November 19, 2014

With freezing weather on the way, plants need care, too


By Kathleen Phillips

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


With the first major cold snap hitting the northern half of the state this past week, people can take action to protect surviving plants from total loss, horticulturists with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service said.


The first step is to understand how cold temperatures impact different plants and then take steps to alter those conditions, according to Monte Nesbitt of College Station and Robert "Skip" Richter of Houston, both AgriLife Extension horticulturists.


Nesbitt and Richter are co-authors of "Protecting Landscapes and Horticultural Crops from Frosts and Freezes," which has detailed instructions and is downloadable for free at


In addition to seeking local weather reports, one needs to understand the difference between frosts and freezes, they said, as well as how topography, urban microclimates and bodies of water can impact a plant's ability to withstand temperature variations.


"Plants can get used to freezing weather if they are exposed to it consistently and gradually," Nesbitt explained. "But in Texas, intermittent warm periods can make it hard for plants to adjust and therefore be more vulnerable to frost or freeze damage."


A sudden, steep plunge in temperatures such as the forecasters are calling for this week could bring about a freeze that includes winds, cold air masses, clouds and precipitation over a period of days as it moves across the state, the horticulturists said.


"For plants, that means damage from the low temperatures as well as from the wind from the stalk to the top," Richter said. "When the water inside plant cells freezes, ice crystals form that can pierce and damage the cell walls, killing the cells. As temperatures rise, fluids leak out of those cells, and they begin to decay."


A frost, by contrast, happens when the sky is clear and there isn't much wind, he said. The amount of radiation given to the plant by the sun is lost gradually during the night to the freezing point just before sunrise. Frosts can be severely damaging as well, but normally only at the top or most exposed part of the plant, he said.


Understanding what is likely for a particular area where plants are growing can help determine the type of protection offered, the horticulturists said.


Frosts are easier to protect plants from, Nesbitt said. Plants growing under tree canopies will be impacted less than those more exposed. Likewise, plants in pots can be placed under the overhang of a house for some protection. Where possible, the best protection would be from opaque covers such as sheets, blankets, cardboard boxes or trash cans, but wait until early evening so the plant can absorb as much sun radiation as possible.


"The idea is to slow the cooling of the plant," Nesbitt said.


Freezes are not easily deflected by the methods used for a frost, Richter said.


While a cover by itself would not be adequate during a freeze, adding a heat source such as a string of outdoor lights can help, because it adds heat, he said. Plants in containers are more likely to be harmed than those in the ground because they lack the insulation that the Earth provides.


"Move container plants inside the home or garage," Richter said. "If they can't be moved indoors, put them on a more protected side of the house. Then water them well and pile on mulch, leaves or hay and cover with a frost blanket."


Plants that are permanently set in the landscape can receive some protection from semi-permanent structures such as polyethylene film-covered structures (hoop houses, for example), windbreaks, and mounds of soil or mulch heaped around the lower trunk, the horticulturists said.


Nesbitt said the process of protecting plants usually needs to be repeated throughout the winter months since Texas weather cycles between warm and cold for months.


He said to wait to prune frost- or freeze-damaged plants until the spring, because the dead foliage can provide a protective layer during the next cold spell and because pruning could prompt new, tender growth.

Mantis attack!


By Bobbi A. Chukran

Freelance Writer


I was out in the garden, minding my own business, harvesting the last of the summer tomatoes, when ZAP! Something bit me on my middle finger. I screamed like a girl, and immediately thought of scorpions or spiders - or horrors, a rattlesnake! I looked down at the tomato bush, and there was the most ferocious, most puffed up, most BAD looking dude I had ever seen.


It was a praying mantis, quite a large one, and he was mad. I was stunned, because I had read over and over that mantises don't bite. I remembered back to when I was a kid, my mother would warn us not to touch any praying mantises that we saw. According to her, they were poisonous, and would basically eat us up in one bite. For years, I was afraid of the little buggers, until I started reading about beneficial insects. I decided that I'd leave them be to do what mantids do. Over the last month or so, I've seen dozens of the creatures in my garden, but I never dreamed that I would ever be attacked by one!


Being the researcher type I am (and just plain nosy), I came in, got a little sympathy from the Husband, washed my hands, and did a search on the 'net for praying mantis bites. I have to look up everything, being a curious sort. Turns out, some bug expert at Ohio State University says that they do not bite humans. But, get this, they do frequently "pinch hard."


Pinch hard? Good grief. My finger was throbbing, and all because a bug pinched me? I got out the magnifying glass and looked at my finger. There were no puncture wounds, and no blood. I did further reading, and sure enough, they do often draw blood, but their bite isn't harmful to humans. Well, that was good to know.


Their bites, however, are harmful to other insects, and this is what fascinates me about the little critters. They don't eat any vegetation, and they don't just pinch other insects. I can see this now... "Take that, you mosquito! I'll pinch you until you scream!" Oh no, with insects, they are much more ferocious, and this is what makes them beneficial in the garden. They are the fastest insect, apparently, and can zap a cricket from the air faster than that little guy can say his last prayers. Speaking of prayers, praying mantids are called that because of the way they fold their front legs into a prayer-like pose. So they grab the poor cricket with those sharp spiny legs, then immediately the mantis goes munching, eating the insect alive, and sometimes going for the head first. I didn't say that they were friendly insects - I said they were beneficial!


Mantids, apparently, are the only insects that can swivel their head all whicha-ways and look at you upside down. I suppose this is handy for catching flies and such, which they eat with relish (no, not pickle relish). They also eat mosquitoes, which I was very glad to hear, and almost all other insects, including themselves (ack) except ants. DRAT! Oh well, no beneficial is perfect, I guess.


Apparently, the mantids are so hungry that they will also attack almost anything that moves. They will even stalk small birds, such as hummingbirds, lizards and mice. Amazingly enough, they also groom themselves regularly, somewhat like a cat does. I've actually seen this for myself. They seem to lick those spiny front legs, then wipe them across their faces, twisting their heads this way and that. I suppose they have to keep those peepers clean in order to see their prey.


Mantids in the garden only live for a single season, and usually hatch out in the spring from egg cases that were formed in the fall. Like many other aspects of the mantids, their life cycle is also fascinating.


When a female mantid reaches the adult stage, she releases an odor that attracts a male mantis. The female is larger than the male because she is full of eggs. The male approaches the female (cautiously, I'd imagine), and climbs on her back. If he's lucky, he does his business and then escapes without having his head bitten off (literally).


The sperm deposited by the male is stored inside the female. She now proceeds to build the egg cases, the small rectangular brown crusty things that you'll sometimes see in the garden. She hangs upside down from a branch, and secretes sticky goo from her abdomen, which she whips into a froth with a pair of special appendages. This froth forms a cocoon with several chambers in it. She lays the eggs (sometimes as many as 300) in this cocoon, and fertilizes them with the stored sperm, a process that takes from three to five hours. The cocoon eventually hardens, and the female goes on to build more cocoons - between three to six. The mantises continue to mate and build cocoons until the winter frost kills them.


The eggs, protected in their cases, survive the winter to hatch the next spring, once it becomes warm.


And then they will station themselves in the garden, guarding the tomatoes, and will pinch you hard until you scream if you get your hand too close to one.


I saw a very large one today stationed behind the hummingbird feeder, acting quite nonchalant. In the past, I would have left him there, but now I know what he's up to! I found a stick - a VERY long stick - and poked at him until he moved far away from the feeder. Last thing I want to do is see one of my hummers being pinched to death by a praying mantis!


Although I've seen mantises since I was a young child, it took getting pinched by one to really notice them, and to discover what amazing creatures they are. But my finger still hurts!


Bobbi A. Chukran writes comedic fiction of all sorts from her home in Taylor, Texas. She tends a large garden there consisting of at least 82 antique rose bushes and lots of herbs and native plants. She tries to get along with intruders of the insect variety. She blogs about her projects at and

The Compost Heap 

Gardening tips 


"Wish you had used your Nov. gardening tips to talk a bit about sustainable gardening - for example, no fertilizer on lawns and why," writes Dallas Baxter. "Why not advise people to mulch in the leaves on their lawns periodically during their fall. Then there's no reason to admonish about heavy accumulations of leaves. I notice that all the great plants for winter interest are non-native. All. Why not take the opportunity to champion some of the excellent native grasses that are beautiful all year and especially in winter, or yaupon and other natives with winter interest.


"For best use of water, sustenance for wildlife and a sense of place, natives are the way to go. And sustainability has to be taught. If not on Texas Gardener's Seeds, where?"


Good suggestion, Dallas, and you can see from this week's gardening tips, we listen to our readers. 

Gardening tips

Why not take a little time this winter to establish a bed for some of our wonderful native grass varieties such as sideoats grama boutelona curtipendula (shown here) our state grass next spring. It is a beautiful perennial grass that will grow anywhere in the state. Just give it good drainage and plenty of sun. 

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 2015 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.

San Antonio: At the November 20 Bexar County Master Gardeners (BCMG) Meeting, learn all about Heritage, Heirloom and Pass-along Plants with Jamie Daily. 1.5 CEUs for Master Gardeners. There will be a plant exchange, so bring plants and seeds to share. Meeting is free and open to the public at Colonies House Meeting Room, 3511 Colony Dr., San Antonio. Social at 6 p.m., followed by presentation and meeting. For additional information, call 210-467-6575.


Seguin: The Guadalupe Master Gardeners will meet on Thursday, November 20, at the Justice Center on 211 Court Street in Seguin. Dr. Kelly Lyons, assistant professor of biology at Trinity University, will be the guest speaker. Her research was on and she will be talking about native species plants, invasive plants and their impact on ecosystems. As new additions to ecosystems, many of these species become invasive, dramatically altering natural and managed ecosystems and homogenizing communities. Recently she was awarded a USDA grant to study links between invasive weeds and diverse native grasslands. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. after a social function starting at 6:30. For further information, visit or call 830-303-3889.  



Round Rock: The Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St., Round Rock, presents "Seed Starting for Those with a Brown Thumb," from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4. Many people are intimidated by the thought of having to start their own seeds for the garden or the landscape. Learn why starting your own seeds is easier, less costly and provides you with a wider choice of plants. The program will be conducted by Jeff Ferris, a gardener in Austin for more than 25 years, staff horticulturist and diagnostician at The Natural Gardener, certified Permaculturist, and instructor in the ACC Landscape and Horticulture program since 2008. Through Neighborhood Harvest Project, he co-founded the first public community garden in Round Rock - Unity Park Community Garden. Jeff is a frequent guest and occasional host of "John Dromgoole's Gardening Naturally" program on KLBJ radio, the longest running organic gardening show in the country. For more information, please contact Julie Chapa, 512-218-7014.  


Bryan: Future use of water and its impact on agriculture will be the focus of the 2014 Texas Plant Protection Association conference scheduled Dec. 10-11 at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. Dr. Travis Miller, interim director for state operations with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will be one of the featured speakers during the opening general session Dec. 10. Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist, and Carlos Rubinstein, chairman of the Texas Water Development Board, will also be general session featured speakers. Nielsen-Gammon will discuss climate variability and Rubinstein will give a Texas water outlook. Other presentations during the general session will focus on water conservation, comparative irrigation methods, agricultural innovations from industry in dealing with climate change, and a Texas farmer's perspective on dealing with water management. Afternoon sessions on Dec. 10 will include a look at the Texas drought's impact on wildlife, unmanned aerial vehicles in agriculture, and decision and precision applications of nitrogen. The second day of the conference will feature sessions on grain, cotton, horticulture/turf, and pasture and rangeland. A student poster contest will be held as well as an awards luncheon. For registration information, visit


Houston: Monday, December 15, is Open Garden Day, with Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2. 8:30-11 am, Genoa Friendship Garden,1202 Genoa Red Bluff Rd., Houston.  Master Gardeners will be available to answer gardening questions. Free. Children welcome. Details: 


Humble: Succulentarriums will be presented Wednesday, December 10, noon-2 p.m.

at the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble.

Learn how to combine remarkable succulents, moss, and cacti with recycled glassware to create fun and fanciful display items for your home or office. These unique items also make great holiday gifts! For additional information or to make reservations, call Mercer Botanic Gardens at 281-443-8731.


Pearland: Ed Barrios will present "Gardening & Insects" at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 11 at Busy Bee Café, 4009 W. Broadway, Pearland. Free. Brazoria County Master Gardeners. For more details, call John at 713-818-8806.



San Antonio: On Wednesday, January 14 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., David Rodriguez, County Extension Agent-Horticulturist, will present Joey Villarreal, Proprietor and Brewer of Blue Star Brewing Company, Todd Huntress, Operator of San Antonio Homebrew Supply & Home Brewer, along with Bexar County Master Gardener and Home Brewer, Lou Kellogg in the first Backyard Gardening Series presentation for 2015: The Basics of Home Brewing 101. Held at Blue Star Brewing, The Blue Star Arts Complex, 1414 S. Alamo St, San Antonio 78210. 2 CEUs for Master Gardeners. Fee: $20. RSVP to Angel Torres 210 467-6575 or email Must be 21 years of age or older.


New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service present their Spring Seminar featuring tomatoes, keyhole gardening, and nutrition at McKenna Events Center, 801 West San Antonio Street, New Braunfels. February 21, from 8:50 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Cost is $49.00, and includes lunch, snacks, seminar booklet, and vegetable gardening handbook. Speakers include William D. Adams, author or co-author of Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook, The Southern Kitchen Garden, Commonsense Vegetable Gardening for the South, and Growing Fruits and Nuts in the South. Dr. Deb Tolman will provide all the details of keyhole gardening and Ashley Currie will provide a talk on health and wellness. Seating is limited so register early to save your place. Registration forms are available at For additional information, call 830-620-3440.

San Antonio: Advance your gardening expertise, plus gain self-satisfaction through volunteer efforts which enhance the quality of life for citizens of your community using the science and art of horticulture. Bexar County Master Gardeners and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will offer Master Gardener Intern Training Class #59 from February 25 to May 27 (Noon-4 p.m., each Wednesday) at 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio. Registration for Class 59, is open NOW through February 9. See the attachment for details, application form, and planned class agenda. For more information, call 210 467-6575.


Quitman: The Wood County chapter of Texas Master Gardeners will host a spring conference featuring speaker Steven L. Chamblee. March 28, at Quitman High School, 1101 East Goode Street, Quitman. "Time to Plant Smarter" will focus on plants and gardening methods specifically for east Texas. Chamblee is the Chief Horticulturist for Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, Texas. He serves as Consulting Editor and Author for a gardening magazine, writes a monthly e-newsletter column entitled "Native Son," and is an Adjunct Instructor for Tarrant County College and Texas Christian University's Extended Education. He will introduce Texas Tough Plants which are environmentally friendly and native to the state. This will be especially informative for people new to the area or state and adapting to Texas weather and seasons. He will cover subjects on trees, shrubs and color with emphasis on heavily flowering herbaceous perennials. The conference will also have mini-seminars on native plants, rainwater harvesting and worm farming. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. Door prizes will be awarded and refreshments will be available. For more information contact: Gloria Jean Rosewall at; Roy Culbertson at; or Lin Grado at .

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. 




Kaufman: The Kaufman County Master Gardeners meet the first Monday 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, call 972-932-9069 or email to

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
or call 281-855-5600.


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


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 for more information.

New Braunfels: The Comal Garden Club meets the first Thursday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at Southbank Clubhouse, 222 Southbank Blvd., New Braunfels. 




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


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 or contact


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


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:


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


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 and


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


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 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

Smithville: The Smithville Community Gardens meets at 5:30 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the Smithville Recreation Center. 


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


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




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


Cleburne:The Johnson County Master Gardener's meet on the third Monday of each month at McGregor House, 1628 W Henderson, Cleburne. Meeting times are at 2 p.m. October through April, except December and at 6 p.m. May through September. An educational program precedes the business meeting. For additional information, contact Sue Matern at 817-517-9076.


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


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.


Evant: The Evant Garden Club meets on the third 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 254-471-5860.  


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 or call 361-790-0103.


Sugar Land: The Sugar Land Garden Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month, September through November and January through April at 10 a.m. at the Sugar Land Community Center, 226 Matlage Way, Sugar Land. The club hosts a different speaker each month. For more information, visit


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


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


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


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 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


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




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


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 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


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


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 or email


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


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


Dallas: The Dallas County Master Gardeners meet the fourth Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. For location and program information, visit 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


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.

Texas Gardener digital edition available

Same magazine as our print edition without the paper and at a better price. Fully compatible with your desktop, laptop, iPad or Tablet. Access Texas Gardener anywhere, anytime: at the office, home, vacation, even in the garden. Easy to use with robust features and fully searchable archive as long as your subscription is active. Visit and click on the digital radio button to subscribe.
Garden success starts here!

Make gardening easier and more enjoyable in 2015. No more keeping it in your head or, worse yet, juggling all those wrinkled, sweat-stained pieces of paper that seem to accumulate and end up lost. It's time to get organized and the perfect way to start that off is with your very own copy of the 2015 Texas Gardener Planning Guide and Calendar. No more guessing when to plant or do different activities. You will find everything you need in one simple but informative guide and calendar. Plus plenty of room to record your own planting dates, rainfall events and other data for future reference.

Here's a sample of what you will find in this information-packed guide:
  • Many, many practical and timely garden tips that are for Texas - not Maine or California!
  • Organic, earth friendly tips to make your garden grow and prosper
  • Lots of space to record your own activities for future reference
  • Planting dates and tips for vegetables, flowers, herbs, fruit and lawns
Order today, while it is fresh on your mind. Don't forget to order copies for your gardening friends and relatives!

Only $12.80 per copy (includes shipping, handling and tax).

To order using your credit card, call toll-free 1-800-727-9020 or online at
Buy two books, receive cap free!

The Vegetable Book

By Dr. Sam Cotner


Finally, back by popular demand and in its fourth printing, the most informative and comprehensive "how-to" book on vegetable gardening in Texas (also, suitable for most other areas of the South) written by the late, great Dr. Sam Cotner, former head of horticulture at Texas A&M University and lifelong gardener. This interesting read has over 370 pages of detailed information on every crop, from Asparagus to Watermelon including problem/solving sections for each vegetable. If you want to maximize your enjoyment and success growing vegetables in Texas, this book is a "must have," whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gardener. Price $34.02

The Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook

By William D. Adams


The best thing for tomato enthusiasts since the tomato itself! Adams draws on more than thirty years of experience to provide a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Learn everything from soil preparation, planting, feeding, caging and watering. Liberally sprinkled with the author's easy humor and illustrated with his own excellent photographs, this must-have book has everything you'll need to assure a bumper crop! 189 pages. Lots of color photographs! Price: $31.94

Order both books, receive a FREE Texas Gardener cap!

($15.82 if ordered separately)


Remit payment to:

TG Books * PO Box 9005 * Waco, TX 76714

or call Toll-Free 1-800-727-9020


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Texas Gardener's Seeds is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. You may forward this publication to your friends and colleagues if it is sent in its entirety. No individual part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.


Missed an issue? Back issues of Texas Gardener's Seeds April 2006-September 2013 are available at Back issues beginning October 2013 are available here


Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken 


Texas Gardener's Seeds, P.O. Box 9005, Waco, Texas 76714