Shop, Highway 288 at Sam Houston Tollway, Pearland. For more information visit or call 281-991-8437.

Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, meets the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including historical uses and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. Sometimes they take field trips and have cooking demonstrations in different locations. For more information, contact Linda 361-729-6037, Ruth 361-729-8923 or Cindy 979-562-2153 or visit and

Beaumont: The Jefferson County Master Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the AgriLife Extension Office, 1225 Pearl Street, Suite 200, Beaumont. For more information, call 409-835-8461.

Brownwood: Brown County Master Gardeners Association meets the second Thursday of each month, from Noon to 1 p.m., at the Brown County AgriLife Extension Office, 605 Fisk, Brownwood. For additional information, call Freda Day 325-643-1077, or Mary Engle 325-784-8453.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. 8th Street. Georgetown. For additional information, contract Billye Adams at 512-863-9636 or visit

Orange: The Orange County Master Gardeners meet at the Salvation Army in Orange on the second Thursday of each month. A covered-dish dinner at 6:30 p.m. is followed by a speaker and business meeting at 7 p.m.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels (corner of Funston & N. New Braunfels). For more information on programs, visit

Dallas: The Rainbow Garden Club of North Texas meets the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Meetings are held at member’s homes and garden centers around the area. For more information, visit

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

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardeners meet 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

Denton: The Denton Organic Society, a group devoted to sharing information and educating the public regarding organic principles, meets the third Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) at the Denton Senior Center, 509 N. Bell Avenue. Meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are preceded by a social at 6:30. For more information, call 940-382-8551.

Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners meet at 10 a.m., the third Wednesday of each month at the Somervell County AgriLife Extension office, 1405 Texas Drive, Glen Rose. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call 254-897-2809 or visit

Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners meet at 1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Hood County Annex 1, 1410 West Pearl Street, Granbury. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program each month preceding the business meeting. For information on topics call 817-579-3280 or visit

Seabrook: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the Lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Houston: The Native Plant Society of Texas — Houston (NPSOT-H) meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except for October (4th Thursday) and December (2nd Thursday). Location varies. For locations, for more information on programs, and for information about native plants for Houston, visit

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners meet at 7:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except December at the Bud O’Shieles Community Center located at 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg. For more information, call 281-341-7068 or visit

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, except December, at the Texas AgriLife Extension Bldg. at 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. An educational program precedes the business meeting. The public is invited to attend. For topic or other information, call 830-379-1972 or visit

Atlanta: The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Horne Enterprise building in Atlanta at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Kay Lowery at

Brackenridge Park: The Native Plant Society San Antonio Chapter meets every fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Lions Field Adult and Senior Center, 2809 Broadway at E. Mulberry, Brackenridge Park, except August and December. Social and seed/plant exchange at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bea at 210-999-7292 or visit

Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners present their "Come Grown With Us" seminars on the fourth Tuesday of each month, January through October, beginning at 7 p.m. at 411 N. Wells, Edna. The seminars are free, open to the public and offer 2 CEU hours to Master Gardeners or others requiring them. For additional information, contact the Jackson County Extension Office at 361-782-3312.

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Forth Worth meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month except July and December at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens main building. Refreshments are served. For more information, call 817-274-8460.

San Antonio: The Native Plant Society of Texas San Antonio Chapter meets the fourth Tuesday of the month, except August and December, at the Lions Field Adult & Senior Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio. Social and plant/seed exchange at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit or call Bea at 210-999-7292.

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

Dallas: The Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month at the North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd., Dallas. For more information, call 214-824-2448 or visit

Arlington: The Arlington Organic Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month (except November and December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact David at 817) 483-7746.

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