February 12, 2014
  

Valentine's Day is for lovers, right?

 

By Tom Harris Ph.D. 

The Hill Country Gardener 

 

Valentine's Day is almost here. Remember? Valentine's Day here means that we're supposed to recognize our loved ones with something special.

 

For gardeners, however, it has another meaning; i.e., that's the day we're supposed to prune the roses. Lovers? Roses? Makes sense. Right?

 

Pruning roses on Valentine's Day is a time-honored tradition. Luckily, it just happens to be the exact time of the spring when it's perfect to prune them; i.e. usually not hot yet and not too cold. It has to be done or the rose will stop blooming.

 

Most people won't cut a rose for any reason whatsoever, but it has to be done so that new flowers can grow on the new wood the plant will produce. It's actually invigorating for the plant.

 

When pruning roses in the spring (we also prune them in the fall in South Texas) cut the stems (canes) down by half and only leave a handful (5-6) of canes sticking out from the ground. New canes will emerge from the crown of the plant.

 

When pruning the roses, be sure the pruners are sharp. Use bypass pruners to give the least damage to the plant.

 

In the fall we only cut the plant back by about 1/3 and only remove those canes that either grow inward or are damaged in some way. The fall pruning is done about the middle of September to give the new growth time to acclimate before the first "blue-norther" comes in. If a rose has new growth (which is very tender) on it when the first freeze comes, it could kill the plant.

 

Also, be sure to remove old flowers when the petals start falling off and it looks kind of ratty. Remove the spent-flower off down to just above a 5-leaflet leaf. You can usually pinch them off with your thumb. (that, by the way, is where the term "green thumb" comes from).

 

Pruning climbing-roses is a little different. We don't prune them until after their spring bloom period. Then you can prune them back to whatever shape you need. They'll come right back.

 

Lay the blade of the pruners flat against the stem to make a clean cut when removing a whole branch. Prune just above an outward-facing bulb on the stem (cane). When pruning, leave at least two buds on each green branch... preferably outward-facing buds. The more open the plant is, the less trouble we'll have with fungus, etc., later on.

 

Some people say that we're never to prune Knock-out roses. That's not quite true. When the bush gets too big for the spot it's in, or if it gets leggy, or just plain ol' ugly, prune it back close to its original shape and size. Do this in the spring just before the plant leafs out. It could take the Knock-out several years to get to this point, however.

 

A Valentine's Day memory of Dad

By Rebecca Paul

Freelance Writer

 

I'm a fifty-one-year-old empty nester beginning a new chapter in my life, and with it I'm living a life of oneness with calm simplicity. With the calm, I'm often visited by memories of the life I once abundantly shared with the many people I love.

 

Two of these people were my Mom and Dad.

 

Mom and Dad were two peas in a pod, rarely seen apart when not working. Mom didn't drive until I was twelve years old, so until that time we did everything together as a family, from going shopping for milk and bread on Saturdays to enjoying Sunday afternoon drives to see the Texas bluebonnets blooming in the spring. After mom acquired a driver's license and gained a little independence, she and I would venture out on a Saturday afternoon to walk the downtown sidewalks looking for the day's best bargains. Dad and my younger brother would stay home and tinker on a neighbor's lawn mower that needed a tune-up, or Dad would pull out the tiller and get the soil ready for the next season's vegetable garden.

 

Dad was a man's man, working hard to provide for the family. He never asked much for himself, but he found great joy in doing for others. He loved his family, especially my mom. Though he wasn't a romantic guy, anyone who spent any significant time watching them as a couple knew, without a doubt, his love for her was sincere. His idea of a romantic gift might be preparing and serving her a breakfast that consisted of his family-famous breakfast burritos. He prided himself on the ingredients because he included many of his own home-grown vegetables in the recipe. Dad believed you could enjoy the food even more if you grew it by the labor of your own hands and the sweat of your brows. He spent many hours toiling in the summer and fall gardens, and he and Mom canned and froze as much as possible from the garden for use in the winter months.

 

Mom always politely accepted his unique gifts of love, but oftentimes she longed for a gift selected from the societal norm-a box of chocolates or a slender crystal vase holding a single rosebud. Mom and I agreed that Dad had meant well in his gift giving, and she would remind me that he had given the gift with all the love in his heart.

 

Once I became an adult in my early twenties, I, too, received unique gifts. One Valentine's Day evening, my then-husband picked me up from the office. I had high hopes that he might suggest dinner out for the occasion. Instead, he drove to the parking lot of a local market, got out of the car, and told me to wait. He returned a few minutes later and handed me a small, dented, clear plastic champagne bottle filled with rock-hard multicolored jellybeans, obviously one of the last gifts on the shelf. This was my Valentine's Day gift! I was dismayed. I wanted to conk him on the head with it, but I remembered the conversation with Mom about gifts from the heart and I graciously accepted the not-so-perfect gift.

 

After my own less-than-impressive Valentine's Day, I began sending Mom flowers for the special occasion. She always appreciated the thought, but it wasn't the same as if she had received them from Dad. Finally, one year, I asked Dad why he didn't give mom conventional gifts, such as flowers and candy. He told me he had always thought Mom preferred gifts that were uniquely from him, not something that just anyone could give her. I told him I understood, but that Mom would really just like some flowers from him sometimes, too.

 

What I heard next shocked me. He said he could do that, but that a man also wouldn't mind being appreciated with a gift of flowers on occasion. A smile crossed my face and a teardrop moistened by eye. My Dad, the burly, hard-working man's man vegetable gardener had always secretly wanted to be given flowers as a gift. I never shared my knowledge of the deeply hidden sensitive side of my Dad with my Mom. I let him go on giving her strange gifts because it's who he was; and she continued to love him, in spite of his one-of-a-kind gifts.

 

Dad died in December 2002 and Mom a few years later in September 2007. If Dad were still with us, we would have celebrated his 80th birthday this February 2014. While he and Mom were alive, I took much of the day-to-day contact with them for granted, knowing that someday I would lose one, or both, but never really understanding the depth of that loss until it happened.

 

Mom and Dad are now buried, side-by-side, in a cemetery plot, with a marker that reads, "Together Forever." I miss them greatly, but I visit them on each of their birthdays and during the Christmas holiday.

 

On Valentine's Day, I make a special trip to visit their gravesite. In one hand I carry a bouquet of flowers for my Mom. In my other hand I carry a single red rose for my Dad.

 

After all, men also like to be appreciated with a gift of flowers.

 

Rebecca Paul wrote "Pop's Acre" in the September/October 2013 issue of Texas Gardener.


Quitman Arboretum receives gift

 

The Friends of the Arboretum (FOA) recently received a $2,500 grant for maintenance and development of the Quitman Arboretum from the TransCanada Charitable Fund administered by the East Texas Communities Foundation. TransCanada established the fund to help improve East Texas communities and the lives of its residents through grants to non-profit organizations in the counties where TransCanada pipeline operations and projects exist.

 

About the donation, Pam Riley, President of FOA, said, "We are extremely grateful to ETCF for awarding this generous grant to the Friends of the Arboretum. And, we are especially thankful to TransCanada for developing such a generous and worthwhile program to enhance east Texas Communities."

 

The Quitman Arboretum (QA) has become an active hub and mainstay for rural Wood County and the surrounding region. The perennial and annual gardens, the historic 1869-era built Stinson House, and the woodland walking trail are of benefit to the entire community. Moreover, they are supported solely through donations and the labor of volunteers through the FOA. Since 2007, FOA has served the community by contributing to the production of many free events and cultural activities.

 

This grant provided by ETCF and TransCanada will be of great benefit to the FOA as it continues the improvements, additions, and upkeep to the growing facilities. Because of donations like this, the FOA can continue to serve the community as a center of culture, learning, and economic development.

 

Located in Quitman, Texas, in the heart of Wood County, just behind the Governor Hogg City Park on Highway 37, the Arboretum is comprised of 23 acres encompassing walking trails, gardens, a gazebo, and the historic 1869-era built Stinson House. The Arboretum is maintained by the non-profit, Friends of the Arboretum and its generous volunteers and patrons. Learn more about the Quitman Arboretum by visiting woodcountyarboretum.com.

Gardening tips
  

There is still time to plant bare-rooted fruit nut trees while the weather is cold and the trees are dormant. Look for good deals at local nurseries and select varieties that are suited to your space and location. Be sure to set them at the same depth they were previously growing. When you unwrap them, you will see a color change at the original soil line. Use the same soil that came out of the hole to refill around the plant. Water well to help the soil settle around roots.  

 

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 2014 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips. 

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.

 

FEBRUARY    

 

Nacogdoches: SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 13, in the new Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet Street, Nacogdoches. Garden writer Texas Gardener contributing writer Jay White will present "Weed Free-Organically."White, a gardener from Brenham, began pursuing a Masters of Horticulture degree from Texas A&M at 48. While at A&M he started "The Masters of Horticulture" blog (masterofhort.com). His potager has been featured on Central Texas Gardener and his work on locally grown, sustainable, fresh cut flowers led to his inclusion in Debra Prinzing's latest book "The 50 Mile Bouquet."Although traditionally held the third Thursdays, the Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series will now be held the second Thursday of each month. 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 fund are always appreciated. Parking is available at the nearby Early Childhood Research Center, 2428 Raguet St.For more information, call 936-468-1832 or e-mail grantdamon@sfasu.edu.

 

San Antonio: Judit Green will present "Wildlife Conservation Issues in Texas - What Does the Future Hold?" 6:30-8:30 p.m., February 13, at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels, San Antonio. For more information, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org.  

 

Angleton: The Brazoria County Master Gardeners Association's 8th Annual Fruit & Citrus Tree Sale, will take place February 15, 8 a.m. to noon at Brazoria County Fair Grounds, 901 Downing, Angleton. More than 1500 plants including different varieties of blackberry, strawberry, goji berry, apple, avocado, fig, peach, pear, plum, persimmon, pomegranate, hybrid mulberry, all kinds of citrus, and new specialty plants such as blueberries, olives, kiwis, and nectarine. Organic fertilizer will be available. Visit http://txmg.org/brazoria/2014-fruit-tree-sale for a list of plants.

 

Dallas: Saturday, February 15, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Marilyn Simmons, host of The FarmGirls Organic Gardening Radio Show, teaches how to create a tea garden with herbs. From roses, rose hips, lemon verbena, and more - you will leave with knowledge of what to plant to create your own herbal tea blend! $25; $20 for TDG Members. Register online or at 214-428-7476 x343. 3601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Dallas. http://texasdiscoverygardens.org/events_and_classes.php

  

Pasadena: The Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2's annual Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale will be Saturday, February 15, at 7600 Red Bluff Td., Pasadena. Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms will give a plant overview at 8 a.m. The sale begins at 9 a.m. and continues until 1 p.m. For additional information, visit http://hcmga.tamu.edu.

 

Cleburne: "Plants for Pennies," a free family fun gardening class, will be presented at 11 a.m., Monday, February 17, at the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum, 2500 S. Hwy 67, Cleburne. Learn how to propagate by seed, stem and leaf methods. For additional information, call 817-793-4625 or email wildwoodc@yahoo.com.

 

Dallas: "How to Operate Your Sprinkler System" will be presented 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.,  February 18 at Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Center at Dallas, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Learn how your sprinkler system operates and its components as well as how to program and reprogram your sprinkler controller utilizing the best and most efficient ways to water your landscape. Register at dallas.tamu.edu/courses.  

 

Lufkin: With tax season around the corner, it is important that forest landowners stay informed on the latest updates to tax laws regarding their timberland properties. The 2014 Texas Timber Tax Workshop will provide information on special timber tax laws and rules, helping attendees understand recent changes before filing taxes. This annual workshop hosted by Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas Forestry Association, is an all-day event that gives hundreds of foresters, landowners and other professionals the training and education needed for applying new tax rules, which could prove as an advantage in forest management planning. The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, February 18, from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center, 601 North Second St., Lufkin. Registration is $70 and includes a workbook, lunch and refreshments. The workshop is designed for forest landowners, consulting foresters, public accountants, loggers, attorneys, and anyone who deals with timber taxes. Participating in this workshop also qualifies for continuing education credits. For more information or to register, to go http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/timbertaxworkshop. Or contact Dawn Spencer at 979-458-6630 or dspencer@tfs.tamu.edu.

 

Seabrook: Robert "Skip" Richter, Harris County AgriLife Extension Agent and Texas Gardener contributing editor, will present "Landscape Pruning - Plants and Trees" at 10 a.m., February 19 at Clear lake Park meeting room (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA parkway, Seabrook. For additional information, visit http://hcmga.tamu.edu.

 

Seguin: "Tomatoes: How, When, Where, and Why" will be presented at the February 20 meeting of the Guadalupe Master Gardeners. The meeting, which begins with a soical event a 6:30 p.m., will be held at the Justice Center, 211 Court Street, Seguin. For additional information, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call 830-303-3889.

 

Midland: The Permian Basin Home and Garden Show, presented by the Permian Basin Master Gardeners, will be held February 21-23 at the Midland Horseshoe on I-20. For additional information, contact jimblischke@sbcglobal.net.  

 

Forney: Kaufman County Master Gardeners will present their Spring Seminar - Farming by the Yard on Saturday, February 22, at the First Baptist Church in Forney. Topics will include Backyard Chickens presented by Jeff Raska, Trees for North Texas by Master Gardener Sam Keats and Edible Landscapes by Master Gardener Dianne Kaufman. There will be information and vendor booths, a plant sale and a silent auction. Light refreshments will be served. The First Baptist Church is located at 1003 FM 741 (College Avenue) in Forney. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the programs beginning at 9 a.m. Admission is $5 per person. Preregistration is encouraged so that there are handouts for all. For more information or to preregister, call Sharon Burden at 972-932-9069 or email her at sbburden@ag.tamu.edu. 

 

La Marque: "Heirloom Tomatoes" will be presented Saturday, February 22, 9-10:30 a.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. A presentation by Master Gardener Terry Cuclis covering 25+ varieties of heirloom tomatoes that can be grown in Galveston County. Topics include a brief history of tomatoes and their origin, variety characteristics, culture and care of tomatoes. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.  

 

Schertz: Do you enjoy the colors and antics of butterflies, hummingbirds, and song birds in your garden? Want to find out how you can entice them to visit your yard? Then attend the Natives to Fly For: Attracting Butterflies, Hummingbirds, and Song Birds to Your Yard workshop. This daylong event will feature four experts to show you how you can have lots of little visitors in your landscape: Craig Hensley, award-winning community educator with Texas Parks & Wildlife, will explain "Butterfly Basics: Who They Are and What They Need"; Mark Klym, coauthor of Hummingbirds of Texas, will speak on "Want Hummingbirds? Think Lasagna"; Ann Mallard, Audubon Society member and nature photographer specializing in bird life, will present "Songs in the Garden--Creating a Native Habitat for Birds"; Kelly Simon, author of Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife, will pull all this information together as she shows participants how to create a "Central Texas Habitat." The workshop takes place Saturday, February 22, at the Schertz Civic Center, 1400 Schertz Pkwy, Schertz. The hours are 9-3 and the $40 registration fee includes lunch and snacks. Registration begins at 8:30. Door prizes will be given throughout the day. In addition to the workshop, participants can shop the booths of two local nurseries offering many of the plants discussed by the speakers, purchase books on workshop topics, and select bird-related items from Wild Birds Unlimited. Authors Mark Klym and Kelly Bender will sign their books during lunch. But wait, there's more! A beautiful bluebonnet quilt and two 55-gallon, hand-painted rain barrels will be raffled during the workshop. Raffle tickets may be purchased at the event. Natives to Fly For is sponsored by the Guadalupe County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 830-303-0333. The number of tickets is limited, so call early. For more information, visit http://npsot.org/wp/guadalupe/.

 

Tyler: The first of seven seminars on the finer points of gardening in East Texas will be held Feb. 22 at Chamblee's Rose Nursery, 10926 U.S. Highway 69, Tyler. Registration is $15 per individual lecture or $45 for a season pass to all seven lectures. The next three lectures will be held in March, April and May. After a summer hiatus, the series will begin again with lectures in September, October and November. All lectures will have registration at the door beginning at 8:30 a.m., with the program starting at 9 a.m. Ending will vary depending upon how many questions are asked, but should usually end by noon. For more information, call 903-590-2980 or visit http:// www.facebook.com/ETGardenConference .After the lecture at Chamblee's Nursery, the rest of the lectures will be held at the Tyler Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive, Tyler. The full lineup of the remaining 2014 East Texas Garden Lecture Series is: March 22 - "Location, Location, Location: Right Plant/Right Place and Ask The Designer." Tyler Rose Garden Center. Hansen will discuss selecting the right plants for landscaping projects for long-term success. Laurie Breedlove of Breedlove Landscape Nursery and James Willhite of Willhite Landscape will answer landscape design questions. April 12 - "A Warm Welcome - Landscape Tips for Curb Appeal." Dee Bishop, Smith County Master Gardener and longtime landscape professional, will share ideas on how to easily set out a colorful and inviting welcome mat to your home with plants. Demonstration planters will be offered as door prizes. May 17 - "Saving Water With Drip - Drip Irrigation Basics and Applications." Dr. Dotty Woodson, AgriLife Extension water specialist, Dallas, and Brad McCullough, state licensed irrigator with Ewing Irrigation, Tyler, will demonstrate how to design and install a drip irrigation system. They will also show how easily an existing spray irrigation section can be converted to a drip system. Sept. 13 - "Enjoy Your Home Landscape - Make Your Yard Fit Your Life." David Gary, Smith County Master Gardener, has learned to continue gardening despite being confined to a wheelchair by muscular dystrophy. Gary will show how to design a landscape to fit anyone's physical limitations. Oct. 25 - "Forgotten and Underutilized Plants For East Texas." Greg Grant, research associate at the Piney Woods Native Plant Center, Nacogdoches, and Texas Gardener contributing editor, is co-author of "Heirloom Gardening in the South." He'll discuss choice plants for use in the home landscape. Nov. 15 - "Japanese Maples and Adapted Trees for Every Landscape." Dr. Dave Creech, regent's professor at Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches, and director of the university's Mast Arboretum, will be the featured speaker. The arboretum has one of the largest collections of Japanese maples in the region, and Creech will share details of his favorite selections. He'll also discuss a wide selection of other trees adapted to the East Texas region, many of which are not frequently seen in our area.

 

Wichita Falls: The Arts Alive! Home and Garden Festival 2014, Saturday, February 22. Presentations include: Dr. Joe Masabni, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will present a program on Vegetable Gardening with our drought conditions in mind; Chris Wiesinger, The Bulb Hunter, will talk about his passion for Heirloom bulbs; Dr. Dotty Woodson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will present "Rainwater Harvesting for Your Home"; and Mark Bullitt, Senior Project Manager for the Dallas Arboretum, will present "What's up at the Arboretum." All of the speakers will be available after their presentations to talk with the public. The Wichita County, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will have a demonstration area dedicated to Rainwater Harvesting, with examples of collections barrels, piping, short programs and much more. For additional information, visit www.txmg.org/wichita.

 

Bryan: Brazos County Master Gardener's Community Program: "Yes, You Can Grow Roses" will be presented by author Judy Barrett, at 7 p.m., February 25, at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Dr., Room 102, Bryan. Author Judy Barrett tells why the myths about how difficult roses are to grow are just that - myths! If you pick the right rose and put it in the right spot, you will find that growing roses is as easy as any plant can be, and so much more rewarding. Roses are fragrant, beautiful and loaded with lore. They respond wonderfully well to organic techniques and require no toxic chemicals to produce bountiful flowers. Don't let your fear stop you from successful cultivation of these Queens of the Garden! Judy Barrett is the founding editor and publisher of HOMEGROWN: Good Sense Organic Gardening (now available via email). She was previously the editor of The New Garden Journal and one of the hosts of the public television series, The New Garden. A long-time organic gardener, Judy writes for various regional and national gardening publications. For additional information, visit brazosmg.com or call 979-823-0129.     

 

La Marque: "Honey Bees Around the Garden" will be presented Tuesday, February 25, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Presented by Galveston County Master Gardeners Stewart McAdoo and Robert Marshall. A presentation and discussion on the history, types, social life and hive structure of honey bees. Included in the program will be an overview of residential honey bee keeping. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email GALV3@wt.net.  

MARCH

 

Austin: Austin Organic Garden Club will hold its annual plant sale on Saturday, March 1, 9 a.m. to 1:30 pm, at Zilker Botanical Gardens. Choose your vegetables, ornamentals, seeds, and succulents in a relaxed atmosphere. All plants offered are proven winners for our area. Many experienced organic gardeners will be on hand to help you make your selection. Free and open to the public; entrance fee to the garden required. Enjoy a stroll through the gardens after you shop! For additional information, visit: www.austinorganicgardeners.org.

 

Austin: Saturday, March 1, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunshine Community Garden, 4814 Sunshine Drive, Austin. Austin's oldest and largest community garden is having its Annual Plant Sale & Benefit: Grow your Own! Everything for your spring garden: thousands of organic tomatoes, peppers and vegetable plants, culinary and medicinal herbs, flowers, and ornamentals. Bag-your-own compost. Local vendors and live music round out this annual rite of spring for the whole family. Everything for a fun-filled day. Arrive early for best selections and spend the day at the gardens. Rain or Shine!

 

Fort Worth: The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers' School will be held March 3-4 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. The first day will feature growers describing their sales and floral design strategies for florists, supermarkets, and farmers' markets accounts. Special emphasis on wedding sales and arrangements will be included. Hands-on sessions will allow attendees to make their own hand-tied bridal bouquets using locally-grown Texas flowers. Cut flower production and business management classes will fill the second day. Record keeping for farmers, cultivar selection, efficient field and greenhouse practices, and postharvest handling steps will be covered. Experienced growers will talk about their experience using hoophouses and tunnels for season extension, and the best way to find and break into new markets. The Growers' School is designed mainly for new growers, or those adding cut flowers to their existing lines, but the information presented will be valuable for anyone interested in cut flower production and floral design. Find the full program and registration at www.ascfg.org.  

 

Austin: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Travis County and Travis County Master Gardeners is presenting a series of five monthly drought-related programs in Austin, which began with a composting program on Feb. 6. The four remaining Dealing with Drought Conditions programs will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on their respective dates at the AgriLife Extension office in southeast Austin, located at 1600-B Smith Road. Each program is $10 for early registration and $15 for late or on-site registration. To register, go to http://agriliferegister.tamu.edu. Still to come: March 6 - Rainwater harvesting. Don't let valuable rainwater wash down the gutter; capture it and use it to water gardens and landscapes. Learn the basics of rainwater harvesting and how to construct a basic system suited to your needs. April 3 - Landscaping to conserve water. Learn proper techniques for watering, feeding and maintaining healthy grasses and landscapes. May 1 - Drip irrigation for the garden. Learn how to install an effective water-wise drip irrigation system and how to monitor its efficiency. Includes an explanation of the irrigation system at AgriLife Extension's demonstration garden. June 5 - Alternative methods of gardening and irrigation. People with time, space or physical limitations can learn how to raise vegetables, herbs and flowers using self-sufficient grow boxes, as well as keyhole gardening and "hugelkultur," to expand their gardening repertoire. For more information, contact Richards at 512-854-9600 or drichards@tamu.edu.  

 

Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardeners are having their annual Spring Sale, featuring perennials, vegetables, herbs and more, on Saturday, March 8, at 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. Program is at 8 a.m.; sale is from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. For more information, call 936-539-7824 or visit www.mcmga.com.


Jacksonville:
The Cherokee County Master Gardener Association will hold their annual Spring Conference March 8. The conference will be held at the First Christian Church Fellowship Hall, 1920 Beaumont Street, Jacksonville. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the first speaker will be at 9 a.m. There will be a $10.00 fee which includes drinks, refreshments and a chance to win one of four door prizes. The program will feature three well known respected speakers. Greg Grant is Lecturer in the School of Horticulture at Stephen F. Austin State University. He was formerly the Cherokee County Horticulturist with the Texas Cooperative Extension in Rusk. He is also co-author, with William C. Welch, of the book Southern Heirloom Garden, and he is a columnist for Texas Gardener magazine. He has traveled extensively to botanical and public gardens throughout the United States and Europe and is a popular public speaker in the southern United States. Dave Whitinger is the creator of several large and popular websites, most notably Dave's Garden and All Things Plants. He moved to Cherokee County in late 2007 and lives just outside Jacksonville with his wife and 6 children. They have a homestead with extensive gardens, cows, chickens, and various other domestic animals. In addition to being a member of the Cherokee County Master Gardeners, Dave is also a software programmer whose passion is to bring gardeners together and provide them with custom made software tools that both serve gardeners as well as take online gardening to the next level. Keith Hansen has been the Texas AgriLife Horticulturist for Smith County since 1992. Prior to that, he was the extension agent for Nueches County. Keith has a weekly column, "Keeping it Green," in the Tyler Morning Telegraph and has written numerous articles for other publications. For more information, contact Ginny Scurlock at 903-530-8610 or at ginnyscurlock@yahoo.com.

Seguin: Mary Ruona will discuss Xeriscaping at the March 20 meeting of the Guadalupe Master Gardeners, at the Justice Center, 211 Court St., Seguin. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. with a business meeting after the program. For additional information, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call 830-303-3889.

Round Top: The 19th Annual Herbal Forum will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 21 and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. March 22 at Round Top Festival Hill, 248 Jaster Road, Round Top. Plants and gifts will be for sale. Admission is free. For additional information, visit www.herbsocietypioneer.org.

Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners of Hood County will host their annual plant sale 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Demonstration Garden (behind Annex 1), 1410 Pearl St., Granbury.

Orangefield: The Orange County Master Gardener Association of Orange will hold their annual Bloomin' Crazy Plant Fair Saturday, March 29 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Jewel Cormier Park, 8235 FM 1442, Orangefield (about 1.5 miles south of IH10 (Exit 869S). Available will be a large variety of plants from annuals, perennials, Texas SuperStars, Natives, vines, butterfly, house, tropical, lilies, citrus, shrubs, trees, vegetables including herbs and a huge selection of tomato and pepper plants. There will be many hard-to-find plants available also. Vendors selling bromeliads, and unique gifts will be available along with Master Gardeners to answer horticulture related questions. Concessions will be available. For additional information, visit www.txmg.org/orange.

APRIL

 

Huntsville: The Texas Thyme Unit of the Herb Society of America will host its third annual Herb Festival at the Wynne Home on Saturday, April 5, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The event will be held on the grounds of the beautiful, historic Wynne Home, 1428 Eleventh St. in Huntsville. The event will feature a vast selection of herbs, camellias, hummingbird and butterfly plants for sale. Local artists, herbal, garden and kitchen vendors will also be selling their products. Area musicians will perform and there will be speakers on using and growing herbs. The event is free to the public. For more information, call 936-891-5024 or visit www.facebook.com/texasthymeunit.

 

Nacogdoches: 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 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 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 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.

Monthly meetings

 

If you would like your organization's events included in "Monthly Meetings" or would like to make a change to a listed meeting, please contact us at Monthly Meetings. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details. 

 

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.

 

Kaufman: The Kaufman County Master Gardeners meet the first Tuesday of each month at the First Community Church at 1401 Trinity Drive in Crandall. January through April and August and September meetings are at 9 a.m., with the remaining meetings beginning at 7 p.m. For additional information visit http://www.kcmga.org, call 972-932-9069 or email to sbburden@ag.tamu.edu. 

 

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.

 

Midland: The Permian Basin Master Gardeners meet at noon, the first Wednesday of each month at the Permian Basin Readiness Center at the Midland International Airport. For more information, call 432-498-4071.

  

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.

 

Denton: The Denton County Master Gardener Association meets from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month at 401 W. Hickory St., Denton. Meetings are open to the public. More information is available at: http://dcmga.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 new Orange County Expo Center on Hwy 1442 in Orangefield. Enter the building in the front entrance, first door on the right, Texas AgriLife offices. 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.

 

Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 1:30 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. For more information, call Carole Ramke at 903-986-9475.

 

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.

 

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

 

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 Novemberand 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 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, at the Justice Center, 211 Court Street, Seguin. After a brief social hour, the meeting and guest speaker begins at 7 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 830-303-3889 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 Thursday of each month at 3015 Richmond Ave., 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 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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