February 29, 2012

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Winter rains in Texas bring good spring wildflower show

University of Texas at Austin Office of University Communications

Timely rains last fall and this winter have benefited early spring wildflowers, which will likely put on a good show in much of Texas despite last year's drought, according to the senior botanist at The University of Texas at Austin's Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

"The seeds left behind by annual wildflowers such as bluebonnets don't care if it's the worst drought in recorded history, as long as they get bouts of rain at the right time for germination and growth," said Damon Waitt, who also is the center's senior director.

The bumper crop of wildflowers in 2010 also helped add to the seed stockpile in Texas soils that can be revived by recent rains. Rain showers should provide decent viewings in regions of North, Central and East Texas. However, it is possible that the Panhandle, South and West Texas won't fare as well.

Among the early sightings of wildflowers this year are: Carolina jessamine blooming in North Houston along FM 1960, and along Woodlands Parkway between Interstate 45 and Kuykendahl Road; hundreds of trout lilies blooming in Dogwood Canyon and elsewhere around Dallas; Texas mountain laurel trees blooming in Dripping Springs and Austin; and patches of stiff greenthread spotted in north San Antonio, such as along U.S. 281 above North Loop 1604.

Complementing these sightings will be a bumper crop of Texas bluebonnets and other wildflowers at the Wildflower Center and sites such as Brenham and the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens in Houston. Bluebonnet rosettes the size of dinner plates are hugging the ground at the Wildflower Center, and Texas mountain laurel, windflower, plains fleabane and Mexican plum trees are already blooming.

Other early spring bloomers will include Indian paintbrush, winecup and Indian blanket. Center staffers will mark peaceful spots for taking bluebonnet photos. And a sneak peak of bluebonnets growing on site is available online via live broadcast.

Regions that missed pre-season rains may still have drought-tolerant wildflowers that bloom. For instance, Fendler's bladderpod may become noticeable soon near Amarillo. A Wildflower Center plant conservationist has also seen a few Big Bend bluebonnets and yucca prepping to open blooms in the national park. The outlook may not be great for many tree species, such as Mexican plum and Texas redbud in Central Texas, though.

"Trees had such a tough year in 2011. They may not have the energy resources to put on a significant flowering display this year," Waitt said, adding that perennial wildflowers may share that predicament.

For public sightings, visit the Wild About Texas Wildflowers website, contact the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) at 1-800-452-9292, or view TxDOT's online flora map.

To learn more about wildflowers nationally, search the Wildflower Center's Native Plant Information Network. To purchase seeds to sow of mid- to late bloomers or potted native plants, visit the suppliers directory.


Professor works with consumers in hopes of creating ideal plants and produce

American Seed Trade Association

A University of Florida professor collaborates across academic disciplines to measure consumer preferences to different flowers, fruits and vegetables with the goal of developing plants designed for the consumers’ pleasure.

David Clark, professor of floriculture biotechnology, explained this concept — called consumer-assisted selection — to attendees at the American Seed Trade Association’s 51st Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference in Tampa, Fla.

“Many times corporations start with research and development and usually don’t put the consumer first,” Clark says. “We are putting the consumer first and engaging the complete value chain.”

Consumer-assisted selection is making products that people want before they know they want them, Clark explains. It’s exactly what Apple did with the iPhone, he notes.

Diversity is characteristic of the flower, fruit and vegetable industries.

“Consumers have lots of options available,” he says. “Imagine walking into these sections of a store. There is sight, smell and feeling — all of which go into the biosenses.”

In describing the consumer, he said 70 — 75 percent of flowers are bought by women and that women influence 50 percent of the purchasing decisions for a household.

“More than half of the fruits and vegetables are bought by women,” Clark says. “If you Google search for images of people buying produce, all the images show women.”

The disconnect, he says, is that the majority of plants are developed and grown by men.

“Google search plant breeder and almost all the images depict men,” Clark says. “There is a big problem here.

“Men have one switch — on and off, while women have multiple switches, dials and levers. Men are very simple and women are very complex.”

Most new crops are commercially developed for their yield characteristics and timing of harvest. These characteristics are easy to measure and easy to predict, but these are not the same characteristics that consumers use to make their purchasing decisions, he says.

Clark asks, “How do we as plant breeders (men) find out what consumers (women) really want?”

This is what Campbell’s cross-disciplinary team of researchers is trying to figure out. His team is comprised of specialists in consumer science, plant science, and psychophysics.

Psychophysics quantifies the relationship between physical stimuli and the sensations and perceptions they effect (behavior and emotions).

“It is very hard to measure emotion,” Clark says. “It’s even harder to measure how much more people will pay if stimulated. For example what’s the value of flavor, color, fragrance? We measure how the eyes, ears and nose respond because they all go to the brain — where ideas are created.”

Clark’s team uses students, the next generation of consumers and breeders, knowing that the end product will take a while to accomplish. They are also testing external consumers, which includes market segment analysis, purchasing behavior and mind genome.

We know that physical stimuli in plants are controlled by genetic traits that are measured empirically, Clark says. His team measures human emotion and the value of novelty using facial recognition software to assess subjects’ physiological responses to visual stimuli.

A florist was asked to create three flower arrangements:  normal, something a little more novel and one that was really novel — all at a $35 price point.

“We put these arrangements in front of people and guys don’t get it,” Clark says. “They flatline. When you give women boring things, they are not interested either. We found that women like novel, but not something a ‘little novel.’ When presented with a ‘little novel,’ they revert back to traditional.”

Is this an enticing clue, he asks.

“Preliminary work shows that different areas of the brain are stimulated when subjects are presented with an image of flowers versus green plants. The ventral striatum has been associated with pleasant rewards, while the amygdala is involved in detecting salient stimuli from the environment.”

Clark says there will be gender differences. One of the survey questions asked participants their favorite color.

“Men responded with primary colors as their favorite — red, blue and yellow,” he says. “Women responded to blends — purple, pink and orange.”

Regardless of what the research shows, this research means that down the road consumers should have flowers, fruits and vegetables tailored to their likes.


The compost heap
Dead trees

“Did you know that Houston lost 66 million trees in the drought?” asks Laurel Smith. “Where are you getting your figures? Maybe Texas Forest Service guys don’t factor in Houston (‘Drought takes toll on urban forest, millions of shade trees dead,’ Seeds, February 22, 2012)?”

Actually, we will not know how many trees were lost until after spring green-up. So any number estimate now is still just an educated guess. — Chris S. Corby, publisher


Gardening tips

If you just can’t wait to get your tomatoes in the ground, consider planting them in pots where they can develop on the patio or porch and later be placed in the garden after all danger of frost has passed for your area. The obvious advantage to this approach is that the plants can be moved into a protected area should a freeze threaten.

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 leaves from those dandelions that have thrived through our mild, moist winter make an excellent addition to a salad or they can be prepared the same as other winter greens like spinach or mustard greens.


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. 

Highland Lakes/Marble Falls: Join Master Gardener and Master Naturalist Linda O’Nan and have fun learning about the succulents that grow successfully in the area in “Succulents Are Fun to Grow.” This free program will be presented by the Kingsland Garden Club at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, March 2, at the Marble Falls Library. Visitors are welcome to attend the Club meeting at 1 p.m. For information on upcoming gardening programs, visit www.yantislakesidegardens.com/events.

Ft. Worth: "Rainwater Harvesting" will be offered from 10 a.m. until noon March 3 in the fifth floor conference room at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth. $15 enrollment. There is an optional extra fee of $50 for materials to make a rain barrel during class. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. Contact the AgriLife office at 817-884-1945 for more information or to enroll.

La Marque: “Minimize Tomato Stress Factors to Maximize Yields” will be presented by Sam Scarcella, Galveston County Master Gardener, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., Saturday, March 3, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Learn about various tomato funguses, diseases and environmental problems that could occur in your tomato garden, and what you can do to combat or resolve these problems. For course reservations call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Pasadena: Visit the Precinct 2 Spring plant sale, Saturday, March 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring fruit trees, berries, pepper and tomato plants with an 8 a.m. presentation by Heidi Sheesley, Owner of Treesearch Farms, on the plants that are available at the sale. Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Free and open to the public at Campbell Hall at the Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Red Bluff Rd, Pasadena.

San Antonio: Learn to grow "Veggies in Your Backyard," Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m., at Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio. From soil prep to harvest, Keith Amelung will share his expertise and recipes on growing the best veggies ever. Get out the bushel basket! Free. For additional information, call 210-651-4565 or visit www.weAREroses.com.

Austin: The Sunshine Community Gardens annual plant sale will be held March 3, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., at 4814 Sunshine Drive, Austin. The Sunshine Community Gardens annual plant sale is an outstanding source for organic starter plants, offering many varieties of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, herbs and other items. Arrive early for the best selection of hard-to-find and popular varieties. Free admission. Visit http://www.sunshinecommunitygarden.org/ for a complete list of items.

Houston: The Spring Branch African Violet Club will hold their 33rd Annual Show and Plant Sale on March 3 & 4, at the Houston Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Park Drive, Houston. The theme is “Violets & Mother Goose.” Violets of all types, such as standards, miniatures, semi-miniatures, and trailers will be available. Other Gesneriads, such as Episcias and Streps, and supplies, such as potting soil, pots, and fertilizers, will also be featured. Club members will be available to answer questions on potting, pests and propagation. On Saturday, the sale is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and the show from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. On Sunday, both the show and the sale are open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Longview: The Gregg County Master Gardeners will hold their 2012 Spring Garden and Landscape Seminar, Saturday, March 3, at the First United Methodist Church, Faith Center, Whaley St. entrance, 7:45 a.m.-noon. The theme of the seminar is “Gardening in Drought Conditions.” Registration is 7:45-8:30. Program begins at 8:45. Dotty Woodson, Water Resource Program Specialist, Dallas, will present programs on “Landscape Water Conservation” and “Rainwater Harvesting.” Belinda McCoy McLaughlin, Native Plant Society member, Daingerfield, will speak on “No Drought About It: Native Plants are Texas-Tough.” Master Gardeners will be available during the breaks to answer gardening question at the “Ask a Master Gardener” table. Complimentary refreshments, door prizes, garden-related vendors and a raffle will be part of the morning’s activities. Advance tickets, $10 and $12 at the door. For tickets or more information, contact Gregg County AgriLife Extension Office at 903-236-8429 or visit gregg-tx.tamu.edu.

Austin: “How to Have a Lovely Garden… and Eat It Too” will be presented March 4 at 2 p.m. with former Austin American Statesman garden writer Renee Studebaker. Learn how to grow vegetables and herbs to add seasonal color and texture to the home landscape — and put nourishing food on the table. Free. It’s About Thyme Garden Center. 11726 Manchaca, Austin. For more information, call 512 280-1192 or visit www.itsaboutthyme.com.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Garden Center will host their monthly meeting March 7, starting with a social at 9:30 a.m. Dr. Kip Kiphart will talk about “Monarch Butterfly Migration & Attracting Butterflies to your Garden.” Dr. Kiphart is a Texas Master Naturalist and volunteer for the Monarch Larvae Monitoring project at Cibolo Nature Center. Guests and new members are welcome to all SAGC meetings on the 1st Wednesday of each month at the Garden Center located at 3310 N. New Braunfels and Funston by the Botanical Garden. Please join us if you are interested in Butterflies or want to be involved with a group that loves flowers and plants. Don’t forget the 24th annual SAGC Plant Sale on Friday & Saturday, March 30th & 31st for quality plants and unique plants from the gardens of members. For more information, visit www.sanantoniogardencenter.org.

Andrews: Andrews County residents interested in learning how to protect themselves from wildfire are invited to a wildfire preparedness workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8, at the Andrews Business and Technology Center, 201 Northwest Avenue D, Andrews. Representatives from the City of Andrews, Andrews Volunteer Fire Department, Texas Forest Service, and National Weather Service will be on hand to talk about the upcoming 2012 fire season and what residents can do to protect their home, property, and family from the devastation of wildfire. Residents will be introduced to the Ready, Set, Go! wildfire action plan. The plan provides checklists for families to work through with each other so there is a clear understanding of what to do when a fire breaks out. Local officials also will talk to residents about current wildfire mitigation efforts, such as clearing hazardous vegetation from city property in a proactive effort to reduce wildfire risk for the community. More than 80 percent of wildfires in Texas occur within 2 miles of a community. The wildfire statistics from 2011 are staggering. Almost 4 million acres burned, destroying 3,017 homes, while almost 40,000 homes directly threatened by wildfire were saved through the efforts of local, state and federal fire resources. For more information, visit www.texasfirestorm.org and www.texasfirewise.org.

Galveston: The 24th Annual Galveston Home and Garden Show will be presented March 10 & 11 at the San Luis Hotel, 5600 Seawall Blvd, Galveston. The Galveston County Master Gardeners will be on hand at the Galveston Home and Garden Show to assist with any of your questions pertaining to fruit, vegetables and plants. For course more information, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Huntsville: Walker County Master Gardeners will hold their Annual Spring Plant Sale from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, March 10. Included will be fruit trees, vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, annuals, shrubs, natives, herbs and roses. Many unusual plants will be offered at the Walker County facility located at 102 Tam Road (Hwy 75 north, 2 miles north of Pilot Truck Stop). WCMG will host three pre-sale seminars at the Walker County Storm Shelter Facility, 455 SH 75N, Huntsville: "Fruit Trees & Shrubs," Saturday, March 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.; "Native Plants & Irrigation," Tuesday, March 6, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.; "Vegetables," Thursday, March 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Call 936-435-2426 for additional information.

Mineola: The Wood County Master Gardeners 2012 Spring Conference — Today's Garden-Tomorrow's Food will be held from 8:30 a.m. until noon, Saturday, March 10, at the Mineola Civic Center, 1150 Newsom, Mineola. Speakers will discuss Vegetable Gardening and Food Preservation, and there will be door prizes, raffle tickets, and refreshments. Free. For more information, call 903-473-8703, email ejswen@verizon.net, or visit www.mastergardenersofwoodcounty.org.

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their Annual Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, March 10, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds - Barn H, 4310 Highway 36 South, Rosenberg. An overview of plants at the sale will be given at 8 a.m. The program is open to the public, no reservation required. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and will run until 1 p.m. or until sold out. For more information, call 281-341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com.

San Antonio: "A Guide for Herbal Success," Saturday, March 10, 10 a.m., at Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio. Cindy Meredith provides all the best information for raising herbs. Free. For additional information, call 210-651-4565 or visit www.weAREroses.com.

Austin: “Birds, Butterflies and Bees: How to Attract the Three Bs to your Garden” will be presented March 11, 2 p.m., presented by master gardener Amanda Moon. Free. It’s About Thyme Garden Center. 11726 Manchaca, Austin For more information, call 512 280-1192 or visit www.itsaboutthyme.com.

Marion: On Tuesday, March 13, Judit Green of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will present “Texas Wildscapes, Gardening for Wildlife.” This Program will center on landscaping with native plants, which support wildlife such as bees, birds, and butterflies. The Guadalupe County Chapter meets the second Tuesday of the Month at the Marion Library Meeting Room, 500 Bulldog Lane, Marion. There will be a plant/seed exchange and welcome at 6:30 p.m. followed by the Program by Judit Green at 7 p.m. It is open to the public and visitors are welcome. For more information, directions to The Marion Library or membership applications visit www.npost.org.guadalupecounty.

Seabrook: Louis Mickler, Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardener, will provide a lecture on "Efficient Irrigation for Your Home" at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 13, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Round Top: Plant Sale and Gift Shops sponsored by the Pioneer Unit of the Herb Society of America will offer many seldom found herbs and other garden plants well adapted to South Central Texas on Friday, March 16, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 17, from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Located on the grounds of The Round Top Festival Institute at Jaster Road, just north of Round Top off Hwy 237.

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.org 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.

Houston: Ohara Ikebana Grand Master Ingrid Luders will lead a workshop at the Houston Garden on Friday March 16, and Luders will create flower arrangements in a demonstration at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 18, in the American General Room in the (new) Beck Building. This promises to be an inspiring event that will give you ideas for improving your own flower arrangements. The Ohara School of Ikebana uses traditional and modern arrangements. They originated the use of low, flat containers (moribana) to greatly diversity styles of flower arrangements. Cost: $40 for the workshop and optional $15 for a bento lunch. Preregistration is required at least 24 hours in advance so that the correct amount of floral material will be available. To preregister or obtain more information, please call Molly Rose at 713-854-2803 or Sushila Mathew at 713-932-8510. The demonstration is free and open to all with Museum admission. There will be a reception following the demonstration.

Houston: Tour the working and demonstration gardens maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m., Monday, March 19, at Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer 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.

Lufkin: Texas Gardener Contributing Editor Greg Grant will speak on “Incorporating Native Plants into Your Landscape” on Monday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Angelina Extension Office, 2201 S. Medford Drive, Lufkin. Grant, a favorite speaker of gardeners all over Texas, will keep you entertained as you learn how to successfully include native plants in your landscape design. He has developed scores of plants for Texas, including Big Momma and Pam Puryear Turk’s Cap, Gold Star Esperanza and Henry Duelberg Salvia, all natives which thrived during last year’s extreme drought. Grant is a horticulturist, author, plant developer and SFA Gardens Research Associate for Garden Outreach. The co-author of Heirloom Gardening in the South: Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens (2011) and Home Landscaping-Texas (2004), he writes for both Texas Gardener and Neil Sperry’s Garden magazines. In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family, a collection of his columns from Texas Gardener magazine, was recently released in a Kindle edition. Greg has degrees in floriculture and horticulture from Texas A & M University and has experience with Texas Agriculture Extension Service, Lone Star Growers, San Antonio Botanical Gardens and Mercer Arboretum. Admission is $15 and includes the lecture, informational packets, door prizes and refreshments. For more information call 634-6414.

Kingsland: Join Master Gardener Violet Carson for a free Green Thumb Program from the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners to learn about "Spring Gardening in a Drought."  The program is Wednesday, March 21, at noon at the Kingsland Library.

Seabrook: Margaret Lloyd-Binham, Master Gardener and Entomology Specialist, will provide a lecture on "Insects in My Garden/Butterflies" at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 21, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Austin: “Firewise Landscaping” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, March 24, at the Austin Fire Department Training Center, 4800 J. Shaw Lane, Austin. The wildfires of 2011 underscore the importance of landscaping for fire safety. This informative seminar will help you understand the Wildland Urban Interface, teach you how to improve your home’s survivability should a wildfire occur and describe the benefits of early evacuation. Fire professionals from the National Fire Protection Agency, Texas Forestry Service and Texas AgriLife Extension Service will lead you through a series of visual presentations and interactive discussions to arm you with the tools you need to help protect your home and your family from wildfire. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Signup at http://travis-tx.tamu.edu/horticulture/ and click on seminar registration. Empty, reserved seats will become open seating at 9:50 a.m. 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, call 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Bryan: The Brazos County Master Gardener-Texas AgriLife Extension Spring Plant Sale Fundraiser will be held Saturday, March 24, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a Preview Program at 8 a.m. at Brazos County office of Texas AgriLife Extension, 2619 Hwy 21, West, Bryan. More information is available at brazosmg.com or brazosmg@brazosmg.com or 979-823-0129.

Houston: Explore six private Houston gardens, open one day only to benefit the Garden Conservancy, Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No reservations required; rain or shine. The tour features a variety of gardens in the River Oaks, Montrose, and Heights neighborhoods. Special highlights include views of Buffalo Bayou, a striking pond and overflow basin used as a means of storm water management, a walled parterre garden where mature boxwood frames the lush plantings beyond, and a sunken oval lawn ringed with layered flowering trees and shrubs. Visitors may begin the tour at either of the following Houston locations: 1405 South Boulevard or 831 Cortlandt Street. Directions to additional properties will be provided. $5 per garden or $25 for all six gardens; children 12 and under free. The $25 discounted tickets are available in advance and on the day of the tour at Houston retailers Cornelius Nurseries, Buchanan’s Native Plants, and The Garden Gate. For more information, visit www.opendaysprogram.org or call The Garden Conservancy toll-free weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, 1-888-842-2442.

McKinney: Collin County Master Gardeners will present their 2nd Annual Garden Show on March 24 & 25, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday. The show is co-sponsored by Myers Park and Event Center in McKinney. It is a garden and horticulture related show only. It is an indoor event featuring many local vendors. Jimmy Turner from the Dallas Arboretum will speak on Saturday and Neil Sperry will speak on Sunday. There will be 31 educational presentations to help the public learn about gardening in Texas during a wonderful weekend of tours, presentation and garden shopping. For more information, visit www.ccmgatx.org/thegardenshow or call 972-547-4632.

San Antonio: San Antonio Garden Center 24th Annual Spring Plant Sale will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. March 30 & 31, 3310 N. New Braunfels @ Funston by the Botanical Gardens. The Plant Sale is a major fundraising project of the San Antonio Garden Center, providing customers with a variety of popular shrubs, landscape plants, bedding plants, succulents, cacti and herbs as well as a number of unique plants. A popular part of the sale is the Donation Station where members donate plants, bulbs, seeds, etc. from their gardens. For additional information, call 210-824-9981.

Burnet: The 14th Annual Hill Country Lawn & Garden Show sponsored by the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners Association, in conjunction with the Burnet Co. AgriLife Extension Service will be held on Saturday, March 31, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Burnet Community Center, 401 E. Jackson St., Burnet. Vendors feature plants for every garden, including native plants, exotic plants, herbs, vegetables, succulents and houseplants. The latest in lawn/garden equipment and yard decorations are also available for purchase. There will be informative speakers, demonstrations, and a special children’s area. Raffle tickets will be sold for a garden-themed quilt and many other prizes. Admission is free. For additional information, contact Val Klaudt, Chairperson, at 512-588-0696 or val.klaudt@gmail.com.

Granbury: Lake Granbury Master Gardeners will sponsor a Plant Sale on Saturday, March 31, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 400 Deputy Larry Miller Dr., Granbury, in the parking lot of Justice Center and Annex 1.

Huntsville: The Texas Thyme Unit of the Herb Society of America will host its first Herb Day at the Wynne Home on Saturday, March 31, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The event will be held on the grounds of the historic Wynne Home, 1438 Eleventh St., Huntsville. The event will feature noted garden speaker, writer, and editor Judy Barrett, who will give a talk on Roses – Herbs with a little something extra! She will also sign her books, including What Can I do With My Herbs and Myths and Truths about Growing Roses. Master Gardeners Bonney Kennedy and Glenda Marsh will also speak on using herbs to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. The event will also include an herb, camellia and rose plant sale, herbal crafts and products, bake sale, art and music, kitchen and garden vendors, demonstrations and herbal workshop and tours of the Ella Ruth Herb Garden. For more information, contact Maryann Readal at mreadal@yahoo.com.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Rose Society will be at The Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday, March 31, to answer "rose-y" questions. For more information, call 210-651-4565 or visit www.weAREroses.com.

Waxahachie: The Ellis County Master Gardeners will host their 12th Annual Lawn & Garden Expo on Saturday, March 31, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Waxahachie Civic Center, 2000 Civic Center Lane, Waxahachie. There will be activities and door prizes throughout the day. Visit all of the 100 plus exhibitor booths focusing on lawn- and garden-related products and services. Children will love the workshops where they can make garden projects. Ellis County Master Gardeners will present workshops on herbs, perennials and vegetable gardening. There will be a huge master gardener plant sale area, as well as an information booth where specialists answer horticultural questions. Guests speakers include Steven Chamblee, Chief Horticulturist for Chandor Gardens; Steve Woodward of The Wild Bird Center in Fort Worth; and Steve Houser, President of Arborilogical Services, Inc. Tickets at the door are $5.00; children under 12 are free. Free tickets are available from our sponsors after March 1. For a list of our sponsors, as well as further information on the Expo, visit www.ecmga.com or call 972-825-5175.

Highland Lakes: The Kingsland Garden Club Annual Plant sale will be held at the Kingsland House of Arts & Crafts Spring Sale behind Wells Fargo Bank on Chamberlain St. in Kingsland on Saturday and Sunday, April 7 & 8, on the East side. Get good homegrown Hill Country plants at reasonable prices. Arrive early for best selection. Open Saturday 10-4 and Sunday after 11 a.m..

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.

San Antonio: Robbi Will will lead "Roses: The Ultimate Garden Plant" from noon until 2 p.m. and Jerry Parsons will lead "Texas Superstars: Easy Plants for Your Garden" from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., Wednesday, April 18 at The Antique Rose Emporium, 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio. These sessions are free. For more information, call 210-651-4565 or visit www.weAREroses.com.

Austin: Learn “How to Construct Compost Bins,” Thursday, April 19, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. Learn how to build a simple wire enclosure and a three bin compost station. Go away with building plans and the knowledge to complete your project. 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, call 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

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.eduduu and click on “Arboretum” then “Garden Events.”

Ft. Worth: "Lawns & How to Irrigate Responsibly" will be offered from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. May 12 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.

Austin: “Preparing Your Landscape for Summer” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Thursday, May 17, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office. 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. There are numerous things to do to ensure healthier, bushier, plants with increased blooms. Learn when to fertilize which plants, which plants to pinch back and other tips from a pro. 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, call 512-854-9600 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Nacogdoches: SFA Gardens will host its sixth Lone Star Regional Native Plant Conference May 18-19, on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University in historic Nacogdoches. SFA is home to the Mast Arboretum, the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, the Gayla Mize Garden, and the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, all part of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. In addition to great local field trips and a native plant sale, the conference will feature workshops and lectures on many timely topics including drought-tolerant ornamental plants, firewise landscaping, birding by ear, invasive species, wildscaping, native perennials, and landscape design. Join home gardeners and Master Gardeners alike to learn more about uniquely adapted native plants and various Texas ecosystems. For more information visit sfagardens.sfasu.edu or call 936-468-4404.

MONTHLY MEETINGSS

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/.

Houston: The Spring Branch African Violet Club meets the second Saturday of each month, January through November, at 10:30am at the Copperfield Baptist Church, 8350 Highway 6 North, Houston. Call Karla at 281-748-8417 prior to attending to confirm meeting date and time.

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.

New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners meet at 6 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. For additional information, call 830-620-3440.

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.


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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.

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Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

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