February 1, 2012

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Rodeo tomato selected for San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo

By Paul Schattenberg
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

A rose is not just a rose and a tomato is not just a tomato, considering the time and effort put into selecting the ‘rodeo’ tomato for the annual San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist.

"Traditionally, we offer a new tomato plant for sale every year during the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo,” said David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture, Bexar County. “Sales of those plants by our Master Gardeners help fund our Junior Master Gardener program and other countywide youth gardening activities, along with horticulture scholarships."

Rodeo tomato plants will be for sale throughout the run of the show, Feb. 9-26, at the Master Gardener booth in the Buckaroos on the Ranch: A Truly Texas Experience pavilion. The facility, formerly called the Texas Experience pavilion, is near Freeman Coliseum on the west side of the show grounds.

Rodriguez said last year experts from AgriLife Extension and volunteers from the agency's Bexar County Master Gardener association and the Garden Volunteers of South Texas, planted more than 4,500 tomato plants at Verstuyft Farms in south Bexar County.

“The BHN 602 variety was selected as this year’s rodeo tomato due to its superior production and quality characteristics,” he said. “It is a well-adapted plant that produces a large, rich, red, firm, succulent fruit.”

This year, the group planted mainly varieties which were expected to produce the large, round fruit indicative of fresh-market tomatoes, said Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde who oversaw the trials.

“Some of these varieties included SunStart, Sunshine, Bella Rosa, Applause and BHN 602 varieties,” Stein said. “They also planted some ‘grape-determinant’ varieties which produce a significantly smaller tomato.”

These annual tomato plantings are part of a research field trial to determine new adaptive tomato varieties that will grow well in this region, Rodriguez said. The rodeo tomato was selected from the various tomatoes tested and assessed during these trials.

“We’ve been working with AgriLife Extension on tomato trials for about 30 years,” said Tom Verstuyft, an owner-grower at Verstuyft Farms, which is located near Von Ormy. “We’ve been seeking the best tomatoes in terms of color, firmness, meatiness, sweetness and overall taste.”

The tomato plant is far and away the most popular for home vegetable gardeners, Rodriguez said.

“In these trials we put them to the test to find the one with the color, size, texture and flavor characteristics we know to be most appealing to home-gardeners and consumers in this region,” he said “BHN 602, which was originally developed at a research center in Florida, was the clear winner as this year’s rodeo tomato in that it adapted exceedingly well to the Texas climate and produced some exceptional quality fruit.”

Trials at Verstuyft Farms are conducted under Stein’s supervision.

"These trials primarily help us identify new commercial fresh-market tomato varieties to replace those we've lost due to seed manufacturers no longer producing the seed for those particular varieties," Stein said. "We test a number of new plants each year to determine which are best suited for this area and selected the rodeo tomato as the ‘best of the best’ tomato plants for use in home gardening. But our main objective is to help ensure a seed supply of well-suited tomato plants so area producers may continue to grow this popular crop.”

The multi-county Winter Garden area of South Texas is a known tomato-growing region and remains one the nation’s leading producers of winter vegetables grown using irrigation.

Rodriguez noted that local green industry notable Peterson Brothers Wholesale Nursery, as well as Spring Creek Growers, a 100-year-old active farmstead in Magnolia, are both involved in the commercial production, distribution and sale of the rodeo tomato.

“In addition to the rodeo tomato, Master Gardeners will be selling the new Texas Superstar red-bluebonnet during the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo,” he said. “This is a unique and beautiful version of our state flower, and it meets the stringent aesthetic and practical growing and care criteria required to earn the prestigious Superstar designation.”


The garden reader:
Miniature gardens inside glass

By William Scheick
Book Reviewer

Amy Bryant Aiello and Kate Bryant. Terrarium Craft: Create 50 Magical, Miniature Worlds. Timber Press, 2011. 196 pp. $18.95.

When I was once gifted with a cute Victorian-looking terrarium, I imagined the spectacular little hortus conclusus (enclosed garden) I would create.

It should be easy, I believed. After all, over the years I had beaten much worse odds when indoors-propagating many different plants from mere cuttings.

So compared to these dicey undertakings, I thought, starting out with already-grown plants in a neat, controlled environment should be a breeze to pull off.

Only it wasn’t, it turned out. At least not by me.

I had the basics down pat: a glass container, aquarium gravel for drainage beneath cactus-type soil and then tiny plants that stay tiny. Simple enough, it seemed.

Where my little would-be paradise went wrong — terribly wrong, finally — was the issue of moisture. My terrarium never created its own rain cycle, as rumor had promised, and my inexperienced interventions resulted in overwatering or underwatering.

I only tried terrarium-building that one time, but am going to try again now that I have read Terrarium Craft. I know now that the floor of my faux-Victorian terrarium is too small and particularly too shallow for the kinds of plants I had tried.

“It’s fun to start with a big, spacious container if you haven’t made a terrarium before,” the authors wisely advise, because “the options for materials are greater, and temperatures within the terrarium will be more moderate and air flow better.”

Even more important, in my case anyway, a larger glass container allows for “a greater margin for error if you forget to water your terrarium or if it sits in too hot a spot one afternoon.”

If I didn’t know better, I could imagine the authors were directly addressing my terrarium misadventure.

Even so, there is good news about my gifted miniature glasshouse. Small and shallow as it is, it can still be used as a desert terrarium. The desert type is featured in 17 of the 50 examples provided in Terrarium Craft.

The authors’ examples range from desert to beach to forest and emphasize “succulents, airplants … small houseplants, mosses, and lichen.” Each entry is richly illustrated with step-by-step information on materials, composition and care.

Terrarium Craft is a beautiful book, a model of its kind, highlighting artistic impact as well as successful maintenance. It will inspire as well as guide anyone who has ever fancied fashioning a little garden inside a glass.


Lancaster fifth-grader wins state Arbor Day poster contest

By Holly Huffman
Communications Specialist
Texas Forest Service

Pleasant Run Elementary School fifth-grader Tyger Williamson took home top honors this year in the Texas Arbor Day Poster Contest.

Texas Forest Service coordinates the annual poster contest, which aims to foster a love for trees in the fourth- and fifth-graders who participate. The theme of this year’s contest — Trees are Terrific … from Acorn to Oak! — was designed to help students learn how to identify different species of oak trees.

“The poster contest is a fun way to help young people learn about and appreciate trees and the environment,” said Gretchen Riley, forester and poster contest coordinator. “Tyger’s poster is an outstanding piece of artwork, and we’re pleased to name him as the state winner.”

Tyger’s award-winning poster features a lush, green oak tree set amid rolling green hills. Adorning part of the tree are oversized leaves representing eight different oak species.

More than 4,000 students from 62 schools participated in this year’s poster contest, which was open to fourth- and fifth-graders, statewide. Each participating school selected a campus winner that advanced to the state competition.

After narrowing the field through an online judging process, a panel of judges gathered in College Station to select four regional winners, and ultimately a state winner.

In addition to winning the state competition, Tyger’s poster also was named as the winner for the Trinity-Blacklands region. He received a framed copy of his poster, a $500 savings bond and a Texas State Parks Pass. His teacher, Annie Perdue, received a $250 gift certificate and an iPad.

Regional Winners

Trinity-Blacklands Regional Winner (State Winner): Tyger Williamson, Pleasant Run Elementary School in Lancaster

West & South Texas Regional Winner: Ciarra Thurman, Lawndale Elementary School in Amarillo

Central Texas Regional Winner: Gracy Duh Hnem Par, Sanchez Elementary School in Austin

East Texas Regional Winner: Jyle Matthew Lubrico, Ambassadors Preparatory Academy in Galveston


Gardening tips

If you suffer from spring fever, avoid the temptation to prune your crapemyrtles. They should never be pruned except to remove damaged branches or if they are growing too close to an overhead wire or into a building.

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...

The mushrooms and toadstools that appear in your lawn, while unsightly, will not do any long term damage. They feed on dead organic matter and tie up nitrogen in the soil and then release it back into the turf. Don’t allow children to pick them as are toxic if ingested.


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. 

La Marque: Galveston County Master Gardeners Annual Fruit & Citrus Tree Sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, February 4, at the Wayne Johnson Community Center in Carbide Park, La Marque. On offer are numerous varieties of trees and plants suitable and productive for the Galveston County area. Master Gardeners will also be available to assist with selection and answer questions. For additional information call 281-534-3413. Ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Nacogdoches: 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.

Ft. Worth: "How to Prune Your Landscape, Compost Your Clippings, and Propagate New Plants," wiill be offered from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. February 4 in the fifth floor conference room at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth.  $15 enrollment. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. Contact the AgriLife office at 817-884-1945 for more information or to enroll.

Diboll: Texas Forest Service is holding a symposium for East Texas landowners still reeling from the effects of the relentless, ongoing drought. The Drought Symposium will focus on general impacts from the 2011 drought, as well as forest health issues, tree mortality assessments, silviculture recommendations, market and climate trends and federal assistance programs. Attendees also will get a preview of the predictions for the 2012 fire season. The Symposium is scheduled for Wednesday, February 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lottie and Arthur Temple Civic Center, 601 Dennis St., Diboll. RSVP for the Drought Symposium to Texas Forest Service Forester and Farm Bill Coordinator Shane Harrington at 936-546-1470 or sharrington@tfs.tamu.edu by February 3. Lunch is provided with your reservation.

Galveston Island: Moody Gardens is hosting a night full of bat themed activities while raising money for Bat Conservation International, on Saturday, February 11. The event will be from 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. in the Moody Gardens Visitors Center. This unique cocktail party will feature specialty bat drinks and hors d’oeuvres prepared with ingredients that are made possible because of bats’ ecological importance. In addition, guests will be able to attend a special presentation from guest speaker James Eggers, director of education of Bat Conservation International. Attendees can also take a night tour of the Rainforest Pyramid highlighting bat conservation and bring home a “Bat’s Are Doin’ It” goody bag. Tickets are $50 per person or $90 for a couple. The fundraiser will also include a variety of raffle prizes. Each raffle ticket is $5 or three for $10. “The ‘Bat’s Are Doin’ It’ event will give Moody Gardens the opportunity to highlight the importance of protecting these animals and will give guests the chance to have an entertaining evening while contributing to a significant organization,” said Assistant Curator/ Registrar Paula Kolvig. Throughout 2012 Moody Gardens will bring attention to an often overlooked, but important animal: the bat. The United Nations has declared 2012 as International Year of the Bat and Bat Conservation International (BCI) as an International Year of the Bat founding partner. The International Year of the Bat campaign aims to raise global awareness about bats, bat conservation and the unique roles bats play in our environment. This event is open to visitors who are 21 years of age and older. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Bat Conservation International on behalf of Moody Gardens. For more information about Year of the Bat: visit batcon.org/yotb, www.moodygardens.org or call Moody Gardens (800) 582-4673.

La Marque: "Gardening by the Square Foot," presented by Master Gardener John Jons, will be held from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., February 11, at the Wayne Johnson Community Center in Carbide Park, La Marque. Jons will cover the basic concepts of successful Square Foot Gardening including garden bed design and building, soil preparation, plant selection, care and maintenance. A practice session will be included to get you started with your first Square Foot Garden bed. This method of gardening is great for the homeowner with a small back yard, for those that just want to grow enough for their own needs, to start a community garden, or to create a small garden to help educate children on the basics and joy of gardening. Class size limited to 32 participants. "Kitchen Gardening," presented by Master Gardener Mary Demeny, will be offered from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Demeny will cover various techniques for vegetable gardening in your own backyard. She will include gardening near the back door, recycling, mulching and composting for her garden. Mary will also discuss home canning and use of an interplant technique for growing vegetables among the flower beds and in pots. For additional information call 281-534-3413. Ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

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.

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend County Master Gardeners will hold their Annual Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale on Saturday, February 11, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds - Barn H, 4310 Highway 36S, Rosenberg, 77471. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and will run until 1 p.m. or until sold out. A training session for the public on Fruit Trees will be given on Saturday, February 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bud O'Shieles Community Center, 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg,. It will include how to heel in your trees, pruning and how to plant as well as an overview of plants at the sale. This year tomatoes and peppers for spring planting will be offered at the sale. Call 281-341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com for more information.

Tyler: The East Texas Spring Landscape and Garden Conference is scheduled for Saturday, February 11, at the Tyler Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive off of Front Street in Tyler. This is an annual event presented by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service giving gardeners a chance to enhance their knowledge in a wide rage of horticultural topics. The presentations begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 3:30 p.m. There is no pre-registration; attendees must register at the conference site. Doors open early at 7:30 a.m. giving the public time to sign up and browse the gardening-related businesses and organizations exhibiting services and products. The fee for the conference is $35 and includes morning coffee with doughnuts and a chicken box lunch. This year’s conference brings a variety of subjects that will help homeowners and gardeners cope with drought conditions and water restrictions, plus some fun and interesting topics. Speakers include Dr. David Reed, Professor of Horticulture at Texas A&M in College Station; Malcom Beck, the Father of Compost in Texas; Carmen Wagner, a bromeliad specialist from Canton; Anne Brown and Dee Bishop, both Smith County Master Gardeners are Firewise Landscape Specialists trained by the Texas Forest Service and AgriLife Extension; Keith Hansen, Smith County Horticulturist with AgriLife Extension Service; and Daniel Duncum with the Texas Forest. After the conference and during breaks, attendees can take advantage of a panel of speakers and Master Gardeners who will be on hand to answer questions on landscaping issues. The Spring Conference agenda is available at EastTexasGardening.tamu.edu and http://facebook.com/ETGardenConference.

Houston: At 6:30 p.m., February 13, Carol Brouwer, Ph.D., will present "What to Plant and Do Now in Your Home Veggie Garden" at the Houston Urban Gardeners will meet at the Houston Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Dr. Free and open to the public. For additional information, visit http://www.houstonurbangardeners.org///.

Dallas: Love Bugs Valentines Presentation at Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas from 6 p.m.-8 p.m., February 14. Enjoy wine, cheese and a stimulating Valentine's Day talk on insect behavior and reproduction with John Watts, Entomologist. $25 ea. or $40 per couple. $20 TDG Member or $30 per Member Couple. Register in advance at www.texasdiscoverygardens.org or call (214) 428-7476 x343.

Austin: “Rose Care and Pruning” will be presented Thursday, February 16, from 10 a.m. until noon at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. Discover the varieties of roses available and care requirements. Learn how to plant a rose, fertilizer requirements, disease identification, general care, and pruning. Bring pruning shears for hands-on lesson. This seminar is free and open to the public. It is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For more information, call 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Seguin: Paul Cox, botanist and former supervisor at The Botanical Gardens (in San Antonio) will present a program about the poisonous nature of some of our landscape plants at the Guadalupe County Master Gardeners  meeting Thursday, February 16, at the Texas AgriLife Extension Bldg., 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call 830-303-3889.

Diboll: New timber tax laws could allow landowners to recoup some of the losses they sustained from the relentless drought and devastating wildfire season that plagued Texas during the last year. The federal rules geared toward landowners who experienced a significant timber loss will be explained during a 2012 Timber Income and Property Tax Workshop in Diboll. Hosted by Texas Forest Service, the all-day tax workshop is designed to give landowners — as well as the professionals who prepare their taxes — a leg up when it comes to forest management planning. The workshop is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, February 17 at the Lottie and Arthur Temple Civic Center, 601 Dennis St., Diboll. Registration is $70 and includes lunch and a workbook. The workshop also will focus on changes to state taxes for timber producers and contract lumberjacks, who now will need a registration number from the Texas Comptroller’s Office before they can be exempt from the sale and use tax. The sale and use tax is applied to goods and services paid for throughout timber production such as site preparation, planting, cultivating and harvesting. For more information or to register, visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/timbertaxworkshop or contact Staff Assistant Monica Jadlowski at 979-458-6630 or mjadlowski@tfs.tamu.edu.

Austin: Master Gardener Joy Williamson will discuss “Raising Backyard Chickens,” Saturday, February 18, 10 a.m.-noon, at Zilker Botanical Garden, Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Williamson shares her expertise in the fascinating hobby of raising backyard chickens. She will be sharing her tips on the benefits of this garden activity, how to get started, FAQ on coop construction and how to protect your feathered friends. This seminar is free, but space is limited and reservations are required to ensure a seat is available. Sign-up online at http://travis-tx.tamu.edu/horticulture/. Please note, the Zilker Park entrance fee is $2 per adult and $1 per child or senior. This seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For information, call 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Bryan: Saturday, February 18, the Brazos County Master Gardeners will host "Successful Gardening in Challenging Climates," on Earth-Kind methods for landscape recovery and survival. The all day seminar (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) will include topics on soil improvement, plant selection, water conservation and how plants respond to extreme weather. Speakers include Texas Gardener Contributing Editor Skip Richter, Heidi Sheesley, Dotty Woodson and Monte Nesbitt. The cost is $35 and includes snacks and a sandwich lunch buffet. It will be held at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Dr., Room 102, Bryan, TX. For more information, visit brazosmg.com, call 979-823-0129 or email brazosmg@brazosmg.com.

La Marque: "Anyone Can Grown Roses," presented by Master Gardener and American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian, John Jons, will be held from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., February 18, at the Wayne Johnson Community Center in Carbide Park, La Marque. Jons will cover the basics for successfully growing large healthy roses in Galveston County that will include rose bed design and building, rose variety selection, planting and ongoing care. For additional information call 281-534-3413. Ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Marble Falls: Soil is the engine of the garden and should be treated as a resource. It is estimated that 80% of the problems related to landscape plantings originate with soil issues. Learn what to do to make soil work better. The program “It All Starts with Soil” will be presented free by Master Gardener Sheryl Yantis and the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Green Thumb Programs at the Marble Falls Library, 101 Main St. at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 18. For more information about this and gardening programs in the Highland Lakes area, visit http://www.yantislakesidegardens.com/events.

Mauriceville: Interested in becoming a Master Gardener? Attend the five Green Thumb Series offered by Texas AgriLife Extension Orange County. Become eligible to begin a Master Gardener internship upon completion of all five series. The first series will be held at the Mauriceville Community Center, 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Classes are as scheduled: February 21 “Sprouts, Shoots and Roots”; February 28 “Planning and Preparing Your Garden Area”; March 6 “Structures for Planting Year Round”; March 20 “Thriller, Spillers and Fillers-Container Gardening”; March 27 “Spice Up Your Life with Herb Gardening.” The cost is $30 per person per series and covers all classes and materials. For additional information, call the Texas AgriLife Extension Service at 409-882-7010 or visit orange.agrilife.org.

Dallas: Biology of Butterflies at Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas, from 10 a.m.-noon, February 25. Go beyond the Butterfly Basics! An advanced look at the world of butterflies: their biology, behavior and adaptations to the environment with Entomologist John Watts. $15; $10 for TDG Members. Register in advance at www.texasdiscoverygardens.org or call (214) 428-7476 x343.

Wichita Falls: The Wichita County Master Gardeners is sponsoring speakers for the 15th Annual Arts Alive! Home and Garden Festival at the Multi Purpose Events Center, 1000 5th Street, Wichita Falls. Hours for the show are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, February 25. Dr. William C. Welch from Texas A&M is the featured speaker, kicking things off at 9:30 a.m. with his presentation "Tough Perennials For Texas Gardens," after which he will be selling his latest book Heirloom Gardening in the South in the Master Gardener Booth. Local Meteorologist Bryan Rupp will present "Texoms's Climate: Past, Present, Future"; author and gardener Judy Barrett will present "Secrets of Garden Success with Herbs and Heirlooms"; and Julie Whitis will present "Square Foot Gardening."

Dallas:: Modern Victory Gardens: Spring and Summer Vegetable Gardening, at Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas, from 9 a.m.-noon, March 17. Join a growing trend and learn how to create a bountiful organic community or backyard vegetable garden with Director of Horticulture Randy Johnson. $25; $20 for TDG Members. Register in advance at www.texasdiscoverygardens.orgg or call 214-428-7476 x343.

Orange: The Orange County Master Gardeners Annual Plant Sale will take place at Cormier Park on FM 1442, in Orangefield. The gates will open at 8 a.m. and close at noon on Saturday, March 17. There will be a large variety of plants,  including perennials, bedding, tropical, vegetable, herbs, some trees, houseplants and Texas Super Star plants. An Ask the Master Gardener? booth will be set up. A raffle will be held to raise money for the Junior Master Gardener Groups. For more information, visit http://txmg.org/orange.

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.”

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.

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 Association holds their monthly meeting on the second Thursday of each month. A short program is presented. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army Bldg. cor. MLK & Strickland in Orange. Pot luck supper at 6 p.m. Visit http://txmg.org/orange for more information.

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 itt

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.

$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. 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