September 7, 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.

Artichoke blooms. (Photo by William Scheick)

The garden reader:
Food, glorious food

By William Scheick
Book Reviewer

Richard Gianfrancesco. How to Grow Food. Firefly Books, 2011. 256 pp. $29.95.

“More of us than ever are gardening,” Richard Gianfrancesco reports in How to Grow Food, and “growing food in your garden that you can take into your kitchen gives a real sense of achievement.” So he has designed his book as an illustrated step-by-step guide to cultivating edible plants in home landscapes, large or small.

The page-layout for each fruit, nut, seed, herb, root and leafy crop couldn’t be better. Distinct multi-color boxed units highlight advice on selecting sites for specific veggies, choosing varieties, making a calendar for optimum results, following sequenced steps, warding off pests, harvesting, storing and cooking.

Gianfrancesco provides ample supplementary information, too, such as differentiating between glasshouse and outdoor types of cucumbers. In another instance, the author helpfully suggests planting mint, which can be invasive, in “a sunken large pot or container 1/2 inch or so above the soil level.”

And how about growing eggplant simply for its beauty as a potted plant? “Eggplants are one of the most ornate vegetable plants, with downy silver foliage, delicate purple flowers and impressive white or purple fruits.”

Besides such close-up instructions about each veggie, fruit and nut, Gianfrancesco also shares more general insights into defining garden types, selecting the best locations, dealing with weeds and designing food gardens.

It’s unfair to mention it, I know, but nonetheless I wish the author could somehow tell us how to make it rain in Texas — rain being the source of so much magic in a food garden. Then, with the Broadway Oliver Twist, we could all sing “Food, glorious food.”

Without rain soon, spinach, other fall vegetable crops may be at risk

By Robert Burns
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

If you like leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and cabbage, you may find them to be in short supply this fall due to the drought, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“The problem we’re having right now is that we’re starting to plant some of these crops like cabbage, and we’re having heck keeping it wet enough to get it up and get it growing,” said Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist for southwestern Texas. “The other challenge we are having right now is that we don’t know how much water we’re going to have for the fall if it doesn’t rain soon.”

The Winter Garden area and surrounding region grows a wide range of vegetable crops, including onions and broccoli, Stein said. It grows most of the state’s spinach crop. Most are cool-season crops and are planted in the fall and grown under irrigation.

This year, despite the drought, many area vegetable growers had a pretty good year because no rain meant less disease pressure. That all could change with this fall’s plantings, he said.

Stein said the region did get some rain last year, but not enough to cause the rivers to run.

“We had an inch here, two inches there, but we never had any running water,” he said. “So we have rivers that have not run in three to five years. The Nueces is about dry. If they don’t run, we won’t have any gravel water we can access.”

With recharge from the rivers and faced with heavy demands through irrigation this summer, the Edwards, Carizzo-Wilcox, and other local aquifers are all low, according to Stein.

“Basically, we’re starting to suck air from some of these wells,” he said. “We’ve got all these plans to plant, but if we don’t get some rain soon, we’re not going to have a whole lot of water to work with.”

Stein noted that the large vegetable production areas in South Texas were better off water-wise because the watersheds had been recharged there from summer storms.

More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

The 12 Texas AgriLife Extension Service districts

Central: Hot and dry conditions continued, and pastures were in horrible condition. Trees were going dormant or dying. Livestock producers continued selling off large numbers of cows, but remaining cattle were reported in fair condition. Hay prices were high.

Coastal Bend: The region had another hot, dry week with temperatures in the 100s in most counties. Some rainfall was reported throughout the district, but not enough to alleviate drought conditions. Cattle continued to be sold off due to lack of water, grazing and hay. Cattlemen were culling deeply into herds.

East: As much as 4 inches of rain fell in some areas, but most received only scattered showers. Even where there was heavy rain, it was not enough to rollback drought conditions. Water levels in ponds continued to drop. Some producers continued to buy hay for livestock while others further culled herds. Daily temperatures were well into the triple digits, breaking historical records in many areas. Burn bans remained in effect in all counties. More than 450 acres burned in Harrison County. Feral hog damage increased. There were reports of armyworms and chinch bugs in pastures. Livestock remained in fair condition.

Far West: Conditions remained hot and dry for most of the region. There were scattered, light showers, but rangeland pasture conditions continued to decline. Many trees began to shut down and shed leaves early. Burn bans remained in effect. Pecans entered the gel stage in some orchards, and nuts were reported to be average sized. In Ward County, pecans were dropping early due to lack of water. In El Paso County, alfalfa growers were taking a fifth cutting. In Winkler County, cotton growers reported an unexpected outbreak of boll-rot disease. In Upton County, cotton bolls began to open, and plants were short because of the dry weather.

North: The drought continued. Temperatures remained very high, and soil moisture levels very short. Some areas had spotty showers, but not enough to have much effect. Livestock producers continued to feed hay and supplements, while others were reducing their herds at a rapid pace. Many livestock producers were buying corn and grain sorghum stalks that were recently baled. There were concerns about high nitrate levels in these forges. Stock ponds were either very low or completely dry. The continued drought was still negatively impacting pastures and cotton. Pasture conditions were poor to very poor. Nearly all row crops except cotton were harvested.

Rolling Plains: Dry, hot weather continued, with more than 70 days of 100-degrees or higher temperatures this year. As reported last week, there will be little to no dryland cotton harvested this year, but recent reports indicate only a portion of the irrigated will be harvested either. Irrigated cotton producers continued to apply water, but with poor results. Some cotton stands were flowering but had no bolls. Pastures were in very poor shape. Other ranchers were hanging on to cattle, feeding on a daily basis, hoping for some moisture in the near future. Pastures were in very poor shape with livestock being sold or heavily supplemented. With hay prices as high as they’ve ever been, producers were looking for feeding options. Summer calves that were born in midday were lost because of overheating. In Hardeman County, the cities of Quanah and Chillicothe entered stage 4 water rationing, and all yard and landscape watering was prohibited. Residents were asked to police their neighborhoods and report excessive water use or leaks.

South: The region received rain, mostly light scattered showers, but heavier rains fell in some areas. Parts of Jim Wells County got as much as 1 inch; the Kleberg/Kenedy County area, about a half inch; Webb County, about 1.5 inches; and western Zapata County from 1 inch to 1.5 inches. Mostly, the rains cooled things down somewhat but did little to raise moisture levels, which remained short to very short in the southern part of the region and very short throughout the rest. Some rangeland and pastures greened up, but overall remained in poor to very poor condition. Cattle ranchers were taking advantage of the high market prices and selling down herds due to the difficulty of obtaining hay, supplemental feed and water. In Atascosa and Frio counties, dryland crops dried up, while irrigated crops, such as peanuts, were doing well but demanded a lot of water. Cotton harvesting was ongoing there. In Zavala County, land preparation for fall cabbage, onion and spinach crops continued, and the cotton harvest was ongoing. In Hidalgo County, the cotton harvest was nearly finished, and irrigators were actively watering citrus and sugarcane.

South Plains: There were some very scattered showers, but no significant accumulations. Burn bans were extended. Cotton fields entered the final cut-out stage of growth, and producers cut back on irrigation and were preparing for an early and quick harvest. Many fields were already showing open bolls, but the bolls were smaller than normal. Cattlemen continued to struggle with lack of grazing, hay and water.

Southeast: In Burleson County, irrigated corn yields were about 70 bushels per acre, while dryland corn was baled for livestock forage. Many soybean fields were being baled for forage too. The cotton harvest began, with dryland cotton fields averaging from 0.25 to 0.3 bales per acre. Brazoria County had scattered showers, with some areas receiving as much as 3 inches. However, the scattered showers were followed by very dry, hot days with temperatures as high as 106 degrees, which limited grass response to the moisture. Rice farmers continued to bale rice chaff and stubble for hay. The average asking price was $45 per roll, with yields of about four bales per acre. Forage nutrient content tests showed rice chaff hay and stubble hay to be averaging 8.4 percent crude protein and 43 percent total digestible nutrients. Many calls continued to come in requesting information on nutrient content and feeding suggestions for rice hay.

Southwest: The drought continued with no rain forecast. Records show it has been about 70 days since the last economically significant rain in mid-June. In addition, record high temperatures of 110 degrees and high, dry winds created dust storms and aggravated the drought. The entire region remained in wildfire-alert status. Many water tanks were dry. Forage availability remained well below average for this time of the year. The cotton harvest was ongoing with excellent yields realized from fully irrigated fields. However, overall production was expected to be down significantly as most dryland and partially irrigated cotton failed. Sweet corn, recently planted for an early fall harvest, made good progress under heavy irrigation. Peanuts, pecans and landscape nursery crops continued to make good progress wherever irrigation water was available. To save carefully developed herd genetics, ranchers reduced pasture stocking rates to the minimum and continued to provide heavy supplemental feeding.

West Central: Extremely hot, dry conditions continued. Burn bans remained in effect. No dryland crops survived the drought. Irrigated crops continued to suffer from high temperatures, and producers had a hard time keeping up with water demands. There was no field activity due to lack of soil moisture. Without rain soon it was predicted there would be no fall crops planted. Rangeland and pasture conditions continued to decline, and producers further decreased the size of their herds while increasing the amount of supplemental feed and water hauled. Hay was in very short supply. Most small livestock operators have already completely liquidated their herds. Some larger ranches were holding on to core herds, hoping for conditions to improve.

Gardening tips

To aide germination when conditions are hot and dry, try presoaking seeds before placing in the seedbed. Just sprinkle seed between two layers of paper towels, place in a dish and moisten and put on top of your refrigerator. After a few days, the seeds will swell and begin to sprout. Then simply plant them as you normally would.

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...

If your tomato leaves look rolled up, don’t worry. They are just responding to the very hot weather that we have had this summer. If they are still alive and green, they should start setting fruit again as temperatures cool down. Be sure to keep them well watered and side dress them with an organic fertilizer once they have marble-size fruit.

Upcoming garden events.

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

Kingsland: Learn about “Drought Proofing your Landscape” with LCRA Water Conservation Coordinator Stacy Pandey at the Kingsland Library. This free program is presented by the Kingsland Garden Club at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, September 9. Visitors are welcome to attend the Club meeting at 1 p.m.. For information on upcoming gardening programs, visit

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

Haynesville, La: The thirteenth Annual Haynesville Celebration of Butterflies will be held Saturday, September 10, 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

Nacogdoches: The Nacogdoches Naturally Family Outdoor Adventure program will take a field trip to the SFA Experimental Forest on Saturday, September 17. The expedition will meet at 9 a.m. at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet, Nacogdoches, and caravan to the site. The group will return to the Native Plant Center around noon. This event will be an opportunity for families to enjoy the natural beauty of East Texas forest environments. The group will take a leisurely hike along the trails looking at the unique plants and animals of this area. Time will be allowed for relaxing and snacking in the shaded picnic area as well. The Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest is located 8 miles southwest of Nacogdoches. Tucked away in the heart of the Pineywoods, the Forest is bordered on its southern and eastern boundaries by the Angelina River and the Alazan Wildlife Management Area. The Forest’s interpretive trail system features two separate loops that take visitors into some of the most dynamic scenic areas of the Experimental Forest. The 0.8 mile-long Jack Creek Loop is barrier-free and constructed for universal accessibility. Following the spring-fed perennial stream, visitors will view a mature mixed forest of 100-year-old pines and hardwoods. The 2.0 mile Management Loop winds through five different units that provide visitors a chance to experience a variety of forest management practices at various stages of implementation. This living outdoor classroom provides an experiential learning adventure geared toward fostering respect for forest systems. Cost for the day is $5 per family. Water and snacks will be provided. Limited SFA van transportation is available on a first-come basis. For more information and to register for the day, call Kerry Lemon at 936-468-5586 or email

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

Midland: An "Earth-Kind Home Landscape School" will be held at 6:30 p.m. September 19, 20, 28 and 29, at the CAF Air Power Museum, 9600 Wright Dr., Midland. Among the many benefits of attending this course: Develop a landscape plan and create a visual relationship between your house and your landscape. learn the benefits of good soil preparation, proper design principals and selection of adaptive plants for West Texas. Learn how Earth-Kind practices can assist in conserving water and energy and reduce fertilizer and pesticide use. Space is limited and advance registration is recommended. $75 per household if paid prior to September 15; $90 per household if paid later. For more information or to register, contact the Ector County Extension Office at 432-498-4071 or the Midland County Extension Office at 432-686-4700.

San Antonio: Gardening Volunteers of South Texas presents its monthly Essentials of Gardening class featuring Todd Miller of Miller's Tropicals on "Growing Orchids in Texas," followed by "Texas Wildscapes That Save Water & Time" with Judit Green, urban biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, noon-3 p.m., Monday, September 19 at San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels. Free and open to the public.  No advance reservations are required. For more information, visit or call 210-251-8101.

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

Gainesville: Fall Garden Fest Saturday, September 24, 9 a.m.- noon. at North Central Texas College Little Theatre presented by Cooke County Master Gardeners. Speakers will be Dallas County Master Gardeners Janet Smith, "Sex in the Garden," and Billy Clark, "Square Foot Gardening." Door Prizes. Tickets are $10.00 advance, $15.00 at the door. Call 940-668-5412 for more information.

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.

Nacogdoches: SFA Gardens will host a garden seminar, “Home Landscaping in Texas: Right Plant, Right Place” on Saturday, September 24 from 9 a.m. – noon in Room 118 of the SFA Agriculture Building at 1924 Wilson Drive. Greg Grant, horticulturist, author, and SFA Gardens Research Associate for Garden Outreach will cover the basic principles of landscape design, some of his favorite plants, and the thought processes he went through in designing his new heirloom cottage garden. Grant has former experience with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Lone Star Growers, the San Antonio Botanic Garden, Mercer Arboretum, and The Antique Rose Emporium. He is co-author of Heirloom Gardening in the South and Home Landscaping Texas and author of In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature, and Family. He writes regularly for Texas Gardener and has a monthly gardening blog at Cost is $10 for Friends of SFA Gardens members and $15 for non-members. To register, contact the Elyce Rodewald at 936-468-1832 or

The Woodlands: Woodlands Landscaping Solutions will be held. 9 a.m. – noon Saturday, September 24. The free event includes a host of demonstrations and experts like Texas Rose Rustlers, drip irrigation basics, tree care, the Plant Doctor, rainwater harvesting, butterfly gardens, composting, vegetable gardening, caring for garden tools, the Bulb Hunter, Herb Cottage, Texas Bluebird Society, plus native plant sales, a garden gift shop and much more. The event is sponsored by The Woodlands Township and Montgomery County Master Gardeners. Woodlands Landscaping Solutions occurs at the Parks, Recreation and Environmental Services Complex, 8203 Millennium Forest Drive, The Woodlands. Call 281-210-3900 for more information.

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.

Nacogdoches: The annual Fabulous Fall Festival plant sale at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Mast Arboretum will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 1, at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St., Nacogdoches. The event features the annual fall plant sale fundraiser benefiting the SFA Mast Arboretum, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, Gayla Mize Garden, and educational programs hosted at the gardens. A wide variety of hard-to-find, “Texas tough” plants will be available, including new introductions, Texas natives, heirlooms, perennials, and exclusive SFA introductions. Most plants are extensively trialed in the gardens before being offered to the public. This plant sale fundraiser benefits the SFA Gardens and its educational programs, which reach over 15,000 students ages 1 to 100 on a yearly basis. The public is encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information, call 936-468-4404, or visit and click on “upcoming events.”

Wichita Falls: The “Living Well With Less Water in Texoma 2011” conference will be held at the Multi-Purpose Events Center in Wichita Falls on October 1. The registration fee is $55 if received between September 2-16. No registrations will be accepted after September 16. The fee includes the noon meal, break refreshments and conference handout material. The speakers include: KFDX meteorologist Bryan Rupp, who has lived in nearly every corner of Texas. Spending so much time living, working and forecasting in Texas has given Bryan unique and well qualified experience to understand the microclimates of Texas and how each have separate features that can affect the weather for gardeners all over Texoma. Scott Calhoun explores back roads and backcountry in search of plants, gardens, architecture and food. He is the author of five gardening books. His first book, Yard Full of Sun, was awarded the 2006 American Horticultural Society Book Award; his second, Chasing Wildflowers, won the Garden Writers Association 2008 Silver Book Award. Calhoun writes a monthly garden column for Sunset magazine and freelances for numerous print publications including American Gardener, Fine Gardening, and Wildflower. Michael Parkey is a registered landscape architect who has designed gardens in north Texas since 1983. His special interests are resource efficient landscapes and the use of native plants in gardens and restored habitats. His projects accent residential gardens, commercial developments, and specialized landscapes for botanic gardens, parks, schools, zoos and nature study areas including the gardens at the Kell House in Wichita Falls.  Parkey is based in Dallas, where he has had his own firm since 1993. In addition to his practice, he teaches courses on landscape design and native plants for Southern Methodist University, and frequently lectures on the same topics. His designs have received awards from the City of Dallas and the American Society of Landscape Architects. Oklahoma Conservation Commission project coordinator Kevin Gustavson joined OCC's Water Quality division in 2005 as coordinator of the Grand Lake Nonpoint Source Project. Through that project he oversaw the coordination of at least four diverse programs in the Grand Lake watershed, including development of the Grand Lake Watershed-Based Plan. Dotty Woodson is an Extension Program Specialist in Water Resources with Texas AgriLife Extension. Woodson is an award-winning writer and video producer with extensive credits in print and electronic media. She is a contributing author for Gardening in Fort Worth, The Lone Star Gardener's Book of Lists and the CD and computer web site, Texas SmartScape. Dotty writes a garden and landscape column for the Fort Worth Star Telegram and a feature garden column for the Northwest Times Record and Meadowbrook News. Attendees will qualify for five Master Gardener continuing education hours, two private pesticide applicator general continuing education hours and three Master Naturalists hours. Other CEU hours may be announced prior to the conference. In addition, gardeners will be able to review new and useful items plus information at vendor booths while at the conference. Gardeners can access more information and the registration form at or by calling Virginia Krebs at 940-692-3089 or by contacting the Wichita County AgriLife Extension office.

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.

San Antonio: Judy Barrett, founding editor and publisher of Homegrown: Good Sense Organic Living for Texas and author of “What Can I Do With My Herbs” and “What Makes Heirloom Plants So Great” will speak at The San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels & Funston by the Botanical Gardens, at 10 a.m., Wednesday, October 5. This event is free, though membership is encouraged. For additional information, contact or call 210-8240435.

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: 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.

Wichita Falls: The Wichita County Master Gardener Association meets at 5:30 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 600 Scott Street, Wichita Falls, on the first Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit or call 940-716-8610.

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.

Gonzalas: Gonzales Master Gardeners Association holds their monthly meeting on the first Thursday of each month. A short program is presented. The meeting is held from noon until 1 p.m. at 1405 Conway St. (Odd Fellows Lodge). Bring a bag lunch, drinks provided. Contact AgriLife Extension Office at 830-672-8531 or e-mail for more information.

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 817-263-9322 or visit

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

Leander: The Leander Garden Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month (except July and August) at 10:30 a.m. at the Leander Presbyterian Church, 101 N. West Drive, Leander, unless there is a field trip or an event at a member's home. Following a short business meeting, there is usually a program, followed by a shared pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call Cathy Clark-Ramsey at 512-963-4698 or email

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

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

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