June 15, 2011

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Turk's cap varieties with red and white flowers have been grown in Texas for generations. But a new hybrid variety, "Pam Puryear," named in honor of one of the first female graduates of Texas A&M University, has pink flowers. Because both new and old varieties of Turk's cap are tough and versatile plants, they have been designated Texas Superstars for 2011. (Texas AgriLife Research photo)

Turk’s cap named new Texas Superstar

By Robert Burns
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Gardeners, hummingbirds and butterflies have it made in the shade with Turk’s cap, the newly designated Superstar by Texas AgriLife Research.

And “made in the sun too,” as the plant tolerates full sunlight as well, said Dr. Brent Pemberton, AgriLife Research horticulturist and chair of the Texas Superstar executive board.

Though not new to Texas by any means, Turk’s cap was designated a 2011 Texas Superstar because, when it comes to climate and soils, it is a very tough, versatile plant, he said.

“It’s a native plant, native to South Texas, and is a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds,” Pemberton said. “It’s extremely drought-tolerant and will thrive in dry soils. It does very well in the shade but will take quite a bit of sun, so it is a very versatile plant; something that is pretty well adapted all over the entire state.”

To be designated a Superstar, a plant must not just only beautiful but perform well for consumers and growers throughout Texas, Pemberton said. Superstars must also be easy to propagate, a requisite that ensures designees are not only widely available throughout Texas but reasonably priced too.

Most Superstars are selected only after extensive tests at Overton, Lubbock, San Antonio and College Station by AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service horticulturists.

Pemberton said they broke the rule a bit with Turk’s cap, but for good reasons.

“We haven’t had formal tests for the last couple of years like we have for most Superstar plants, but this has been a plant that has been grown all over the state, and one we’ve known of for a long time,” he said. “It’s an old garden plant; something that’s found in old-home sites, in old gardens.”

Pemberton said Turk’s cap has been a “pass-along” plant for many, many years. Because it’s easy to grow and propagate, gardeners would pass along clippings to relatives and friends down through several generations.

“You will still see some old plantings in places like Tyler and in old parts of town,” he said. “You will see a row of it out back of a house that never gets watered, totally on its own, but performing very well. It’s a tough one.”

“It’ll grow in full sun, full shade, wet soil, dry soil, alkaline soil and acid soil — it’s a pretty dang amazing plant,” said Greg Grant, formally with AgriLife Research and now with Stephen F. Austin Gardens. “Plus, (when you learn) it attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, and has semi-edible fruit, you’d think, heck, why isn’t everyone growing it.”

Turk’s cap even shows a lot of resistance to the popular herbicide, Roundup, though it comes by it naturally and has never been genetically modified for this resistance, as cotton, corn and other crops have been, Grant said.

“It’ll show a little color change when you spray it with Roundup, but it won’t kill it,” he said. “It’s an amazingly tough plant.”

The Turk’s cap native to Texas generally has dark green leaves and cherry-red or white flowers that look like miniature Turkish turbans, hence the name. There’s also a tropical variety that has huge pink, white and red flowers, but isn’t cold tolerant. But thanks to Grant, and Pam Puryear, one of the first female graduates of Texas A&M University, gardeners today have more choices for cold-tolerant varieties.

Grant used to be a member of Texas Rose Rustlers, a gardening organization dedicated to growing roses and gardening in general. Puryear was also a Rose Rustler volunteer and asked Grant to develop new varieties of Turk’s cap.

“With her (Puryear’s) prodding, I crossed a tropical one with the more cold-hardy one, trying to make big flowers on our smaller plant. It just so happened I used a pink tropical one, because it was the only one I had at the time.”

The first result was an introduction Grant named “Big Mama,” a giant hybrid plant that grows 5 to 6 feet tall and just as wide, with flowers twice as big as native Turk’s cap blooms, he said.

Grant then crossed Big Mama back with a white-flowered, cold-hardy one and got a lot of variations, including one with pink flowers that looked like the native Turk’s cap.

“So I named the pink one ‘Pam Puryear,’ who gave me the idea to breed them,” Grant said.

Pemberton said Turk’s cap can be grown as an annual in far north Texas, while the plants become perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 7 to 11, which in Texas corresponds approximately to areas south of the Red River.

The plant becomes progressively more “shrub-like” the further south one goes of U.S. Interstate 20, he noted.

Grown in sunnier sites, Turk’s cap leaves may become lighter green and take on a more quilted appearance, Pemberton said.

“Pests are of minimal concern in the landscape, with white flies, scale and mealy bugs occasionally encountered, but mostly only in nursery or greenhouse environments,” he said.

Spring is the best time to plant Turk’s cap.

“You can plant it in the fall too, but spring is a really good time because that way the plant can go ahead and get established before the main flowering period in the summer,” he said. “But you can basically plant it anytime.”

Pemberton said gardeners should be able to find a selection of Turk’s cap varieties at most home gardening and nursery outlets.

Texas Superstar is a registered trademark owned by Texas AgriLife Research. More information about the Texas Superstar program can be found at http://texassuperstar.com/.

AgriLife Research scientists work with RNA silencing and plant stem cells

By Robert Burns
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Research on controlling the stem cells of plants could eventually lead to learning how to make them produce more fruit, seed and leaves, according to Dr. Xiuren Zhang, Texas AgriLife Research scientist and professor with the Texas A&M University department of biochemistry and biophysics.

Results of a nearly three-year project led by an AgriLife Research team headed by Zhang was published in Cell, one of the most cited scientific peer-review journals in the world.

“Working with the shoot meristem area, we may (eventually) control fruit and seed yield or plant mass by manipulating the development and maintenance of plant stem cells. We can also engineer plant shapes by doing this,” Zhang said.

In plants, the shoot meristem area is composed of undifferentiated cells, which means they can be programmed by the plant to become various structures — leaf, stem, branches flower, etc. — much as mammalian stem cells can be programmed to produce different organs, he said.

The team worked with Arabidopsis, a plant also known as rock cress, which is related to cabbage and mustard. Arabidopsis is often used for studying plant biology because it is the first plant to have its entire genome sequenced.

Previous studies had shown that the Arabidopsis gene known as argonaute 10, or simply AGO10, plays a critical role in regulating meristem cell development. Arabidopsis has 10 AGO genes, and it was known that AGO10 is involved in various biological processes such as meristem development and proper leaf formation, but by exactly what mechanism it performed these roles was not clear, Zhang said.

“However, although the genetic functions of AGO10 have been described, the molecular mechanism by which it regulates SAM (shoot apical meristem) development remained unknown,” Zhang wrote in the Cell article. “Here we demonstrate that AGO10 specifically interacts with miR166/165.”

The abbreviation miR166/165 refers to microRNA, a type of small RNA molecule that regulates gene expression, Zhang explained. MicroRNAs are deceptively simple in structure, often only about 20 bases in length, whereas regular RNA may be composed of hundreds or thousands of bases.

Though composed of only a few bases, microRNAs often perform a critical function by switching the expression of certain genes off. Turning off gene expression is just as important a regulatory mechanism in plant development as switching genes on, Zhang noted.

This switching-off function of microRNA has been known for more than a decade. Further work had shown that it is microRNAs that actually guide the argonaute to actually do the switching off, sort of how a software application controls a smart phone or computer, according to Zhang.

Work by Zhang’s team had demonstrated that if miR166/165 did not load into AGO10, or the AGO10 gene was missing, then the meristem part of the plant would be deformed, but why this was so remained a mystery.

Zhang and his team proposed that AGO10 functions as “a decoy for miR166/165″ to prevent it being loaded into other AGO proteins, particularly AGO1, which “plays a potent but inhibitory role in correct development of the meristem area cells,” he said.

“In other words, if miR166/165 is loaded into AGO1, they would shut their target genes off,” Zhang said. “But if miR166/165 is loaded into AGO10 protein, they won’t switch-off target genes. Thus, AGO10 works in an opposite way compared to AGO1: It protects target genes and secures their expression.”

Other members of the team were: Dr. Martin Dickman, director of the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology; Dr. Sing-Hoi Sze, associate professor of computer science with the Texas A&M University department of biochemistry and biophysics; Dr. Hongliang Zhu, post-doctorate; technicians Ronghui Wang and Xin Zhou; graduate student, Fuqu Hu and undergraduate students Lisa Wen Liou and Ashley Barefoot.

The work was jointly funded by a National Science Foundation grant and by Texas A&M University and AgriLife Research.

Vegetable Extravaganza gives kids taste of better eating, fitness

By Paul Schattenberg
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Eat your vegetables! This phrase has been spoken to schoolchildren by generations of parents and teachers, usually with mixed results.

However, Booker T. Washington Elementary school in the San Antonio Independent School District has been partnering with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service to develop fun and interesting ways to get kids to eat their vegetables — plus build good habits and character traits.

In early June, the school held a half-day Vegetable Extravaganza involving the entire student body of more than 500 students. The school's cheerleading squad performed a special cheer about the benefits of eating vegetables, and students from each grade level accompanied their teachers to different “education stations” where they learned about and sampled vegetables.

During the event, dozens of students joined teachers, parents and visitors in a Zumba exercise class held in the school's gymnasium. They also toured the school's vegetable garden, consisting of 10 raised beds where students have been growing various vegetables, including cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans and radishes, as well as some flowers.

"Since the end of 2010, we've been helping the teachers and students build these raised gardens with the help of our Bexar County Master Gardener volunteers," said Brady Yecker, AgriLife Extension youth gardens program coordinator. "The kids have been very involved in the gardening and enjoy tending the plants."

"My favorite part was going into the garden and seeing and touching all the vegetables there," said fifth-grader Jose Hernandez. "I also learned how you make pickles out of cucumbers, and I didn't know that before.”

Hernandez said after his experiences at the Vegetable Extravaganza he planned to eat more vegetables and do so more regularly.

"Kids are a lot like plants," said Mae Olison, Washington Elementary principal, who emceed event. "You've got to tend them and nurture them to help them grow. And if you help them grow up right, some day they'll pass that on to the next generation."

The Vegetable Extravaganza began with a press conference featuring Olison; board member Ruben Cuero; Marge Reyna, district office manager for State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon; and Lupe Landeros, county director for AgriLife Extension in Bexar County.

During the press conference, each of the speakers emphasized the seriousness of the issue of child obesity both in Texas and throughout the U.S.

"Currently, one in three schoolchildren in this country is overweight or obese," Reyna said. "Unattended, excess weight and lack of exercise could lead to chronic disease problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart and respiratory issues."

At the conclusion of the press conference, Landeros presented Olison with a ceremonial check for $10,000 from AgriLife Extension for its various anti-obesity and pro-fitness efforts at the school.

She said AgriLife Extension had chosen Washington Elementary as one of eight schools throughout Texas to implement an obesity prevention project, and that the original funding source was federal dollars from the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The funds were awarded to the Texas Department of State Health Services and AgriLife Extension and our agency selected the schools to receive funds," Landeros said. "We chose Washington due to its location, limited access to community resources, student demographics and population size, and the willingness of school administrators, staff and teachers to work with our agency."

She added that the funding supports schools as "central community hubs" for activities related to better nutrition and free physical activity, such as community gardens, farm-to-school programs and providing after-school recreational opportunities for children and adults. She also noted that the school would be participating in AgriLife Extension’s annual Walk Across Texas fitness event.

Dr. Connie Sheppard, AgriLife Extension family and consumer sciences agent for Bexar County, noted that she and her staff had been providing educational programming at Washington Elementary since early 2011.

“We’ve come to Washington Elementary several times to talk to teachers about how to teach students about nutritious snacking, healthy eating habits and the importance of a balanced diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables,” Sheppard said. “Other future anti-obesity project activities will focus on nutrition and getting the proper amount of exercise.”

"This has been a great project and you can see that in the enthusiasm the kids have for it," said Cuero. "Participating in activities like the one's today gets them excited and gives them a chance to learn more about nature in an urban environment, and that's important for them."

"It's important that we address the issue of overeating and lack of exercise early on so our children can develop better habits and grow to be more fit for life," Reyna said. "This program is giving kids the chance to get a better start."

San Antonio ISD administration added that "a healthy lifestyle plays a major role in providing students with a positive environment in the classroom," and "SAISD is a strong advocate of healthy nutrition and activity, and the partnership at Washington Elementary School is a great opportunity for the students."

"We're glad to have the chance to cooperate with Washington Elementary in this worthwhile program," said Landeros. "And it's great to have our AgriLife Extension staff and Master Gardner and Master Wellness volunteers and parent volunteers from Washington all working together on this worthwhile project."

The compost heap
Little bags

"Thank you for the excellent idea about covering tomatoes with little bags made from floating row cover ('Gardening Tips,' Seeds, June 1, 2011)," writes Linda Parker. "Not only are my tomatoes now protected from the birds, but it also keeps the leaf-footed bugs from mutilating my tomatoes."

Gardening tips

It is not too late to spice up your summer garden. Give basil a try. It is easy to grow and likes the heat. Be sure to keep culinary basil pinched to encourage leafy growth.

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...

Cucumbers often have a bitter taste late in the season due to stress brought on by high temperature and lack of moisture. If this happens to your cukes try mulching your plants and maintaining even moisture.

Upcoming garden events.

If you would like your organization’s events included in "Upcoming Garden Events" or would like to make a change to a listed event, please contact us at Garden Events. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details at least three weeks prior to the event.

Boerne: Residents interested in learning how to better protect themselves from wildfires are invited to a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at the Boerne Fire Station, 726 North Main St., Boerne. The Firewise Town Hall Meeting is designed to help residents learn how to protect their homes and families by becoming “Firewise.” Representatives from Texas Forest Service and the Boerne Fire Department will be on hand to answer questions and provide tips. Wildfires are considered a community-wide problem. More than 80 percent of wildfires in Texas occur within two miles of a community. And 90 percent of wildfires in Texas are started by people acting carelessly. Implementing simple suggestions — such as moving firewood away from your home and clearing the surrounding dead and dense vegetation — could end up saving not just your home, but your community. “This workshop will provide folks with information that will give their homes a better chance of surviving a wildfire,” said Jerry Williams, wildland urban interface specialist with Texas Forest Service. “It will help teach them what to do when a wildfire is approaching their community.” For more information, visit www.texasfirestorm.org or www.texasfirewise.org.

Nacogdoches: SFA Gardens of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University will host its monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 16, in Room 110 of the Agriculture Building located at 1924 Wilson Drive. Oklahoma State horticulturist and author Steve Dobbs will present “Architectural Plants: Space Saving Plants in Urban Landscapes for Texture and Diversity. Dobbs joined Oklahoma State University as the Grounds and Landscape Manager in May of 2010 and is responsible for the maintenance and design for some 700 acres. He is the author of The Southern Lawn Series and the Oklahoma Gardeners Guide. From 1990-1995 he was host and producer of the television show, Oklahoma Gardening, which was selected as the Best TV Gardening Program in the Nation in 1992 by the Garden Writers Association of America. Dobbs received a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Arkansas. He is past president of the Garden Writers Association which has more than 1,900 garden communication members throughout the U.S., Canada, and England. 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. The SFA Gardens Volunteers welcome anyone to attend their meeting at 6:15 p.m. in room 118 of the Ag Building prior to the Theresa and Les Reeves lecture. At the meeting, volunteers exchange gardening ideas and tips and discuss volunteer opportunities at SFA Gardens including hands-on gardening, propagation, irrigation, children's educational activities, plant sale participation, and azalea trail activities. For more information, contact Greg Grant at or grantdamon@sfasu.edu.

Austin: Learn how to build Rain Gardens June 18, from 10 a.m. until noon at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Excess stormwater carries urban landscape contaminants into storm drains and soil erosion causes sediments to accumulate in our water resources. Dr. Dotty Woodson, Water Resources Specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension, will tell us how to protect streams, rivers and lakes by building a rain garden. These lovely gardens are attractive landscape features planted with perennial native plants designed to absorb stormwater which filters it through plant roots and soil microorganisms. Attend this presentation and you’ll be ready to make your own beautiful solution. 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.

Dallas: “Butterfly Seasons: Summer,” Saturday, June 18, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. Don't miss the second installment in this new series on butterflies by Dallas County Lepidopterist Society's co-founder Dale Clark. Summertime in Dallas brings not only long, hot days, but also so many new butterflies onto the scene. Swallowtail populations increase, returning emigrant species from the south begin to repopulate the area, and everywhere you turn there are caterpillars chowing down seemingly on everything in sight. Surviving — and thriving — in the Texas heat is no problem for our native species. Come see how they survive and grow during the hottest time of the year. $15, $10 for TDG Members.

Denton: DCMGA Fruit, Vegetable, Herb and Flower Show, Saturday, June 18, at Fire Fighters Memorial Park, 317 W. Mulberry St. (Mulberry & Carroll Blvd.), Denton. Bring your best fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to the DCMGA Fruit, Vegetable, Herb and Flower Show on Saturday, June 18. The show is open to all residents of Denton County. Registration is from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Entries will be judged on a combination of market qualities, including difficulty of growing in North Texas. Fruits and vegetables will also be judged on flavor. Awards will be presented at noon, or immediately following the judging, with ribbons for the first three places in each class, as well as rosettes and cash awards for Division Champions and Best in Show, sponsored by North Star Bank. Visit the Ask a Master Gardener Booth with all your gardening questions from 9 a.m. to noon.

San Antonio: Gardening Volunteers of South Texas presents an Essentials of Gardening class at San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels, from noon until 3 p.m., Monday, June 20,featuring Dr. Tom Harris on "Recognizing and Solving Summer Plant Diseases and Other Problems." The class will also cover summer gardening, watering and fertilization tips. Free and open to the public. No advance reservations are required. For more information, visit www.GardeningVolunteers.org or call GVST at 210-251-8101.

Bryan: Jennifer Nations, Master Gardener, will lead a seminar about Irrigation and Rainwater Harvesting from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 21, at the Larry J. Ringer Library, 1818 Harvey Mitchell Parkway, Bryan. Using your irrigation system correctly and capturing rainwater employ some of the most basic and important Earth-Kind principles. $10 per seminar. For additional information, call 979-823-0129 or visit brazosmg.com.

Rockport: Richard Snyder, Master Gardener, will lead "Basic Irrigation Maintenance and Design," from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 21, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, phone 361-790-0103.

San Antonio: The Composter Training by Lou Kellogg and the Bexar County Master Gardeners is back is scheduled for June 22-24 in San Antonio. Topics include building a compost bin, hands-on lessons in how to compost, a visit to the state's largest compost operation, soils science, and presentations from leading compost experts. The classes will he held on the grounds of the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. This intensive multi-day training empowers Master Gardeners with knowledge and skills to support and multiply Texas AgriLife Extension Service efforts in Earth-Kind educational programs in their counties. Attendance is limited to Master Gardeners. The fee is $225 for the classes and meals. For more information and an application contact David Rodriguez, County Extension Agent - Horticulture at 210-467-6575 or dhrodriguez@ag.tamu.edu.

Diboll: Texas Forest Service is offering a free workshop for landowners interested in growing longleaf pine on their property. Landowners & Longleaf: Growing Longleaf for Timber, Wildlife and Aesthetics will focus on longleaf history and management, establishment needs and financial assistance. It also will cover prescribed burning, wildlife management, seedling availability and National Wild Turkey Federation Assistance. “Interest in longleaf pine is growing daily,” said Texas Forest Service Forester and Farm Bill Coordinator Shane Harrington. “This is really a great opportunity for folks who are interested in establishing longleaf pine on their property to learn more about proper management and assistance programs.” The workshop is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, at the Diboll Civic Center, 601 Dennis Street, Diboll. Though the workshop is free, registration is required. Please RSVP by June 16 to Harrington at 254-742-9874 or sharrington@tfs.tamu.edu. Lunch will be provided. Pesticide applicators as well as members of the Society of American Foresters and Association of Consulting Foresters who attend the workshop will earn Continuing Education Units and Continuing Forestry Education hours.

Bryan: Henry Flowers, Garden Director, Festival Hill, will discuss Sir Joseph Banks, the 18th century nobleman who had a passion for plants and botany that led him to become one of the most influential men during one of the greatest ages of scientific study and discovery, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 28, at The Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. This event is open to the public at no charge. Program begins at 7 p.m. doors open at 6:45 p.m. (Please respect that a "for members only" business meeting of the Brazos County Master Gardener Association precedes the program.) For additional information, call 979-823-0129 or visit brazosmg.com.

Mount Pleasant: Tuesday, July 5, The Lake Country chapter of NPSOT will be hosting Michael Warriner, invertebrate biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, as the featured speaker. He will be discussing the Colony Collapse Disorder of European honeybees, the decline in numbers of native bees and ways we can promote backyard habitat for them. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Titus County AgriLife building, 1708 North Industrial Blvd., Mount Pleasant.

Highland Lakes: Spring Gardening is good practice for having a successful fall garden. The plants are different but fall gardening is a real treat. Fall is the best time to plant almost everything, not only vegetables but herbs, shrubs, trees and more in your garden. Highland Lakes Master Gardener Sheryl Yantis will discuss fall gardening topics that will help improve your Hill Country garden in a Green Thumb program "Tips for a Successful Fall Garden" presented free by the Lakeshore Library, 7346 Hwy 261, Buchanan Dam, on Tuesday, July 12 at 2:30 p.m.. Please call the Lakeshore Library at 325- 379-1174 to reserve your spot for this free program.

Seabrook: Dr. Carol Brouwer will present a lecture on Landscape Design from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m., Tuesday, July 12, 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/greenthumb.htm.

Austin: Central Texas weather is presenting more challenges than usual in the landscape, especially with lawns. Master Gardener, Jerry Naiser will provide solutions for growing a healthy lawn. Topics will include choosing the right type of turf for soil conditions, irrigation, fertilization, proper mowing techniques and how to diagnose and treat pests and diseases. “Central Texas Lawn Care” will be presented Thursday, July 14, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. For more information, contact the Master Gardeners Help Line at 512-854-9600. This seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Austin: “Joys of Container Gardening” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Friday, July 15, at AgriLife Extension Office, 1600-B Smith Rd, Austin. Blooming flowers and vegetables can thrive in a container! This gardening method is especially useful if space is limited. Containers may also serve as accent points on the patio or in the garden. Learn how to select a container and the right soil, discover ideal container plants, and witness arranging techniques you can replicate to create your own mini-garden. 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 Help Desk at 512- 854-9600.

Rockport: DJ Chilcoat, Master Gardener, and Jeanna C. Godfrey, DVM, Master Gardener, will present "Art in the Garden, from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 19, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call 361-790-0103.

Seabrook: Mike Howlett, Project Manager for Harris County Precinct 4 Parks Department ,will speak on Carnivorous Plants at 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 20, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/hort.

Nacogdoches: Greg Grant leads "Everything you wanted to know about turf grass, but were afraid to ask" from 9 a.m. until noon, July 23, in Room 118, Ag Building, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches. $10 members, $15 non-members. For more information or to make reservations, call 936-468-18312 or email erodewald@sfasu.edu.

Austin: Cooler weather gives you an opportunity to grow and enjoy food that flourishes in the fall and winter months. Broccoli, lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes and spinach are just a few of the favorites that grow well here. Join Master Gardener Patty Leander, a Texas Gardener contributing writer, to learn about these varieties and strategies for bringing a bountiful fall harvest to the table! “Fall Vegetable Gardening” will be presented Saturday, August 6, from 10 a.m. until noon, at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. For more information, contact the Master Gardeners Help Line at 512-854-9600. This seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Rockport: Marthanne Mitch, Master Gardener, will present "Butterfly Gardens" from noon until 1 p.m., Tuesday, August 16, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361)-790-0103.

Nacogdoches: Greg Grant leads "Landscape Design" from 9 a.m. until noon, September 10, in Room 118, Ag Building, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches. $15 members, $20 non-members. For more information or to make reservations, call 936-468-18312 or email erodewald@sfasu.edu.

Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardener Association is pleased to present Greg Grant, Horticulturist, Plant Propagator and Humorist on Tuesday, October 4. The program will start at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Thomas LeRoy Education Center, 9020 Airport Road, Conroe, which is across the street from the Lone Star Convention Center. Greg is a contributor to Texas Gardener Magazine, among others, and his topic for the evening will be Home Landscaping — Texas: Right Plant, Right Place. His talk will include basic landscaping design principles as well as some of his favorite plants. This is a rare opportunity to see one of Texas’ best gardening speakers in a local setting. The fee will be $20.00 per person and seating will be limited. Please call 936-539-7824 Monday through Friday for more information, or visit www.montgomerycountymastergardeners.org. There will also be information available about the Montgomery County Master Gardeners’ Fall Plant Sale at this event, which will be held Saturday, October 15, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.


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.

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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.

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