February 6, 2013

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Container gardening continues to grow in popularity. (Photo courtesy of Monsanto Company)
Container gardening tips  

Monsanto Company

Container gardening has been on the uptrend over the past five years and continues to grow in popularity, especially in urban areas where green space can be limited. But to ensure the most success, it is crucial for the 21 million households planting container gardens to pick the right plant for the pot.

Going the container route saves space, helps control pests and overcome soil issues, enabling the availability of home-grown fresh produce without a yard. But it is important to choose a seed or a plant that was specifically developed for the compact container space.

With increasing interest in container gardening, seed companies are developing vegetable seeds specifically bred for container gardens. “Today’s container gardeners now have access to even more plants that are compact in size, yield more, taste great and feature unique colors and shapes,” said John Marchese, Sales Manager for Seminis Home Garden seed. Seminis’ Home Garden seed includes vegetable varieties such as the Early Girl tomato hybrid sold to seed retailers for more than 50 years.

“Just because they are using a smaller space to grow the plant doesn’t mean the fruit has to be small too,” explained Marchese. “For example, if container gardeners are looking for a compact plant that produces large and tasty tomatoes, they should try a new hybrid tomato variety called Debut.”

Container gardeners don’t have to sacrifice flavor for a more conveniently grown plant either. “Husky Red is a medium-sized tomato hybrid that has great flavor. We have also developed a cherry tomato hybrid version called Husky Cherry Red that has the potential to sets lots of sweet, flavorful fruit,” added Marchese.

Other compact hybrid tomato varieties include Patio, which produces about a 4 ounce tomato and a saladette tomato variety called Yaqui that produces large-sized fruit.

Regardless of the type of vegetable you plant, here are some general tips provided by the University of Illinois Extension for growing vegetable container gardens:

Choosing a Container

  • Anything that holds soil and has drainage holes in the bottom may be transformed into a container garden for terrestrial plants.
  • For vibrant plant growth, the containers must provide adequate space for roots and soil media, allowing the plant to thrive.


  • When choosing what to use to fill containers, never use garden soil by itself no matter how good it looks or how well things grow in it out in the garden.
  • Container soils are often referred to as soilless or artificial media, because they contain no soil at all.
  • When these mixes are used, they should be moistened slightly before planting. Fill a tub with the media, add water and lightly fluff the media to dampen it.
  • When filling containers with media, don't fill the pot to the top. Leave about a one inch space between the top of the soil and rim of the pot.
  • Soils for containers need to be well aerated and well drained while still being able to retain enough moisture for plant growth. 


  • A regular fertilizer program is needed to keep plants growing well and attractive all season.
  • The choice of fertilizer analysis will depend on the kinds of plants you are growing. High nitrogen sources would be good for plants grown for their foliage while flowering and vegetable crops would prefer lower nitrogen and higher phosphorous types.

Choosing Plants for Your Container Garden

  • Plants that thrive in like soil, watering and light conditions make successful combinations. When combining plants, size, texture, proportion, color, setting and lighting all play a role.

Taking Care of Your Vegetable Plants

  • Containers offer the advantage of being portable. As the seasons, temperature and light conditions change, you can move your containers to maintain the desired conditions for peak performance.
  • Most fruit-bearing vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and eggplant require full sun.
  • Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, spinach and parsley can tolerate more shady location compared to the root vegetables such as turnips, beets, radishes, carrots and onions.
  • There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to watering. That is why you have to be watching your containers on a regular basis and understand the requirements of the plants you choose to put in the containers.
  • The best way to tell if a plant needs water is to feel the soil. If the first inch or so of the soil is dry, water. Use enough water each time so water starts to drip out of the drainage holes.

The garden reader:
A garden is more than a variety of clocks

By William Scheick
Book Reviewer

Tan Twan Eng. The Garden of Evening Mists. Weinstein Books, 2012. 335 pp. $15.99.

Impression is primary in ornamental gardens. And these gardens can convey or, in turn, alter their designer’s state of mind.

Yun Ling Teoh, the fictional narrator of The Garden of Evening Mists, hopes to express her decades-deep grief by restoring a Japanese garden in memory of her sister. Both sisters had suffered a brutal incarceration in a now-forgotten slave-labor camp in Malaya during World War II.

Yun Ling, the lone survivor of that Japanese camp, has never been able to locate her sister’s body. Retiring early from a Supreme Court judgeship and knowing she has an ailment that will soon strip away all of her memories, she returns to Yugiri (the garden of evening mists), where she writes a memoir of her life while restoring this estate.

Is it (ironically) possible in a world of turmoil and pain for Yun Ling to find succor — peace and beauty — by creating a memorial garden founded on artistic practices perfected by her oppressors?

While imprisoned, she and her sister had sometimes been able to mentally escape their misery by imagining themselves constructing Kyoto-like gardens. Also in 1951, Yun Ling actually worked as an apprentice to an exiled gardener of Emperor Hirohito.

Thirty-six years later and with little time left, Yun Ling dedicates herself to perfecting a memorial garden on that same inherited estate. Her garden activity is mirrored in her memoir activity, which records a traumatized mind undergoing a related restorative art.

In reworking the garden, Yun Ling discovers something she has needed even more than the secrets uncovered during her search for her sister’s body. She finds herself “being awakened to something higher, something timeless.”

Yes, “a garden is composed of a variety of clocks” since every plant “grew, flowered and died at its own rate.” Yet “there was also a feeling of timelessness wrapped around it.”

Timelessness vs. memory: “Memory is like patches of sunlight in an overcast valley, shifting with the movement of the clouds,” Yun Ling realizes. “Now and then the light will fall on a particular point in time, illuminating it a moment before the wind seals up the gap, and the world is in shadows again.”

Since memories are fleeting and webbed in time, then perhaps a memorial garden is a contradiction of terms — a misguided goal?

“I have always taken pride in my detachment, my objectivity, but now I wonder if these are merely attributes of a deadened heart,” Yun Ling eventually speculates. Starting with a desire to express a grief-laden state of mind through a garden, Yun Ling finds herself drifting toward a quite different state of mind engendered by the garden itself.

Tan Twan Eng’s The Garden of Evening Mists provides a rich exploration of Yun Ling’s recovered life in her mind and in her garden. It also offers rich garden-setting descriptions: “The heron flapped its wings once, twice, beating the stiffness out of them, the sounds echoing away into the trees. Droplets of water fell from the bird’s legs as it flew off, blooming into overlapping bracelets on the pond’s surface.”

The Garden of Evening Mists is a well-fashioned philosophical novel that rewards the reflective reader who appreciates characterization and insight more than plot. This book might even enrich your sense of the deep, mysterious correspondence between the art of gardening and our states of mind.

The distinctive crested petals of the crested floating heart plant.

The large root mass of a crested floating heart plant. (Photos courtesy of Leif Willey, University of Florida)

  Scientists recommend banishing dangerous aquatic weed from water gardens

Weed Science Society of America

If you are tempted to purchase a lovely specimen of crested floating heart (Nymphoides cristata) for your backyard water garden, you might want to reconsider. While this plant is marketed as an ornamental lily, experts from the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) say it can be a real nuisance if it escapes its intended home — impacting water supplies and hydropower production, disrupting natural ecosystems and impeding recreational activities such as boating, swimming and fishing.

Crested floating heart has highly invasive traits that are making it a major weed in Southeastern bodies of water. Despite intense control efforts, escaped plants have thrived in cypress swamps, lakes and water management canals across Florida since the late 1990s. By 2006 crested floating heart had made its way to South Carolina’s Lake Marion, a large body of water sometimes characterized as an inland sea. In just two years, a 20-acre infestation ballooned to more than 2,000 acres. The latest estimates suggest it now covers 6,000 acres of the lake’s surface.

“Despite the danger it represents, crested floating heart is still readily available online and through local garden stores,” says Ken Langeland, Ph.D., University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. “Until regulators address the problem by eliminating the source of supply, buyers are encouraged to beware.”

Crested floating heart was introduced to the U.S. from Asia. It grows quickly and forms dense canopies that float along the surface of a body of water.

Unfortunately crested floating heart is also easily spread. Small plant fragments can be transported by wind, flowing water, boats and trailers. In addition, clusters of miniature plants called “ramets” can easily break away from established colonies of the plant to spread and take root elsewhere.

To date, scientists have found little in their aquatic weed toolbox to be effective in the battle against crested floating heart. Despite the large mass of leaves floating on the water surface, foliar herbicides, including those that work effectively on other floating-leaf aquatic weeds, have had little success. Weed-eating sterile grass carp don’t like crested floating heart, and attempts at mechanical harvesting have actually spread the plant by breaking off small fragments. It has survived a lowering of water levels and even freezing temperatures.

In the absence of effective control measures, many communities have resorted to training volunteers to detect and report new infestations in the hope that the weed can be isolated and contained. They also caution water enthusiasts to clean boats and trailers carefully after navigating waters and shorelines that might be infested.

“It is clear that additional research is necessary to develop effective controls,” Langeland says. “In the meantime, it is important that each of us do our part to minimize the spread of crested floating heart. Buy native species for your water garden or those non-native species that have proven unlikely to become invaders. If you already have crested floating heart, remove it immediately and dispose of it far from any body of water.”

Additional Background on Crested Floating Heart and Its Relatives

Crested floating heart reproduces vegetatively from tubers, daughter plants, rhizomes and small fragments.

It features small white flowers that bloom from summer to fall.

Each flower has five petals with ruffled crests that resemble a rooster’s comb.

Heart-shaped leaves float on the water’s surface, supported by slender tuberous roots that are typically submerged in sediment.

The plant can grow in shallow drainage ditches and along shorelines, but also has been found to thrive in 10 feet or more of water.

Yellow floatingheart (Nymphoides peltata) and water snowflake (Nymphoides indica) are also known to be invaders.

Big floatingheart (Nyphoides aquatica) and little floatingheart (Nyphoides cordata) are native to North America.

For further information on crested floating heart and other invasive species, visit www.invasive.org.

Grant interviewed

Greg Grant, columnist for Texas Gardener magazine and author of several gardening books, was interviewed on KLRU's Central Texas Gardener. Watch the entire episode at http://www.klru.org/ctg/episode/date/1_26_2013/.

Gardening tips

"I have installed a rural-style mailbox at the corner of my garden," writes Elizabeth Guerra. "so I always have at hand what I need to do a quick job in the garden, without having to hike back to the garage to get my tools. Fill It with clippers, a bag for harvesting, ties for vines, gloves, etc. So handy!"

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...

You can cut your water use significantly by replacing your lawn with a patio surrounded by low-maintenance garden beds filled with native, water thrifty plants. By doing so, you will also reduce the expense and labor involved in weekly mowing.

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.


Rosenberg: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Wharton, and Waller Counties will host the 28th Annual Fort Bend County Vegetable Conference on Thursday, February 7, 2013, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., in Building “C” of the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds, 4310 Hwy. 36 South, Rosenberg. Attendees may receive up to five continuing education units (CEUs) for attending the full-day educational event. The conference presentations will include: “Soil Management to Combat Soil Borne Pathogens” by Steve Divers, “Multiple Approaches to IPM” by Dr. Michael Hare, “Pest and Disease Resistant Vegetable Varieties” by Dr. Joe Masabni, “Pesticide Laws and Regulations” by Dr. Don Renchie, “Product Marketing” by Francisco Abello, and “Safe Preparations for Spray Applications” by Joe Mask. Keynote Speaker will be Mike Dobrovolsky. Contact Brandy Rader at the Fort Bend County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Office at 281-342-3034 to request a registration form. Registration on or before Monday, January 28, is $20 per person and includes lunch. The charge for registration received at the door is $25 per person and cannot be guaranteed a lunch.

Humble: Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens and The Mercer Society (TMS) welcome Jimmy Turner Friday, February 8, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for a wine and cheese reception and visual tour of the Dallas Arboretum. Turner is an expert horticulturist who will detail the amazing plant collections at Dallas Arboretum and highlight a lot of new plants that grow well in warm climates. His presentation will also cover the Chihuly exhibit of art glass that was displayed throughout the gardens in 2012 as well as their annual pumpkin festival. Tickets for the evening reception are available for $18 (single) or $30 (couple) for TMS members, or $20 (single) or $35 (couple) for non-members. Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens is a Harris County Precinct 4 Parks facility located one mile north of FM 1960 at 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble. For reservations or for more information, call 281-443-8731 or visit www.hcp4.net/mercer.

Austin: Cher Groody, a master gardener with 30 years of experience in the use of roses in a landscape, will lead “Easy Rose Gardening,” from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, February 9, at Zilker Botanical Garden, Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Incorporate user friendly roses into your new or existing garden plans! Groody will teach methods for proper selection of rose varieties, site prep and maintenance like pruning, pest control and fertilization. This session is excellent for newbies and experienced gardeners, and questions are encouraged. This seminar is free; Zilker park entrance fee is $2 per adult, $1 per child or senior. The seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. www.tcmastergardeners.org. For information, call (512) 477-8672.

La Marque: Master Gardener Sam Scarcella will present “Minimize Tomato Stress Factors to Maximize Yields,” Saturday, February 9, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. A variety of stress factors can decrease tomato yields. An overview of stress factors and how to minimize them will be provided. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

La Marque: Master Gardener Mary Demeny will present “Kitchen Gardening,” Saturday, February 9, from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Presentation and discussion on vegetable gardening in your own backyard. Gardening on a smaller scale and making use of vegetables inter-planted in your flower beds and in pots will be emphasized. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Austin: Learn about plant propagation techniques Monday, February 11, from award-winning Master Gardener Tommie Clayton. She has taught hundreds of gardeners how to successfully start their own plants from seed as well as by taking cuttings from existing plants. 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. Don't forget to bring a few dollars for the raffle! For additional information, visit www.austinorganicgardeners.org.

Victoria: Victoria County Texas S&M AgriLife Extension Agent Peter McGuill will discuss "Landscape Tree Management," Monday, February 11, noon-1 p.m., at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St. The event is free, and those who desire to do so may bring a sack lunch and drink.

Diboll: With uncertainty looming over the economy and the tax code, forest landowners must stay abreast of new and changing regulations to ensure they’re not paying more than their fair share when tax time rolls around. They can do just that at the 2013 Texas Timber Income and Property Tax Workshop. Hosted annually by the Texas A&M Forest Service, the all-day tax workshop is designed to give landowners — as well as the professionals that prepare their taxes — a leg up when it comes to forest management planning. The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, February 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lottie and Arthur Temple Civic Center, 601 Dennis St., Diboll. Registration is $70 and includes a workbook, lunch and refreshments. Topics will focus on federal timber income tax issues for private forest landowners with a refresher on local timberland property tax incentives. Landowners also will learn how to recoup losses from drought, wildfire and other disasters. The workshop is designed for forest landowners, consulting foresters, accountants and attorneys, as well as anyone who works with forest landowners in matters relating to timber taxes. For more information or to register, visit http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/timbertaxworkshop. Or, contact Dawn Ferguson at 979-458-6630 or dferguson@tfs.tamu.edu.

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, February 13, 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/mercerr.

Nacogdoches: Dr. Mengmeng Gu, Assistant Professor and Extension Ornamental Horticulturist at Texas A&M University, will present “Urban Landscape Philosophy and Strategies in China” at the Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series hosted by SFA Gardens. The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 14, in Room 110 of the Agriculture Building located on Wilson Drive on the SFA campus. Mengmeng Gu earned her bachelors degree in Landscape Horticulture and master’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Beijing Forestry University. She received her Ph.D. in Plant Science/Horticulture from the University of Arkansas. From 2006-2011, Dr. Gu served as Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at Mississippi State University and in January of 2012, Dr. Gu became Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at Texas A&M University. She is also a member of the Graduate Faculty of Texas A&M University. Dr. Gu’s specializations are ornamental horticulture, landscaping, plant stress physiology, and sustainable agriculture. The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is normally held the third Thursday of each month at the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture’s SFA Mast Arboretum. A rare plant raffle will be held after the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series endowed fund are always appreciated. For more information, call (936) 468-1832 or e-mail grantdamon@sfasu.edu.

San Antonio: Rick the Beekeeper shares frugal alternatives to mainstream beekeeping with the Herb Society, Thursday, February 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels. Learn from people who know the most about herb gardening, cooking, sniffing, crafting and infusing...anything and everything is herbal for this meeting! For more information, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org. Free and open to the public.

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.

Austin: The Austin Rose Society is presenting a rose workshop from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. February 16, at the Zilker Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs, Austin. Lunch is included with the $25 membership. Register online at www.AustinRoseSociety.org.

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.

Hempstead: Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation will be open for garden tours and plant sales February 16, 17, March 16, 17, April 6, 7 and May 11, 12. Garden Tours are $10 per person, and are scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m. each day. Students over 12 are admitted free with student ID. Due to the nature of the garden, no children under 12 will be permitted unless carried by an adult. Please check the website for cancellation notices due to inclement weather. Garden-grown plants, many of which are not commonly available from local nurseries, will be on sale during open weekends. The Plant Sale runs from noon to 5 p.m. Located just south of the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead on the west side of Hwy 359, and just north of FM 334, the garden is easy to access from Hwy 290 or I-10. Further information about Peckerwood Garden may be found at www.peckerwoodgarden.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/peckerwoodgarden.

La Marque: Master Gardener Elayne Kouzounis will present “Hummingbirds…The Fluttering Jewels in our Garden,” Saturday, February 16, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Elayne is an avid hummingbird enthusiast who has attended the Rockport Hummingbird Festival many times. She will present and discuss everything hummingbird. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

La Marque: Master Gardeners Stewart McAdoo and Robert Marshall will present “Honey Bees Around the Garden,” Saturday, February 16, 1 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. A presentation and discussion on the history, types, social life and hive structure of honey bees. Included will be an overview of residential honey bee keeping. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

Pasadena: Heidi Sheesley, Treesearch Farms, will present a preview of the plants available at the Harris County Master Gardeners Fruit, Citrus, Grapes & Berries Sale, 8 a.m., Saturday, February 16, at Campbell Hall, Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Red Bluff Road, Pasadena. The plant sale follows at 9 a.m. and continues until 1 p.m..

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.

Houston: Tour the working and demonstration gardens maintained by the Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2, Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston, from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m., Monday, February 18. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions. A program on Tomatoes & Peppers will be offered from 9:30 - 10:30 am. Free and open to the public, children welcome.

San Antonio: "Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose" will be presented on Tuesday, February 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr., Ste 208, San Antonio. Pruning, deadheading, watering, fertilizing and grooming are important steps to help you maintain beautiful roses in your garden. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Horticulturist David Rodriguez and Master Gardener/Rosarian Ed Bradley will talk about the particulars of rose care. This event is open to the public, and the registration fee of $10 may be paid at the door. To register, call Angel Torres at 210-467-6575 or visit www.bexar-tx.tamu.edu/.

Seabrook: Dennis Jones of Texas Parks and Wildlife will speak about the Historical "count" of Texas Prairies and Native grasses at 10 a.m., Wednesday, February 20, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. Free and open to the public.

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their Vegetable-Herb Sale on Saturday, February 23, in front of the greenhouse behind the Agriculture Center, 1402 Band Road, Rosenberg. There will be a presentation about the vegetables and herbs to be sold on the morning of the sale from 8-8:45 a.m. in the Bud O'Shieles Community Center, 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and will run until noon or until sold out. Visit www.fbmg.com for a list of vegetables and herbs that will be available at the sale.

Wichita Falls: T Wichita County Master Gardeners will present "Three Steves and a Jack!" Saturday, February 23, at the 2013 Arts Alive! Home and Garden Show at the Wichita Falls Multi Purpose Events Center, 1000 5th Street, Wichita Falls. Speakers this year are Jack Murphy, Director of Parks and Recreations for the City of Wichita Falls; Steve Houser, Dallas County Master Gardener; Steve Huddleston, Senior Horticulturist at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens; and Steve Chaney, Tarrant Co. Horticulture Agent, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Visit www.txmg.org/wichita for times and details.

Seabrook: From 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., Wednesday, February 27, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook, Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 will host a Preview of Plants available at their March 9, Perennial and Tomato & Pepper Sale. Heidi Sheesley, Treesearch Farms, will lead the presentation.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.

Linden: The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the senior citizens building at 507 S Kaufman St. in Linden at 6:30. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Karen Tromza at khtromza@yahoo.com.

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 Thursday 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.

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