January 2, 2013

Welcome to Texas Gardener’s Seeds, the weekly newsletter for Texas gardeners. Please do not reply to this e-mail because the sending address is not monitored. See the bottom of this newsletter for information on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editor.


The garden reader:
Sensational plants

By William Scheick
Book Reviewer

Daniel Chamovitz. What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses. Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. 179 pp. $23.00.

When I studied the biological sciences long ago, there were only two kingdoms: plant and animal. Even so back then, such a division was not as simple as it seemed.

Euglenas, for instance, remained a fascinating puzzle. They were flagellate and hence mobile like an animal, yet most could feed themselves by means of their photosynthesizing chloroplasts.

Today, euglenas are considered neither animals nor plants. For a while, at least, they were said to belong to the protista kingdom, which was one of a number of newly identified biological divisions since the advent of the electron microscope.

Actually, at present it remains open to debate as to how many kingdoms define terrestrial life. There has even been an attempt to shift the discussion away from kingdoms and to domains, including one that unites animals and fungi.

That may seem fantastic, but ongoing scientific research often erodes the established boundaries of widely held understandings. So far, biology has not been able to settle on firm, fixed categories for life.

One such boundary erosion compromises our standard perception of the differences between plants and animals. Researchers are finding that genetic differences between plants and animals are not as distinct as we have tended to believe.

The parallels between plant and human biology intrigue Dr. Daniel Chamovitz, director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University.

“Plants don’t have a central nervous system; a plant doesn’t have a brain that coordinates information for its entire body,” Dr. Chamovitz concedes in What a Plant Knows. “Yet different parts of a plant are intimately connected, and information regarding light, chemicals in the air, and temperature is constantly exchanged between roots and leaves, flowers and stems, to yield a plant that is optimized for its environment.”

What a Plant Knows is neither a botany handbook nor a silly claim for plant sentience. Instead, it offers a radical refiguring of our ordinary conceptions about plants.

How radical? Consider the following tiny sample: “Think about this,” Dr. Chamovitz declares at the start of Chapter One, “plants see you.”

“Plants see if you come near them; they know when you stand over them. They even know if you’re wearing a blue or a red shirt. They know if you’ve painted your house or if you’ve moved their pots from one side of the living room to the other.”

Not with eyes or a “knowing” mind, of course, but with multiple photoreceptors — apparently more complex than human sight — that biochemically “tell” a plant how to keep time: when to germinate, when to bend, when to produce carbohydrates, when to flower and when to rest.

Plants also sense their own and other plants’ odors and their state of wellbeing, Dr. Chamovitz explains in “What a Plant Smells.” If they didn’t, the familiar ethylene-trapping bag-trick for ripening fruit would not work.

“What a Plant Feels,” “What a Plant Hears,” “How a Plant Knows Where It Is” and “What a Plant Remembers” round out Dr. Chamovitz’s imaginative and insightful consideration of the parallels between animal and plant information networks, which considered together amount to related modes of “awareness.”

I don’t know of any other work quite like What a Plant Knows. It is a highly readable and eye-opening book — hard to put down and hard to forget — that page after persuasive page deeply intensifies our sense of wonder about plants.


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

Fertile Fiction
In My Neighbor’s Garden

By Jan Christensen
Freelance Writer

Glancing through the gap in the tall yaupon hedge guarding the front yard next door, I stopped short, surprised. Darla sat on the porch steps of her Craftsman bungalow smoking a cigarette. Masie, pulled off stride by my sudden pause, looked at me with sad dachshund eyes, so I bent down to pat her.

Straightening up, I looked at Darla again. “What’s wrong?” I called. “You look as if you lost your best friend.”

Darla grunted. “Only Tommy. He left with that girl, Tiffany. She can have him.” She stood up. “I need to weed the side garden.”

Shock ran through me. Darla and Tommy had lived in this house since before I moved in next door more than twenty years ago. I heard them arguing sometimes and knew Tommy saw other women every so often, but I figured they’d stay together into their old age. Her gardens were Darla’s passion, so I hoped being able to work there on the warm, East Texas fall day would help her now.

I walked to the only coffee shop in our small town and sat outside. With Masie at my feet, I drank a café latte. Another jolt of surprise hit me when I saw “that girl” Darla had referred to stroll down the street toward the grocery store. No Tommy in sight. Odd.

The next morning Darla again sat on her front steps, cigarette dangling from her fingers. I stopped. “You okay? I’ve never seen you smoke before.” Masie pulled me toward the porch. I let her, but vowed to get her into an obedience training school.

Darla looked up with a bleak stare. “Gave it up in my early thirties. Started up again when Tommy left.”

I bit my lip, trying to decide whether to tell Darla I’d seen Tiffany the day before. Masie tugged on the leash and began digging among Darla’s freshly planted mums. “Stop that.”

“Get her out of there, Jasmine.” Darla stood up and started down the steps. “She’ll ruin my garden.”

Before either of us could stop her, Masie dragged something from the loose earth and held it up triumphantly. She crouched down and began gnawing on it. Darla shrieked and I bent down to see better. “That looks like a hip bone.” Actually, I knew it was a hip bone. I’m a nurse, after all.

I glanced up at Darla, who had turned white. Grabbing her arm, I helped her sit down on the steps and used my cell to call 911.

Amazingly, a patrol car arrived within minutes and two officers came ambling up the walk. “Doggie found a bone?” one asked. He bent down to look, then reached for it. Masie growled. I almost laughed. You go, girl. Don’t let the big, bad man take it away from you.

“You want to call her off?” the other officer asked. “Rick, that looks like a human bone, maybe a hip.”

Rick nodded. I said, “Drop it,” to Masie three times before she did. Stubborn dog. I pulled her away from the garden.

Both officers squatted down. After staring at the bone a few moments, they stood up. Rick talked into the radio on his shoulder.

Soon the place swarmed with police personnel, and both Darla and I were answering questions. I heard Rick ask Darla where her husband was. I didn’t hear what she said because I saw one of the other officers unearth another bone, and then they were digging up more and more.

After the police finished questioning me, I walked Masie home as fast as I could.

The next morning I was surprised to see Darla once again sitting on her porch steps where she could view her torn-up garden surrounded by yellow police tape. The temperature had dipped in the night, and I shivered.

“How’re you doing?” I stood looking at her, feeling awkward.

“Could be better.” She waved her cigarette in the air.

“Have you heard from Tommy?”

“No. And apparently he didn’t go off with that Tiffany. The police talked to her. So, he’s missing.”

“Did he leave you a note?”

“Yeah, but I burned it.” Darla held up her lighter. “Guess I shouldn’t have done that. The police are suspicious.”

Hesitantly, I asked, “Have they identified the, um, remains?”

“They’re working on it. They suspect it’s Tommy’s brother. You remember Micky.”

My stomach flip-flopped. I took a step backward. Remember him? We’d dated for almost a year.

The sound of an engine caught our attention, and after a few moments, Rick and his partner walked up to Darla. Rick showed her a search warrant. “We found out who the bones belong to — your husband’s brother. Good thing old Doc MacArthur still has his dental practice so he could do a match. Since your husband is also missing, the chief decided we have to dig up the rest of your lot.”

“No.” Darla stared up at him. “Oh, no, my beautiful gardens.” She tossed her cigarette toward his feet, just missing him.

Rick stomped on the butt and turned to me. “You know where she was working last?”

I pointed, barely able to speak. “Side garden.”

Rick nodded. More officers showed up and the digging began again. Half the garden was demolished when I saw Tommy cruise into the driveway in his yellow sports car. He climbed out and yelled at Darla, “What’s going on?”

“They found Micky,” Darla shouted back. “In the front garden. I thought you were with Tiffany.” She ran down the steps and threw her arms around him.

“Naw,” I heard him say, “I just wrote that note to make you mad. They found Micky? He was in our garden all these years?”

Darla pulled away, crying. “Yes. Yes. How did he get there? Who would have . . .”

I tried to keep my gaze steady as I met Darla’s eyes. But I couldn’t do it. My vision blurred and sounds became muffled. I was only aware that the police approached me, trampling what was left of the garden as they came. I figured it would be a long time before I ever saw a garden again.

Jan Christensen is the author of three mystery novels, and more than 50 of her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. For more information about her writing, visit www.janchristensen.com.


Deadline extended for grant funds available to landowners near East Texas national forests

In an effort to reduce wildfire hazards on private lands, Texas A&M Forest Service is administering U.S. Forest Service Community Fire Protection Grant funding for prescribed burning within three miles of a national forest boundary.

Although previously a deadline was set for mid-December, applications will now be accepted as long as funds are available.

In 2011, East Texas experienced the largest-scale timber losses in its history. Because of extreme drought conditions, the majority of the fire that occurred last year had a negative impact on natural resources. However, strategically-planned prescribed wildfire can actually protect homes and communities.

Prescribed burning is a tool used by natural resource managers to help maintain healthy ecosystems, improve wildlife habitat and mitigate hazardous vegetation, said Wildland Urban Interface Specialist Jared Karns.

“When conducted by trained specialists, prescribed fire can be an effective and cost-efficient mechanism for removing fuel and returning an ecosystem to its natural state,” Karns said.

Landowners who wish to apply for grant funds must submit a prescribed burn plan, a map of the area to be burned showing its proximity to national forest land and the physical address of the burn unit.

Texas A&M Forest Service will review the applications and notify approved landowners. Those approved for grant funding can be reimbursed up to $30 per acre, pending completion of the prescribed burn and an inspection conducted by TFS personnel. Texas A&M Forest Service will not assist with the burn. The work can be completed by a landowner or contractor.

Download an application under the “Protect Your Wildlands” tab at texasfirewise.org.

For more information on prescribed burning, visit goodfires.org or the Prescribed Burning Board page at texasagriculture.gov.


Gardening tips

As the weather allows, work some compost into those late winter and spring flower beds before planting. If drainage is problem, consider raising the beds with a stone or brick border.

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...

December 21 marked the beginning of winter but is also known as the winter solstice or the shortest day of the year. Days will just keep getting longer until, you guessed it, the summer solstice or longest day of the year, occurs on June 19, 2013.


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.

JANUARY

La Marque: Jerry Hurlbert will present “Growing Avocados,” Saturday, January 5, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Learn the best varieties for the Gulf Coast, how to start plants from seeds, as well as tips on tree planting and cultivation methods for growing avocados. Discover the best methods to protect plants from cold and sun, especially for young trees. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

La Marque: Master Gardener Gene Speller will present “Peppers, the Sweetest to Hottest,” Saturday, January 5, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Find out about growing peppers from seed and other valuable growing tips, including information on insect and disease control. Understand what the heat value classification (Scoville units) indicates. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Humble: Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, will host New Annuals & Perennials, Wednesday, January 9, noon – 2 p.m. Margaret Cherry is the local representative of Abbott-Ipco, an international source of caladium bulbs, imported Holland bulbs, perennials, and many other new and unique plants for the horticulture industry. Ipco lives and gardens locally, and works with the trial gardens at the Dallas Arboretum so her recommendations are well tested. Anyone requiring special assistance to participate in any program, or to obtain additional information, should contact Mercer at 281-443-8731, or visit www.hcp4.net/mercer.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society will host a presentation about the herb of the year for 2013 — Elder, Thursday, January 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m., San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels, San Antonio. Learn from people who know the most about herb gardening, cooking, sniffing, crafting and infusing...anything and everything is herbal for this meeting! Free and open to the public. For more information, visi twww.sanantonioherbs.org.

La Marque: Master Gardener Sam Scarcella will present “Growing Great Tomatoes,” Saturday, January 12, from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque.  Learn about the various varieties that do well in this area, how to make your selections, and how and when to transplant. Find out about soil requirements and needed nutrients and the temperature ranges for best tomato fruit set. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

La Marque: Master Gardener John Jons will present “Gardening by the Square Foot,” Saturday, January 12, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Topics to include basic designs, soil preparation, plant selection and establishment, insect pest and disease control, and general care. Class size is limited to 32 participants. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Austin: Sheryl Williams, Travis County Master Gardener and fruit tree specialist, will teach the proper selection, planting, pruning, and general care of fruit trees for Austin on Monday, January 14. The Austin Organic Gardeners Club meets at Austin Area Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd, in Zilker Botanical Gardens. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the opportunity to meet and mingle with local gardeners; club business begins at 7 p.m., followed by the guest speaker's presentation. For more information, visit www.austinorganicgardeners.org.

La Marque: Master Gardener Herman Auer will present “Growing Peaches in Galveston County,” Tuesday, January 15, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Learn the best variety selection (both white and yellow flesh), what to look for when buying your peach tree, and the best planting methods. Find out about chill hours, rootstock used, and the proper pruning methods to shape and thin peach trees. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Seabrook: Kathy Adams Clark will discuss "How to attract birds and butterflies," at 10 a.m. Wednesday, January 16, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook.

Austin: “The Wonderful World of Seeds,” will be presented Thursday, January 17, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Travis County AgriLife Extension Office, 1600 B Smith Rd., Austin. Let Master Gardener propagation specialists teach how to start, grow and save flower, herb and vegetable seeds. Learn from presentation, examples and hands-on participation in the class room and in the demonstration garden, along with handouts and additional resource lists. Seminar fee is $20 and you must register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu with keyword: Seeds. For more information, phone 979-845-2604 or visit www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Seguin: Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will meet Thursday, January 17, at 7 p.m. in the AgriLife Extension Bldg. at 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. Paul Johnson, a member of the Texas A&M Forest Service, will talk about proper tree trimming. Paul is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Board Certified Master Arborist & Municipal Specialist. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call 830-303-3889.

Humble: Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, will host a reception with Jimmy Turner of Dallas Arboretum. Friday, January 18, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Turner, horticulturist extraordinaire, will amaze with an eye-popping visual tour of the Dallas Arboretum. Learn about The Mercer Society coach tour to Dallas in October 2013! An evening reception precedes this talk. TMS members $18 single, $30 couple. Non-members $20 single, $35 couple. Call 281-443-8731 for reservations. Anyone requiring special assistance to participate in any program, or to obtain additional information, should contact Mercer at 281-443-8731, or visit www.hcp4.net/mercer.

Houston: Urban Harvest will host the 13th Annual Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. (or until sold out) on Saturday, January 19, at the HCC Southwest Campus, 5601 West Loop South Freeway, Houston. For additional information, call 713-880-5540 or visit www.UrbanHarvest.org.

Houston: Tour the working and demonstration gardens maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 on Monday, January 21, 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m., at Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions. A program on Tool Care / Sharpening and Pruning Techniques (Bring your clippers) will be offered from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 am.

La Marque: Gardener Herman Auer will present “Growing Citrus in the Home Landscape,” Tuesday, January 22, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Learn the best rootstocks and the varieties for the Galveston area as well as the hardiness of different varieties. Find out how to plant citrus trees and even how to grow citrus from seed. Review the growing and drainage requirements for most citrus. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Humble: Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, will host Creating a Personal Garden Sanctuary. Wednesday, January 25, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Darnell Schreiber will inspire and guide you in designing the perfect serene space in your garden. This is a hands-on class that includes a tour of the gardens. Bring photos of your garden to work from. Other supplies will be provided but please bring a pencil and eraser. Free, but limited to 18 students. Call 281-443-8731 for reservations. Anyone requiring special assistance to participate in any program, or to obtain additional information, should contact Mercer at 281-443-8731, or visit www.hcp4.net/mercer.

La Marque: Master Gardener Luke Stripling will present “Spring Vegetable Gardening,” Saturday, January 26, from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Stripling has more than 65 years of hands-on experience in growing vegetables. Learn how to plan and start a vegetable garden. Find out about the best soils, location and plant varieties for Galveston County. Gain knowledge of pollination, mulching, composting, and the effects of full sun and shade on vegetable gardening. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

La Marque: Master Gardener John Jons will present “Anyone Can Grow Roses,” Saturday, January 26, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Topics covered include the basics of growing hybrid tea roses, variety selection, bed preparation, planting and culture, insect and disease control. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

La Marque: Dr. David Cohen will present “Growing Blueberries,” Tuesday, January 29, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Learn the facts about blueberries and site selection and preparation. Find out about variety recommendations for this area and the planting, spacing, fertilizing and pruning requirements. Gather information on harvesting and understand the problems and the costs of growing blueberries. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

FEBRUARY

Dallas: Free Lawn Care Seminar. Learn ways to maintain a healthy lawn with less frequent watering, Saturday, February 2, at Richland College Fannin Hall, 12800 Abrams Road, Dallas, from 9-11 a.m. Gail Donaldson, a turf and irrigation specialist, and Water Conservation Manager for the City of Allen, will teach caring for lawns like an expert. Subjects covered will include basic lawn care, common turf problems, watering most efficiently and much more. Attendees can enter a drawing for free bags of Green Sense organic fertilizer from Rohde’s Nursery and Nature Store. Space is limited. Register online at SaveDallasWater.com or by calling 214-670-3155.

La Marque: The Galveston County Master Gardeners will host the Annual Fruit & Citrus Tree Seminar & Sale, Saturday, February 2, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Wayne Johnson Community Center in Carbide Park, 4102 Main St., La Marque. The sale includes a wide variety of fruit and citrus trees adapted to Gulf Coast growing area. Prior to the sale at 8:00 a.m., Heidi Sheesley of TreeSearch Farms will discuss many of the varieties available in the sale. Check website for updates: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.htm.

Schertz: Heather Venhaus will present “The Lazy Gardener’s Landscape: Working with Nature,” Saturday, February 2, at the Schertz Civic Center, 1400 Schertz Pkwy, Schertz. Offered from 8:30 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. by the Guadalupe County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas and Maldonado Nursery in Seguin, the 5-hour interactive workshop will help homeowners design personal landscape projects that thrive naturally on little water and are easy to maintain, plus are both pleasing to the eye and healthy for the environment. The cost for the full-day workshop, including lunch, is $36 per person. Workshop leader Venhaus specializes in residential landscapes and has spent the last decade working with scientists and educators on sustainable design, land restoration and environmental education. For a $2 general admission fee, the public can enjoy a gardening information fair that features vendors and community organizations offering information and products that complement the ideas discussed in the workshop. For more information or tickets, email Monta Zengerle at zengerlem@sbcglobal.net or call 830-285-4083.

Angleton: Citrus and Fruit Tree Sale by Brazoria County Master Gardeners at the Brazoria County AgriLife Extension Office, 21017 CR 171, Angleton, from 8 a.m. to noon, February 16. Includes more than 2,000 plants, including blackberries, blueberries, apples, avocados, figs, peaches, pears, plums, persimmons, pomegrantes, citrus of all kinds that will grow in Brazoria Co. and vegetables for the early gardener. For more information, visit http://txmg.org/brazoria.

Bryan: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Brazos County Master Gardeners are hosting a water conservation seminar featuring rainwater harvesting. The program will be held on Saturday, February 16, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. Billy Kniffen, water resource specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will lead this informative seminar. Learn how to capture, store and use rainwater in your home and landscape. Kniffen will address topics relating to this effective water conservation tool, including: Water stewardship; Stormwater management; Reducing water demand; Passive collections (rain gardens, etc.); and Simple and complex water harvesting systems. After serving as a county Extension agent for 25 years, Kniffen is currently vice-president and education coordinator for the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA). He is co-author of their manual — Rainwater Harvesting: System Planning — used in the ARCSA Accredited Professional course. He and his wife live in Menard, in a home solely dependent on rainwater. As part of the program, Kniffen will also have a fully-operational system demonstration. This seminar also offers informational exhibits for lawns, vegetable gardening, water delivery systems and the City of College Station Water Resource division. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions. Pre-Register to attend: $45 per person — includes handouts, snacks & sandwich lunch buffet. Registration  preferred by February 11, 2013. Information and registration form are available at www.brazosmg.com. Mail registration to: Brazos County Master Gardeners, 2619 Highway 21 West, Bryan, TX 77803. For additional information call the Brazos County office of AgriLife Extension at 979-823-0129 or email brazosmg@brazosmg.com.

The Woodlands: “Creating a Sense of Place,” a Gardening 101 seminar on Saturday, February 16 from 9 a.m. to noon, features Gary Clark, nature columnist; Kathy Adams Clark, professional photographer; and Brenda Beust Smith, Houston’s original Lazy Gardener. Learn how to work with the nature to add life to your landscape and avoid gardening pitfalls. With beautiful photography, Gary and Kathy reveal the natural beauty of East Texas with “Attracting Birds and Butterflies to Your Backyard.” Brenda presents “10 Commandments of Lazy Gardening,” offering tried and true tips for creating an easy care landscape. Reservations are required for the free program and book signing that will be held at The Woodlands Township Board Chambers, 2801 Technology Forest Blvd. For information, call 281-210-3800. Register on-line at Gardening 101.

MARCH

Longview: The Gregg County Master Gardeners will host their annual Spring Garden and Landscape Seminar, Saturday, March 2, at the First United Methodist church, Faith Center, Whaley Street entrance, Longview, from 8 a.m. until noon. Greg Grant, horticulturist, conservationist and writer will be the speaker. Greg’s topic for the first session will be “Home Landscaping: Right Plant, Right Place.” For the second session, Greg’s topic will be “Heirloom Gardening in the South: Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Garden.” Greg is a lecturer at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, a graduate from Texas A&M University, and a columnist for Texas Gardener magazine. Advance tickets are $10, available from the Gregg Co. AgriLife Extension Service or at the door for $12. For more information, call 1-903-236-8429 or visit www.gregg-tx.tamu.edu.

Huntsville: The Texas Thyme Unit of the Herb Society of America will host the second annual Herb Day at the historic Wynne Home on Saturday, March 16, 9 a.m. until -2 p.m. The event will be held on the grounds of the Wynne Home, 1438 Eleventh St., Huntsville. Master Gardener Bonney Kennedy will give a talk about growing citrus. Master Gardener Jean Marsh will demonstrate herbal pestos. A talk on growing camellias is also planned. The event will include an herb plant sale, camellia sale, herbal crafts and products, kitchen and garden vendors, art, music and food. For more information, contact Maryann Readal at mreadal@yahoo.com.

Angleton: Spring Plant Sale by Brazoria County Master Gardeners at the Brazoria County Fair Grounds, 901 S. Downing Rd, Angleton, March 23. Featured speaker at 8:00 a.m. is Heidi from Treesearch, Inc. Sales includes plants from Treesearch plus those cultivated by BCMGA. New venue and new ideas on gardening in the Brazoria County area. Sale is from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and includes all kinds of plants for the landscape and vegetable gardening. For more information, visit http://txmg.org/brazoria.

APRIL

Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host its annual Garden Gala Day Spring Plant Sale from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St. in historic 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 and Greg Grant 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. This popular event benefits 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 over 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.edu and click on “garden events” for a list of available plants.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

FIRST WEEK

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.

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 www.txmg.org/wichita 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.

SECOND WEEK

Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month (except December) at the Austin Area Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit www.austinorganicgardeners.org.

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 guadalupecounty@npsot.org.

Humble: The Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, hosts a Lunch Bunch the second Wednesday of each month from noon until 2 p.m. Take a sack lunch or order a box lunch from Starbucks when you call 281-443-8731 to reserve your spot. Master Gardeners and Masters Naturalists may earn CEU credits by attending.

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 www.gregg-tx.tamu.edu.

New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners meet at 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of January at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. For additional information and meeting dates of subsequent months, call 830-620-3440.

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.

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.

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 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.

THIRD WEEK

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.

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 aransas-tx@tamu.edu 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 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.

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 boeblingen@centex.net or call 817-454-8175).

Houston: The Native Plant Society of Texas — Houston (NPSOT-H) meets at 7:30 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 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 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 www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

FOURTH WEEK

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 gene.bobo@agnet.tamu.edu.

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 Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, 3220 Botanic Blvd., Ft. Worth. 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 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 www.npsot.org/sanantonio 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 info@leandergc.org.

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.


Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening

By Greg Grant

This new book incorporates Greg’s horticultural expertise along with his homespun writing style and, unlike other books on vegetable gardening, this one includes chapters on fruit, nuts and herbs along with a nice selection of family recipes.

This easy-to-follow, color-packed guide features:

  • Planting, care and harvesting information for more than 60 edibles
  • Popular vegetable selections from arugula to tomatoes
  • A variety of common and unusual fruits and herbs
  • Advice on garden planning, creating the perfect soil, watering and more!
  • It is a must have for every serious gardener in Texas and neighboring states.

$29.79 (includes tax and shipping)

Call 1-800-727-9020 or visit us online at www.texasgardener.com to order your copy today!

American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.


The Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook

The best thing for tomato enthusiasts since the tomato itself! William D. Adams draws on more than thirty years' experience to provide a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Learn everything from soil preparation, planting, feeding, caging and watering. Liberally sprinkled with the author's easy humor and illustrated with his own excellent photographs, the must have book has everything you'll need to assure a bumper crop! 189 pages. Lots of color photographs!

Only $26.69 for Seeds readers! Free shipping!

To take advantage of this special offer, call toll-free 1-800-727-9020.

American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.



Paperback edition.


Kindle edition.

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!
In Greg's Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family

By Greg Grant
Foreword by Chris S. Corby

An intimate and personal exploration of the life of one of Texas’ most beloved gardeners, In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family gathers in a single volume the first 10 years of Greg Grant’s columns from Texas Gardener magazine, and is amply illustrated with Grant’s own full-color photography.

Revised and updated from their original publication, these 60 essays reveal the heart and soul of a seventh-generation native Texan who has devoted his entire life to gardening, nature and family. With degrees in floriculture and horticulture from Texas A&M University and extensive hands-on experience as a horticulturist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Stephen F. Austin State University, Mercer Arboretum and San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Grant has successfully introduced dozens of plants to the Texas nursery industry, all while maintaining long-held family property and renovating the homes of his ancestors in Arcadia, Texas.

In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family is a must-read for every Texas gardener.

$33.54 (includes shipping and sales tax)

Remit payment to: TG Books • PO Box 9005 • Waco, TX 76714
www.TexasGardener.com
or call Toll-Free 1-800-727-9020

American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted

The previous text-only edition of In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family, containing the first nine years of Greg Grant’s column, is still available for Kindle from Amazon.com.


Wish you'd saved them?

Are you missing an important issue of Texas Gardener? Or, perhaps, just tired of thumbing through stacks of back issues looking for the tips and techniques you need to make your garden grow? These new CDs provide easy access to all six issues of

volume 20 (November/December 2000 through September/October 2001),
volume 21
(November/December 2001 through September/October 2002),
volume 22
(November/December 2002 through September/October 2003),
volume 23
(November/December 2003 through September/October 2004),
volume 24 (November/December 2004 through September/October 2005),
volume 25 (November/December 2005 through September/October 2006),
volume 26 (November/December 2006 through September/October 2007),
volume 27 (November/December 2007 through September/October 2008),
volume 28 (November/December 2008 through September/October 2009),
volume 29 (November/December 2009 through September/October 2010),
volume 30 (November/December 2010 through September/October 2011) and
volume 31 (November/December 2011 through September/October 2012)*.

$16.99 per CD includes tax and shipping

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

*Other volumes will be available soon.


Fiber row cover valuable year-round

Grow-Web encourages plant growth and development, and also provides protection from insects, birds, diseases and frosts. It is also air and water permeable and allows for ventilation. Grow-Web provides excellent protection to seedlings when applied directly to the seedbed.

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

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

(American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)


Become a Texas Gardener fan on Facebook

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


Texas Gardener’s Seeds is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2013. All rights reserved. You may forward this publication to your friends and colleagues if it is sent in its entirety. No individual part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.

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

Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

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