April 13, 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.

Outdoor burning can spark dangerous wildfires

Texas Forest Service

More than 520,000 acres of Texas land have been burned this year by wildfires, many of which started when an outdoor burn got out of control.

A burn ban does not have to be in place for outdoor burning to be illegal. Negligently allowing a fire to escape onto someone else’s property is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Regional Urban Wildland Interface Coordinator Karen Stafford said it’s important for residents to use caution when doing anything outdoors that could cause a spark.

“The majority of the fires we see start from careless debris burning and unsafe burn barrels,” Stafford said. “Everyone needs to exercise extreme caution with all potential sources of wildfire ignition. If we all work together, senseless and potentially deadly wildfires can be avoided.”

Some tips to consider when burning outdoors include:

  • Check for — and comply with — bans on outdoor burning.
  • Avoid burning trash, leaves and brush on dry, windy days.
  • Check to see if weather changes are expected. Postpone outdoor burning if shifts in wind direction, high winds or wind gusts are forecast.
  • Before burning, establish wide control lines around burn barrels — down to bare mineral soil and at least 5 feet wide. Control lines should be even wider around brush and debris piles to be burned. The larger the pile, the wider the control line needed to ensure embers won’t spread and catch surrounding vegetation on fire.
  • Stay with all outdoor fires, until they are completely out.
  • Keep water and hand tools ready in case your fire begins to spread.
  • Burn household trash only in a burn barrel or other trash container equipped with a screen or metal grid to keep burning material contained.
  • Never attempt to burn aerosol cans, as heated cans will explode. Flying metal may cause injuries and the explosion may scatter burning material into nearby vegetation, resulting in wildfire.
  • Stay abreast of wildfire danger levels and heed warnings and bans on outdoor burning.

Bad pruning is like giving your garden a bad haircut

There is nothing worse than a bad haircut.

The one thing you can’t do with a bad haircut is uncut it, so you just have to wait for it to grow out before you can fix it. That’s how expert gardener Carol Chernega views the art and science of pruning a shrub. If you trim it the wrong way, you’re only compounding your problems, but learning the right way is not nearly as difficult as going to cosmetology school.

“Instead of giving your shrubs a bad haircut, it’s actually very simple to give them a day at the spa, instead,” said Chernega, producer and star of the DVD Pruning Shrubs with Your Personal Gardener. Her tips on pruning might not only change your style, but help transform your garden and landscaping, as well.

“For me, it would be a perfect world if pruning shears came with instructions,” Chernega added. “Just because one has a pair of scissors, it does not necessarily follow that you know how to give a good haircut. And just because you have a pair of hedge trimmers does not mean you know how to prune a shrub. Now, that’s not to say it takes a Ph.D. in horticulture to know how to prune. The basics are actually very easy to learn, and applying some basic tips can really help you improve the look and health of your garden 100 percent.”

Chernega’s tips for basic pruning include:

  • Know What You’re Pruning. Before you make your first cut, look carefully at your garden and identify what you’re going to be pruning. Use the Internet to identify them if you don’t already know. You want to learn how the shrub should look so you can prune it to maintain that natural shape.
  • Cut Back to the Branch. Always cut back to a bud or branching point. Never leave a long stub. A stub will not only look ugly, but it will also invite insects and disease that could cause long-term problems.
  • Cut the Dead Weight First. Before you cut anything else, cut out the dead or broken branches. Sometimes removing a dead branch will leave a big gap, so by doing them first, you’ll be able to tailor the rest of your pruning to compensate for that gap.
  • Crossing Over. After you eliminate the dead branches, next you want to target crossing branches or branches that are likely to cross in the future. Once they start rubbing against each other, they’ll leave a wound that will invite insects and disease, so you want to eliminate that threat.
  • Cut With the Flow. Finally, cut out all branches that are not going in the natural direction of the plant. This is good for the health of the plant, as well as the look of your garden.

“After you master the basics, you’ll discover that your garden will have a crisp, clean look to it and your neighbors will not think your shrubs are having a bad hair day.” Chernega said. “Your garden will grow in accordance with how you prune it and you’ll do less work over time to maintain it. That means fewer hours of outdoor labor, and more hours of enjoyment.”

Make the world a greener place, one blade at a time

OPEI Education and Research Foundation

Below are tips from TurfMutt, a caped dog crusader — and 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 where you live. Then, plants will need less water and fertilization to survive. Go to your local nursery or an online gardening site to find your climate zone to discover what plants are native and which 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 and thicker.
  • 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. And, find out more tips and information at www.TurfMutt.com.

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

Gardening tips

For something different on the patio this summer, try planting Aristotle basil, an ultra compact Greek variety that maintains a rounded habit as it grows and does not need pruning to stay compact. It works great in a container and has classic basil flavor.

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...

Passion vine Passiflora incarnate is a perennial vine native to Texas and other parts of the South. It is a beautiful summer blooming vine that is a favored food source of butterfly caterpillars. It produces intricate blooms of many colors all summer long as well as an edible fruit that is considered by some to have aphrodisiac qualities.

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.

Ennis: Ennis was designated by the 1997 State Legislature as the home of the "Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail" and was designated the "Official Bluebonnet City of Texas." From April 1-30, Ennis showcases over 40 miles of mapped driving Bluebonnet Trails sponsored by the Ennis Garden Club. These trails are the oldest such trails known in the state, and tens of thousands of visitors make the short trek to Ennis to view this wonderful wildflower show. The Ennis Garden Club will drive the trails to check the bloom status each week starting in April. The Club then reports to the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau about the latest status of the bluebonnets so that visitors can be well informed where the best flowers are on the trails at the time of their visit. Each year, the bluebonnets will appear on different trails as these are natural to the area. In Ennis, the bluebonnets typically peak around the 3rd week of April, according to the Ennis Garden Club. This can vary year to year due to weather conditions. Bring your tour groups (church, retirement, senior, etc) to Ennis to see the 40 miles of mapped bluebonnet trails. If you would like to experience our trails with a garden club expert guide, there is step-on guide service available with advanced reservations for $50.00, payable to the Ennis Garden Club. Tours are limited so sign up early. This is an approximately 2 hour tour and requires an empty seat for the guide on your bus, motorcoach, or van. For more information on this service and for fun sample itineraries for tour groups of what to see and do in Ennis, please contact the Ennis CVB at 972-878-4748. You many take a self-guided tour for no charge. Stop by the Ennis Visitor Center to get your highlighted trail map and written instructions for the best bluebonnet drive. Please call or email or check the info on the website before driving long distances to get the latest bluebonnet status. Email: ennis4u@swbell.net; 972-878-4748 (metro) or toll free 1-888-366-4748. For the status of the wildflowers for the entire state of Texas, please contact the Texas Dept. of Transportation Wildflower Hotline at 1-800-452-9292 or visit the Texas Dept. of Transportation website at www.txdot.gov

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardeners will present “Making Great Compost,” Saturday, April 16, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Spicewood Springs Branch Library, 8637 Spicewood Springs Rd., Austin. Compost is organic waste matter decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Soils that include compost are responsible for healthier plants and can be used in all indoor and outdoor gardening. Composting yard wastes can reduce what goes to the local landfill by 30 percent or more! Get the scoop on what to use and how to make compost at this informative seminar led by Master Gardener, Richard Moline. Take-home reference material will be provided. This seminar is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Huntsville: An Herb Festival will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. April 16 on the grounds surrounding Huntsville City Hall. A variety of vendors will be present, offering, among other things, signed books by famous authors, Herbs and herbal products made by the Texas Thyme Unit of The Herb Society of America, herbal baked goods provided by the Huntsville Garden Club, and demonstrations by the Texas Thyme Unit. For additional information, contact Jean Marsh at jeankmarsh@yahoo.com.

Medina: The Rose Garden Club of Medina will present its 57th Annual… and Perennial Plant Sale & Raffle Saturday, April 16, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Medina Community Center, Hwy 16. A variety of hardy member-grown perennials, a good selection of plants for the container gardens, and a selection of vegetable plants as well as some “specialty” plants will be available. For additional information, call Carol Hagemeier at 830-589-7444 or 830-285-0035.

Mt. Pleasant: The Cypress Basin Master Gardener organization will host its annual spring plant sale/gardening expo on Saturday, April 16, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Titus County AgriLife Extension Office, 1704 Industrial Rd., Mt. Pleasant. In addition to the many plants for sale that include those difficult to find at a commercial nursery such as native honeysuckle, there will be several gardening seminars beginning at 9:30. Admission is free. For additional information, contact Glenda Brogoitti at gbrogoitti@gmail.com.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host its annual Garden Gala Day on April 16 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The sale is moving to a new location at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet Street, Nacogdoches. SFA Campus Recreation’s Outdoor Pursuits program will host its 4th annual Earth Day Celebration in conjunction with this year’s sale. This plant sale fundraiser benefits the SFA Gardens and its educational programs that reach over 15,000 students ages 1 to 100 on a yearly basis. A wide variety of hard to find, “Texas tough” plants will be available including new introductions, Texas natives, heirlooms, perennials, and exclusive SFA introductions. Plants are extensively trialed in the gardens before being offered to the public. The public is encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information call 936-468-4404, or visit http://arboretum.sfasu.edu and click on “upcoming events.”

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.

San Antonio: Dr. Larry Stein, Ph.D., Horticulturist, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, will present a Fruit Tree Grafting Seminar, from 9 a.m. to noon, April 16, at Fanick’s Garden Center, 1025 Holmgreen Road, San Antonio. Dr. Stein will demonstrate grafting of various fruit trees. Bring your questions on the care and planting fruiting trees and bushes. This is a popular and well attended event; come early for best seating and parking options. Bring folding chairs if you cannot stand for all of the grafting demonstration in Fanick’s orchard. Admission is free. For more information, call 210-467-6575.

Humble: The Cypress Creek Daylily Club will hold a "how-to" demonstration on grooming daylilies for its show in May. The demonstration will be held Sunday, April 17, at 2 p.m. at the Mercer Arboretum, 22306 Aldine-Westfield Road, Humble. The public is invited and encouraged to enter the daylily show. Light refreshments will be provided. Free. For more information, call 281-351-8827.

Southlake: SPIN Into Spring Garden Tour will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. April 17 in Southlake. Six beautiful gardens showcasing a variety of landscapes and gardening styles are being presented jointly by SPIN, Keep Southlake Beautiful, and the Perennial Garden Society of Southlake. In addition to an opportunity to view some of the premier gardens in Southlake, SPIN Into SPRING traditionally strives to provide tour participants with information and understanding of responsible gardening related practices. Tarrant County Master Gardeners will be located in each garden to answer questions along with demonstrations and handouts on related topics. Advanced tickets are $8 and will be available at Calloway’s locations in Southlake, Hurst, Arlington and Flower Mound. Tickets will also be available at Central Market in Southlake, and the Southlake Library starting March 25. Tickets sold the day of the tour are $10 at any of the gardens and the locations mentioned above. Visit www.keepsouthlakebeautiful.com for locations of the gardens.

San Antonio: Landscape Designer Randy Rodgers of Blue Heron Designs will offer suggestions for "Revitalizing Tired Landscapes" at the April Essentials of Gardening class presented by Gardening Volunteers of South Texas. His talk will be followed by "Discovering New Plants for Texas" with Dr. Jerry Parsons. The event will be held from noon until 3 p.m. Monday, April 18, at San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels, San Antonio. Free and open to the public. $5 donation appreciated. No advance reservations are required. For more  information, visit www.GardeningVolunteers.org or call GVST at 210-380-3532.

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., 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.

Livingston: On April 19 join a discussion about Bulbs & Perennials, what works well here, how to propagate them, and what should you do to make them healthier. Meet behind the Texas AgriLife Extension office, 602 E Church St., Livingston. For more information, call 936-327-6828.

San Antonio: Texas AgriLife Extension Service will be conducting a “Small-Acreage Fruit and Vegetable Grower Business Series” in San Antonio on Tuesday April 19, May 3, May 17, and June 7. This four-part program is designed for those interested in or already involved in developing a small-acreage entrepreneurial business, by providing valuable information and discussion on how to go about doing it. Cost is $20 per session or $60 for all four sessions. More information and locations may be found at http://texaslocalproduce.tamu.edu or call 210-467-6575.

Seabrook: Lisa Gonzales, Research Scientist with Houston Advanced Research Center, will present "The Quiet Invasion" at 10 a.m., April 20, The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. Gonzales will discuss invasive plants found in the Galveston Bay Region and potential invasive plants in this region. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information visit http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/hort.

Glen Rose: Lake Granbury and Somervell County Master Gardeners Texas Master Gardeners will co-host the 2011 State Conference April 27-29 at the Somervell County Expo Center, Glen Rose. For registration and full information visit 2011conference.org or email 2011conference@gmail.com.

Brownwood: The Brownwood Garden Club is sponsoring a free Wildflower Exhibit Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Activity Center of First Baptist Church in Brownwood (corner of Center Street and Depot Street across from the post office). This year is the fifth year for the show. Along with the display of wildflowers, there are two free seminars on Saturday, April 30. Marda Keith will present “Best Vegetable Garden Ever” at 11 a.m.; Connie Fox will speak on “Landscaping in Texas” at 2 p.m. A plant sale will be held in conjunction with the wildflower exhibit and seminars. For more information, call 325-646-8739.

Kemah: The Kemah-Bay Area Garden Club will hold its annual scholarship fundraiser, “Garden by the Bay,” on April 29 at the Jimmie Walker Community Center, 800 Harris Ave., Kemah. Enjoy a lunch catered by Lymberi’s and a style show with fashions presented by Four Seasons Boutique & Shoe Parlour in Dickinson. Raffles prizes include a two-night stay with breakfast at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio and a dinner, wine and port tasting worth $300 at Madeline’s Wine Bistro in Kemah. Many other items will be raffled off to benefit scholarships. Raffle sales begin at 10 a.m., the style show at 11:30 a.m. followed by the luncheon. Tickets can be purchased by calling Dori Robinson at 281-554-3734.

Dallas: Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park3601 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Dallas will host a Butterfly Gardening Workshiop from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, April 30. Discover how easy it is to grow your own butterfly garden with the expertise of TDG entomologist, John Watts, and the TDG director of horticulture, Randy Johnson. Get the dirt on host and nectar plants, as well as native butterflies. The class includes a sit-down portion and a tour through the Gardens. The Butterfly Gardening Workshop sells out quickly, so sign up early! Participants receive a flat of starter plants grown organically in-house worth $54 and will also receive a butterfly gardening primer. $60; $48 for TDG Members. This class is also offered May 5 and 7. Find details at http://texasdiscoverygardens.org/upcoming_events.php.

Gonzales : The first class of Gonzales Master Gardeners will hold its first Spring Plant Sales on the Downtown City Square from 9 a.m. until noon April 30. A large variety of plants and roses will be offered. America's most popular tomato plants will also be on sale. Several other attractions will be available, including a Spinning Wheel where you can win a prize every time, an Opportunity Drawing, and a silent auction will be held to include valuable offerings such as the Adirondack chair made by Landis Kern, a garden swing bench built by Colin Bond and a 50" by 60" sofa throw "Flowers in Your Garden” designed and quilted by Fran Saliger. Drawings will be held at noon on the day of the sale. Master Gardeners will be on hand and a Vegetable Specialist will also be available Soil sampling bags and information leaflets will be available to help you get your garden in tip top shape for planting.

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will hold a plant sale during Earth Day celebration in Seguin on Saturday, April 30. The booth will be on the square from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and will offer a variety of native plants. For more information or an application to join NPSOT visit www.npsot.org/GuadalupeCounty.

Smith County: Five gardens will be featured in the Smith County Master Gardeners’ 2011 Home Garden Tour from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m Saturday, April 30. Tour five home gardens ranging from a small city garden to a large estate garden. Just south of the Loop, Master Gardener Eloise Muxworthy has transformed her large, hot, grassy backyard into a charming cottage-style garden filled with Japanese maples, hydrangeas, azaleas and numerous perennials. Three large topiaries, a recycled concrete wall, and bubbling fountain add whimsy and interest. In her midtown garden, Karen Goforth has reclaimed beautiful beds and brickwork created by the original owner in the 1930s. More than a dozen camellias along with azaleas and colorful annuals enhance the character of this new “old” garden. Located in The Cascades, the Diedrick garden artfully blends a natural forested area with a more formal landscape filled with hydrangeas, roses and azaleas. The garden frames a spectacular view of the golf course all the way to downtown Tyler. Going north to the Swann area, the Kindig garden is a refreshing island in an open countryside. Incorporating Feng Shui principles of design creates an especially peaceful garden filled with roses, azaleas, annuals, perennials and crapemyrtles for all year color. Further north off Harvey Road is the Holey estate garden, the creation of three generations of rose growers and nurserymen. Several garden “rooms” include a kitchen garden, an all white garden, an herb garden, and a formal rose garden. A creek bed shaded by 50- year-old bald cypress trees, oaks, pines and hollies is planted with azaleas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, and ferns. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the tour. To order advance tickets make checks payable to SCMG and mail to 14608 Oak Hill Lane, Flint, TX 75762. Tickets are also available in Tyler at Potpourri House Restaurant, 3320 Troup Hwy; Brookshire’s Grocery, 100 Rice Rd.; Horaney’s, 5520 Old Jacksonville Hwy; Harris Nursery, Highway 69; and Blue Moon Gardens, 13602 FM 279, Chandler.

Collin County: Celebrate spring and Mother’s Day in four distinctive private gardens that will be open to the public from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7, and noon until 4 p.m. Sunday, May 8. Discover a variety of garden styles and interpretations, with roses of all types accompanied by blooming spring perennials. Admire the gardens, learn, linger, smell the roses, and meet new friends. Two of the gardens are in Plano, one is in Richardson and one is in Lucas. Maps and detailed directions to each garden are at www.collincountyrosesociety.org or call Cindy Graham at 214-912-5656. $10 for admission to all four gardens. Purchase tickets in advance at www.collincountyrosesociety.org or at any of the gardens on the days of the Garden Tour.

Denton County: Denton County Master Gardener Association will host a Garden Tour and Plant Sale, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Tour seven gardens throughout Denton County, see how local Master Gardeners have tackled common gardening problems, learn more about a variety of gardening topics from Diggin’ Deeper Demos at the gardens, shop for commercially-grown and pass-along plants that thrive in North Texas, and visit the Garden Shoppe at the Plant Sale for fun garden decor and perfect gifts for Mother’s Day. Tickets may be purchased before the event at the Denton County Extension Office or through Denton County Master Gardeners. Tickets will also be available at each garden and the Plant Sale on event day. For more information, contact Texas AgriLife Extension, Denton County Government Center, 306 North Loop 288, Suite 222, Denton, or email master.gardener@dentoncounty.com.

Rockport: Explore beautiful gardens in Aransas County at the 11th Annual Hidden Gardens Tour from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Purchase tickets at Texas AgriLife Extension Office, 611 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call 361-790-0103.

San Antonio: Herbs for All Seasons, sponsored by Comal Master Gardeners with the help of the Antique Rose Emporium. Learn how to grow, dry, preserve, and plant herbs in your landscape. Try herb cookies, teas, pesto, and collect herbal recipes. Discover how to make herbal cleansers, face cleansers, and enjoy hands-on nature printing. 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 7, at the Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 Evans Road, San Antonio, Texas. For more information, call (210) 651-4565, email askamastergardener@co.comal.tx.us or visit http://www.antiqueroseemporium.com/events.html.

Sugar Land: Join the Sugar Land Garden Club’s 12th annual tour, this year featuring unique gardens in the area of Old Sugar Land. See a historic site such as “The Teacherage,” which is now a home featuring stately old pecan and magnolia trees and a pathway made of antique bricks from many locations, as well as colorful flowers and tropical foliage. Stroll through the garden of a nearby home nicknamed “The Happy House” with its “histerical marker” and colorful plants, containers, whimsical art and butterfly garden. Southern lakeside landscaping can be seen in nearby Venetian Estates, and another backyard garden features a surprising 5,000-gallon koi pond with waterfalls and tropical plants. This year all the gardens are centrally located, several within walking distance of each other, so visitors can enjoy a spring stroll through the areas of Sugar Land which were located around the Imperial Sugar Refinery during the days of the company town. The gardens will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Tickets and maps will be available at all the homes. The price for the entire tour is $ 12; single home tickets are $4. The suggested starting point is 110 Venice St., and maps will be provided. Proceeds are used to support horticultural education of the community, scholarships and local beautification projects. For more information, phone 281-494-1946 or visit www.sugarlandgardenclub.org.


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.

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.

The Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook — Hot off the press!

By William D. Adams

The best thing for tomato enthusiasts since the tomato itself! Adams draws on more than thirty years' experience to provide a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Learn everything from soil preparation, planting, feeding, caging and watering. Liberally sprinkled with the author's easy humor and illustrated with his own excellent photographs, the must have book has everything you'll need to assure a bumper crop! 189 pages. Lots of color photographs!

Only $26.69 for Seeds readers! Free shipping!

To take advantage of this special offer, call toll-free 1-800-727-9020.

Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.

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

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

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

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

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

Wish you'd saved them?

Are you missing an important issue of Texas Gardener? Or, perhaps, just tired of thumbing through stacks of back issues looking for the tips and techniques you need to make your garden grow? These new CDs provide easy access to all six issues of
volume 20 (November/December 2000 through September/October 2001),
volume 21
(November/December 2001 through September/October 2002),
volume 22
(November/December 2002 through September/October 2003),
volume 23
(November/December 2003 through September/October 2004),
volume 24 (November/December 2004 through September/October 2005),
volume 25 (November/December 2005 through September/October 2006),
volume 26 (November/December 2006 through September/October 2007),
volume 27 (November/December 2007 through September/October 2008),
volume 28 (November/December 2008 through September/October 2009) and
volume 29 (November/December 2009 through September/October 2010)*.

$16.99 per CD includes tax and shipping

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

*Other volumes will be available soon.

Fiber row cover valuable year-round

Grow-Web encourages plant growth and development, and also provides protection from insects, birds, diseases and frosts. It is also air and water permeable and allows for ventilation. Grow-Web provides excellent protection to seedlings when applied directly to the seedbed.

$30.64 per 12.3’ x 32.8’ roll (includes shipping!)

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020 or order on-line.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

Become a Texas Gardener fan on Facebook

Become a fan of Texas Gardener magazine on Facebook. See what we're up to at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Gardener-Magazine/301356291835?ref=nf.

Texas Gardener’s Seeds is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2011. All rights reserved. You may forward this publication to your friends and colleagues if it is sent in its entirety. No individual part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.

Missed an issue? Back issues of Texas Gardener’s Seeds are available at www.texasgardener.com/newsletters.

Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

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