August 17, 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.

Online calculator helps homeowners preserve lawns while saving water

By Robert Burns
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Drought or no drought, homeowners typically overwater their lawns, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service irrigation engineer.

It’s an expensive practice anytime, but during an extended drought, it’s particularly wasteful “and may lead to further water-use restrictions by communities if done by everyone, which is often the case,” said Dr. Guy Fipps, AgriLife Extension irrigation engineer.

Moreover, it’s unnecessary as there is an online calculator that will allow Texas homeowners to apply within a tenth of an inch of exactly the amount their turf grass needs, said Fipps, who is also the director of the Irrigation Technology Center at the Texas A&M University College Station campus.

“I guess a lot of people don’t know this sort of information and tools exist,” he said.

There is also a lot of misinformation circulating about, Fipps said.

“Look at garden sections in newspapers and elsewhere, you’ll typically see recommendations like water 1 inch to 2 inches a week, or that you should water infrequently and deeply — vague concepts like that,” he said.

There are lots of reasons such an approach isn’t appropriate, Fipps said. One reason is climatic variation.

“For example, this year we are having a very hot and dry summer, and water requirements are 30 percent to 50 percent higher than they would be in a more normal year,” he said.

In reality, the amount of irrigation a given variety of turf grass needs at any time depends upon many factors, such as temperature, humidity levels, wind, solar radiation and, of course, recent rainfall, if any, he said.

“The way you determine how much water grass actually needs is a fairly complex process, but fortunately, we have this website that does all that for you,” he said. “All you need to do is put in a little info about your location, the type of grass you’re growing, and what your goal is.”

Personal goals vary, he said. Some people don’t worry about the expense of watering and want a lawn as green as a golf course even during the drought. Others may want to strike a balance with the amount of water they apply, just wanting “pretty decent” turf quality. Others may want to conserve water and economize during drought restrictions and put on just enough water to keep the turf alive, he said.

“This choice greatly affects the amount of water you use and will double or triple the amount of irrigation water (in most parts of the state) from about 0.6 to 1.7 inches a week during August, and in West Texas from 0.9 to 2.2 inches a week,” Fipps said.

To use the online-calculator tool, go to the TexasET Network website at

The calculations are based on current weather data from nearly 30 automated scientific weather stations located throughout the state. Users must first pick one of these weather stations either from a drop-down menu or by simply clicking on the nearest one to them on the webpage’s Texas map.

They then must click on one of three buttons: “home watering,” “turf/landscape irrigation” or “crop irrigation.”

Beginners should choose “home watering,” Fipps noted.

“But once they are familiar with how it works, they should move to the turf/landscape calculator as it provides more options to customize recommendations for their grass and includes other plants as well,” he said.

From there on, it’s a matter of choosing the type of grass in the lawn, whether it’s in full sunlight or partial shade, and the amount of rainfall received in the last week.

The next decision is how long to irrigate. The parameter, “sprinkler precipitation rate” in inches per hour may give some homeowners some pause, but it’s easy to figure the rate, Fipps said.

“One simply puts out containers and run the irrigation system for a specified amount of time, usually 10 to 30 minutes,” he said. “Everything from tuna cans to cups are often used, but the results must be converted to inches of water applied over the area per unit of time.”

To make the process easier, Fipps designed the Aggie Catch Can. The catch can is cone-shaped and has graduated markings in both inches and millimeters to take the guesswork out of measuring, he said.

Aggie Catch Cans may be purchased as a kit on the AgriLife online bookstore at For the Homeowner Kit, search for item number SP-424. Each kit comes with five cans and stands, as well as an instruction sheet, and costs $18.

“Unlike tuna cans, catch volumes may be read directly without the need for rulers or graduated cylinders,” Fipps said.

Attention Coastal Bend families: It’s time to get outside and connected with nature

Texas Forest Service

The statistics are staggering. Kids now spend an average of 45 hours each week — more time than their parents spend at work — in front of a computer or television screen.

It’s time to turn off the TV and power down the laptop. It’s time to get back outside and reconnected with nature.

It’s time for Nature Challenge 2011.

Like a family nature hike with a little Amazing Race thrown in, the contest is designed to help families across Texas get reconnected with each other — and the outdoors.

“We hope to instill environmental awareness in kids and families through hands-on activities rather than brochures and lectures,” said Dr. Melanie Kirk, assistant professor and urban forestry specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and co-founder of the program.

“We also hope to instill in them the importance of having healthy and renewable natural resources and being aware of the ecosystem around you. The things you do every day impact that ecosystem.”

Coordinated by Texas Forest Service and Texas AgriLife Extension, the competition is hosted regionally in six areas — Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Davis and the Coastal Bend — throughout the year.

The contest calls for families to visit designated nature sites across the region in which they live, completing missions at each site. The families who complete the most missions are eligible for a grand prize.

Last year, more than 2,000 people — or 480 families — across the state participated in the regional contests.

Opening ceremonies for the Coastal Bend competition are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Hazel Bazemore Park Hawk Watch Tower between Robstown and Corpus Christi. Closing ceremonies will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Nueces Delta Preserve in Odem.

“Nature Challenge is a competition that is driven around the experiences you have with your family and the memories you make that will last a lifetime,” said Lari Jo Johnston, environmental educator for the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program and regional coordinator for the Coastal Bend competition.

“We want to challenge you to get out and learn more about the area you live in, learn about the birds and flowers and what’s in your rivers and bays. The challenge itself is not about winning. The prize is that experience you’ve had with your family.”

For more information about Nature Challenge 2011, visit

Microalgae could be Texas’ next big cash crop

By Rod Santa
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Just as corn and peanuts stunned the world decades ago with their then-newly discovered multi-beneficial uses and applications, Texas AgriLife Research scientists in Corpus Christi think microalgae holds even more promise.

“It’s a huge, untapped source of fuel, food, feed, pharmaceuticals and even pollution-busters,” said Dr. Carlos Fernandez, a crop physiologist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Corpus Christi who is studying the physiological responses of microalgae to the environment.

There are an estimated 200,000 to 800,000 species of microalgae, microscopic algae that thrive in freshwater and marine systems, Fernandez said.

Of all those species, only 35,000 species have been described, he said.

“We’re only starting to scratch the surface of discovering the natural secrets of microalgae and their many potential uses and benefits,” he said.

“But already it’s obvious that farmers will one day soon be growing microalgae on marginal land that won’t compete with fertile farmland. They won’t even compete for fresh water to grow.”

To understand how best to grow it, Fernandez constructed a microalgae physiology laboratory to study how it’s affected by temperature, salinity, nutrients, light levels and carbon dioxide.

“We have four bioreactors in which we grow microalgae to determine the basic physiological responses that affect its growth,” he said. “We will then integrate these responses into a simulator model, a tool we can use in the management of larger, outdoor systems.”

In this study, different strains of microalgae will be evaluated for their capacity to produce large amounts of lipids, or fats, that can then be converted to produce and refine diesel and other biofuels, Fernandez said.

“Along with that, after extracting the lipids from the biomass of microalgae, there is a residue that we are going to analyze for its quality for use as feed for animals, including fish, shrimp or cattle.”

Eventually, studies will evaluate the possibility of using the residue as a soil fertilizer.

“There are lots of other potential uses for the residue, but for now our focus is on feed and fertilizer,” he said.

The microalgae study includes other researchers, Fernandez said.

“We’ve just started this work and we’re working closely with the nearby Texas AgriLife Mariculture labs in Flour Bluff, under the direction of Dr. Tzachi Samocha, and the one in Port Aransas, under the direction of Dr. Addison Lawrence.”

Studying microalgae in the Corpus Christi area is a natural fit for many reasons, Fernandez said.

“We have immediate access to seawater to grow microalgae,” he said.

“Because we’re so close to the Gulf of Mexico, we’ve got lots of marginal land in the area where microalgae can be grown on a large scale. We have lower evaporation rates than in arid areas so water replacement is less.

“There are local power plants and oil refineries in the area that we can use as sources of carbon dioxide that helps microalgae grow while reducing CO2 pollutants. And we have a wealth of higher education institutions in the area with huge potentials to help in these studies, including Texas A&M at Corpus Christi, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Delmar College.”

AgriLife Research at Corpus Christi has partnered with the Barney M. Davis Power Plant to conduct this and other studies.

“It’s a natural gas-operated power plant that is an excellent source of carbon dioxide from its flue gasses that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by passing them through microalgae systems,” he said.

There also is the potential to partner with the City of Corpus Christi, which has several municipal water treatment plants in the area that can be used as sources of nutrients to reduce the cost of applying them to microalgae systems, Fernandez said.

“Our center director, Dr. Juan Landivar, took a huge leadership role in moving these microalgae projects forward by seeking and obtaining federal and private funding, and by encouraging teamwork and multi-disciplinary personnel to work on this,” Fernandez said.

Beware of heat stress

The University of Texas at Dallas

When it comes to working and playing outdoors, it’s best to start slowly and acclimate to the heat, says Tom Monagan, associate athletic director at UT Dallas. “If not, you’re asking for problems. Most heat-related illnesses occur within the first few days of working out outside because the body isn’t used to the heat.”

Monagan offers these tips for acclimating and staying safe in the heat:

  • When working out, drink on a schedule, every 15-20 minutes or so, not when you’re thirsty. By then you’re already dehydrated.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Avoid caffeine and replace the sodium, potassium and carbohydrates you lose when working out and sweating.
  • Wear breathable clothing that allows sweat to evaporate off the body, and avoid wearing dark clothing — it attracts the heat.
  • Notice the color of your urine. It will help you know if you’re dehydrated. Urine should appear light yellow (the color of lemonade). Dark urine (the color of cider) indicates dehydration.
  • Trouble signs for overheating include headache, nausea, visual disturbances, vomiting and chills. Stop activity, drink fluids and head indoors when you experience any of these symptoms.

Gardening tips

"Deadheading Rhododendrons (Azaleas) can leave a sticky mess on your hands," writes Cathie Nicolaus. "To make the wash up easier, start by rubbing some olive oil on your hands and finger tips. Deadhead as usual, and then after your chore is done, wash with soap and water. The resin comes off easier and the olive oil leaves your hands smooth and moisturized."

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...

Soil-inhabiting fungi cause damping off disease. To prevent fungal problems in your garden be sure to practice good sanitation, remove diseased plants and use resistant varieties when available. Also, allow plenty of space between plants since many fungi thrive under damp conditions.

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.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 18, in the Agriculture Building, Room 110, at 1924 Wilson Dr. Texas A&M University horticulturist and professor Fred Davies will present “Spaced Out: Challenges of Growing Horticultural Crops for NASA in Lunar and Martian Agriculture.” Davies received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in horticulture from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in horticulture from the University of Florida. At Texas A&M he teaches courses in plant propagation and nursery production. In addition to low pressure controlled production environments for NASA, Davies’ other areas of research entail ornamental nursery crop physiology, mycorrhizal fungi, and international agriculture. He is co-author of Hartmann and Kester’s Plant Propagation-Principles and Practices. The Theresa and Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series is generally held the third Thursday of each month at the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture’s 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. Donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves lecture series fund are most appreciated. For more information, contact Greg Grant at 936-468-1863 or

Highland Village: The famous Smokey Bear hot air balloon is visiting Texas for the first time. Texas Forest Service, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, is joining the Highland Village Lions Club for the 24th annual Lions Club Balloon Festival and Fair August 19-21. In addition to more than 15 hot air balloons, the festival features carnival rides, arts and crafts, exhibitors, food and drinks, live music and a car show. Thousands of people attend the event each year. Texas Forest Service and U.S. Forest Service will co-host a booth to share information with the public about wildfire prevention. Agency staff also will assist as the ground crew to help launch the Smokey balloon. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is requested for parking. All proceeds go to Lions Club Charities. The event falls just a little more than a week after Texans joined in a celebration of Smokey Bear’s 67th birthday on Tuesday, Aug. 9. The beloved icon is known for cautioning residents across the country that “only you” can prevent wildfires. The balloon festival begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, and closes Sunday, Aug. 21, at 10 a.m.

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Fort Worth presents "Self Sustainability for Your Lifestyle," August 20, at the Deborah Beggs Moncrief Botanical Garden Center-Oak Hall, 3220 Bontanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth. This free day of lectures includes sessions on growing tomatoes, garlic, and herbs, and raising bees and goats. For more information, contact Esther Chambliss at or 817-263-9322.

Bryan: "The Beauty and Benefits of Native Plants and Grasses," led by Carolyn Fannon, will be held from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m., August 23, at The Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. For additional information contact brazosmg@brazosmg.comm.

Bexar County: Register now for Bexar County Master Gardener Class #54. Classes begin August 24, meeting once a week 4 p.m.-8 p.m., and end November 16. Application form available at Click on New Master Gardener Class Application. Registration deadline is August 10.

Cibolo: Do you have a love for gardening and want to learn more about horticulture? Then the next Guadalupe County Master Gardener training class is for you. Classes are on Wednesdays, August 24 to December 7 from noon to 4:30 p.m. at St Paul Evangelical Church, 108 S Main, Cibolo. Learn from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialists, staff and local experts. Topics cover botany and plant growth, entomology, Xeriscaping, propagation, herbs and vegetables, tree care and pruning principles, composting and organic horticulture, water conservation and much more. Registration is $170 with a 10% discount if received by August 1. For more information, visit or contact Jose Antonio Contreras,, 830-401-0800.

Bryan: A Fall Gardening Seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., August 27, at The Brazos Center, Room 102, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. Sessions include Jim Johnson, AAF, AIFD, TMFA, Distinguished Lecturer, Texas A&M University on "Seeing is Believing"; Kayron Dube, DDS, Brazos County Master Gardener on "Earth Systems—Soils"; Patty Leander, Travis County Master Gardener Vegetable Specialist and Texas Gardener contributing writer on "Fall Vegetable Gardening"; and Chris Wiesinger, The Southern Bulb Company, on "The Bulb Hunter & Heirloom Bulbs." Registration is $50/person and includes snacks and sandwich lunch buffet. Preregistration by August 23 is preferred. Seminar information and registration form is available at

Nacogdoches: On Saturday, August 27, the SFA Department of Agriculture will host an Outdoor Family Fun Day at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet Street, from 9 a.m. to noon as part of its Nacogdoches Naturally program. “Families will be able to experience a sampling of programs we have planned for the coming year. They will be able to learn how to set up a tent, practice casting with a fishing pole, learn how to use a compass, try their hand at outdoor cooking or just go for a leisurely hike,” explained Elyce Rodewald, education coordinator for SFA Gardens. “Many of our program partners will be coming out to join us on this day and we will offer activities to meet a variety of interests,” said Kerry Lemon, project director for Nacogdoches Naturally. “Archery, bird watching, making (and eating!) homemade ice cream, and going on a scavenger hunt are enjoyable for people of all ages. We are excited about starting off our program year with this fun, educational day for families to be together outdoors.” Ms. Lemon added, “This will also be an opportunity for families to sign up for our weekend programs scheduled each month August 2011-July 2012.” There is no charge for the Outdoor Family Fun Day and no registration is required. Parking will be available at Raguet Elementary School. For more information about this event or future events, call 936-468-1832 or email

San Angelo: There’s still hope for home grown veggies this year for those who plant a fall garden, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert. To help gardeners succeed, the AgriLife Extension office in Tom Green County will conduct a fall vegetable gardening class at 6 p.m., August 30, at the Tom Green 4-H Center, 3168 N. U.S. Highway 67. “Most gardeners have struggled with their vegetables this summer,” said Allison Watkins, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Tom Green County. “The heat and drought have made it very difficult to grow healthy, productive plants. Many people don’t realize that fall is a great time to garden. Milder temperatures and fewer pests allow vegetable plants to produce well, making them easier to care for than in the late spring and summer.” Watkins said the class will provide information on planning and preparing a fall garden, pest control, crop selection and timing, and gardening basics. There will also be a question and answer session at the end of the program. “Even some avid summer gardeners don’t realize that many of their favorite spring garden plants such as tomatoes and squash can be successfully grown in the fall,” Watkins said. “Then later in the season there are cool-season crops to consider such as spinach and broccoli. And best of all? It’s way more pleasant to work outside when it’s cooler.” Watkins said gardeners further north in the Panhandle might run into trouble with cold weather hindering warm season vegetable crops, but they can certainly plant cool season crops successfully. The deadline to register is Aug. 23. Individual registration is $25 which includes a meal, a tomato plant and a chance at door prizes. Participants can pay at the door, but all must RSVP to attend by contacting Watkins at 325-659-6522 or

Seabrook: Heidi Sheesley, TreeSearch Farms, will present a preview of the Fall Sale plants from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m., Wednesday, August 31, 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

San Antonio: James Bliek, teacher of Floral Design, North East ISD, will teach “Floral Design Mechanics” at 10 a.m., Wednesday, September 7, at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels & Funston, near the Botanical Gardens. Wonder what to do with those flowers you bring in from the Garden? Join this free lecture at the San Antonio Garden Center’s monthly meeting. For additional information, contact or call 210-824-0435.

Austin: Fall Transplanting and Dividing Perennials will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, September 10, at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Fall is the best time to transplant and divide your garden perennials. Learn how to share your extra plants with others and re-locate perennials that may have overgrown their current place in the landscape. Get a jump on spring blooms by giving them a chance to develop a strong root system. Join Master Gardener Velia Sanchez-Ruiz in proper planning and execution of these essential garden tasks. For more information, contact the Master Gardeners Help Line at 512-854-9600 or visit

Nacogdoches: Texas Gardener columnist 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

Pasadena: The best perennials, vines, gingers, bulb lilies and herbs for the Gulf Coast will be available to purchase at the Fall Sale and Expo, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Saturday, September 10, at the Campbell Hall at the Pasadena Fairgrounds. 7600 Red Bluff, Pasadena. For more information, visit

Haynesville, La: The thirteenth Annual Haynesville Celebration of Butterflies will be held Saturday, September 11, at the Claiborne Parish Fairgrounds in Haynesville, Louisiana, beginning with the annual Butterfly Parade at 9:00 a.m. The day’s events will include a number of activities including musical entertainment, creative fun for kids, a nature photography contest, and a number of educational seminars. At 10 that morning, Michael Seal, owner and operator of “The Funny Farm” will present “Bromeliads: Easier to Grow than Pronounce.” At 11:30 a.m., James Dean, member of the Louisiana Bayou Bluebird Society who has been built and erected more than 1,000 nest boxes over the years will present “Bluebird Trails Across America.” The afternoon seminars begin at 1 p.m. with Texas Gardener columnist and Heirloom Gardening in the South co-author, Greg Grant, from the SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University, presenting “Flapping about My Favorite Butterfly Plants.” Later, at 3:20 p.m., Dr. Charles Allen, botanist and author from Fort Polk, will talk about “Wildflowers of Louisiana.” Before ending with a drawing for a butterfly quilt, host Loice Kendrick-Lacey will present “A Butterfly Buffet: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” In addition, butterfly plants, crafts, and food will be for sale. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children 6-18. The event is sponsored by the Claiborne Chamber of Commerce, the Haynesville Garden Club, and the LSU AgCenter. Haynesville, Louisiana is located on U.S. Highway 79 in the Pineywoods, near the Arkansas border. It is approximately 1.5 hours from Shreveport. For more information about the Haynesville Celebration of Butterflies call Mrs. Loice Kendrick-Lacy at 318-624-1929 or 870-234-4910 or e-mail Other local information is available at

Brown County: Brown County and Central Texas Master Gardeners Association will partner this fall to present a Master Gardeners class, to be held Tuesdays beginning Sept. 13 through Nov. 15. For further information and application forms, visit or Application deadline is August 15.

Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz-Seguin) Chapter of the Native Society of Texas will resume regular monthly meetings Tuesday, September 13. Botanist and former supervisor for the San Antonio Botanical Center Paul Cox will present "Amazing Trees." Paul is co-author of Texas Trees-A Friendly Guide. He will have some of the books to sell. The Society meets the Second Tuesday of the Month at The Library, 500 Bulldog, Marion. There will be a plant exchange and "meet and greet" at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. It is open to the public and visitors are welcome. For more information, directions to The Library, or membership applications visit

Seabrook: Dr. Carol Brouwer will present a lecture on Tree Care from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 13, 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

Cross Roads: The National Junior Master Gardener specialist training will be held in Cross Roads, September 15-17. This dynamic and intensive 2-1/2 day training conference is designed for those coordinating or supporting JMG programs at the local, county, and regional level. Upon completion, attendees will receive certification as a JMG Specialist by the National Junior Master Gardener Program office and a host of invaluable resources to grow JMG and youth gardening programs in the local, regional or state level. For more information and to register, visit or call 940-349-2892.

Kingsland: Learn about the care and feeding of "House Plants" with Master Gardener Violet Carson at a free program at noon Thursday, September 15, at the Kingsland Library. This is presented by the Green Thumb Programs of the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners in conjunction with Texas AgriLife Extension. To learn about the Green Thumb programs and/or to be reminded about attending, please visit

San Antonio: The Amazing Butterfly Exhibit at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston at N. New Braunfels, San Antonio, opens the weekend of September 17-18 and continues through January 8, 2012. Explore the interactive maze to learn about the incredible life cycle of butterflies and the surprising challenges they face every day. The exhibit is free with admission. Admission is $8 adults; $6 students, seniors, military; $5 children age 3-13. For additional information, call 210-829-5100 or visit

Rockport: Todd Cutting, Master Gardener, will present "Starting Winter Vegetables" from noon until 1 p.m., Tuesday, September 20, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361)-790-0103.

Seabrook: Joe Williams, Horticulture Manager for the Houston Zoo, will discuss "How to Maintain the Zoological Gardens" at10 a.m., Wednesday, September 21, 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

Houston: The Great Plants for Houston fall plant sale will take place Saturday, September 24, at the Texas Cooperative Extension, 3033 Bear Creek Dr., Houston. The sale day will begin with a Plant Overview by Dr. Jean Fefer from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m. The gardens will be decorated with scarecrows which will be offered for sale by silent auction throughout the morning of the sale. There will be booths in the auditorium of the Extension Office building staffed by Master Gardeners ready to discuss garden questions. There will be a garden book sale offering the latest in information about gardening in the lobby. For additional information, call 281-855-5600.

Victoria: The Victoria County Master Gardener Association fall symposium will be September 24 at the VEG pavilion, Victoria County 4-H Activity Center and the Victoria Regional Airport Officers Club across from airport control tower in Victoria. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with registration and conclude at 3 p.m. Emphasis will be on growing trees and container gardening. Famed garden expert Jerry Parsons of San Antonio, luncheon speaker, will discuss gardening in the Coastal Bend. Heidi Shessley of TreeSearch Farms in Houston will open the program at 9 a.m. For program and registration information telephone Victoria County AgriLife Extension Office at 361-575-4581.

Lufkin: Dr. Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants will present “A Case for Native Plants” at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 29, at the Museum of East Texas, 503 North 2nd St., Lufkin. Tallamy is Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology and director of the Center for Managed Ecosystems at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, where he has authored 73 research articles and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, and other courses for 30 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal com-munities. His book Bringing Nature Home; How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 silver medal by the Garden Writer’s Association. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information. call 936-634-6414 ext 102 or visit

Denton: Denton County Master Gardener Association presents the 2011 Fall Garden Festival on Saturday, October 1. This free event is held on the Denton Bible Church campus at the corner of Nottingham and Mingo, Denton. This year’s theme is “Locavore,” focusing on those who eat foods grown locally whenever possible. This event includes educational demonstrations and exhibits, vendors, and presentations. Speakers include Executive Chef Charles Younts from the Classic Café in Roanoke, Sue Newhouse and Trish Percy from Feed Texas First, Gene Gumfory from Shiloh Field Community Garden, and Dr. Maggie Jover, from Texas AgriLife Extension. For a complete list of exhibitors, vendors and presentations, visit or call 940-349-2892.

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 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.

Rockport: Dr. Marsha Hendrix, Master Gardener and Director of the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, and Beth Wilson, Master Gardener. will present "Recreating the Fulton Mansion Garden" from noon until 1 p.m., Tuesday, October 18, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361)-790-0103.

Rockport: Keith Pawelek, Manger of Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, will present "Native Plants and Invasive Plants" from 10:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m., Saturday, October 22, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361)-790-0103.

Rockport: Darlene Goorish, Master Gardener, will present "Winter Care of Tropicals" from noon until 1 p.m., Tuesday, November 15, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361)-790-0103.


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

Longview: The Gregg County Master Gardeners Association meets the second Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Longview. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program preceding the business meeting. For further information call Cindy Gill at 903-236-8429 or visit

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.

The Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook

The best thing for tomato enthusiasts since the tomato itself! William D. 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),
volume 29 (November/December 2009 through September/October 2010), and
volume 30 (November/December 2010 through September/October 2011)*.

$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

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

Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

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