October 5, 2011

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Charles Swanson checks the setup of smart irrigation controllers at a College Station test site. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Jose Lopez)

Drought confuses some smart-irrigation controllers

By Robert Burns
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Confounded by Texas weather? So are most “smart” electronic irrigation controllers, according to a Texas AgriLIfe Extension Service expert.

“Over the last two years, in a testing program, we found that Texas’ variable and erratic weather confuses many of the controllers being sold in the state,” said Dr. Guy Fipps, AgriLife Extension irrigation engineer, College Station.

Smart controllers refer to irrigation units that use weather data to calculate and apply the correct amount of water needed by lawns and landscape plants. Ordinary “dumb” controllers rely on timers and require human intervention, which, due to human error or lack of management, often apply two to three times more water than necessary, Fipps explained.

Among the weather factors smart controllers use is evapotranspiration, commonly abbreviated as ET, which is an estimate of the total amount of water needed by plants. Smart controllers either use historical ET data or calculate it from weather sensors measuring rainfall, heat, amount of sunlight and other factors.

For more than three years at a College Station site, Fipps and Charles Swanson, AgriLife Extension landscape irrigation specialist, have been testing various brands of smart controllers sold in Texas. They have found that although the controllers are smart in theory, in actual use, some over-irrigate as often as their human counterparts who use guesstimates rather than calculations, according to Fipps.

However, the smart controllers have become smarter as manufacturers continue to tweak designs in response to such tests, he said. Still, during the third year of tests — which spanned 238 days from March 29 through Nov. 22, 2010 — many controllers still did not perform as consistently as expected.

“The 2010 results showed an increase in controller performance compared to the year-one and year-two results,” he said. “However, we continued to see controllers irrigating excessively; some irrigated in excess of ET, even though 17 inches of rainfall fell during the 2010 study.”

And that was before the drought worsened. During the drought of 2011, most of the controllers’ performance was erratic, Fipps said.

“Three of the eight smart controllers over-compensated and applied excessive amounts of water, and the remaining five did not apply enough irrigation water for all the irrigation zones and plant materials, although two of the controllers provided adequate amounts of water for five out of the six zones,” he said. “The problem is likely due to which weather factors the controller uses.”

The summer of 2011 was not only hotter and drier than normal, but conditions interacted to cause plants to use from 30 percent to 50 percent more water than they would in an average year, Fipps explained. While the amount of solar radiation (total energy received from the sun) remained close to normal levels, temperatures and wind were significantly higher.

In the 2010 tests, it was too much rain that caused problems with some smart controllers, he said. The 2010 work tested eight controllers from six different manufacturers.

“In 2010, it was only the smart controllers that were equipped with tipping-bucket rain gauges that were able to accurately provide the right amounts of irrigation,” Fipps said.

For the tests, Fipps and Swanson programmed each controller for a typical Texas irrigation system and landscape that included ornamental plants, shrubs and turf. They also considered various soil types with different root-zone depths.

“Programming these controllers was no easy task as only two controllers allowed us to input all the landscape parameters that were needed,” Fipps said. “Each manufacturer was allowed to come in and provide assistance in programming to ensure the controller programming most accurately described the landscape, which most manufacturers did.”

In the 2010 test, Fipps and Swanson added a “goldilocks” protocol, which interprets performance results to whether the controllers put on too much, too little or “just the right” amount of water.

“Adequate, inadequate and excessive categories make the testing results easier to understand by consumers and irrigation contractors who are trying to determine which controller to purchase,” he said.

The full results are included in the recent report on smart controller testing and performance found on the Irrigation Technology Center website at http://itc.tamu.edu/smart.php.


Dangerous wildfire conditions expected through the fall

Texas Forest Service

Dangerous wildfire conditions that have plagued Texas for nearly a year are expected to continue through the fall and possibly into the winter, according to a recent wildfire risk assessment report.

Texas remains mired in one of the worst droughts in state history and there appears to be little relief in sight, according to the Southern Area Fire Risk Assessment, which is calling for below average moisture and above average temperatures through the end of the year.

Compounding the problem, the relentless drought has left in its wake an overabundance of dead and drying vegetation including high-risk fuels such as pines and junipers that burn intensely.

“With much of the state so critically dry, a wildfire could spread quickly — especially with the fall winds that will pick up as fronts move through the state,” Predictive Services Department Head Tom Spencer said.

“These factors were all in place over Labor Day weekend. They can really create a dangerous situation where the wildfire is in control.”

It was Labor Day weekend that the devastating Bastrop Fire ignited, ultimately charring more than 34,000 acres and destroying more than 1,500 homes as the blaze roared through vast fields of pine trees.

Spencer said this fall could be the most active in recent history. Traditionally, wildfire occurrence is low during this time of year, with the fires that do ignite limited to East Texas. But this fall the scope of the danger zone has expanded to include most of Texas and even some surrounding states.

Adding to the complexity is the fact that wildfires are occurring within close proximity of highly-populated, metropolitan areas, Spencer said. This could be made even worse by the gusty fall winds which can trigger multiple fires occurring over large areas of the state.

Though parts of the state may see small amounts of rain over the next few months, it likely won’t be the long, sustained, soaking rains that are needed to break the drought.

Texas Forest Service Fire Chief Mark Stanford urged residents across the state to be aware of the dangerous conditions, adding that their safety is paramount.

“The situation here in Texas — the scope, complexity and tempo we’re facing — is just unprecedented,” said Stanford, who oversees the agency’s forest resource protection division. “When these conditions are in place, wildfires can be catastrophic and deadly. They can become a true force of nature.”

For more information about how to prepare your home, go to www.texasfirestorm.org.


Proper landscaping can help protect your home from wildfire

Texas Forest Service

More than 2,700 homes have been destroyed since Texas wildfire season began last November – but there are steps you can take to help protect your property.

Firewise Communities is a program that offers construction and landscaping techniques designed to help your home withstand a fire. These firewise practices can beautify your home while also making it a safer place to live.

Texas Forest Service has compiled a list of tips to help you become firewise:

  • Select plants that are drought-tolerant, high in moisture content and can be easily pruned and maintained.
  • Select trees such as oaks and maples that have open branching, which can help slow down the spread of fire.
  • Plant small trees and shrubs away from larger trees to avoid creating a ladder of vegetation that could lead a fire up from the ground into the crowns of the trees.
  • Plant the right tree in the right place. Avoid planting potentially large trees and shrubs under utility lines.
  • Avoid planting vegetation with high oil and resin content such as pines, cedars and junipers. These types of plants burn quickly and can greatly increase the speed with which the fire spreads.
  • Restrict the use of flowerbeds and shrubbery against your house. Nonflammable mulches such as rock or crushed brick are preferred.
  • Make sure to mow grass around your home and collect leaves and other debris in your yard for proper disposal.

The garden reader:
Garden guides and more

By William Scheick
Book Reviewer

The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2012. Edited by Janice Stillman. $5.99.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac All-Season’s Garden Guide (2011). Edited by Mare-Anne Jarvela. $3.99.

Beaten down by record-setting heat and drought, not to mention water rationing that restricts even soaker-hose use to once a week during prescribed hours, many of my neighbors have quit gardening for the rest of this year.

Rarely has autumn been so horticulturally bleak in my Central Texas area. Many of us are now engaged in dispiriting triage — deciding what to try to save, what to let go, however painful the loss.

Chiefly, hose in hand, we have been fighting for the survival of our trees. Experts say that the outcome for even our native trees, such as cedar elms and live oaks, will be dicey.

Unfortunately, diligent hand-watering couldn’t save several of my most reliable standbys, plants which had heretofore returned year after year with minimum attention, including my sturdy fall asters and Italian jasmines (Jasminum humile). Sizeable dead patches also define my Asiatic jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum), usually a super-tough groundcover.

We might be down, but we are not out. My gardening neighbors and I are dreaming of better days to come. If anything, gardeners are dreamers.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which has been published annually since 1792, offers cozy fare that can help tide us over this bad-weather patch. Besides home remedies, recipes, puzzles, folklore, astronomical information and more, this guide (which comes in a southern edition) features garden planting schedules.

For dreaming, though, the pocket-sized 2011 edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac All-Season’s Garden Guide, sold separately, is particularly advantageous. Its topics include gardening by the moon, on vertical structures, to attract avian visitors and in the shade or in containers.

Also well done are three sections on flowers that change color, night-bloomers and easiest perennials. Houseplants for a healthy home and edible plants for a healthy diet are amply covered, as well.

Both of these handy periodicals are commonly available at garden centers and magazine outlets. Or visit www.Almanac.com/Shop, which also offers The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden-Fresh Cookbook and The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids, Volume 4.

For my money, the $3.99 price for this year’s handsome 128-page All-Season’s Garden Guide is an extraordinary bargain for dream-sustaining winter reading.



JJ Barrilleaux uses umbrellas to shade her clematis.
The compost heap
More umbrellas

"Gee, what a great idea about the umbrellas ('Gardening Tips,' Seeds, September 21, 2011)," writes JJ Barrilleaux. "I had already thought of that and so am sending you a picture of my home decorated with umbrellas! I especially wanted to shade the beautiful new clematis I planted this year."

"I also used old umbrellas during the freezing weather," writes Linda Clark. "I open them up and place them over my plants and then cover with an old sheet or blanket. It is a lot easier than putting stakes in to keep from crushing the plants."


Gardening tips

If you have dead spots in your turf from this summers drought, consider planting some vetch or other legume there this fall and then mow and incorporate that organic matter into the soil before replanting the area in the spring>

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...

Planting smaller size trees and shrubs in your landscape requires patience. They are almost always cheaper than the larger size versions and become established much faster.


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 propagation techniques from horticulture teacher, greenhouse manager and Kingsland Garden Club member James Henry Alley on Friday, October 7 at the Kingsland Library. He will show you interesting ways to obtain new plants and multiply the plants you already have and love. This free program is presented by the Kingsland Garden Club at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, October 7. You are welcome to come to the Club meeting at 1 p.m. For information on upcoming gardening programs, visit http://yantislakesidegardens.giving.officelive.com/events.aspx.

Austin: “Bio-Intensive Gardening,” Saturday, October 8, 10 a.m.-noon, at Blackshear Neighborhood Garden, 2011 East 9th St., Austin. Learn techniques to optimize planting to maximize yield in a small garden space. Good garden practices also covered. Outside event. For more information, contact the Master Gardeners Help Line at 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Austin: The Garden Conservancy presents Noted garden editor and writer Stephen Orr on Tomorrow's Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening, Tuesday, October 11, at Arthouse at the Jones Center, 700 Congress Avenue, Austin. Through his years of documenting some of the world's best gardens, Stephen Orr has developed a sense of what a 21st-century garden should be: manageable, visually pleasing, and most of all, environmentally responsible. He will present a wide array of gardens throughout America that have been scaled back and simplified without compromising aesthetics. The innovative design solutions that link these gardens — including several from the Austin area — will inspire gardeners of all experience levels. Orr is the editorial director of gardening for Martha Stewart Omnimedia, and the author of Tomorrow's Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening (Rodale Press, 2011). He was the former garden editor at Domino and House & Garden magazines and has written for various publications including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Orr, a native Texan, lives in New York City and the Catskills. 6 p.m. Wine reception, book sale and signing; 6:30 p.m. Illustrated talk, Arthouse Community Room. Admission: $35 general admission; $30 members of the Garden Conservancy and Arthouse at the Jones Center. Seating is limited. Register online at www.gardenconservancy.org or call 845-265-2029 (Cold Spring, NY).

Marion: Robert J. George will discuss the work of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), located in Fort Worth, at the October 11 meeting of Native Plant Society of Texas, Guadalupe County (Schertz-Seguin) Chapter. George is project coordinator of Illustrated Texas Floras and a communication specialist with BRIT. The BRIT is dedicated to the conservation of our botanical heritage with a large collection of pressed specimens, some dating back may years. Learn about BRIT, how important BRIT is, and the exciting research projects that are going on here and in other countries. The Guadalupe County Chapter meets the second Tuesday of the month at The Marion Library, 500 Bulldog Lane, Marion. There will be a plant/seed exchange and a welcome time 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 Marion Library or membership application, visit www.npsot.org.guadalupecounty.

Seabrook: Anthony Camerino will present a lecture on Composting, Tuesday, October 11, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lake side),5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information visit http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/hort/.

Austin: A “Farming Fundamentals Series” will be presented by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service during three consecutive Wednesdays in October. The programs will be held from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 12, 19 and 26 at the agency offices, located at 1600-B Smith Rd. in southeast Austin. This series will be helpful for home and small-plot producers, including those who grow to sell at farmers markets, are involved in sustainable foods efforts or are interested in community gardens and other small-yield production. Series instruction will focus on various horticultural and business aspects of growing and selling vegetable and fruit crops. All presentations will be made in person by AgriLife Extension personnel and by representatives of the Texas Department of Agriculture, the U.S Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and other agencies. The Oct. 12 program will address plant pathology, the economics of small-acreage production, vegetable production and product marketing. The Oct. 19 program will address the Texas Environmental Quality Incentives Program, organic certification, and soils, fertilizers and composting. The Oct. 26 program will cover planning a small–scale farming operation and include an overview of fruit crops and community resources available to small-scale producers. The cost for all three programs in the series is $125, and lunch is provided during each program. All registration must be done through the Texas AgriLife Extension Conference Services, and space is limited to 25, so attendees are encouraged to register as soon as possible. To register, go to the conference services website at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/ and use keyword “farm” or call 979-845-2604.

Houston: Learn about native plants at the 31st NPSOT Annual Fall Symposium, Oct. 13-Oct. 16, at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway at Eldridge Parkway, Houston. Entertaining and educational exhibits, a native plant sale, flower arranging and photography competitions, a silent auction, expert speakers from across the state and field trips to native habitats in the Houston area will highlight the symposium, “Habitat CPR: Creating, Preserving and Restoring Native Habitats in a Changing World.” Symposium 2011 kicks off Thursday, Oct. 13, with on-the-way field trips for out-of-town attendees. All symposium registrants are invited to attend the welcome reception Thursday evening. On Friday and Saturday leaders in the conservation of native plants will present. They include Fred Smeins, Ph.D., range ecology professor, Texas A&M University, the leading expert on Texas coastal prairies and marshes; John Jacob, Ph.D., professor and extension specialist, director of the Texas Coastal Watershed Program and co-author of “Texas Coastal Wetlands Guidebook,” Bill Neiman, founder and president, Native American Seed; Jaime Gonzalez, community education manager, Katy Prairie Conservancy and Mark Kramer, stewardship coordinator, Armand Bayou Nature Center. Saturday evening, the symposium will conclude with a dinner and special screening of the new film, Wildflowers | Seeds of History, produced by PBS. For a complete schedule and registration information, please visit www.npsot.org/wp/symposium2011.

Houston: The Garden Club of Houston’s 69th Annual Bulb & Plant Mart will be held from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, October 14, and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, October 15, at Holly Hall Retirement Center, 2000 Holly Hall St. at Fannin (across from Reliant Stadium). On-site parking and admission are free. A Speaker Series is being offered the week before on October 8th, in the chapel of Holly Hall. Heidi Sheesly of Treesearch Farms and Chris Wiesinger of Southern Bulb Company will be speaking about what to plant in drought conditions and about Texas heirloom bulbs respectively. All purchases are tax free. Admission and parking are free.

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.

Seabrook: Anthony Camerino will present a lecture on Composting, Wednesday, October 19, at 10 a.m. at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lake side),5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information visit http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/hort/.

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.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

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

Rockport: Monthly meetings of the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners are held at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Aransas County Office, 611 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, e-mail aransas-tx@tamu.edu or call 361-790-0103.

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 http://www.overthegardengate.org 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 www.allengardenclub.org.

Brownwood: The Brown County Master Gardeners Association meets the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 605 Fisk Ave., Brownwood. For further information, call Mary Green Engle at 325-784-8453.

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 gonzales@ag.tamu.edu 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 www.main.org/aog.

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

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 www.gregg-tx.tamu.edu.

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

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

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

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

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

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

College Station: The A&M Garden Club meets on the second Friday of each month during the school year at 9:30 am at the Peace Lutheran Church, 2201 Rio Grande, College Station. Expert speakers, plant sharing, and federated club projects help members learn about gardening in the Brazos Valley, floral design, conservation, and more. For more information, visit http://www.amgardenclub.com/.

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

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

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardeners meet at 2 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at McGregor House, 1628 W. Henderson, Cleburne, which includes a program and a meet & greet. For more information, call Diane Asberry at 817-558-3932.

Sugar Land: The Sugar Land Garden Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month, September through November and January through April at 10 a.m. at the Sugar Land Community Center, 226 Matlage Way, Sugar Land. The club hosts a different speaker each month. For more information, visit www.sugarlandgardenclub.org.

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

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

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

Seabrook: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the Lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

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

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

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

Atlanta: The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Horne Enterprise building in Atlanta at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Kay Lowery at frostkay268@aol.com.

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

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

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Forth Worth meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month except July and December at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens main building. Refreshments are served. For more information, call 817-263-9322 or visit www.ogcfw.webs.com.

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

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

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

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


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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.


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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.

$31.88 per 12.3’ x 32.8’ roll (includes shipping!)

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

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)


Become a Texas Gardener fan on Facebook

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


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

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

Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

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