April 24, 2013

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Hardy landscaping plants such as holly, yucca and agave fared well after more than two months of being irrigated by different types of gray water, including gray water containing a bleach component. (Photo courtesy Texas A&M AgriLife Research)
Research on gray water use for home irrigation getting positive initial results

By Paul Schattenberg
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Inside a greenhouse on the grounds of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service Center in Uvalde, Dr. Raul Cabrera recently inspected several groups of ornamental plants for signs of damage or distress.

“This is the first component of our practical gray-water investigation,” explained Cabrera, who along with colleagues from the Uvalde center and the Texas Center for Applied Technology started research in late 2012 to confirm the potential use of gray water for home landscape irrigation.

Gray water, explained Cabrera, is basically the soapy water that remains after tap water has been run through a washing machine or used in a bathtub, bathroom sink or shower and does not contain serious contaminants.

“We wanted to find out whether or not using gray water to irrigate home landscapes would be a practical thing to do based on its effects on various ornamental plants,” he said. “So we set up an experiment to irrigate various ornamental plants using different types of gray water.”

To perform his research, Cabrera set up sections within the greenhouse where he placed multiple pots or containers of about a dozen different ornamental plants — ranging from herbaceous and flowering plants such as Mexican heather, Asiatic jasmine, lantana and dianthus, to hardy native and adaptive ornamentals such as yucca, agave, oleander and yaupon holly. The plants are irrigated through a network of PVC and plastic tubing from 55-gallon plastic containers that water different sets of each plant species with tap water and three varying degrees of gray water.

“You don’t usually see a washing machine in a greenhouse, but we had one installed so we could run loads with detergent alone, then loads with detergent and fabric softener, then a load with bleach,” he said. “This way, we could produce and use different types of gray water and see how it might affect the growth and aesthetics of different ornamentals, particularly since there would be different chemicals in the water, depending on the detergents and cleaning agents used.”

Cabrera chose what he considered the most popular domestic brands of detergent, fabric softener and bleach for his experiment, using each according to its manufacturer’s recommendations.

After two and a half months of irrigating these various ornamentals with different types of gray water, Cabrera said initial results based on visual inspection of the plants are promising, with a few exceptions.

“As we expected, some of the plants irrigated with the gray water containing bleach in the recommended amounts for laundry showed signs of yellowing and reduced flowering,” he said. “We noticed this particularly in some of the flowering plants we chose, including the lantana and dianthus. We have measured concentrations of chlorine in this gray water that appear to be high enough to create a negative impact on these particular species. We are also evaluating the concentrations of other chemical constituents in gray water that could be harmful for plant growth, like sodium and boron.”

However, Cabrera added, the gray water containing bleach had little effect on the remainder of the ornamentals used in the experiment, particularly the hardier plants like holly, yucca and agave.

“There also was no significant negative impact on any of the ornamentals from the gray water with detergent or detergent and fabric softener combination,” he said. “So far, it looks like these types of gray water hold the best promise for short- and long-term use in irrigation, with the gray water and bleach component mainly having use for longer-lived perennial and woody plants.”

Cabrera said this research is particularly relevant for drought-prone Texas as it may reduce household landscape water use by as much as 10-25 percent or more, depending on the size, geographical location and plant selection. He noted that the average household currently uses about 50 percent of its water consumption for landscaping — irrigating turfgrass, ornamentals and trees.

He added that implementing the use of gray water for landscape irrigation across the state could mean a tremendous water savings in terms of acre-feet of water, contributing to the statewide water use and conservation goals of the 2012 Water Plan.

“Gray water has tremendous potential for water savings, especially in an urban environment,” he said. “Its use is already allowed with some restrictions as outlined by applicable ordinances in some Southwest states. It is also used in parts of Texas, particularly in rural areas. However, most of the information on gray water use for irrigation is anecdotal and to date there has been little actual scientific research on its effects on landscape plants.”

Cabrera said he will continue this first phase of irrigation trials in the greenhouse for another two months as preparations are made for the second component of gray water experimentation.

“The second phase involves establishing an outdoor landscape here at the center,” he said. “For that, we are planting trees and shrubs along with flowering and bedding plants. In this study, we will examine the medium- and long-term effects of gray water on these materials over a two-year period. Furthermore, we are very interested in determining the effects of gray water use on physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the landscape soil. In addition, as these landscape plants will be watered with a drip irrigation system, we will also find out how well such an irrigation system performs and what kind of maintenance it might require when running gray water through it.”

Cabrera said this is the kind of information needed by city planners, water-system administrators, and municipal, county and state officials for the purpose of officially permitting and promoting the use of gray water as a significant urban water conservation practice.

“We hope this also will lead to support by other agencies, groups and organizations, and eventually expand into a statewide initiative to inspire people to use gray water for home landscape irrigation,” he said.



(Photo courtesy of Melinda Myers, LLC)
Five creative ways to use containers in your landscape

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

Container gardens have long been used to add a spot of color by a front entrance or expand planting space in city lots, balconies and decks. Don’t let past experience and tradition limit your vision. Try one or more of these attractive, fun and functional ways to include containers in your landscape, large or small.

Add vertical interest to any garden or garden space. Select a large attractive container filled with tall plants like papyrus and canna. Or elevate a small pot on steppers or an overturned pot for added height. Create height with smaller pots and plants by strategically stacking and planting them into a creative planting. Try setting any of these planters right in the garden to create a dramatic focal point.

Create a privacy screen or mask a bad view. Use an arbor or other support for hanging baskets and then place a few containers below for an attractive screen. Or create a garden of containers to provide seasonal interest using a variety of plants. Use trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses for height. Save money by purchasing smaller plants. Elevate these on overturned pots for added height and impact. Mask the mechanics by wrapping the pots in burlap. Then add a few colorful self-watering pots in the foreground for added color and beauty. Fill these with annuals or perennials for additional seasonal interest.

Bring the garden right to your back door for ease of harvest and added entertainment. A self-watering patio planter, windowbox, or rail planter reduces maintenance and makes harvesting herbs as easy as reaching out the window or backdoor. Plus, guests will have fun harvesting their own fresh mint for mojitos or greens for their salads.

Define outdoor living spaces within your landscape. Use containers as walls and dividers to separate entertaining and play areas from quiet reflective spaces. And consider using pots with built in casters or set them on moveable saucers to make moving these pots easier. This way you can expand and shrink individual spaces as needed simply by moving the pots.

Create your own vacation paradise. Use planters filled with cannas, bananas, palms and New Zealand flax for a more tropical flare. Add some wicker furniture to complete the scene. Or fill vertical gardens, an old child’s wagon, metal colander or wooden and concrete planters with cacti and succulents. Add some old branches and large stones. You’ll feel as though you’ve hiked into the desert. All you need is a bit of space and creativity to find fun new ways to put containers to work for you in the garden this season.

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.



(Photo by Chris S. Corby)

Gardening tips

Don't wait until your beets are as big as a softball. Start pulling the when the are young and tender. Beets, like many vegetables, have better flavor and quality when harvested before full maturity.

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...

The Bastrop wildfire that occurred almost 18 months ago was the worst wildfire in Texas history. Since the September 2011 fire, residents have come together to reforest the community, planting more than a half-million seedlings. Plans call for roughly 3 million to 4 million more to be planted over the next four to five years. This Friday, there will be a Texas Arbor day celebration in Bastrop to mark that progress!


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.

APRIL

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.

MAY

Fort Worth: Enjoy a Backyard Chickens lecture and show-and-tell sponsored by the Tarrant County Master Gardener Association, Friday, May 3, 10 a.m. – noon 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 is $5 and class limit is 20. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information/directions, contact Billie Hammack at blhammack@ag.tamu.edu or call 817-884-1296.

Dallas: A WaterWise Irrigation Workshop, "Get to Know Your Sprinkler System," will be presented at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 4, at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Like most things, your sprinkler system needs maintenance and with summer just around the corner, now is a great time to ensure that your sprinkler system is operating at peak efficiency. Outdoor watering accounts for up to 60 percent of water use in the spring and summer and this free workshop will help you make sure your system won't waste a single drop. The WaterWise Irrigation Workshop is designed for residents to gain a better understanding for how your automatic irrigation (sprinkler) system operates. This outdoor event (rain or shine) will have operating above ground irrigation systems with professional irrigators to guide you through specific conservation items such as high pressure symptoms; simple repairs; programming controllers, and more. Registration is limited so sign up today!" The event begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon and takes about an hour to visit all stations. Some stations have specific times for demonstrations. For additional information, visit http://dallas.tamu.edu.

Fort Worth: Learn about Earth-Kind Gardening from Tarrant County Master Gardeners on Saturday, May 4, 2–4 p.m. at the Fort Worth Resource Connection, Building 2300, Magnolia Room, 2300 Circle Drive, Fort Worth. The Resource Connection is located off Campus Dr, north from I-20. Look for the Resource Connection signs on Campus Drive. Class fee is $5 and the class is limited to 40. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information/directions, contact Billie Hammack at blhammack@ag.tamu.edu or call 817-884-1296.

Fort Worth: Tarrant County Master Gardener Association Propagation Specialists will teach “Propagation-Seeds” at Master Gardener classes for families at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden children’s vegetable garden greenhouse, Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. Cost: $10 per adult; $5 per child. Class limit: 20. Pre-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: “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.

Fort Worth: Learn about herbs from the Tarrant County Master Gardener Association Herb Team, Tuesday, May 7, 10 a.m.-noon, at the TCMGA Community Demonstration Garden pavilion and herb garden, 1800 Circle Drive, at the Fort Worth Resource Connection. The Resource Connection islocated off Campus Dr, north from I-20. Look for the Resource Connection signs on Campus Drive. Cost is $5 and class limit is 20. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information/directions, contact Billie Hammack at blhammack@ag.tamu.edu or call 817-884-1296.

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.

Fort Worth: It’s a bug lecture and show and tell from Tarrant County Master Gardeners, Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m - noon, at the Fort Worth Resource Connection, Building 2300, Mesquite Room, 2300 Circle Drive, Fort Worth. The Resource Connection is located off Campus Dr, north from I-20. Look for the Resource Connection signs on Campus Drive. Class fee is $5 and the class is limited to 30. Pre-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: 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.

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.

Fort Worth: Learn about plants that “Survive and Thrive” from the Tarrant County Master Gardener Association, Saturday, May 18, 10 am – noon at the Fort Worth Resource Connection, Building 2300, Mesquite Room, 2300 Circle Drive, Fort Worth. The Resource Connection is located off Campus Dr, north from I-20. Look for the Resource Connection signs on Campus Drive. Class fee is $5 and the class is limited to 40. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information/directions, contact Billie Hammack at blhammack@ag.tamu.edu or call 817-884-1296.

Fort Worth: Learn about “Backyard Chickens” at the Tarrant County Master Gardener classes for families at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden children’s vegetable garden pavilion, Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. Cost: $10 per adult; $5 per child. Class limit: 20. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information/directions, contact Billie Hammack at blhammack@ag.tamu.edu or call 817-884-1296.

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: "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.

Fort Worth: Make and take cement leaves taught by Tarrant County Master Gardeners, Saturday, May 25, 10 am – noon 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 is $25 and class limit is 20. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information/directions, contact Billie Hammack at blhammack@ag.tamu.edu or call 817-884-1296.

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.

SEPTEMBER

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.

OCTOBER

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.

MONTHLY MEETINGS

FIRST WEEK

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

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

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

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.

SECOND WEEK

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

Evant: The Evant Garden Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m., usually at the bank in downtown Evant. To confirm the date, time and place of each month's meeting, call 254-471-5585.

Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the second Tuesday of each month except July, 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.

THIRD WEEK

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

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

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.

FOURTH WEEK

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.

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

Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

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