February 19, 2014

Gardening in February


By Tom Harris Ph.D. 

The Hill Country Gardener 


February can still bring bitterly cold weather and freezes. Be very careful about planting perennials at this time. Plant seeds in protected areas either inside a green house or maybe in a bed outside. If you plant seeds outside and severe weather is predicted, be sure to cover the newly emerged plants with old sheets or commercial row-cover.


However, it's a great time to start planning those new beds you thought about last year. I hope you made a few notes about that. There are usually very few pest or disease problems this time of year.


Continue to pull weeds as they emerge.


Arm-chair gardening now will pay off well next June/July.


Mid-February is rose-pruning time. Leave 4-5 pencil-width stems arranged around an open center. Reduce height to approximately 24-36 inches. Begin your insecticide and fungicide weekly sprays if your roses are prone to black spots and bugs. Fertilize with rose food or slow-release lawn fertilizer. This is also the time to plant new roses or move old ones to new locations where they can be appreciated more.


Do not cut back the daffodils until the leaves turn brown. It doesn't matter with tulips; they are an annual, unless you are gardening in the Panhandle.


Divide summer- and fall-blooming perennials, including cannas, mallows, fall asters, mums, coneflowers, and perennial salvias before growth begins.


Pansies are heavy feeders. If your pansies are still blooming, be sure to fertilize with your favorite fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.


It's best to plant spring blooming bulbs early in the month so that they finish blooming before the weather sets in. There is still time to plant them if you purchased pre-chilled bulbs. Be sure to water in all new plants as you plant them.


Pruning is the key activity for fruit trees. The trees need to be opened up to allow sun, air, and pesticides to penetrate. Use thinning cuts (whole branch) rather than hedging cuts (mid-branch)...peaches and plums to an open vase shape, apples and pears to a modified central leader shape.


Water indoor plants only when they need it. Test by sticking your finger into the soil. If it's moist, don't water; if it's dry, water. Use water-soluble fertilizer at half strength for indoor plants.


Go ahead and cut back ornamental grasses that froze.


A simple calculation to fertilize healthy trees is based on trunk diameter - use one pound of a high nitrogen fertilizer (slow-release type such as 19-5-9) per inch diameter of tree trunk. Measure the distance around the tree about 4 feet above the ground and divide by 3. Spread the fertilizer evenly under the canopy of the tree. Fertilize evergreen trees, such as live oak, at the rate of 1-3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of root area. Fertilize deciduous trees (pecan, cypress) at the rate of 6-8 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.


This is a good month to plant trees and shrubs. Fall is better, but February still gives the root systems time to become established before the stress of summer sets in. Dig the hole as deep as the container and 2-3 times as wide. Add back the native soil and cover with 3 inches of mulch leaving a 6" clearance around the trunk. Water deeply once per week.


Prune trees and shrubs this month.


Use oak leaves for mulch in the gardens or add them to the compost pile.


Use Bt or Spinosad to control caterpillars on mountain laurel.


There is a lot to do for your lawn, but fertilizing is not one of them. Wait until April or May. Don't use weed-and-feed products. All that are growing now are the weeds and there is no need to fertilize them, is there? Grass is still dormant. Don't waste water and fertilizer. You can, however, still aerate and top-dress with compost. Spring weather and fall fertilization determine when grass greens up in the spring, not excessive watering or spring fertilization.


This is a good month to apply pre-emergent herbicides to prevent warm weather weeds.


Pot-up your tomatoes and peppers into 1-gallon pots to maximize growth before stable weather arrives. Move the plants into cover if cold weather is predicted. Plant the potted-up plants in April.


Plant radishes, spinach, beets, carrots, and onion sets this month.


Perk up your gardens with the addition of rotted manure or compost. Two to four inches spread over the surface and tilled to a depth of 8-12 inches will improve the spring garden.


February is the month to begin spring vegetable gardens with crops such as asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower (transplants only), Swiss chard, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce (leafy), mustard, Irish potatoes, radish, and turnip.


Timber theft is on the rise in Texas

Texas A&M Forest Service


During the last four months of 2013, more than 20 timber theft cases were reported in East Texas from Newton to Bowie Counties.


Approximately one-third of the more than 200,000 family forest landowners in East Texas are absentee forest landowners. This, plus the rising price of timber makes property vulnerable and easily accessible to timber thieves.


Timber theft is a crime and it affects everyone. Timber owners suffer monetary loss, but everyone stands to lose as the natural resource is taken without reforestation methods in place to ensure a new forest for the future.


In Texas, many timber theft cases involve absentee landowners who are susceptible because they aren't around to protect their property. In these cases, the thief is often long gone by the time the crime is discovered.


"We are discovering that in more cases than not, the thieves are promising higher than market timber trend prices," said Les Rogers, Texas A&M Forest Service Chief Law Enforcement Officer. "In a few instances thieves also claimed to be affiliated with certain reputable organizations to gain the trust of unsuspecting landowners."


Landowners are advised to demand a bill of sale as Texas law requires that one is obtained from the seller. The bill of sale must include information such as the name of the landowner, seller and purchaser. It should also include a description or survey of the land and trees, and a warranty and signature from the seller.


To help property owners avoid timber theft tactics, the Texas A&M Forest Service advises:

  • Have someone you know and trust report any cutting on your land immediately.
  • Never sign a contract without checking several references of the buyer.
  • For the best price, insist on getting bids for your timber.
  • Mark all property lines to assure cutting on adjacent property does not encroach on yours.
  • If the landowner does not know the timber business, find someone to help determine volumes, current prices and potential bidders. 

To report suspected timber theft activity call the Timber Theft Hotline 1-800-364-3470 or contact Texas A&M Forest Service at 936-639-8100.

Small-scale horticultural production series to be offered in Austin


Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


Those interested in small-scale production of fruits, vegetables, nuts or other agricultural products can benefit from a six-part interactive web-based series offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said an AgriLife Extension expert.


"We invite those interested in growing crops like tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, carrots, peaches, pears, pecans and more on smaller plots to sell individually or at farmers markets and the like to attend these video seminars," said Daphne Richards, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture in Travis County.


Richards said attendees can participate in any of the sessions offered from February to December, but the maximum benefit can be achieved by attending all six. Sessions will be presented by leading researchers and AgriLife Extension specialists from the Texas A&M University System.


"We have taken care in selecting the topics and presenters so those attending will get a wide and useful range of information on horticultural production practices and principles relating to smaller-scale production," she said.


Richards said the goal of the seminar sessions is to help people evaluate diversification strategies and income opportunities from the production of small-acreage horticultural crops.


"A live question-and-answer session during these sessions will provide the opportunity to get answers to more specific questions on small-scale agricultural production," she said.


Cost is $10 per session for regular registration and $15 for late and on-site registration. To register, visit http://agriliferegister.tamu.edu.


Each of these seminars will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on their respective dates. Dates, topics and locations are:

  • Feb. 20, Aquaponics - Principles and Practices, Travis County East Service Center, 6011 Blue Bluff Road, Austin.
  • April 24, Composting for the Small-Acreage Producer, AgriLife Extension office, Travis County, 1600-B Smith Road, Austin.
  • June 19, Grafting Vegetable Crops: Principles and Practices, Travis County East Service Center, 6011 Blue Bluff Road, Austin.
  • Aug. 21, Practical Weed Control, Travis County East Service Center, 6011 Blue Bluff Road, Austin.
  • Oct. 16, Food Safety for the Small-Acreage Producer, Travis County East Service Center, 6011 Blue Bluff Road, Austin.
  • Dec. 11, Business Planning, Travis County East Service Center, 6011 Blue Bluff Road, Austin.

For additional information, contact the AgriLife Extension office at 512-854-9600.

Gardening tips

If you just can't resist those fresh, green tomato transplants that seem to show up at local nurseries a few weeks too early for safe planting in the garden, consider potting them up into one-gallon containers and keeping them on the patio for a few weeks or until all danger of frost has passed. By keeping them on the patio, they can "harden off" before being set out. Also, if the weather is supposed to drop below freezing they can easily be transported to a warmer, safer location until the bad weather was passed.    


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.




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.


Dallas: An Afternoon with The Drunken Botanist will be held at the Dallas Arboretum February 22, beginning at 1 p.m. Amy Stewart, author of The New York Times best-seller The Drunken Botanist, explains the array of plants that humans have distilled, fermented, infused and imbibed. Her entertaining lecture celebrates history and lore of the trees, flowers and fruits that have brought many fine cocktails to life. She discusses some of the unusual and surprisingly common plants that have produced the world's greatest spirits and shares some of the most delicious ways to consume them. A book signing takes place after the lecture. Space is limited. Lecture: 1 to 2:30 p.m. (Tickets: $40, $36 for members); Book signing: After the lecture; Workshop: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. (SOLD OUT). The Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, offers a plethora of adult education programs ranging from landscaping classes to jewelry making courses. Day or night, there are programs for everyone. Members receive a 10% discount on classes. Programs fill quickly, so register today by calling 214-515-6540. For general inquiries, email education@dallasarboretum.org.   


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/.


Stephenville: Dr. Whitt Weems, Erath County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, will lead a range/prairie restoration field trip, sponsored by the Prairie Rose Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas from 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, February 22, at Venable Hill Event Center south of Stephenville. The free tour is open to the public. Venable Hill, formerly Pleasant Hill Methodist Church, is located south of Stephenville at the intersection of US Hwy 281 and FM 913 (Seldon Rd). Those interested in carpooling, meet at 9 am, Somervell Citizens Center. Please RSVP to Karen Richardson, rgstudio@valornet.com if you plan to carpool.


Tyler: The first of seven seminars on the finer points of gardening in East Texas will be held February 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. 


Houston: Open Garden Day will held 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. February 25, in the Demonstration Gardens at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office, 3033 Bear Creek Dr., Houston. Self-guided tours 9 begin at 9 a.am. Leanr how to correctly plant vegetable seeds, propagate vegetables from cuttings, and plant transplants without shocking them in the workshop beginning at 10 a.m. For additional information, call 832-264-3466. 


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. 


Dallas: "Saving for a Rainy Day, Making a Rain Barrel" will be presented 6:30-8:30 p.m., February 27, at Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Center at Dallas, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Learn the basics 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 own 55-gallon rain barrel. Register at dallas.tamu.edu/courses.   



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!


Dallas: The Harris County master Gardeners' annual Tomato/Pepper Sale will be held 9 a.m.-1 p.m., March 1, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, 3033 Bear Creek Dr., Houston. The sale will be preceded by an overview of the plants being sold at 8 a.m.  


Dallas: Save the Rain (Rainwater Collection Class) will be presented Saturday, March 1, 10 a.m. - noon at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Dallas.Discover the basics of rainwater harvesting, how to calculate how much rainwater can be collected, and see examples of collection containers at Texas Discovery Gardens. The class is Saturday, March 1, from 10 to noon. Learn how to build your own simple system. $60, $48 for TDG Members. Register online or at 214-428-7476 x343. For more information, visit http://texasdiscoverygardens.org/events_and_classes.php.  


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.


Dallas: Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the greenhouse on this family friendly walk at Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Dallas, Saturday, March 8, at 11 am. It ends in time for the Butterfly Release talk at noon in the conservatory. Included w/admission. For additional information, visit http://texasdiscoverygardens.org/events_and_classes.php.

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.

Dallas: "Saving for a Rainy Day, Making a Rain Barrel" will be presented 6:30-8:30 p.m., March 18, at Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Center at Dallas, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Learn the basics 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 own 55-gallon rain barrel. Register at dallas.tamu.edu/courses.

Dallas: Savor Dallas at the Arboretum will be held March 20, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. (Tickets: $65, $59 for members). Last year's event sold out, so be sure to purchase tickets today. Savor Dallas and the Arboretum invite guests to delight in the breathtaking beauty of spring by strolling through the garden sampling premium wines, beers and spirits. There are also delectable food samplings from some of Dallas' finest kitchens. Each guest receives a crystal tasting glass as a memento of this wonderful evening in the garden. Proceeds benefit the Dallas Arboretum's Education Department. The Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, offers a plethora of adult education programs ranging from landscaping classes to jewelry making courses. Day or night, there are programs for everyone. Members receive a 10% discount on classes. Programs fill quickly, so register today by calling 214-515-6540. For general inquiries, email education@dallasarboretum.org.

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.



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. 




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.




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.




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.




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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