January 11, 2012

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Growing wild: A 'how-to' guide for avoiding weed-filled wildflower mixes

By Greta Gramig, Ph.D.
member of the Weed Science Society of America

Wildflower mixes offer a quick and easy way to create vibrant meadows of colorful blooms – providing long-lasting beauty and a habitat for birds and butterflies. If you plant the wrong mix, though, you could end up with invasive or weedy plants as unintended guests in your garden or natural area.

One example: A wildflower mix was the source of an Oregon infestation of Paterson’s curse (Echium plantagineum), an exotic noxious weed native to the Mediterranean. This drought-tolerant plant is poisonous to grazing animals and can produce skin irritation and hay fever in humans.

University of Washington researchers shed light on the problem of weeds in wildflower mixes, examining 19 seed packets to see what lurked inside. Almost half contained seeds of plants considered noxious weeds in at least one U.S. state or Canadian province, such as dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis), oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) and yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris).

In addition to noxious weeds, all the wildflower seed mixes in the study contained plants that can grow invasively under the right conditions. One example is common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), an aggressive grower that spreads through rhizomes and can crowd out desired species.

Even some of the ornamentals found in wildflower mixes can wreak havoc if they escape into the wild from their desired location. For example, bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus) is a prolifically blooming annual found in many wildflower mixes. Though well-behaved in most home gardens, bachelor’s buttons can aggressively out-compete native plants in a natural area. The same is true of the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), another frequent favorite in mixed wildflower seed packets.

What can you do to keep noxious weeds and other invasive plants out of your wildflower garden and natural areas? First and foremost, be careful about what seeds you buy. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Purchase high-quality, local seeds tested for purity so that any stray weed seeds are less likely to be devastating exotic imports like Paterson’s curse.
  • Buy mixes with wildflowers native to your region and double-check the seeds included. Otherwise, you could find yourself with plants that behave aggressively or invasively in your region.
  • Avoid mixes with bachelor’s buttons, common yarrow and other aggressively growing ornamentals, such as bird’s foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), cow cockle (Vaccaria hispanica), creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides), evening primrose (Oenothera spp.), purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and white cockle (Silene latifolia).
  • Look for packages clearly labeled with the scientific names of the species included. If only common names are given, confusion can arise. For instance, annual baby’s breath (Gypsophila elegans) is not considered invasive. But perennial baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) is invasive and classified as a noxious weed in both California and Washington.

The best approach of all is to avoid mixes and select specific individual wildflower species based on desired characteristics. You will still have a nice display of wildflowers to add color and interest to your landscape, but with less risk of spreading weeds.

This column is provided as a courtesy by the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA). The author, Greta Gramig, is an assistant professor of weed ecology in the Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University.

Online voting begins for “America’s Favorite Cherry Tree” as National Cherry Blossom Festival launches Centennial Celebration

America’s Favorite Cherry Tree,” an online poll launched January 4 by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Cherry Blossom Festival, allows all Americans to participate in the Festival’s Centennial Celebration by casting their vote for one of three finalists: the Yoshino, Kwanzan, or Autumn Flowering cherry tree.

The poll can now be accessed at arborday.org. On the website, participants can also purchase individual cherry trees, with a portion of every sale benefiting the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year’s Festival commemorating the 100-year anniversary of Tokyo’s gift of cherry trees to Washington, DC, begins on March 20, 2012.

Results of the online voting will be announced on April 27, 2012. April 27th is National Arbor Day and the last day of this year’s festivities.

“By voting in the poll and purchasing a cherry tree, Americans can bring the Centennial Celebration to both their computer and backyard,” said Diana Mayhew, president of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

“We’re thrilled to add a new chapter to this great American tradition,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “With this year’s poll and the availability of online cherry tree purchases, Americans can take part in this historic event even if they are unable to travel to the nation’s capital.”

The three finalists, selected by Festival and Foundation staff, were included in the gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912. Since their introduction, they have become favorites along Washington, DC’s Tidal Basin, as well as in yards, parks and neighborhoods across the United States.

Editor's Note: Gardening news is slow at the beginning of the year, and many gardeners are unable to work in their gardens during winter. We thought you might enjoy a change of pace during this slow season, so following is the second of four gardening-themed short stories presented this month for your enjoyment. — Michael Bracken, editor

Fertile Fiction
A Garden of My Own

By Patricia Abbott
Freelance Writer

My childhood home was on a block of row houses in Philadelphia that boasted not a single tree. When I asked my father about it, he said, without a trace of humor, “Our street didn’t come with any.”

When I complained again later, he added, “Trees drop things. Sap, seeds, twigs, leaves. It’s hard on the car.” Dad didn’t like messes and kept my mother busy ensuring there were none. He would have painted the yard green if he could have gotten away with it.

The avenue east of us was tree-lined and I walked to and from school on Rugby Street so I could kick bright leaves in the fall and be shaded in summer. Snow looked better on trees than on concrete; wind had a sound there.

Row houses seldom possess elaborate gardens but one house on my walk had rose bushes, a wisteria vine and a blue hydrangea. Pansies in the spring and zinnias in the summer made a border. I pretended it was my house, breathing in that smell only gardens can make.

Over on Gilbert Street, a few families eventually planted spruces, but not a single shade tree gave relief from the summer heat.

At twenty, I married an older man who was allergic to all things green — a fact he hadn’t bothered to confide. Ed installed a pool in the backyard and a flagstone terrace out front. A few pots of succulents, a species that didn’t seem to bother him, sat on our porch.

He was a good man despite his allergies, and when he died suddenly when I was forty-five, I was ill-prepared for the overwhelming grief. My daughter did what she could to comfort me.

“Take up a hobby,” she advised on a visit. “Volunteer.”

And then it came to me. I could finally have a garden. But it proved harder to master than I’d thought. Piles of books threatened to overwhelm my nascent desire.

The following spring, the new cellist at the local symphony moved in next door. Overnight, he began to plant a garden that would have made Ed asthmatic.

“Time to sit for a minute?” he asked one day, looking up as if he’d been expecting me. “I’ve been thinking about your garden.” He was about my age: not handsome but possessing a certain appeal.

Apparently my attempts to install a bit of green among the flagstones had not gone unnoticed. I sat down, anxious to hear his analysis. His garden, long neglected by an elderly woman, had dramatically improved — and after only a few weeks.

“Name’s Rick.”

“Paulina,” I said.

He handed over his sketchpad. “We could plant a more interesting border than the one we now share. Those privets and arborvitae are dull, and they’re struggling in the shade of my oak.

I nodded, bewilderedly studying his drawing, futilely trying to identify some of the plants.

“Perhaps a woodland planting — ferns, some pachysandra — ordinary but dependable — a spot of bleeding heart, goldenrod, anemones, creeping phlox. Maybe a small shrub or two — species that can stand some shade.” He realized he’d lost me around the word anemones, and paused. “I forgot you weren’t a gardener."

He reached for a book on the table and began to point out the flowers he’d mentioned. It occurred to me then that I could only name about a dozen kinds of flowers with any confidence.

“Sounds great,” I said. “When did you want to start?”

If I helped him plant the border, maybe I could learn enough to rip out those flagstones and have a real garden. Maybe even the unused pool could go.

“No time like the present.”

“Well, I’m going to visit my daughter for a few weeks. After that?”

“Can I water while you’re gone?”

“What — you mean the flagstone?”

He laughed and after a minute, I did too. “By next year, you’ll be watering more than rocks.”

Three weeks later, driving home from the airport, I could see the changes from halfway down the block. The work I thought we were going to do together was already done. And Rick had begun planting shrubs on my property. Putting in plants I couldn’t even name. Once again, a man was in charge of me, telling me how my yard should look, what it should be. I hurried into the house, fighting off tears.

He came over an hour later, found me on the patio, and gave a start when he saw the anger on my face. “Guess I really screwed up. You look like you want to deck me.”

My natural impulse was to smile and deny it, but I was determined not to let him off the hook, not to give in and thank him for making the changes I wanted to do myself.

“I spent the last three weeks working out my own plan,” I said. I pulled out my own sketchbook.

He looked it over for a minute or two. “You have some pretty good ideas here.” He looked at me warily. “Do you mind if I give you one or two suggestions?”

I nodded half-heartedly.

“This area’s too sunny for hydrangea,” he said, pointing to the blueprint. “Hydrangeas like shady roots and filtered sun. You’d have to water them constantly if you planted them here.”

My head swiveled toward the actual spot I’d placed them on the diagram. He was right: the sun beat down ferociously.

“Okay,” I said reluctantly. “What instead?”

“How about a lilac?”

I felt like saying no just on principle. But the thought of that scent in my yard swayed me.

“That might work,” I agreed.

“Lots of your ideas are sound. I can see you’ve research it. Look, I’m sorry if I overstepped. I guess I wanted to please you — to give you a garden.”

“You’d please me more if you let me give it to myself.”

“I think that’s the least I can do.”

“No, it’s the most.”

Rick was amazingly adept in building gardens—and relationships. On his next out-of-town concert, it was me who sat next to him in economy while his cello rested in first class.

Patricia Abbott is the author of the ebook Monkey Justice and more than 80 stories. “The Bride” appears in this month’s The Rose and the Thorn. She blogs at http://pattinase.blogspot.com.

Gardening tips

One of the best things you can do for your lawn before it greens up in the spring is to have it mechanically aerated. This is simple process where holes are punch into the soil, allowing air and moisture to more easily penetrate the root zone. Often water and nutrients just run off hard packed turf areas but aeration prevents this from happening.

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 2012 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did you know...

If your pecan trees seem to be constantly dropping limbs and twigs, the culprit is most likely the twig girdler, a fairly large insect. The female girdler lays her eggs in the twigs and then cuts almost all the way through the limbs. Later on, the limbs break and fall to the ground. The larvae are in the fallen twigs so it is best to rake and discard them.

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.

Houston: Urban Harvest will host the 12th Annual Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale on Saturday, January 14, at the University of Houston Robertson football stadium (at Scott Street and Holman Street). The event will bring together the largest stock of fruit trees and berries that are assembled on one day in Houston and likely the world. There will be oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, limes, kumquats, calamondin, pummelo, satsumas, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, pears, apples, persimmons, pomegranates, pecans, grapes, muscadines, jujubes, blueberries, blackberries, avocados, starfruit, Cherry of the Rio Grande, dragon fruit, bananas, figs, olives and more. “Fruit Tree Professors” will be on-hand to answer questions and help customers select trees. There will be handouts on how to care for the trees, and Dr. Bob Randall’s book, Year-Round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for Metro Houston, will be available for sale; this book contains a wealth of information on care of fruit trees. And the Urban Harvest website urbanharvest.org has descriptions of every type and variety of fruit along with planting and care information. Arrive early for best selections. Bring a wagon if you have one; some will be available.

Jasper: Benny Rhoads, Shangri La’s Beekeeper, will present “Backyard Beekeeping Using Top Bar Hives” from 10 a.m. to noon, January 14, at St. Michael’s Church Hall, 2898 U.S. Hwy. 190 W, Jasper. Appropriate for the backyard gardener. Top Bar Hives are inexpensive, easy to construct, don’t require a lot of expensive equipment, are easy to maintain and require less expertise than more conventional hives. The program will allow the participant to develop a backyard beehive that produces honey and provides for pollination. There will be demonstration hives available for participants to examine. This workshop will allow the participant to start a backyard hive on a small scale with big benefits. Included in the $10 registration fee are detailed construction manuals, information sheets, and lunch. For more information and RSVP call 409-384-3721 or 409-384-3626.

Nacogdoches: Spring Gardening 101 will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, in Room 110 of the Ag Building at 1924 Wilson Drive on the SFA Campus. SFA Gardens horticulturists Dawn Stover and Greg Grant will cover the A-B-Cs of spring vegetable gardening, including soil preparation and composting along with when, where, and what to plant. After lunch, participants should plan to roll up their sleeves and get dirty! Participants will visit the compost demonstration site at the SFA Mast Arboretum, start vegetable seeds in pots, and make their own crown tire planter to take home. It should be a full, fun day that will prepare participants to be successful vegetable gardeners. Lunch is included. Cost is $30 for SFA Garden members, $35 for non-members, and $55 for both participant and spouse. Advance reservations are required. To register or for more information, call the SFA Gardens education office 936-468-1832 or email Elyce Rodewald erodewald@sfasu.edu.

Comal County: Applications are now being accepted for the Comal Master Gardeners classes starting January 18 and running through May 2. Class size is limited to 30. For more information, visit http://txmg.org/comal/, call AgriLife at 830-620-3440, or email vicepresident@mastergardener.comal.tx.us.

Seabrook: Judy Barrett, author of What Can I Do with My Herbs, will lecture on "Heirloom Plants" at 10 a.m., Wednesday, January 18, at the Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/hort.

Austin: “From Seeds to Transplants” will be presented Thursday, January 19, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. From Seeds to Transplants will help you understand which vegetable plants are good candidates to start from seeds to get a jump start on the growing season. Learn about seeds, growing material, lighting, temperature, air circulation and moisture requirements. The knowledge gained in this seminar will help ensure success for your vegetable garden. This seminar is free and open to the public. It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For information, visit www.tcmastergardeners.org or call 512-854-9600.

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, January 19, in the Agriculture Building, Room 110, at 1924 Wilson Drive. Botanist and author, Dr. Charles Allen, will present “Wildflowers of East Texas and Louisiana.” Dr. Allen is a Senior Botanist with Colorado State University stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He is a retired Professor of Biology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and a charter member and past president of the Louisiana Native Plant Society. He is the coauthor of Edible Plants of the Gulf South; Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Louisiana; Grasses of Louisiana; and the recently published Louisiana Wildflower Guide. He has presented talks on edible plants, wildflowers, and butterflies to many groups across the South. He and his wife Susan own and operate Allen Acres B&B, a nature-oriented paradise in west central Louisiana where he organizes and leads many area field trips. The Theresa and Les Reeves Garden Lecture Series is normally held the third Thursday of each month at the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture’s SFA Mast Arboretum. A rare plant raffle will be held after the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves lecture series fund are always appreciated. For more information, contact Greg Grant at 936-468-1863 or grantdamon@sfasu.edu.

Seguin: Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 19, at the AgriLife Extension Bldg., 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. Mark Gretchen will present a program about bees and his honey business. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call 210-833-1428.

Houston: Tour the working and demonstration gardens maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 at Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston, Monday, January 23, 9-11 a.m. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions during this free event. Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://harris-tx.tamu.edu/hort.

Houston: The Great Plants for Houston Fruit Tree Sale will take place at the Texas AgriLife Cooperative Extension, 3033 Bear Creek Dr., Houston. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m., Saturday, January, 28. The fruit tree varieties offered at the sale will be adaptable to grow and produce in the Houston area climate. See a selection of avocado, apple, fig, persimmon, pomegranate, plum, pecan, peach and even surprises such as blackberry bushes. Arrive early; those blackberry bushes always sell out fast. An “Ask a Master Gardener” booth in the Extension auditorium will be staffed by experts ready to discuss garden, fruit tree planting and pruning questions. There will be a garden book sale In the Extension Lobby offering the latest in information about gardening. For more information, call 281-855-5600.

La Marque: From 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., January 28, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque, Heidi Sheesley of TreeSearch Farms will give a presentation  highlighting the characteristics of various fruit trees and plants that will be available at the February 4 Galveston County Master Gardener Fruit Tree and Plant Sale. For additional information, contact GALV3@wt.net.

Nacodoches: The Texas Bluebird Society will host its 2012 season kickoff and silent auction in the Baker Pattillo Student Center at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Saturday, February 4 from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The program is sponsored by SFA Gardens.  Silent auction proceeds help support the Texas Bluebird Society. The featured speakers are Greg Grant and Cliff Shackelford. Grant, a horticulturist with SFA Gardens, will present two programs including “I Can’t Stop Loving You: A Lifetime Affair with the Blues” and “Berry Me with Bluebirds Landscaping for the Songbird of Happiness.” Shackelford, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Ornithologist, will present “Knock on Wood: The Woodpeckers of East Texas.” Other presentations will prepare bluebirders, new and experienced, for the upcoming nesting season. Early Bird registration (deadline January 4) is $15.00 and includes the lectures, a lunch buffet, and 10 door prize tickets. For more information and a registration form, visit texasbluebirdsociety.org.

New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners will sponsor a Backyard Vegetable Gardening Seminar at the New Braunfels Convention Center on Saturday, February 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring Patty Leander, contributing writer to Texas Gardener magazine, and Daphne Richards, Travis County AgriLife Extension Agent. Included in the $47 registration fee are demonstrations with hands-on activities, door prizes, detailed handbooks and lunch. Attendance is limited. Register at http://txmg.org/comal/future-events/seminar. For additional information, call 830-620-3440.

Rockdale: The Third Annual Milam County Nature Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Rockdale Fair Park in Rockdale. This is a family-oriented event for all ages of nature lovers. This year’s mascot is the Bat, and so there will be special emphasis on these wonderful and beneficial creatures. There will be presentations by experts on Bats and Bat Houses, Wildflower Legends and Folklore, and Conservation, as well as numerous hands-on nature activities for the kids, such as making animal tracks, digging for artifacts, and some fun bat projects. Educational booths for everyone will include: reptiles, insects, fish, hunting, bats, birds, bees, butterflies, archaeology, native plants, wildflowers, and much more. The nature photo contest (submission deadline March 31) will have winners announced with all photos on display. For additional information, visit http://txmn.org/elcamino/naturefest/ and http://txmn.org/elcamino/naturefest/photo-contest/, email ElCaminoRealMasterNaturalist@gmail.com, or contact Texas AgriLife Extension Service at 254-697-7045.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host its annual Garden Gala Day from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St. A wide variety of hard-to-find, “Texas tough” plants will be available, including Texas natives, heirlooms, tropicals, perennials, unusual species, and exclusive SFA introductions. Plants are extensively trialed in the gardens before being offered to the public. This popular event features the annual spring plant sale benefiting the SFA Mast Arboretum, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, Gayla Mize Garden, and educational programs hosted at the gardens. The educational programs at SFA Gardens reach more than 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 www.sfagardens.sfasu.edudu and click on “Arboretum” then “Garden Events.”


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.

Evant: The Evant Garden Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m., usually at the bank in downtown Evant. To confirm the date, time and place of each month's meeting, call 254-471-5585.

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 Sharon Smith at 817-894-7700.

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 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.

Bryan: The Brazos County Master Gardeners, a program of Texas AgriLife Extension, meet the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. There is a public gardening program at each meeting and pertinent information may be found at brazosmg.com or 979-823-0129.

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 Greater Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 7:00 p.m. on the fourth Thurday of each month at the REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Dallas. For more information, call 214-824-2448 or visit www.gdogc.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.

Sale! A book so good, even the insects like it

That’s right. We have a small quantity of The Vegetable Book that have been nibbled on by silverfish. The result is very minor cosmetic damage. We can’t sell them as new books at full price so we are forced to drastically reduce the price to $21.21 (includes tax and shipping). That is a steep discount off the regular price! This should appeal to all the tightwads out there as well as those who would like to have a second, not-so-perfect copy of Dr. Cotner’s timeless classic to carry with them to the garden as a working copy. Hurry while supplies last!

$21.21 includes tax and shipping! (while supplies last)

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

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.

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(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. 2012. 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