July 17, 2013
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Southern Night tomato. (Photo by Candy Scharf)
A Southern Night story
By Doreen Howard
Growing tomatoes in the hot, humid south is an intricate dance of planting in raised beds to avoid floods, dodging diseases and beating the heat. But, the rewards are huge. I spent a decade growing heirloom tomatoes on the steamy Texas Gulf Coast, south of Houston. Southern Nights performed and tasted better than any heirloom I grew. Transplants have to be started by the end of January so they can be set in the ground on the last day of March. You can also start seeds in late July and set out transplants the last week of August for a second crop.
Determinates are favored in any tomato, because their crops will set before June 1, when nightly temperatures rise. Second crops will flower in early October when nights cool. Tomato pollen becomes sterile with nights are above 72ºF, and flowers don’t set fruit. With these constraints, growing revered beefsteak heirlooms like Brandywine is difficult. But, Southern Night is a determinate, meaning it sets its entire crop within a two to three week period. The developing black beefsteaks love the heat to put on size and ripen to their signature deep brown, almost black, color.
Many of the photographs in my new book, Heirloom Flavor, of black tomatoes were taken in my Texas garden where their color was deeper and more intense than those grown further north, in places like Seed Savers Exchange’s Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa.
The heat also intensifies flavor. What is usually a wonderful sweet-acid balance in Southern Night becomes a complex blend of aged burgundy, fruity sugars and salt in torrid Texas. To bite into a slice is exquisite. In a climate where fungal diseases run rampant, Southern Night resists all the usual ones such as early blight, too.
With these wonderful attributes, I felt that the Russian heirloom was the perfect tomato for commercial growers in the Rio Grande Valley, where much of the fresh tomatoes sold in winter are grown. So, I talked with Dr. Jerry Parsons of the Texas A&M Research Station in San Antonio about the tomato’s potential.
He suggested that I gather seed so he could trial it in Uvalde, Texas, where the university had its vegetable research fields. I grew numerous Southern Night plants, processed the seeds and gave Parsons seven pounds with which to experiment. In late January, acres of Southern Night transplants were set out to grow in Uvalde.
In June, when harvest of the determinate tomatoes was at its peak, researchers at the university’s trial fields invited a group of commercial growers to sample Southern Night and get their feedback on market potential. Unanimously, the growers said the tomato was ugly (not the red and round consumers expected), were not uniform in size, which makes shipping more expensive, and unsalable. Asked about taste, most of the growers wouldn’t taste Southern Night slices. They were put off by the brown flesh with lime green gel sacks around the seeds. A few who did taste the heirloom said they loved it. But, the consensus was that consumers wouldn’t purchase them.
My venture into trying to share the heirloom taste with the world taught me a valuable lesson. Marketing and peer pressure go a long way into shaping the American palate. We heirloom lovers, who know or recently have learned how wonderful antique varieties are, will have to continue to grow our own, save the seeds and try to preserve superb flavor for future generations. A positive note is that farmers markets are selling more and more luscious heirloom tomato varieties, including many black ones like Southern Night. Hopefully, consumers will be more open to experiencing flavor, not hype.
Doreen Howard is the acclaimed former garden editor at Woman's Day magazine and gardening columnist at the Christian Science Monitor. Her most recent book is Heirloom Flavor: Yesterday’s Best-Tasting Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs for Today’s Cook.
Coneflower. (Photo courtesy of Birds & Blooms)
Top 9 plants you can't
kill in Texas
Birds & Blooms — America’s # 1 Bird & Garden Magazine — has compiled a list of the top nine plants for Texas that are not only tough as nails, but pretty, too! So turn your black thumb into a green thumb with these top picks:
Coneflower. The coneflower is a low-maintenance star of nature-friendly gardens. They require well-drained soil but will thrive in full sun as well as partial shade. Known for attracting birds, bees and butterflies, coneflowers also make lovely cut blooms. It comes in many colors, and it’s easy to find one you — and the birds — will love.
Cosmos. If big, beautiful flowers are one of your top requirements, cosmos is perfect for you! Though it’s an annual, it often reseeds on its own. It’s easy to grow, so for a couple of bucks, you’ll have a gorgeous show in a single season.
Daylily. An excellent choice for a classic garden, daylilies can tolerate flooding, drought and salt and are often used for erosion control on steep hillsides. Their distinctive trumpets may be triangular, circular, double, spidery or star-shaped. Some cultivars attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Hens and Chicks. Overwatering is the only way to kill this succulent. For best results, plant in well-drained soil that gets full sun to light shade. This low grower works wonders in containers. Since it doesn’t have a deep root system, you can plant it somewhere fun. Try growing it in an old birdbath or shoe.
Yarrow. These easy-care, long-lasting flowers come in to their own once summer is on its way. Well-suited to most growing conditions, yarrows provide a long season of bloom. They’re a good cutting flower, too. This plant is heat- and drought-tolerant and can survive on benign neglect.
Sedum. Hello, butterflies! If you want flying flowers in your yard, this plant is a slam dunk. You can grow some species as ground cover, while others make good border plants. Take a close look and you’ll see this plant’s star-shaped blooms, similar to a pentas.
Zinnia. With new heat-, drought- and disease-resistant plants on the market, there’s never been a better time to grow zinnias. You’ll also save tons of money growing these from seed. For the newest varieties from seed, check your local nursery or favorite garden catalog, or order online.
Petunia. Petunias have been around for decades, but the newer varieties have advanced in leaps and bounds. Days of deadheading and disease-prone plants are long gone. Nowadays, these beauties flourish in both full sun and partial shade without a lot of extra work. And you can find them in almost every color imaginable.
Yucca. There’s a good reason so many Southern gardeners use this as a backyard centerpiece. It’s about as drought-tolerant as they come — and on top of that, it boasts beautiful white flowers amid its spiky leaves.
If spider mites are attacking your tomato plants, dislodge them with a strong blast of water to the under sides of the leaves. Repeat on a weekly basis.
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...
Growing citrus in containers is one way of growing them is areas where winters are too severe for in-ground planting. Look for citrus growing on flying dragon or trifoliate rootstock which will increase hardiness and help dwarf the tree and make it easier to move around.
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 monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18, in room 110 of the Agriculture Building at 1924 Wilson Drive on the SFA campus. Julie Shackelford, programs director for The Conservation Fund, will present “Urban Wildscaping: Bringing your Backyard to Life.” She will talk about creating backyard habitats to attract birds, butterflies and other pollinators using native vegetation. Shackelford has been dabbling in gardening since she and her husband purchased their first home in Austin in 1999. Since then she says has learned just enough to be dangerous. When her family moved to Nacogdoches in 2007, Julie took on the task of transforming large portions of the yard into bird and butterfly gardens. She has worked in the field of Texas land and water conservation for 20 years. Shackelford has been with The Conservation Fund since 2004 and is involved in all facets of land conservation projects throughout the state, including evaluation of potential project locations, fundraising, real estate, partner support, outreach, and project promotion. Julie received her master’s degree from Duke University in Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College in Minnesota. She and her husband Cliff, along with children Alex and Robin, have lived in Nacogdoches since 2007. 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 e-mail email@example.com.
Bryan: “Fall Vegetable Gardening – You Can Dig It!” will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Saturday, July 20, at Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Dr., Bryan. Speakers Margrit Moores & Kate Kelly, both master gardeners, will focus on the fall vegetable garden. Sessions include “Beginnings: Sun, Soil, Water, and Mulch”; “Taking Root: Plant Varieties, Planting Schedule, and Planting Combinations”; and “Gathering the Harvest: Increasing Yield and Extending the Season”; and there will be demonstrations of must-have garden equipment. Pre-Register to attend: $35 per person includes handouts & refreshments. Registration preferred by July 17. Registration form is available on the Brazos County Master Gardeners website at brazosmg.com. For additional information, visit brazosmg.com or call 979-823-0129.
Dallas: Butterfly enthusiasts get a chance to visit a working butterfly farm near Dallas and learn more about the winged insects at Texas Discovery Gardens’ annual Fascinating World of Butterflies class with Dale Clark, co-founder of the Dallas County Lepidopterist Society. It’s Saturday, July 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. $30; $24 for TDG members. Register online at http://texasdiscoverygardens.org/events_and_classes.php#jul.
Fort Worth: Make your own Glass Totems at a class on Saturday, July 20, 10 a.m.-noon, at the Fort Worth Resource Connection, Building 2300, Magnolia Room, 2300 Circle Drive. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 817-884-1296.
Kaufman: The Fall Vegetable Seminar will be presented Saturday, July 20, at the 1st Baptist Fellowship Hall, Northeast corner of Washington and Chestnut, in Kaufman. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and presentations begin at 9 a.m. and continue until noon. Kaufman County Master Gardeners will present "Fall Planting: What to Plant & Where to Find It"; Susan Clark and Arlene Hamilton, Ellis County Master Gardeners, will present "Mediterranean Herbs"; Renee Word, Kaufman County Master Gardener, will present "Canning Your Harvest"; and John Lawler, Owner-Operator of Worm Wranglers, will present "Vermicomposting & Soil Preparation." Admission is $5 per person. For additional information and to pre-register, call 972-932-9069 or email email@example.com.
Schertz: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is taking applications for their Class 25. The dates of the class are each Wednesday from August 7 to November 20. The class will be held at the Schertz United Methodist Church, 3460 Roy Richards Drive (FM 3009), Schertz from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The deadline for registration is July 20 and the cost is $190.00 per person. For an application, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org and click the link on the main page to download the application form. For additional information, contact the Class Coordinator Bob Teweles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-289-9979.
Dallas: Drip Irrigation DIY. 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. Cost: FREE Tuesday, July 23, 10 a.m. – noon. Class is located at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. For addition information, call 972-952-9671. Register for class at http://dallas.tamu.edu/courses/.
Dallas: Drip Irrigation DIY. 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. Cost: FREE Tuesday, July 23, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Class is located at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. For addition information, call 972-952-9671. Register for class at http://dallas.tamu.edu/courses/.
Fort Worth: Children, parents and grandparents are invited to learn about “Fall Vegetable Gardening” from Master Gardener vegetable specialists at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden Backyard Vegetable Garden (formerly children’s vegetable garden), Tuesday, July 23, 10 a.m. Cost: $10 per adult; $5 per child. Class limit: 20. Children must be five years or older and must be accompanied by a parent or grandparent. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information/directions, contact Billie Hammack at email@example.com or call 817-884-1296.
Texas City: Join the best restorationists in southeast Texas for a day of hands-on demonstrations and insightful discussions about restoring prairie to farms, ranches, private residences, parks, and more from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Friday, July 26, at the Texas City Prairie Preserve, 4702 Texas 146, Texas City. Registration is required: $35 for general public and professionals and $25 for students and Texas Master Naturalists. All participants should wear comfortable clothing suitable for gardening. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To register, visit https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07e7bdgpw5253445ad&oseq=&c=&ch=.
Dallas: Some common — and not so common — landscape plants are tough enough to survive Stage Four Water Restrictions. Learn more about them, and take home some samples to add to your own garden! The class, held at Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas, is led by Director of Horticulture Roger Sanderson. It’s Saturday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to noon. $20; $15 for TDG Members. Register online at http://texasdiscoverygardens.org/events_and_classes.php#jul.
Galveston: Ken Steblein will present "The Edible Landscape" at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 27, at the Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy, Galveston. For more information, call 409-763-8854 or visit www.Rosenberg-Library.org.
Humble: Summer Color Conference and Plant Sale will be held Saturday, July 27, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble. Splash into summer with this one-day immersion into perfect solutions for gardening in the heat. Mercer’s Director Darrin Duling will conduct a tour of the heat-loving plants in the gardens. Conference participants can take advantage of a plant sale that morning, which opens later in the day to the public. Reservations and a fee are required, so call 281-443-8731 for additional details.
Houston: After the dog days of summer comes the perfect time to toss together iron rich salad greens, sauté veggie shish kabobs or simmer hardy vegetable soups that your whole family will enjoy. “Fall Vegetable Gardening” will be offered Saturday, July 27. 9 a.m.-noon. $24 Urban Harvest members. $36 non-members. University of Houston Main Campus, 4361 Wheeler St., Houston. Bldg. & Rm. TBA. For more information, call 713-880-5540 or visit www.urbanharvest.org.
Dallas: Irrigation Quick Fixes. This program teaches the very basic repairs to home automatic irrigation system. A properly functioning sprinkler system saves you time, money, and water! Cost: FREE Tuesday, July 30, 10 a.m. – noon. Class is located at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. For addition information, call 972-952-9671. Register for class at http://dallas.tamu.edu/courses/.
Dallas: Irrigation Quick Fixes. This program teaches the very basic repairs to home automatic irrigation system. A properly functioning sprinkler system saves you time, money, and water! Cost: FREE Tuesday, July 30, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Class is located at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. For addition information, call 972-952-9671. Register for class at http://dallas.tamu.edu/courses/.
San Antonio: "Selecting Texas Superstar Plants for Your Landscape" will be presented Tuesday, July 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Horticulturist David Rodriguez and Dr. Jerry Parsons, retired Extension Horticulturist, will talk about the history of Texas Superstar plants and the advantage of selecting these plants for use in your landscape. This presentation 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.
Dallas: Rainwater Harvesting-Rain Barrel. 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. Cost: $50 per Barrel Tuesday, August 6, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Class is located at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. For addition information, call 972-952-9671. Register for class at http://dallas.tamu.edu/courses/.
Fort Worth: Learn about “Container, Chair and Fairy Gardens” at a lecture and show and tell, Tuesday, August 6, 10 a.m. – noon in the Magnolia Room of the 2300 Building, 2300 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 40. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information/directions, contact Billie Hammack at email@example.com or call 817-884-1296.
Humble: As a county extension agent for many years, Tom Leroy has experienced every question about handling lawn care and what to do about those hard to manage spots needing easy ground cover. Join him as he makes the green monster manageable when he discusses lawns and alternations, Wednesday, August 14, noon – 2 p.m. at Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble. For additional information, call 281-443-8731 or visit www.hcp4.net/mercer.
Seguin: The Guadalupe Master Gardeners will meet on Thursday, August 22, at the AgriLife Building on 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. Dr. Rebecca Kelso will discuss "Preventing Skin Cancer" beginning at 7 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public. The regular business meeting will be at the end of the program. For further information, visit www.guadalupemastergardeners.org.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nacogdoches/Arcadia: Naked Ladies and Oxbloods: SFA Gardens Arcadian Fall Bulb Bus Tour, September 14. Visit Texas Gardener columnist Greg Grant’s Emanis House dogtrot in Shelby County’s rural community of Arcadia. Depending on the weather, see red oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala), several different colors of spider lilies (Lycoris), or assorted rain lilies (Cooperia, Zephyranthes, and Habranthus). Unfortunately their display depends on the first fall rains so a grand naturalized bulb display isn’t guaranteed. Visit Grant’s old family home with an open breezeway running through it, along with his small cottage garden, chickens, and bluebird houses. Dress comfortably for potentially hot weather. The bus tour will be from 9 a.m. until noon. All participants will meet at the SFA Ag building, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacognoches, at 9 a.m. $25 for Friends of SFA Gardens members, $30 for non-members. For more information and reservations contact Elyce Rodwald at 936-468-1832 or email@example.com. Other SFA Gardens events and information can be found at sfagardens.sfasu.edu.
Dallas: After many years of research and construction, the Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas will open the Rory Meyer's Children's Adventure Garden on Saturday, September, 21. The 8-acre garden will feature over 150 interactive exhibits including areas to explain how energy comes from water, the sun and wind; a wetland where children will learn to do pond dippings and read animal tracks; a Texas Skywalk will feature a look at life in the tree tops and inside a tree itself; a Discovery Center that will include a 30ft globe that will show Pangaea, the solar system and major weather events. Autumn at the Arboretum will also open on Saturday, September 21.
Jasper: Master Gardener plant sale at the Butterfly Festival & Fall Fest in downtown Jasper, October 5. Butterfly Festival includes free programs on how to attract pollinators to your garden, the monarch migration and more; free children's activities, scavenger hunt and several butterfly releases. In the butterfly garden learn about host plants for different species and organic control methods for unwanted pests. For more information contact the Texas A&M AgriLife office at 409-384-3721 or visit jasper.agrilife.org.
Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host its annual Fabulous Fall Festival Plant Sale from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, October 5, 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 Greg Grant and SFA 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 more than 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 two weeks before the sale for a list of available plants.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Humble: The Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, hosts a Lunch Bunch the second Wednesday of each month from noon until 2 p.m. Take a sack lunch or order a box lunch from Starbucks when you call 281-443-8731 to reserve your spot. Master Gardeners and Masters Naturalists may earn CEU credits by attending.
Jacksboro: The Jacksboro Garden Club meets at 9:30 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month (except June, July and August) at the Concerned Citizens Center, 400 East Pine Street, Jacksboro. For more information, call Melinda at 940-567-6218.
Longview: The Gregg County Master Gardeners Association meets the second Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Longview. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program preceding the business meeting. For further information call Cindy Gill at 903-236-8429 or visit www.gregg-tx.tamu.edu.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
Dallas: The Dallas County Master Gardeners meet the fourth Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. For location and program information, visit http://www.dallascountymastergardeners.org/ or contact The Helpdesk, M-F, 8 to 4:30 214-904-3053.
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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Revised and updated from their original publication, these 60 essays reveal the heart and soul of a seventh-generation native Texan who has devoted his entire life to gardening, nature and family. With degrees in floriculture and horticulture from Texas A&M University and extensive hands-on experience as a horticulturist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Stephen F. Austin State University, Mercer Arboretum and San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Grant has successfully introduced dozens of plants to the Texas nursery industry, all while maintaining long-held family property and renovating the homes of his ancestors in Arcadia, Texas.
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Texas Gardener’s Seeds, P.O. Box 9005, Waco, Texas 76714 ● www.TexasGardener.com