January 9, 2013

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Owners of sick plants find help at unique Texas clinic

By Kathleen Phillips
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Most days Sheila McBride arrives at work to find sick plants scattered about. She loves that.

“People come in to find out what is wrong with their plants, and we help them out,” said McBride, diagnostician at the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab in College Station.

The lab, part of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, handles up to 2,000 samples a year, according to Dr. Kevin Ong, director.

“This plant clinic started off in 1956 solely to support county AgriLife Extension agents in helping farmers, but over the years that has changed,” he said. “We still use the Extension mission to serve the people of Texas, but we now have a big group of samples that come in from the growers and professional landscapers, arborists and homeowners.”

For McBride, the daily challenge comes from opening boxes from mail services or accepting samples in person, then carefully examining the leaves, stems, branches and roots to determine why a plant is sick.

“I have to look at each sample and decide in my diagnostic mind how I am going to treat it,” she said. “My No. 1 best friend is my microscope. Probably about 80 percent of the plants that come in I can diagnose using my microscope. There are specialized spores that I can see … and that will lead me to find out what’s causing the problem.”

And the most typical sample the lab receives? Turfgrass from homeowners wanting to correct problems in their yards.

The plant clinic uses a variety of other methods to diagnose problems if the source isn’t determined under the microscope, she said. Sometimes plant samples are put in a specialized medium to see what grows. Other times a polymerase chain reaction is used to look for organisms that cannot be observed by microscope.

McBride said she also likes to educate people about plant diseases and provide tips and advice about curing or preventing illnesses in plants.

Information on how to get a diagnosis for a sick plant can be found at http://plantclinic.tamu.edu/.

McBride offers these tips for sending samples.

  • If possible, send a whole plant. “I like to see the leaves, the stems, the roots, the whole picture,” she said. “In fact, send pictures as well, if you can,” McBride said.
  • Trees obviously can’t be shipped intact, but send more than a leaf. A branch would be good. “Individuals see that a leaf turns yellow and so they just send us a leaf,” she said. “But we need more than that to get the full picture.”
  • Don’t add water to the sample or make it wetter than it already is.
  • Send samples fresh. “Don’t let a sample sit in a vehicle for four days in 100 degree weather,” she said.

Among her favorite diagnoses are “fire fungus” after the Bastrop fires in 2011 and a palm tree disease that appeared for the first time in Texas.

“After the fires, people started seeing an orange fungus growing all over the trees,” McBride said. “The people around Bastrop were worried that it would be harmful to humans, their pets or the wildlife.”

She said the lab performed a series of tests — from isolating and growing the fungi to DNA analysis and classical morphological identification to determine it was a harmless Pezizomycete — similar to some fungi that appeared after the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

The palm tree disease, she said, was identified in the lab and now is being confirmed by attempting to infect healthy baby palm trees growing in the lab in order to watch the disease progression and prove it is killing palms.

The plant clinic tries to provide for each sample not only a diagnosis but some recommendations for control.

“And I also try to give them just a little bit of information as far as the actual pathogen and what it does,” she said.

The cost for the diagnosis and recommendations is $35 for in-state samples or $55 for samples from outside of Texas.

“The interaction we have with plant owners gives us the opportunity to provide them with information and teach them how to take care of plants,” Ong added. “If a disease problem is caught early, then action may be taken to prevent further loss and in fact save quite a bit of money. Also we benefit from healthier plants or even a readily, available food supply.”


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
A Nice Little Place in the Country

By John M. Floyd
Freelance Writer

The sun hung low in the western sky, washing the valley with shades of green and gold. A warm wind rustled in the treetops; clouds as white and light as feathers floated overhead. The air was sweet with the smell of flowers.

The man sat alone on the grassy hillside, his arms clasped around his knees. His gaze swept the valley, then moved up and out, to the little blue-green swatch of ocean beyond the trees. A smile creased his sunburned face. No boatloads of tourists in those waters — not even a fisherman in a canoe. This was as remote as remote could be, and he liked that just fine.

Behind him, a young woman emerged from the woods. She crept up to him and ruffled his hair. “Figured I’d find you here,” she said.

He grinned up at her, then looked again at the lush gardens around them. His face turned solemn. “It’s a paradise, isn’t it?”

She followed his gaze and seemed to hesitate. “It’s not bad. Come on, time to eat.”

He stood, stretched, and followed her into the trees. Ferns and hibiscus and mango leaves brushed their legs as they made their way down the hill.

After a moment he asked, “Is something the matter?”

She glanced at him and shrugged. “Not really. I’ve just been thinking, is all.”

Neither of them spoke for a while. They crossed a field of wildflowers, forded a stream, reentered the cool shade of the forest. Birds skittered and sang in the branches as they passed underneath.

The ultimate vacation spot, he thought.

Or was it?

“Aren’t you happy here?” he asked her.

Another hesitation. “I should be,” she said. “We have a cozy enough house, plenty of food on the table, a pretty yard. And I love my vegetable garden . . .”

“But?”

She sighed again. “I guess I’m just lonesome. I mean, put yourself in my position. I have no friends here, no one ever comes to visit, we never go anywhere —”

“Go anywhere? Where would you want to go?”

“Oh, never mind.” She ducked to avoid a branch of flowering magnolias. “You don’t understand.”

He fell silent again, studying her from the corner of his eye. She was only feeling sorry for herself, he decided. It was probably normal. It would pass.

Sure enough, after their evening meal she seemed in better spirits. “We need some peaches,” she said. “I’ll go down the way tomorrow morning and pick up a few.”

“Good idea.” He watched her as she cleared the table.

Lord, she was beautiful. Flowing blond hair, eyes as blue as the noonday sky, a face picture-perfect even without a trace of makeup.

“I’m lucky to have you,” he said.

She looked up from her work and smiled. “You’re sweet.”

“And I do want you to be happy. That’s all I want.”

“I know.” She sighed. “I just get a little . . . bored, sometimes.”

He started to reply, then changed his mind.

“It’ll work out,” he said.

But it didn’t work out. It didn’t work out at all.

* * *

The following day at sunset the two of them stood together, hand in hand, on the same hillside, looking again at the flowing green gardens below. Thunderclouds were gathering on the horizon, climbing the sky. A heavy silence hung in the air between them.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, her eyes red and swollen. “About what happened this morning, I mean.”

He nodded sadly. “Me too.”

She sniffed, then said, “He was such a snake. What could I have done?”

“You could have stuck to peaches,” he said. “That’s what.”

He took one last look at the valley, knowing they would never see it again; then they turned to leave. They had a long night ahead. He didn’t know exactly how far east it was to the land of Nod, but he doubted it would be an easy trip.

Especially when you’re barefoot.

John M. Floyd's short stories have appeared in The Strand Magazine, Woman's World, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and many other publications. He is also a Derringer Award winner and the author of three collections of short mystery fiction, including Clockwork. "A Nice Little Place in the Country" previously appeared in Short Stuff for Grownups, July 1994. It is reprinted here with the author's permission.


Gardening tips

When selecting onion transplants, remember, smaller is better. To lessen the possibility of bolting, always select pencil-size or smaller transplants to set out in the garden. Once an onion plant bolts or goes to seed it will not produce a desirable size bulb.

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...

Bat bugs typically feed on bats but when bats are not present they will feed on humans. Signs of infestation include flesh-colored welts on the skin. The bugs are rarely spotted since they feed while the host is sleeping. At only one-eight of an inch long, oval-shaped, and dark red, they are almost indistinguishable from their close cousin, the bed bug. So, don’t let the bat bugs bite, right?


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

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.

Humble: Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, will hold a Docent Tour with the Garden Director, Wednesday, February 13, 10:30 a.m. - noon. Darrin Duling will update participants on garden enhancements and the status of projects. 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.

Humble: Darnell Schreiber, Phyllis McFarlane, and the March Mart Vegetable & Fruit committee will present "Tomatoes, Peppers, and Other Spring Vegetables" at the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, Wednesday, January 25, noon - 2 p.m. They will discuss tomato varieties from heirloom, cherries, specialties, and big disease-resistant varieties, including growing techniques. They will also discuss sweet and hot peppers as well as good choices for miscellaneous spring vegetables. Also discussed will be diseases, insects, and recipes. 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.

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.

Quitman: The Quitman Garden Club meets at 2 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Quitman Library on E Goode Street, Quitman. It is a diverse group that welcomes all visitors.For more information, e-mail quitmangardenclub@gmail.com.

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.


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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