September 26, 2012

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Fall safety tips for yard cleanup

Topical BioMedics

Fall will soon be here and that means it will be time to break out the rakes and leaf blowers for yard cleanup that can often present some unique safety challenges for homeowners.

According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, 617,000 people were injured in 2008 raking leaves, cleaning gutters and doing other yard work.

Common tasks such as raking can cause muscle strain, back pain, repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if not done properly. But thanks to natural products such as Topical BioMedics Pain Relief and Healing Cream, symptoms of aches and pains don’t have to interfere with autumn cleanup.

Lou Paradise, president and chief of research at Topical BioMedics offers the following safety tips to add to your fall cleanup checklist.

  • Warm up for at least 10 minutes before doing any heavy yard work.
  • Cover any exposed area of your skin with a natural sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
  • Use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength.
  • Wear gloves or use a rake with padded handles to prevent blisters.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect skin from scratches caused by low-hanging tree branches and other plants.
  • Wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles.
  • Keep a roll of trash bags close by while cleaning the yard to easily place fallen leaves and other debris into the bags so you will not trip over something that might be hidden by the leaves.
  • Never throw leaves over your shoulder or to the side, which puts undue stress on your back.
  • When picking up leaves, bend at the knees – not the waist.
  • Vary your movement and alternate your leg and arm position when picking up leaves.
  • Make sure to switch which arm is dominating to work the muscles on both sides of your body equally when raking leaves. Switch sides often to prevent overworking certain group of muscles.
  • Wear safety glasses to keep eyes protected from flying dirt and debris.
  • Be sure to have a family member hold the ladder in place when climbing a ladder and do not stand above the level indicated by the manufacturer.
  • Wear gloves and a facemask when handling chemicals such as lawn fertilizers and keep these items away from children and pets.
  • Wear earmuffs, a hard hat and a steel mesh face visor when using a chainsaw.
  • Wear durable safety gloves to keep hands safe from the bite of insects or plant-borne disease.

Plan, plant and arrange cut botanicals with tips and tricks from garden pros

Tesselaar Plants

What’s the next big garden trend? Experts are betting on cutting gardens.

“As I travel the world in search of new plant breeds for Tesselaar, I’ve noticed cutting gardens are coming back,” says Anthony Tesselaar, cofounder and president of Tesselaar Plants. “Europe tends to be a bit ahead of the U.S. in terms of garden trends, and based on what I’ve seen there, I suspect cutting gardens will begin to gain momentum here in the U.S. once again.”

While experts are still attributing the rise in vegetable gardening to the slow economy, a recent survey by the National Gardening Bureau suggests there are still 11.2 million households in the U.S. that have continued to buy flower seeds along with vegetable seeds, and that's a lot of flower power. “After more than a decade of decline, America’s cut flower production is on the rise, with significant increases every year,” declares the new book The 50 Mile Bouquet (2012, St. Lynn’s Press), by Debra Prinzing, photographed by David Perry.

“I think the cost savings, self-expression and powerful connection to interior design’s popularity in the media make cutting gardens a coming trend,” says Miriam Goldberger Jenkins, president and founder of Wildflower Farm, Canada’s first pick-your-own flower farm in Coldwater, Ontario. “I myself have been absolutely besotted with cutting gardens for 25 years,” says Jenkins, whose passion is wildflowers as specialty cut flowers and whose farm specializes in wildflower and native grass seed production for gardens and meadows. “I love the endless amount of creativity it gives me, and the way it helps me bring nature inside my home.”

Want to grow your own cutting garden? Follow these simple steps from experts.

STEP 1: Plan

“When choosing plants for a cutting garden, first think about the containers you’re going to put them in,” says Alana Miller, a floral designer and instructor in Rochester, NY. “If you want to design with taller items like vases, pitchers and bottles, you’re going to need longer stems. If you’d like to use shorter containers like teapots, teacups, mason jars and crocks, you might want to grow something smaller in scale.”

Next, try to plan for a variety of colors, textures and shapes, as well as for larger “focal” plants and smaller “fillers.” If you want fresh-cut flowers all season, you’ll also need spring, summer and fall bloomers. “At the same time, if you’re just starting out,” warns Miller, “you might want to limit yourself to a half-dozen cutting garden plants, or you might find the project a bit overwhelming.” You can always add more in the future, she says.

And remember — “cut flowers” aren’t just flowers anymore. Yes, The 50 Mile Bouquet notes such flowers as peonies, dahlias, zinnias, roses, phlox, sweet peas, larkspur, bachelor’s buttons, bells of Ireland, sunflowers, gaillarda, anemones, rudbeckia, sea holly, nigella, passionflower, cosmos, Jerusalem sage, veronica, scabiosa and zinnias. But it also lists fruits and veggies like blackberries, rose hips, crabapples, Cinderella pumpkins, heirloom squash and artichokes; foliage like pea vines, succulents, ninebark, oat grass, ruby silk grass, Northern sea oats and lamb’s ears; and woody or papery elements like willow and chestnut tree branches, grapevine and seed pods from poppies and shoo-fly (a relative of Chinese lanterns).

“In the perfect world, you want both the stars and the fillers for an arrangement. But you can make a lovely display with only filler,” says Irvin Etienne, Horticultural Display Coordinator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. “Don’t forget, foliage makes great filler,” he says. “Take a look at your shrubs and trees as potential helpers as well as cannas, cordylines and phormiums. An arrangement of all foliage can be stunning as well.”

Get the most for your dollar, suggests Tesselaar, by using plants with season-long interest that last a long time after cutting. “The full flower clusters of Volcano phlox and Flower Carpet roses are great choices, and work beautifully as fillers. And best of all, they just bloom and bloom, so using them as cut flowers in no way stops the amount of blooming you have in the garden.” Colorful foliage can also provide you with a full season of cuts. “The leaves of the wildly colorful Tropicanna cannas are stunners in a vase all by themselves,” says Tesselaar. “And don’t forget finishing flourishes, like the dark-red, strappy foliage of Festival Burgundy cordyline — they’re like exclamation points on the statement you’ve made.”

“Annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees are all used in my arrangements,” says Jenkins, who likes using unexpected picks like agapanthus flowers and colorful canna leaves just as much as traditional cutting garden favorites like roses and phlox. “I love working with fresh flowers, dried flowers, pods, branches, foliage, short stems, long stems, blossoms, seed pods, feathery grasses — anything!”

STEP 2: Plant

Before you start your cutting garden, you need to decide the best place to put it. “A formal cutting garden should be in the sun,” says Jenkins, noting that many annual cutting flowers need full sun to make the most blooms. “However, many great cuttables grow in the shade, too.”

Then there’s the question of integration.

“Some people prefer to install a separate bed for a cutting garden, so they don’t feel like they’re marring their ornamental landscape,” says Etienne. “Others purposely add plants for cutting throughout their landscape, making sure to plant lots of long-blooming perennials and flowering annuals, because snipping blooms just encourages more.”

Etienne remembers how his mother devoted one side of her vegetable garden to several rows of annuals, “which gave the garden a bit of beauty.” At his home, “everything gets planted together, including the vegetables growing right with the cannas and hydrangeas. I just go from spot to spot, cutting annuals, perennials, shrubs, tropicals, and foliage from whatever. This way, you can have a substantial arrangement and never know you cut a thing when you look at your garden.”

Cutting gardens aren’t just for people with acres of land out in the country, either. As documented in The 50 Mile Bouquet, for instance, Baylor Chapman of Lila B. Flowers in San Francisco grows hers in an asphalt parking lot in recycled 15-gallon nursery pots.

STEP 3: Harvest & Design

When you cut your flowers, advises Miller, do it in the coolness of the morning so your picks don’t wilt. Immediately “process” your plants after cutting, removing leaves from all but the last 6 to 8 inches at the top. Then get them immediately into a bucket of water.

Before you put your cuts in a container, make sure it’s not a material that’ll be damaged by water (i.e. silver, a tin can or crockery). If it is, try inserting a yogurt cup, cottage cheese container or plastic bag closed off by a twist tie.

If you want to hold your arrangement in place, Miller advises against using green floral foam. “Your flowers will last longer in water, especially if you add cut flower preservative.” You can buy “flower food” from your local florist or, if you’re concerned about the formaldehyde (a carcinogen) that may be in the preservative (it’s found in floral foam, too), make your own “flower food” with recipes from Chemistry Guide Anne Marie Helmenstine. If you need to stabilize your flowers, you can do it with colored wire or with a cluster of grapevine stuffed into the container. “Adding some lemonade also extends the life of the water,” adds Tesselaar.

When it comes to style, Tesselaar says European designers often use as few as three — or just one — plant in an arrangement. And often, the container is just as important as the plant (to get an idea of the look, visit “Sometimes all it takes are a few stalks of one spectacular bloom in a vase, such as the sunburst-like spikes of Bluestorm Agapanthus,” says Tessleaar.

In the U.S., Miller says it’s all about individuality: “It’s about what makes you happy.”

STEP 4: Share

“The wonderful thing about cutting gardens,” says Tesselaar, “is that you’ll have more than enough to share with family and friends.”

You can turn cut flowers and foliage into DIY gifts, suggests Jenkins. Or, as Tesselaar notes, you can join the growing number of people sharing images of their fresh-cut floral creations via social media like Pinterest, Facebook and Flickr.

But whether you enjoy them yourself or share them with others, cut botanicals have a way of brightening lives.

“Share those bunches with a neighbor that doesn’t have a garden,” writes Prinzing in the introduction to The 50 Mile Bouquet. “Source fresh blooms from local flower growers in your own community, whether you live in the town or country. And finally, learn how to design with confidence as you create personal, evocative bouquets of your own. It’s a better way to beautiful.”

Concrete blocks used to create a raised garden. (Photo by Chris S. Corby)
The compost heap
Railroad ties

"Next year we would like have our garden in boxes using railroad ties, doubling them up on the sides so we could sit down and reach over to garden," write Ann & Josef Orosz. "Will these railroad ties react negatively with the plants?"

It depends on what you are growing. Those railroad ties make long-lasting raised beds and are great for growing ornamentals. If you are growing vegetables and fruit for consumption, then we would recommend that you use concrete building blocks instead of railroad ties. Those railroad ties are preserved with creosote and that is not something you want around the food you plan to eat. — Chris Corby, Publisher

Gardening tips

Now is the time to plant cool season peas like sugar snaps and English peas in much of the state. If you wait too much longer, cold weather will likely get the plants before you have a chance for a harvest.

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.

This lace bark elm was planted approximately 8 years ago and now provides shade to this picnic table. (Photo by Chris S. Corby)

Did you know...

You may have known that lace bark elm makes a nice, quick-growing shade tree with interesting bark and very few problems, but did you know that this interesting tree is a bee magnet in the fall? We call ours the “singing tree” in September because the hundreds of rather small blooms are abuzz with bees collecting and moving pollen. The sound of the buzzing bees is so loud you can hear it hundreds of feet away.

Upcoming garden events.

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


Houston: Jen Powis, Advocacy Director for the Houston Parks Board, will present one of Houston Park Board's signature projects: the Bayou Greenways Initiative, a plan that will create continuous strips of parks and paths along all the major bayous within the Greater Houston region, Wednesday September 26, at the monthly meeting of the Houston Chapter-Native Prairie Association of Texas at Bayland Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet, Houston. The meeting begins with time to socialize from 6:30-7; Powis speaks 7-8; and Pat Merkord  provides updates on Texas Native Prairie Association 8-8:45. For additional information, visit

Seabrook: At 8 p.m., Wednesday, September 26, Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 invite you to attend a Preview of Plants available at their October 6, Perennial Sale at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook.

Austin: “Compost Tea 101” will be presented from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Saturday, September 29, at Hampton Branch Library at Oakhill, 5125 Convict Hill Rd., Austin. Compost Tea is a great fertilizer for your garden. This seminar will cover what you need to know for setting up a simple "do-it-yourself" compost tea brewer, what goes in it, how to avoid problems, and recipes for using compost tea in your garden! This free class doesn’t require a reservation but if you want to ensure a seat, sign up online at: Please note that any empty reserved seats become open seating at 9:50 a.m. 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.

La Marque: “Ornamental & Perennial Plant Preview” will be presented from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., September 29 at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Heidi Sheesley of TreeSearch Farms will give a presentation and discussion on a number of ornamental and perennial plants that will be available to the public on October 6 at the annual Galveston County Master Gardeners Ornamental & Perennial Sale. For more information, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.nett.

The Woodlands: Woodlands Landscaping Solutions presents the gardening gurus on Saturday, September 29 from 9 a.m. to noon at a water-wise garden event. Visit booths and demonstrations to learn the latest techniques and tried and true methods for East Texas landscapes. Discover sage tips for lawn and garden with rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, tool care, habitat gardening, growing vegetables and more. Garden authors Brenda Beust-Smith and Cherie Foster Colburn give design tips on the spot and team up with “the Bulb Hunter,” Chris Wiesinger, for  a book signing. Purchase native plants, heirloom bulbs, veggie starts, berry plants, herbs, and organic products. The free event will be held at 8203 Millennium Forest Dr., The Woodlands.  For more information visit or call 281-210-3800.

Austin: Expert Dolores Gibbs will share her knowledge about the best plants to choose, and how to arrange and display them when she discusses “How to Create a Prize-Winning Container Garden,” at 2 p.m., Sept. 30, at It’s About Thyme Garden Center, 11726 Manchaca, Austin. For more information, call (512) 280-1192 or visit


Dallas: The Dallas County Master Gardeners’ annual Fall Garden Tour, held Saturday, October 6, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (rain or shine), includes six unique gardens conveniently located in central north Dallas. Tickets will be available for sale in eight Dallas area Calloway’s Nurseries nearest the tour from September 1-October 5 at a discounted pre-tour price of $15. Tickets also can be purchased from the Master Gardeners Help Desk  located inside the Dallas County AgriLife Extension office at 10056 Marsh Lane, Dallas. Tickets will be sold at the regular price of $20 at any tour garden on the day of the tour. For more information or to purchase tickets by phone, call 214-904-3053.

Denton: “Gardening: DIY” is the theme of Denton County Master Gardener Association Fall Garden Fest 2012, Saturday, October 6, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., on the Denton Bible Church campus at the corner of Nottingham and Mingo in Denton. There will be interesting speakers, lots of shopping, door prizes, and fun and educational activities for the kids. Admission is free. Workshops include: Vermiculture and Composting, Fall Vegetable Gardening, Herbs from Garden to Table and Rose Propagation. There will be more than 15 educational exhibits and 40 vendor booths. More information is available at

Jasper: Jasper Master Gardeners team up with Lakes Area Hospice and the Chamber of Commerce for the first Butterfly Festival, held in conjunction with Fall Fest, Saturday, October 6, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fall Fest features music, crafts and food on the courthouse lawn, but Butterfly Festival expands the fair one block south to showcase the new Master Gardener greenhouse and butterfly garden at the Arboretum. Master Gardeners will host children’s activities in the potting sheds, and hold educational programs for adults in the courthouse, plus Master Gardeners will hold their semi-annual plant sale on the northeast corner of the festival.

La Marque: The Galveston County Master Gardeners Ornamental & Perennial Sale will take place from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., October 6, in the parking lot of the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For additional information, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12.

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host its annual Fabulous Fall Festival Plant Sale from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, October 6, at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St., Nacogdoches. A wide variety of hard-to-find, “Texas tough” plants will be available, including Texas> natives, heirlooms, tropicals, perennials, shrubs, trees, and exclusive SFA introductions. Most of the plants are extensively trialed in the gardens before being offered to the public and most are produced by the SFA Gardens staff and volunteers. Arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information, call 936-468-4404, or visit for a list of available plants.

Odessa: Permian Basin Master Gardeners will present a Water Wise Landscape Seminar from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, October 6, at the Odessa Regional Medical Center, 520 East Sixth Street, Odessa. $50 admission includes catered lunch. For more information, visit

Pasadena: The Precinct 2 Fall Plant Sale will be held in Campbell Hall at the Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Red Bluff Rd., Pasadena from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, October 6. Attend an 8 a.m. presentation by Heidi Sheesley, Owner of Treesearch Farms, about the plants available at the sale. Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Free and open to the public. For additional information, visit or call: 281-855-5600.

Austin: Garden and food writer Renee Studebaker delves into an exploration of rare ‘forever’ onions, including Egyptian Walking Onions, Catawissas and I’tois, when she discusses “Onions All Year Long!” at 2 p.m. October 7, at It’s About Thyme Garden Center, 11726 Manchaca, Austin. For more information, call (512) 280-1192 or visit

Seabrook: Skip Richter, Texas Gardener contributing editor and county extension agent will present "Selecting and Planting the Best Trees for Houston” at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Octpber 9, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. For additional information, visit or call: 281-855-5600.

Humble: “Mushrooms and other fungi” will be presented by Teri MacArthur on Wednesday, October 10, noon-2 p.m., at the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble. The Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center’s MacArthur, a Texas Master Naturalist and member of the Texas Mycological Society, shares information on local fungus/mushroom species and takes participants on a short nature walk after the lecture. Comfortable walking shoes recommended. For additional information, call 281-443-8731 or visit

Houston: The Garden Club of Houston, a member of the Garden Club of America, is hosting its 70th annual Bulb and Plant Mart on October 12-13 at the Holly Hall Retirement Center, 2000 Holly Hall Street @ Fannin, across from Reliant Center. Admission is free, and sales both days are tax-free. The Mart will feature the widest selection of top quality bulbs from domestic and international suppliers, and an expanded collection of hard to find and unusual plants, perennials, trees, shrubs and vines. Many of the plants and bulbs are unique offerings from the gardens of Club members, grown specifically for the Mart. The free Horticulture Guide is a valuable reference year-round for planting and growing tips. For more information, visit

St. Francisville, LA: The 2012 Southern Garden Symposium will be held October 12 and 13 at various locations in St. Francisville, LA. Featured speakers include Dean Norton, Mount Vernon’s Director of Horticulture; Heidi Sheesley, owner of Treesearch Farms in Houston, Texas; and floral design instructor Lynette McDougald of Mississippi State University. The symposium will begin on Friday, October 12 with a series of workshops held at various locations in the St. Francisville area. The $75 cost per person includes admission to both morning and afternoon workshops and a gourmet picnic lunch at Afton Villa Gardens. The symposium continues on Saturday, October 13 at Hemingbough, a beautiful cultural arts and reception center just south of St. Francisville. The morning begins 8:30 a.m. with coffee and refreshments on the terrace and time for guests to browse the book, plant, and garden tool sales. Lectures begin at 9:15 a.m. and conclude at 2:15 p.m., with afternoon tea taking place at Evergreenzine, the private home of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Ferachi. The $75 cost per person includes refreshments, lectures, lunch and the afternoon tea. (Admission for both days is available at the discounted rate of $130 per person.) Always a highlight of the symposium weekend, the 2012 Speakers’ Gala will be held on Friday evening at Rosebank Plantation, the private home of Mr. and Mrs. David Walker. The cost for the gala is $50 per person. Friday’s highlights include a floral design demonstration by award-winning instructor Lynette McDougald of Mississippi State University, taking place against the picturesque backdrop of Afton Villa Gardens. Guests may also chose to attend workshops on rain garden design, edible landscapes, or tree care. St. Francisville is located about 45 minutes north of Baton Rouge. Registration at the Southern Garden Symposium is limited and required in advance. For additional information, visit, email, or call 225-635-3738.

Fort Worth: Registration is underway for the Fall Regional Conference, "Floods to Drought — Gardening in North Texas," sponsored by the Tarrant County Master Gardener Association, 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., October 13, at the Resource Connection's Building 2300, 2300 Circle Drive, Fort Worth. The event is open to the public. Cost is $45, lunch included. Complete information on agenda and registration form is at For more information, contact Billie Hammack at 817-884-1296 or at blhammack@ag.tamu.eduu. Deadline for registration, which is limited to 300 participants, is October 5.

Quitman: The Friends of the Arboretum will hold the annual scarecrow contest in conjunction with the Fall plant sale at Quitman Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, Quitman, on Saturday, October 13. Entering the contest is free of charge, and participating creations add festive and colorful visual appeal to the gardens for the month of October. This year, the contest will feature three prize-winning categories, with a prize for both first and second placed in: Individual Adult, Business/Organization, and Individual Youth (18 and under). All are encouraged to enter the scarecrow contest free of charge and the only limitation is the artists’ imagination. The winners will receive $50 for first place, $25 for second place in one of each category for a total of six prizes. Judging will take place on the morning of the fall plant sale, October 13, with winners to be announced by noon. Participants may donate their scarecrow to the Arboretum to be auctioned off as a fundraiser for Friends of the Arboretum. Silent auction bids will take place through the plant sale, with bids closing just before the winners are announced at noon. Scarecrows can be decorated in any style. The only criteria is that the scarecrow must stand on its own, and materials must be able to withstand outdoor elements to last for display in the Arboretum through Halloween. Individuals, civic groups, class rooms, businesses and other organizations are all welcome and encouraged to participate. Entry forms and rules are available at the Chamber or are downloadable at For more information about the contest or the sale, or for any other Arboretum related questions, call Pam Riley 1-903-466-4327 or visit

Tyler: The Smith County Master Gardener Association Bulbs and More Fall Sale and Conference will be held October 13 at the Harvey Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. Open to the public. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Program begins at 9 a.m. Enjoy featured speaker Dave Whitinger, owner and operator of All Things Plants. Whitinger is a member and former president of the Cherokee County Master Gardeners, and is the creator of many popular websites, most notably Dave's Garden and He lives outside Jacksonville on a 90-acre farm with his wife and 6 children. The annual sale, which begins at 11:30 a.m., has been expanded to include bulbs, grasses, perennials, trees and hand crafted yard art. To see a list of available plants, visit

Austin: “How to Grow an Olive Tree in Central Texas” will be present at 2 p.m., October 14. Learn all about the wonders of these drought-tolerant beauties from master gardener Amanda Moon at It’s About Thyme Garden Center, 11726 Manchaca, Austin. For more information, call (512) 280-1192 or visit

Linden: In celebration of Native Plant Week, the Caddo Wildflower Chapter of NPSOT will present Texas Gardener Contributing Editor Greg Grant, speaking on "Gardening Naturally with Native Plants," October 16, at 6:30 p.m. in Linden at the Cass County Law Enforcement Training Center, Co Rd off 1913 Hwy 59, Linden.

Austin: “Planting for Winter Color” will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Thursday, October 18, at Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. Perk up the winter landscape by incorporating the principles learned at this seminar. Understand the best times and conditions required to ensure success with the plants and seeds. Bulbs, dramatic vegetables, flowering annuals and perennials, shrubs and trees are all part of the selection mix and will be discussed. This seminar is free and open to the public. For additional information, visit or call 512-854-9600.

Humble: The Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, will host a “Sustainable Landscape Conference” Friday, October 19. Learn cutting-edge solutions for building infrastructure to protect property from floods and severe drought. Fee: $125 and $150 (for professional CEU seekers, 5.5 credits available), with 10% off each for TMS members. The all-day conference takes place at the Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center meeting room. Please call 281-443-8731 for details and reservations.

Austin: Travis County Master Gardeners will host "Inside Austin Gardens Tour: Edible Gardens" from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., October 20. Seven gardens will be open for touring. The tour will include educational seminars and other fun activities at each stop. Learn what vegetables to grow and why, let the children eat rainbows, or hear the thought-provoking story of the American Indian medicine wheel. Learn practical methods to add edibles to your landscape, how to eat the fruits of your labors, and recipes to spice things up with herbs! Books, plants and T-shirts will be available at each garden. Visit for more garden tour information.

San Antonio: Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas will host a "Gardening for Wildlife Workshop" at 9 a.m., October 20, at Beacon Hill Community Garden, San Antonio. For additional information, call 210-222-8430.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Market Association’s 21st Herb Market will be held October 20, at Pearl, 200 E. Grayson, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission and parking is free and open to the public. This year’s herbal theme is Roses, the International Herb of the Year. The program for this year’s Herb Market will include Robbi Wills from The Antique Rose Emporium, speaking about why Roses are considered herbs, their growing and care, varieties of antique and earth kind roses, and some of the lore associated with them. Also slated on the program are a cooking demonstration, presentations on aromatherapy, medicinal qualities and crafting ideas. Plan for a whole day of fun! For more information on events and scheduling, visit

Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardener Association will hold its 2012 "Nature's Beauty Beyond the Gate" Garden Tour Saturday, October 20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, October 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., featuring six beautifully landscaped yards in Victoria. Ticket sales will begin Tuesday, Aug. 28, and will cost $15 per person. A plant sale will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at Victoria's historic Hiller House grounds, 3003 N. Vine St. To obtain tickets and more details about the tour, call 361-575-4581.

Austin: “Backyard Rolling Chicken Coops” will be presented at 2 p.m., October 21. Learn all about the principles and practices of coop design and construction from master carpenter Tom Colwell at It’s About Thyme Garden Center, 11726 Manchaca, Austin. For more information, call (512) 280-1192 or visit

Lake Charles, LA: Southwest Louisiana Master Gardeners are hosting the 2012 State Master Gardener Conference in Lake Charles, LA, October 24-26, at L'auberge Resort. This event will bring together Master Gardeners, vendors, horticulture professionals and others with a common interest in all aspects of gardening. For more information and to register, visit

The Woodlands: Gardening 102: Beyond Basics features Cherie Foster Colburn and Mark Bowen on Saturday, October 27 from 9 a.m. to noon. With wit and wisdom homegrown gardening talents provide a guide to making landscapes more attractive, vibrant and sustainable. Cherie Foster Colburn, landscape designer, award-winning gardening author, shares “Bringing Your Garden Out of the Shadows.” Horticulturalist and gardening author, Mark Bowen, presents “Your Landscape Your Way, Naturally.” The free program and book signing will be held at 2801 Technology Forest Blvd., The Woodlands. Due to limited seating, reservations are required. Visit to reserve a spot or call 281-210-3800.


Ft. Worth: "Landscape Design" will be presented from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., November 3, in Lonestar Room A & B at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth. Registration is $15. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. For more information or to enroll, call 817-884-1945.

Bryan: Dr. Deb Tolman will present “Keyhole Gardening” at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, November 10, at SOS (Save Our Streets), 1700 Groesbeck Street, Bryan. Registration form: Early registration is to be postmarked by October 20.

San Antonio: Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas will host a "Garden Design & Maintenance Workshop" at 9 a.m., November 17, at River Road Community Garden, San Antonio. For additional information, call 210-222-8430.


Ft. Worth: "Individual Consultations" will be available from 10 a.m. until noon, December 1, in Lonestar Room A & B at the Tarrant County Plaza Building, 200 Taylor St., Ft. Worth. Registration is $15. Advance reservations are preferred, but not required. For more information or to enroll, call 817-884-1945.



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

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

Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. For more information, call Carole Ramke at 903-986-9475.

Allen: The Allen Garden Club meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, February through December, at the Allen Heritage Center, 100 E. Main St., Allen. For more information, visit

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

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


Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit

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 or contact

Jacksboro: The Jacksboro Garden Club meets at 9:30 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month (except June, July and August) at the Concerned Citizens Center, 400 East Pine Street, Jacksboro. For more information, call Melinda at 940-567-6218.

Longview: The Gregg County Master Gardeners Association meets the second Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Longview. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program preceding the business meeting. For further information call Cindy Gill at 903-236-8429 or visit

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

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

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

Orange: The Orange County Master Gardeners 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 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

Angleton: The Brazoria County Master Gardeners meet at 11 a.m. on the second Friday of each month at the Brazoria County Extension Office, 21017 County Road 171, Angleton. There is a general business meeting followed by a brief educational program each month. For further information call 979-864-1558, ext.110.

College Station: The A&M Garden Club meets on the second Friday of each month during the school year at 9:30 a.m. in the training room of the College Station Waste Water Facility building at the end of North Forest Parkway, 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

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


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

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardeners meet at 2 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at McGregor House, 1628 W. Henderson, Cleburne, which includes a program and a meet & greet. For more information, call Sharon Smith at 817-894-7700.

Rockport: Monthly meetings of the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners are held at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Aransas County Office, 892 Airport Rd., Rockport. For additional information, e-mail or call 361-790-0103.

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

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

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

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

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

Brownwood: Brownwood Garden Club meets the third Thursday of each month, 11:30 a.m.– 1 p.m.  The club meetings are at Southside Baptist Church, 1219 Indian Creek Road, with refreshments and a speaker presentation. Visitors are welcome. For more information, email or call 817-454-8175).

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

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

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, except June and 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


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 Gene Bobo at

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

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 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 Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, 3220 Botanic Blvd., Ft. Worth. Refreshments are served. For more information, call 817-263-9322 or visit

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

Houston: The Houston Chapter of the Native Prairie Association of Texas (HNPAT) meets from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month at Bayland Park Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet, Houston. For more information, contact hnpat@prairies.orgrg.

Leander: The Leander Garden Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month (except July and August) at 10:30 a.m. at the community room behind the Greater Texas Federal Credit Union,1300 N. Bell, Cedar Park, unless there is special event planned. Following a program and short business meeting, we share a pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call president Cathy Clark-Ramsey at 512-963-4698 or email

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.orgrg.

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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