April 17, 2013

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Spring-blooming wildflowers at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. (Photo by Michael Bracken)
Intermittent rains benefit Texas’ late spring, summer wildflower blooms

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Some generous rain showers throughout the spring bode well for wildflowers that bloom in Texas from late April on, according to the senior botanist at The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

“Look for the wildflower season to improve as we get deeper into spring and into the early summer, when wildflowers that need less rainfall traditionally reach their peak,” said Damon Waitt, who also is the center’s senior director.

Cool temperatures have also encouraged Texas bluebonnets, blackfoot daisies and other early bloomers to stick around longer in locations where there was enough fall rain for them to flower. In other areas, the cool weather delayed the peak of some blooms.

“We’re just getting into a great show of bluebonnets at the Wildflower Center,” Waitt said, “and the same is true for some other public viewing spots, so it’s worth getting out to enjoy early spring sightings.”

Among the good viewing options are: bluebonnet patches along roadways near Brenham, Texas. Other Washington County sightings include many coreopsis along Highway 290 East near Hempstead and winecups and other wildflowers where that highway intersects with FM 1488.

Blankets of bluebonnets and a few Indian paintbrush have been spotted along FM 1431 between Marble Falls and Lago Vista. Dallasites haven’t had many great shows of bluebonnets, but other wildflowers there include masses of ground plum and fringed puccoon seen in Norbuck Park. Bluebonnets have been seen along Highway 290 into Houston and along Highway 59 north of FM 1960. And in Austin, good stands of pink evening primrose and Texas bluebonnets have been seen along MoPac (Loop 1) and other highways.

Generally, Waitt’s prediction that early spring bloomers wouldn’t have a banner year along roadways has held true, but a silver lining has been fewer displays of non-native, invasive plants such as bastard cabbage. “The same conditions that have given us a moderate wildflower season so far are giving us a milder season of bastard cabbage and other invasive plants,” Waitt noted. He added that that can make it easier to address plants that compete with native ones for resources such as this Eurasian/North African mustard plant with small, highlighter-yellow colored flowers.

“If you recognize it in an area that you have permission to enter and can safely do so, pull it out, bag it and dispose of it before it goes to seed,” he advised.

Waitt also recommended traveling side roads for the best shows of truly native wildflowers, as their right of ways are less likely to be disturbed. Non-native invasive plants like bastard cabbage tend to pop up in areas of disturbed soils, such as where construction has occurred.

To learn more about removing invasive bastard cabbage and a TXDOT contact for “pulling parties,” visit: http://www.wildflower.org/howto/show.php?id=48&frontpage=true. To determine whether a plant in your yard is an invasive one, visit this website the Wildflower Center developed: http://www.texasinvasives.org/invasives_database/. To find options for purchasing seeds to sow of mid- to late summer bloomers or potted native plants, visit: http://www.wildflower.org/suppliers/.

To view wildflowers at the center before visiting, go to: http://www.wildflower.org/bbcam. For general public sightings, go to sites such as: http://www.wildflowerhaven.com and http://lnstar.com/wildflowers/index.html, or contact the Texas Department of Transportation at 1-800-452-9292.

Cucumber. (Photo courtesy Melinda Myers, LLC)
Maximize your harvest this season despite limited time, space and energy

By Melinda Myers
Gardening expert, TV/radio host & columnist

Increase your garden’s productivity even when space, time and energy are limited. It’s simple and effective.

Maximize your planting space with wide rows. Leave just enough room for plants to reach their maximum size. Make wide rows, 4 to 5 feet wide, so you can reach all plants for maintenance and harvest. Minimizing walkways means more planting space.

Try interplanting. Grow short season crops like lettuce and radishes between long season crops like cabbage, tomatoes and peppers. The short season crops will be ready to harvest when the long season crops are reaching mature size. You’ll double your harvest and grow more vegetables, not weeds between your longer season plants.

Grow more plants per row with succession planting. Start the season with cool season vegetables like lettuce and spinach. Once these are harvested and temperatures warm replace with beans and onions. Harvest these and plant a fall crop of radishes or lettuce.

When you use these intensive planting techniques, be sure to incorporate a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer at the start of the season. Then add a mid-season nutrient boost if needed. The slow release nitrogen won’t burn even during the hot dry weather of summer. Plus, it won’t interfere with flowering or fruiting.

Go vertical. Train vine crops up decorative or functional trellises and supports. You’ll not only save space, but you will also reduce disease problems and increase the harvest. Growing cucumbers and melons increase light penetration and air flow, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Pole beans are much easier to harvest and produce an additional picking. Secure large fruited vegetables like melons to the trellis with a cloth sling.

Be sure to plant vegetables in containers if in-ground space is limited. A 5-gallon bucket or comparable size container is perfect for a tomato. Peppers and eggplants will thrive in a bit smaller pot. Grow vine crops in containers and allow them to crawl over the deck or patio instead of valuable gardening space. Mix flowers and herbs in with your vegetables. You’ll increase the beauty while adding additional fragrance to the pot.

Harvest often and at the proper time. Zucchini and other summer squash should be picked when 6 to 8 inches long or in the case of patty pan squash it reaches 3 inches in diameter. The flavor is better than those baseball bat size zucchini and you’ll have plenty to eat and share. Harvest your head of cabbage when firm and full size. Leave the bottom leaves and roots intact. Soon you will have 4 or 5 smaller heads to harvest and enjoy.

With a bit of planning and creativity you can find ways to increase the enjoyment and harvest in any size garden.

Nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written more 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on nearly 100 TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Melinda has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticulture instructor with tenure. Learn more at www.melindamyers.com.

The importance of early response to invasive weeds

Weed Science Society of America

Over the past decade, dozens of “early detection, rapid response” initiatives have been launched by states to keep invasive species from devastating natural habitats and damaging our economy. Many of these programs use mobile apps and online databases to revolutionize how we collect data on harmful invaders — making it easier to map infestations and to share information broadly.

But scientists with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) say one part of the equation is missing: We often fail to take prompt, effective action based on what we learn, despite the advantages of early intervention. Studies show that small, newly established invasive weed populations can expand at rates of up to 60 percent per year. As the size of the infestation increases, the cost of control soars while the probability of successful management plummets.

“Early detection creates opportunities for us to make smart decisions and eradicate new invasive weeds before they spread widely and become entrenched,” says John Jachetta, Ph.D., chair of the Indiana Invasive Species Council and a member of the WSSA Science Policy Committee. “In those early stages, control efforts are typically easier, more successful and far more cost effective.”

Unfortunately there are many examples of a known infestation unfolding without early intervention. One of those involves common crupina (Crupina vulgaris), a noxious weed in the sunflower family that can ruin valuable pastures and prairies.

A native of Europe, common crupina was first discovered in the U.S. in Idaho in 1969. But there were no concerted efforts to destroy that small initial infestation. A decade later, the weed covered many thousands of acres and had earned a Federal Noxious Weed designation. Only then did research get underway to explore the possibility of eradicating the plant.

It took years, though, to complete a study, and years more to convene a task force to review the study results. By then common crupina had spread well beyond Idaho into other neighboring states — making true eradication a very costly, time consuming and unlikely proposition.

There are also examples, though, of a more effective approach. Some states and municipalities have launched action-oriented “early detection, rapid response” programs that are producing impressive results.

In California, early detection and early response prevented a potential environmental disaster triggered by “killer algae” (Caulerpa taxifolia). A native of Europe, killer algae is a prolific producer of a chemical that is toxic to fish and other organisms. It also is easily spread since small pieces of the plant can break free and grow into new colonies. Once the algae is well established, eradication is almost impossible.

In 2000, a small infestation of killer algae was discovered in a lagoon in San Diego County. Soon after, a second infestation was discovered in a nearby harbor in Orange County. Knowing the potential damage killer algae represented to fishing and recreation, multiple agencies at the local, state and federal level sprang into action and coordinated a response.

Black plastic tarps and chlorine were used to kill the algae at both sites. In addition, recreational divers were trained to spot the weed and to sound an early alarm if there were new outbreaks. As a result, what could have become a very costly problem appears to have been quickly and successfully resolved.

“We’ve long understood the value of an early response to diseases impacting human health,” Jachetta said. “It’s time to bring that same sense of urgency to our natural environment and to take prompt, effective action to stop harmful invasive weeds.”

Early Detection, Ready Response: Seven Critical Steps

An effective program for “early detection, rapid response” will incorporate these seven important steps.

  • Identify. Both scientists and lay people are taught to identify problem plants.
  • Report. Online tools make it easy to submit information on a sighting.
  • Verify. Scientists validate reports of suspected invasive species.
  • Review. Data is used to keep tabs on the geography of an infestation — where the invasive weed has been spotted and how quickly it is spreading.
  • Assess. Experts evaluate the risk of the infestation to natural ecosystems, crops and the economy.
  • Establish a plan. An integrated plan is developed for managing the infestation.
  • Rapidly respond. The plan is quickly implemented and there is ongoing monitoring to gauge the effectiveness of control efforts.

Taylor earns Tree City USA designation

Texas T&M Forest Service

A Williamson County community recently affirmed its commitment to tree care and urban forestry by completing the steps to become a “Tree City USA.”

The designation, presented by the Arbor Day Foundation and Texas A&M Forest Service, is designed to bring recognition and assistance to community forestry programs. To earn the title, cities must create a tree board or department, implement a tree care ordinance, support a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and observe Arbor Day with a proclamation.

“We are very excited to join more than 3,400 communities nationwide as a Tree City USA by demonstrating our commitment to preservation, urban forestry and the environment as a whole,” said Taylor Recreation Superintendent Mike DeVito.

Taylor is one of 77 communities in Texas to receive the honor.

“Taylor joins the ranks of Texas communities committed to managing and enhancing their urban forest,” said Gretchen Riley, Tree City USA program coordinator with Texas A&M Forest Service. “Texans value their trees not just for aesthetic reasons, but for the significant environmental and economic benefits trees provide to residents.”

For more information about the Tree City USA program, visit www.arborday.org, http://tfsweb.tamu.edu or contact your regional urban forester.


Gardening tips

If you were lucky enough that a late freeze didn’t ruin your peach crop, now is the time to remove part of the crop so the remaining fruit can develop into high quality “peaches.” Peach trees set 10 times more fruit that they can support. It is best to space the remaining fruit 4 to 6 inches apart.

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 2013 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did you know...

All Heirloom plant varieties are open pollinated but not all open-pollinated varieties are heirlooms. Heirlooms are old varieties that have been passed down for generations. Open-pollinated varieties are propagated by open pollination within each specific variety as opposed to hybrid varieties which are developed by cross pollination between different varieties.

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.


Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host the next installment of the Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in the Agriculture Building, Room 110, located at 1924 Wilson Drive. Dr. Leonardi Lombardini, a Texas A&M University horticulturist, will present “Italian Gardens through Time: from Rome to the Renaissance and Beyond.” Lombardini received his Laurea degree (equivalent to bachelor’s and master’s degrees) in forestry from the Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy, in 1993, and his Ph.D. in horticulture from Michigan State University in 1999. He held a post-doctoral position at the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center at Washington State University and joined the faculty of the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M as horticulturist/pecan physiologist in 2002. Lombardini’s research focus is plant physiology, especially concerning gas exchange and environmental stress, with a particular emphasis on pecans. In addition, he is interested in investigating the nutritional aspects of pecans and their properties in relation to human health. The Theresa and Les Reeves Garden 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 email ggrantgardens@yahoo.com.

San Antonio: Bexar County Master Gardeners will meet Thursday, April 18, 1-3 p.m., at 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, Suite 208, San Antonio. Andrea Sanger, Co-owner of Hill Country Gardens Nursery in New Braunfels, will talk about native and adapted plants which have a better chance of surviving the drought; and raffle items will be plants from Hill Country Gardens Nursery. This meeting is open to the public, with no charge for admission. For more information, contact Lisa Nixon at 210-364-7844 or lisa.nixon@bexarcountymastergardeners.org.

Seguin: Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will meet Thursday, April 18, starting at 7 p.m., in the AgriLife Building, 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. Ms. Liz Palfini, a staff member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, will be the featured speaker. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call 830-303-3889.

Austin: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department present the 7th annual East Austin Garden Fair: Get Up, Get Green! Saturday, April 20, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Zaragoza Park, 2608 Gonzalez St., Austin Free and open to the public, this fun, hands-on fair educates community members in creative, low-cost ways to grow food and ornamentals, improve their family diet, and green their homes! Get expert advice from Master Gardeners on all aspects of gardening and composting, as well as backyard chicken and beekeeping. The fair will feature an assortment of DIY and demonstration activities, including garden planning, kids’ crafts, food pickling 101, produce tastings, SNAP enrollment (and how to double benefits at farmers markets), theatrical skits, cooking demonstrations, and free plants offered to participants. Free mini-classes will also be held inside the Zaragoza community center throughout the day. Materials available in English and Spanish. For information, call (512) 854-9600.

Copperas Cove: Saturday, April 20, the Copperas Cove Farmer's Market opens. Hours are from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays and from 3 to 6 p.m. on Mondays. The farmer's Market is held in front of the Copperas Cove VFW located at 1506 Veteran's Avenue, Copperas Cove. Growers will have plants to sell along with produce and farm eggs.

Dallas: The Collin County Master Gardener Association will hold  its 10th Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Select from old favorites, new varieties, and hard to find plants, including drought tolerant perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, and Earth-Kind roses. These beautiful plants are Texas-tough, water-conserving, insect and disease resistant, and are highly recommended by Texas A&M and Collin County Master Gardeners for our area. Purchase these proven performers by cash or check or credit card (Visa or MC only). Bringing your own cart or wagon is encouraged. Collin County Master Gardener volunteers with decades of collective experience will be on hand to offer timely tips and design ideas to help everyone plan, and plant with confidence and success. Enjoy free demonstrations on designing and planting containers, backyard composting, and more! Children ages 5 and up can participate in environmentally friendly activities throughout the day. The Plant Sale will be held indoors in the pavilion at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center in Dallas, 17360 Coit Road, between Campbell Road and George Bush Tollway. To find out more about the plant sale, view an updated plant list, visit www.ccmgatx.org, or call the Collin County Master Gardeners by contacting the Collin County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office at 1-972-548-4219 or 1-972-548-4232.

Dallas: Enjoy a selection of native and adapted plants that attract butterflies and other wildlife at the Butterfly Plant Sale from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., April 20 and 21 at The Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. Members get to shop early, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., April 19. Members also receive a 10 percent discount. Learn more about the sale and see the guided Plant Sales Safaris at http://texasdiscoverygardens.org.

La Marque: Galveston County Master gardener Ken Steblein will present “The ABCs of Home Composting” from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 20, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. This program will provide practical information for converting yard, Garden and kitchen waste into compost. Compost is that magical soil amendment that is a soil conditioner, fertilizer and key ingredient in organic gardening. For course reservations or additional information, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

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.

Dallas: Rain Water Harvesting-Rain Barrel “Saving from a Rainy Day” will be presented April 22, June 25, August 6 and September 19, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. This program covers the basics and benefits of rainwater harvesting and the effects stormwater has on the environment.  Participants will learn how to collect and utilize rainwater at home and have the opportunity to construct their very own 55 gallon rain barrel. For more information and to register, visit http://dallas.tamu.edu or email urbanwater@tamu.edu.

Dallas: An Earth Day Symposium will be held April 22 at 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. 101 Landscape Basics 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. This program teaches the steps to creating and installing a sustainable landscape or garden. You will learn proper soil preparation, native and adaptive plant selection, and how to design and plan a small or large project. Plant list provided. 110 The Edible Front Yard 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. This program shows you how to incorporate edible plants into your home garden and landscape. You will learn how herbs, fruits and vegetables can add to the colors and textures of your permanent landscape combining both aesthetics’ and functionality. 107 Rainwater Harvesting-Saving from a raining day 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. This program covers the basics and benefits of rainwater harvesting and the effects stormwater has on the environment. Participants will learn how to collect and utilize rainwater at home and have the opportunity to construct their very own 55 gallon rain barrel. 109 Rain Gardens 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. This program teaches businesses and homeowners how to design, construct, and maintain a rain garden. A rain garden is a shallow depression in the landscape that collects rainwater. With proper plant selection and design a rain garden will retain and treat rain water. Plant list provided. For more information and to register, visit http://dallas.tamu.edu or email urbanwater@tamu.edu.

Humble: Native Plant Garden Renovation Grand Opening at the at the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 22, Be part of this special Earth Day celebration that includes an official ribbon-cutting and tours of the enhanced native plant and endanged species garden. For additional information, call 281-443-8731 or visit www.hcp4.net/mercer.

Houston: HUG’s Houston Urban Farmers will meet Monday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. in the Rose Room at the Houston Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Park, Houston. Kassy Rodriguez will talk about Plant it Forward, a program for refugees to make a living growing and selling food in Houston. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.houstonurbangardeners.org/2013/03/hug-urban-farmers-mon-apr-22/ or call 713-528-1104.

Bryan: “Inspired Adventures in Rose Breeding — the History and Future of Rose Breeding at Texas A&M” will be presented by Dr. David Byrne, Professor & Basye Endowed Chair in Rose Genetics Tuesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Dr., Room 102, Bryan. Dr. Byrne’s talk will cover the history and current research of the rose breeding program at Texas A&M University starting with Dr. Robert Basye's contribution and including the recent donation of the Ralph Moore varieties with the steps in breeding a rose. For additional information, visit brazosmg.com, call 979-823-0129 or email brazosmg@brazosmg.com.

San Antonio: The next Backyard Gardening Series presentation, "Growing a Lawn and Saving Water," will be Tuesday, April 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulturist David Rodriguez will provide lawn care tips, water conservation practices, and green living ways to conserve and reduce environmental impact. This event is open to the public and will be held at 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, Suite 208, San Antonio. Registration fee of $10 may be paid at the door. For more information and to RSVP, contact Angel Torres at 210-467-6575 or matorres@ag.tamu.edu.

Houston: Thomas Adams, Botanist at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Brazoria County and one of the best speakers on native plants, will speak about many of the native plants on the Official 9 Natives Spreadsheet. For those interested in participating in the 9 Natives Challenge, Thomas' talk will help you choose your 9 natives! Thomas, a gardener himself, has grown many native plants in his own garden from either seeds collected or plants rescued, so he will be giving invaluable tips from personal experience with these plants. Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 p.m. for refreshments; 7 p.m. meeting starts at Bayland Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet, Houston. Free and open to the public. For additional information, visit http://prairiepartner.org/group/hnpat/page/upcoming-meetings/edit.

Killeen: The Killeen Farmer's Market will open with a "grand opening" on Thursday, April 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The regular market operating hours are Tuesday and Friday from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. beginning April 26. The market is located at 2nd and Green Avenue in the Green Avenue Pavilion. Growers will have plants for sale along with produce and farm eggs.

Conroe: Montgomery County Master Gardeners will present an Aquaponics System Design & Operation Workshop on Saturday, April 27, at the Thomas LeRoy Education Center. Aquaponics is the growing of plants in a symbiotic relationship with fish. Learn everything needed to set up and maintain your own system; by attending you will also have the opportunity to win a system. Registration is $50, due by April 19. Lunch provided. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. For the registration form and more information, visit www.mcmga.com or call 936-539-7824.

Southlake: The Perennial Garden Society will present the 2013 Southlake Garden Tour on April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour not only showcases six beautiful gardens in Southlake but will also provide education to the community by highlighting subjects of interest to gardeners and homeowners alike. Exhibits will be staffed with experts on water conservation, pond management, square foot vegetable gardening, tree selection and care in addition to mosquito control and prevention — a very timely topic given the events of this past summer. Tarrant County Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions in each garden. Advanced tickets are only $8 and will be available at area Calloway's, Marshall Grain in Grapevine, and the North Richland Hills Farmers Market starting April 10. Tickets sold the day of the tour are $10 at any of the gardens. Visit www.southlakegardentour.org for garden locations or call 817 488-6689 for more information.

Ft. Worth: Learn to make a hypertufa pot and take one home at the Tarrant County Master Gardener Association (TCMGA) class, Tuesday, April 30, 10 a.m.-noon. The class will be at the TCMGA Community Demonstration Garden pavilion, 1800 Circle Drive, at the Fort Worth Resource Connection. The Resource Connection is located off Campus Dr, north from I-20. Look for the Resource Connection signs on Campus Drive. Cost of the class is $20 and limited to 20. Advance registration is required. To register and for more information/directions, contact Billie Hammack at blhammack@ag.tamu.edu or call 817-884-1296.

La Marque: Master Gardener Tim Jahnke will present “Rainwater Harvesting” from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 30, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Jahnke will discuss and show ways humans have collected the precious resource of rainwater for more than 500 years and will include information on current applications for today's gardener. For course reservations or additional information, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.


La Marque: “Herbs for the Gulf Coast” will be presented from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., Saturday, May 4, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. This program is presented by Galveston County Master Gardener Cindy Croft. Cindy’s program on herbs discusses herbs that work well for the Gulf Coast Garden including growing tips, lore, propagation and uses. The audience is encouraged to share their experiences and participate in the discussion. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.

McKinney: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Collin County Master Gardeners Association will conduct a guided walking tour of beautiful Myers Park and Event Center in McKinney on Saturday, May 4. The 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. tour will feature the Earth-Kind Perennial Research and Demonstration Gardens, Crape Myrtle, Kordes Rose, and Vegetable trial gardens. One of the largest rain gardens in Collin County, and the state of the art rainwater harvesting systems will also be on display. The purpose of the research and demonstration gardens is to put Earth-Kind principles to the test. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Collin County Master Gardeners are evaluating these plants without the use of fertilizer or pesticides, and with limited supplemental irrigation. They are collecting data on plant performance to identify low maintenance, superior plants for North Texas landscapes. This exciting tour will provide gardeners a first-hand opportunity to see which plants grow well in our area and knowledge they need to have successful gardening experiences at their own homes. Tour guides will be available at all the demonstration and research gardens to provide visitors with information and to answer questions. Myers Park is beautiful! Pack a snack, and after the tour take some time to enjoy a picnic, or stroll among the gardens, enjoying butterflies in the beautiful outdoor space. Myers Park is located at 7117 County Road 166, McKinney. The tour is free and children are welcome. Call 972-548-4232 or visit ccmgatx.org for more information.

Dallas: "Gardening for Small Spaces" will be presented from 9 a.m. until noon, May 11 at The Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. See how easy it is to grow a vegetable garden or add some seasonal color to your balcony or patio, Learn sustainable gardening in a small space, including how to make a compost bin with worms. Take home a finished container and vermicompost bin. $60; $48 for TDG members. Register in advance at http://texasdiscoverygardens.org or 214-428-7476, ext 341.

Denton County: “Living Green with Style” is the theme of the Denton County Master Gardener Association’s 2013 Spring Garden Tour, which will be from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. Seven gardens, both public and private, are on this year’s fund-raising tour, including two in Southlake, two in Flower Mound and one each in Highland Village, Lewisville and Carrollton. Garden Tour tickets are $10 in advance and may be purchased online at www.dcmga.com. On the day of the tour, tickets are $12 for admission to all gardens or $5 for a single garden. Children under 14 do not require a ticket. Local nurseries will provide door prizes for the event. The Spring Garden Tour will be held rain or shine. Cameras are welcome. Proceeds from the tour fund public educational projects and programs throughout Denton County.

La Marque: The Galveston County Home Fruit Grower’s Tour will be held from 9 a.m. until noon, Saturday, May 11. Three Galveston County fruit orchards are on this year’s tour. Vegetable gardens at each site will also be open. Tour sites contain a wide variety of fruit trees ranging from a large peach orchard in Dickerson, the Galveston County Master Gardeners Demonstration Orchard in La Marque and a sizeable Master Gardeners home orchard in Santa Fe. No pre-registration needed. Visit sites in any desired order. There is no rescheduling of this event due to inclement weather. Wear appropriate shoes and necessary attire. Tour sites: Wilson and Renee Hillman’s Fruits ’N Such orchard, 6309 Ave U, Dickinson (located off Bowerman Road and FM 517). 832-443-6733; Galveston County Master Gardener Demonstration Orchard and Garden, 4102 B Main Street, Carbide Park, La Marque; and Galveston County Master Gardener Bill Verm’s home and backyard, 5202 Highland Road, Santa Fe. Additional information and maps will be posted on the following web sites: http://galveston.agrilife.org/ and http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.htm.

New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners and New Braunfels Conservation Society will host "Celebrating with Herbs," an herb festival with free admission, displays of herbal decorations, gift ideas, food samples, and many vendors, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., May 11, at Conservation Plaza, 1300 Church Hill Dr., New Braunfels. For additional information, call 830-832-9699 or visit newbraunfelsconservation.org.

Rockwall County: The 10th Annual Tour of Gardens, the premier educational event of the Rockwall County Master Gardener Association, is scheduled for May 18 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. In celebration of the 10th Anniversary, this year’s Tour of Gardens will include visits to favorite gardens from past tours. Tickets went on sale April 1. Cost is $8 in advance and $10 on the day of the tour. Details and ticket locations will be posted on rockmga.org as they become available, or call 972-204-7660 for more information!

Dallas: “Drip Irrigation DIY” will be presented May 14, 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. This program teaches how to install a drip irrigation system from your faucet or how to convert an existing system to drip. Drip irrigation is the most efficient irrigation method and essential to sustainable landscapes. Drip irrigation for foundation watering will also be covered. For more information and to register, visit http://dallas.tamu.edu or email urbanwater@tamu.edu.

Dallas: “Container Gardening” will be presented May 16, 10 a.m. until noon. & 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. This program teaches how to prepare and install a container garden. You will learn how to prepare the container, prepare the soil, and install a well-planned mix of annuals, perennials, and other colorful foliage plants. For more information and to register, visit http://dallas.tamu.edu or email urbanwater@tamu.edu.

Dallas: "Edible Wild Plants" will be presented from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., May 18 at The Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. Many of our local plants, especially common weeds, are extremely nutritious! Director of Horticulture Roger Sanderson explains which are tasty and which are not. Sample some of the native fare at the end of the workshop. $20; $15 for TDG members. Register in advance at http://texasdiscoverygardens.org or 214-428-7476, ext 341.

Dallas: “Composting” will be presented May 28, 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. & October 10, 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. This program teaches the composting process, the different types and methods of composting, as well as how to compost and its importance. Adding compost to your garden, landscape, and/or container garden improves your soils nutrition, moisture retention, and aeration. For more information and to register, visit http://dallas.tamu.edu or email urbanwater@tamu.edu.


Dallas: “Vegetable Garden-Fall” will be presented September 4, 10 a.m. until noon, at 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. This program teaches homeowners the proper time to germinate fall vegetable seeds and/or when to transplant fall vegetables into their vegetable garden. It also teaches proper soil preparation, insect and disease and weed control. For more information and to register, visit http://dallas.tamu.edu or email urbanwater@tamu.edu.


Dallas: “Trees for North Texas” will be presented October 8, 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. at 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. This program teaches proper tree selection and planting for North Texas. Selecting the right tree and planting it properly helps improve the sustainability of your home or business landscape. Tree list provided. For more information and to register, visit http://dallas.tamu.edu or email urbanwater@tamu.edu.

Houston/Ft. Worth: A total of 10 Texas gardeners will share their private gardens with the public in 2013 through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program, America’s only national private garden-visiting program. Open Days in Texas take place on the following dates. Sunday, October 13: Visit four private gardens open in Fort Worth, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Features include a country estate with formal spaces and an organic orchard, an urban garden using earth-friendly methods and native plants, sculptural pieces and unusual container plantings, and a cottage garden focused around a fountain and large planting beds. Each of these Open Days Program dates is self-guided and no reservations are required. A $5 admission fee collected at each garden supports the national preservation work of the Garden Conservancy. The Open Days program features hundreds of magnificent spaces not normally open to the public. From April through October, garden hosts across the country welcome the opportunity to learn and exchange gardening ideas, and give the public access to explore and enjoy their private gardens. For a complete list of the more than 300 private gardens participating in eighteen states, visit the Garden Conservancy and its Open Days program online at www.opendaysprogram.org or call toll-free weekdays, 1-888-842-2442. The 2013 Open Days Directory ($21.95 including shipping and handling) is the only comprehensive source for details on the 2013 season. The Directory provides descriptions, visiting dates and hours, and driving directions to each private garden. The Directory also includes one free admission ticket to any private garden participating in the program, a $5 value. To purchase a Directory or to join the Garden Conservancy as a member and receive a free copy, call 1-888-842-2442 or visit www.opendaysprogram.org.



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.

New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners meet at 6 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month (except December) at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. An educational program preceeds the business meeting. The public is invited to attend. For additional information, call 830-620-3440 or visit http://txmg.org/comal/.

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 hold their monthly meeting at noon on the first Thursday of each month at 623 Fair Street, Gonzales. Bring a bag lunch, drinks provided. Contact AgriLife Extension Office at 830-672-8531 or visit http://gonzalesmastergardeners.org 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, August and December at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Marion. Directions to St. John’s Lutheran Church: From FM 78 turn south onto FM 465 and the church is just past the Marion School on the right. From IH 10 go north on FM 465 towards Marion. The Church will be on the left, just before you get to town. 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.

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.

Woodway: The McLennan County Master Gardeners meet on the second Wednesday each month at noon at the Carleen Bright Arboretum, 9001 Bosque Blvd., Woodway. Educational programs follow the business session. For more information, call 254-757-5180.

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.

Corpus Christi: The Nueces Master Gardeners meet at noon the third Tuesday of each month, except December, at Garden Senior Center, 5325 Greely Dr., Corpus Christi. An educational program precedes the business meeting. For further information call 361 767-5217.

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.org.

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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