January 28, 2015
Soils support urban life


Soil Science Society of America


The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating a series of activities throughout 2015 International Year of Soil (IYS) to educate the public about the importance of soil. February's theme is "Soils Support Urban Life."


In the US, over 80% of the population lives in cities or suburbs. While the downtown areas of cities are covered with asphalt and concrete, there are still lawns, trees, gardens and parks. Under all of this "city space," even under the concrete, is soil. Soil a complex mixture of minerals, water, air, and organic matter that performs many critical functions.


SSSA recommends that urban dwellers consider rain gardens for their yards, and compost their appropriate food wastes. The SSSA website, Discover Soils, has a "Soils in the City" section (https://www.soils.org/discover-soils/soils-in-the-city) with instructions for setting up community gardens.


"Our main goal during International Year of Soils is to help educators and the general public understand this natural resource," according to David Lindbo, SSSA's IYS task force leader. "Soil provides for us and regulates our world. We need to take care of it in return...because soils sustain life."


As part of their celebration of IYS, SSSA is developing a series of twelve 2-minute educational videos. They are working in conjunction with Jim Toomey, author of the environmental cartoon, Sherman's Lagoon. February's Soils Support Urban Living video can be viewed at www.soils.org/iys/monthly-videos. Education materials can be viewed at www.soils.org/iys.

Editor's Note: Gardening news is slow at the beginning of the year, and many gardeners are unable to work in their gardens during winter. We thought you might enjoy a change of pace during this slow season, so following is a gardening-themed short story presented for your enjoyment. - Michael Bracken, editor


A Recipe for Rhubarb


By Suzanne Berube Rorhus

Freelance Writer


After he died, I relaxed. Oh, my, watching him writhe had been horrible. I didn't mind having him suffer, but I'd have preferred not to watch. There he was, turning blue, falling out of his recliner, and there I sat, fanning myself and picking steak out of my teeth.


His mean black eyes watched me, even as his body thrashed in his chair. I could see him grow suspicious, then convinced. He knew it was me, knew I had gotten the best of him.


I didn't poison him. Not really. I was just following his orders, same as I always did. "Fix me a rhubarb pie," he'd said before going to work. "You haven't baked me anything in a long time. By looking at you, you'd think your oven was turning out cakes and pies by the dozen. Is that what you do all day, gobble up desserts while I'm slaving to put a roof over your head?"


He'd slammed the door then, but not before demanding a thick steak and a rhubarb pie, just like his momma used to make. As if it weren't too dang hot to be grilling steaks and baking pies.


I'd give him a pie, all right. The kind of rhubarb pie his momma should have made years ago.


I spent a few hours in my garden, tending to the food I grew for our table. I loved digging in the soil, feeling its life-giving loam clumping in my hands. After an hour of pulling weeds, jerking the malicious intruders out of my garden by their roots, I felt calmer.


When I'd finished, I harvested some of my rhubarb - beautiful, long, red stalks smelling of lemon peel. I brought them inside and cut off the leaves. Instead of throwing them away like his momma did, I boiled them in sugar and lemon.


His momma told me they were poisonous, all those years ago. She didn't know she was planting a seed that would germinate through 15 years of beatings.


The rhubarb leaves boiled down to an aromatic but unsightly mash. No way could I turn that into a pretty pie. That's when I had my inspiration. I went back to the garden and picked three quarts of red, juicy strawberries, ripened in the Texas sunshine.


"What's this?" he'd asked after dinner. "I told you to make me a rhubarb pie. This here's strawberry, ain't it?"


"It's strawberry-rhubarb pie," I said. "Your momma's recipe. You want a piece?"


That pig ate half the pie before his stomach seized up. I settled in my recliner to watch.


By the time the police arrived, he'd been dead half an hour, the dishwasher was running, and the rest of the pie had gone down the disposal.


"What'd he have for dinner?" the young cop asked, taking notes. His stomach rumbled.


When I mentioned the pie, he looked hopeful. "Is there more?"


"Bob made me put it down the sink," I answered, bursting into tears. "He said he didn't want no more of it ever." I cried louder.


"Shoot," the cop said to his buddy. "I could have gone for some homemade pie myself. I'll have to get my old lady to make me some."

"Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty" opens Jan. 24




Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden will open the 20th annual orchid exhibition, "Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty," at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Jan. 24. The exhibition explores the connections between botany, horticulture and technology and examines how new ideas and inventions change the way people study, protect and enjoy orchids. Hundreds of living specimens from the renowned Smithsonian Gardens' Orchid Collection and the U.S. Botanic Garden will be on display through April 26.


"Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty," takes visitors on a journey from past to present, starting in the Victorian era during the height of orchid exploration and discovery. The journey continues through the 19th century as orchid collecting grew into "orchidelirium," when private collections filled ornate greenhouses and a single orchid could cost thousands of dollars.


Proceeding into the present day, visitors can reflect on the human impact on the environment and the growing need to protect wild orchids. Displays highlighting new technologies for orchid hybridization and the commercial industry are intermingled with examples of ex-situ efforts by botanic gardens to conserve and propagate native orchids.


As the exhibit concludes, visitors are given a glimpse into the future, where new orchid discoveries and innovations take place on a molecular level. DNA sequencing of individual orchid species may help scientists better understand the complicated evolutionary relationships among the estimated 25,000 species in this family.


"Most people don't realize that the same technologies that gave us smart phones and social media have also revolutionized orchid science," said Tom Mirenda, orchard specialist at Smithsonian Gardens. "Our orchid exhibits have always explored the importance of plants to various cultures. But the most meaningful and revolutionary cultural shifts in the digital age are the result of advances in technology."


Orchid Family Day


Visitors of all ages are invited to explore the world of orchids up close and hands on at the Orchid Family Festival in the Evans Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History Saturday, Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presented in conjunction with "Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty," this free event will feature activities that will bring the exhibition to life. Visitors will be able to make their own miniature Wardian case (an early type of a terrarium), create field journals for orchid observations and fashion beautiful orchid corsages to wear. Orchid experts from Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden will be available to answer questions and talk about the orchids from their collections.


Smithsonian Gardens


Smithsonian Gardens has designed and managed the Smithsonian's grounds and interior plant displays in Washington, D.C., since 1972. Smithsonian Gardens enriches the Smithsonian experience through permanent garden displays, horticultural exhibits, collections and education. The Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection, which was started in 1974, contains more than 8,000 hybrid and species orchids.


United States Botanic Garden


The U.S. Botanic Garden is an institution of public education dedicated to demonstrating the aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic and ecological importance of plants to the well-being of humankind. Its orchid collection includes more than 12,000 plants representing 900 genera. The U.S. Botanic Garden is under the administration of the Architect of the Capitol.

The compost heap
Tycoon link typo

"The correct link to buy Tycoon tomato seeds ('Tycoon: New tomato worth a try!' SEEDS, January 14, 2015) is http://paramountseeds.com (your link was missing the 's' on seeds)," writes Lin Grado. "I ordered my seeds Friday and received them today. Thanks!"


As Lin and others discovered, our link sent readers to the wrong seed company. We apologize for the typo! - Michael Bracken, editor 

Gardening tips

"Old metal mini-blinds are easily cut into plant markers," suggests a reader. Just determine the correct length, cut with tin snips and record the vital information on the plant marker using a Sharpie or other permanent marker. 


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.



Dallas: Texas A&M AgriLife Water University: Vegetable Garden-Spring, 10 a.m-noon, Thursday, January 29 at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Know where your food comes from by growing your own vegetables. Learn proper soil preparation, garden design, disease and insect identification, and the proper time to germinate vegetable seeds and/or when to transplant vegetables into your garden for the season. Register online at: http://dallas.tamu.edu/courses.


La Marque: Growing Great Tomatoes (Part 2), Saturday, January 31, 9-11:30 a.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. The second part of the three-part program on Growing Great Tomatoes in Galveston County. Galveston County Master Gardener Ira Gervais reveals secrets for planting and growing great tomatoes. Learn about the various varieties that do well in this area, how to make your selections, how and when to transplant your seedlings and various growing techniques. Find out about soil requirements and needed nutrients and the temperature ranges for best tomato fruit set. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email [email protected].


La Marque: Growing Blueberries, Saturday, January 31, 1-3 p.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. Presented by Dr. David Cohen, an accomplished home grower of blueberries by avocation and a practicing physician by trade. Dr. Cohen has an impressive "blueberry patch" as part of his home landscape and has gained considerable hands-on experience with successfully growing blueberries under our growing conditions. Learn the facts about blueberries and site selection and preparation. Find out about variety recommendations for this area and the planting, spacing, fertilizing and pruning requirements. The program will also cover harvesting and understanding the problems and the costs of growing blueberries here in Galveston County. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email [email protected].


Dallas: Texas A&M AgriLife Water University: Saving from a Rainy Day, Making a Rain Barrel, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 3, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Does your rain just run off? Divert it, save it, use it!! Come learn the basics and benefits of rainwater harvesting and the effects stormwater has on the environment. Participants will learn how to collect and utilize rainwater at home and have the opportunity to construct their very own 55 gallon rain barrel. Cost: $50 per barrel. Register online at: http://dallas.tamu.edu/courses.


Dallas: Texas A&M AgriLife Water University: Landscape and Tree Maintenance, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Thursday, February 5, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Wondering when to prune your trees and ornamental grasses? Should I mulch in the spring, fall or both? Learn the right time to maintenance your landscape and trees to ensure the health, production and asthetics. Register online at: http://dallas.tamu.edu/courses.


Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will present their February Lunch & Learn on Thursday, February 5, from noon to 1 p.m. The topic will be Grow Spring Vegetable Transplants from Seed Presented by Jim Johnson, Vegetable Specialist and member of the Guadalupe County Master Gardeners. The program will be held at the Texas A&M ArgriLife Extension Office,210 East Live Oak Street, Seguin. Jim's topics will be: Make your own grow light, Grow spring vegetables from seeds, Grow the right vegetables for the season, and Grow your own tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The meeting is free. Just bring your own lunch (optional). For more information, call Treva Hicks at 830-303-4712.


La Marque: Galveston County Master Gardener Annual Fruit, Citrus Tree and Vegetable Sale, Saturday, February 7, 8:00 a.m.-8:45 a.m. Plant Seminar; 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sale. The plant sale and seminar is located at the 4102 Main St., La Marque, at the Wayne Johnson Community Center located in Carbide Park. The Plant seminar is scheduled from 8:00-8:45 a.m. prior to the sale. Galveston County Master Gardener John Jons will provide a presentation discussing many of the Vegetable, Citrus and Fruit Tree varieties that will be available in the sale. A huge variety of tomatoes, peppers, fruit and citrus trees adapted to Gulf Coast growing area will be offered at the sale. Plant and tree sale from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Check website for updates: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/.


Tyler: East Texas garden lecture series: Floral "Smackdown," February 7, Tyler Rose Garden Center; 8:30 a.m. Registration; 9 a.m. program. Three floral designers will give quick lessons on floral arranging and, at the end, the arrangements will be raffled, proceeds going to the East Texas Crisis Center. Cost $15 (or $45 for a season pass to all six Lecture Series programs). For additional information, contact: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Smith Co. office 903-590-2980, or www.facebook.com/ETGardenConference.


The Woodlands: Receive tips to Water Wise Your Landscape at the next Gardening 101 seminar on Saturday, February 7, from 9 a.m. to noon. Michael Potter, turf specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, and Debbie Banfield, Landscape for Life facilitator, will share techniques for maintaining a lush lawn and garden beds with minimal irrigation. Register on-line for this free program of The Woodlands Township at Gardening 101 or call 281-210-3800.


Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardener Association will hold a "Lunch and Learn With the Masters" program Monday, February 9, noon-1 p.m., at Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria. Victoria master gardeners Pat Koening and Emory Powitzky Jr., will discuss "Blackberries: The Other Black Gold for Gardeners." The event is free to the public, and those who desire to do so may bring a sack lunch and beverage.


Dallas: Texas A&M AgriLife Water University: Vegetable Garden-Spring, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 10, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Know where your food comes from by growing your own vegetables. Learn proper soil preparation, garden design, disease and insect identification, and the proper time to germinate vegetable seeds and/or when to transplant vegetables into your garden for the season. Register online at: http://dallas.tamu.edu/courses.


La Grange: Ed Eargle will lead a session on "Composting," 11:50 a.m.-12:50 p.m., February 12, at the Fayette County Agricultural Building, 255 Svoboda Lane, La Grange. For additional information, call 979-968-5831 or email [email protected]


San Antonio: At the San Antonio Herb Society February meeting, Dave Saylor, owner of Acadiana Cafe, will be "Cooking Cajun." He will demonstrate roux for gumbo and crawfish etouffee, discuss the important aspects of Cajun cooking, the historical mixture of Native American, African, and Spanish ingredients and show how each dish interacts with other ingredients. Thursday, February 12, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels. Free and open to the public. For more information, call 210-826-6860 or email [email protected].


The Woodlands: Venomous snake or harmless species? Learn how to safe in the garden on Thursday, February 12, at 7 p.m., Mike Howlett, herpetologist and project manager at Harris County Precinct 4, shares easy tips for distinguishing venomous species at Local Snakes 101. Discover the role of snakes in a healthy eco system and get a close-up look at live specimens during the free, family-friendly program in the Nancy Bock Auditorium at McCullough Junior High School, 3800 S. Panther Drive. Sponsored by The Woodlands Township. For more information, visit Walk in the Woods Nature Lecture or call 281-210-3800.


Pasadena: On Saturday, February 14, the Precinct 2, Harris County Master Gardener Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale will be held at Campbell Hall, Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Red Bluff, Pasadena. Plant Preview by Heidi Sheesley, owner of Treesearch Farms at 8 a.m. Sale hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m. If it's sold at our sale it, grows in our area. For more information, visit https://hcmga.tamu.edu.


The Woodlands: On Saturday, February 14, from 9 a.m. to noon, learn vegetable gardening from the ground up with Tom LeRoy, horticulturist, author and vegetable gardening expert. Discover the best vegetables and varieties for spring and summer gardens in Southeast Texas. Registration is required for this free program of The Woodlands Township. Visit Vegetable Gardening or call 281-210-3800.


Canyon Lake: The Lindheimer Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday, February 17, at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, Canyon Lake. Kelly Conrad Simon will present "Texas Wildscapes." She has been with Texas Parks and Wildlife for 19 years and currently serves as the Urban Wildlife Biologist for the Central Texas area. The program emphasizes using native plants in landscaped beds to provide critical components of habitat: food and shelter. By providing the elements of habitat (food, shelter, and water) in their gardens, Texans can attract an exciting variety of birds, butterflies, frogs, and lizards and bring the beauty and vitality of nature home. For more information, visit  www.npsot.org/wp/lindheimer  or email Sharon Thomas at [email protected].


San Antonio: Spring Floral Design Classes at the San Antonio Garden Center will be held Tuesday, February 17, 24, and March 3, from Noon-3 p.m. Tuition is $75 for the 3 classes. Learn how to design your own floral arrangements in these hands-on classes with Instructor Melissa White. Fresh flowers, greenery, container, and instruction for a take-home finished project each week with emphasis on flowers and colors of spring. Classes are held at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels. Further information at www.sanantoniogardencenter.org or call 210- 824-9981. Registration deadline is February 13. Make check payable to San Antonio Garden Center. Tuition for missed classes cannot be refunded.


Seabrook: At 10 a.m., Wednesday, February 18: "Skip" Richter, Harris County Extension Agent-Horticulture and Texas Gardener contributing editor, will present an educational program on Tomatoes & Peppers in the Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park, 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. For more information, visit https://hcmga.tamu.edu.


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 http://txmg.org/comal/event/seminar/. For additional information, call 830-620-3440.


The Woodlands: Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance, Urban Harvest andThe Woodlands Township team up on Saturday, February 21, from 9 a.m. to noon to present the Organic Gardening and Landscaping Seminar. Learn how to create the prettiest and easiest to maintain landscape on your street while saving water and protecting your family and pets. Organic gurus, Mike Serant, John Ferguson and Dany Millikin share tips to develop your landscape's ultimate potential! To register for the free program, visit Organic Gardening and Landscaping Seminar or call 281-210-3800.


Bryan: Master Gardener David McAden will present "Veggie Tales for the Wanna Be Gardener," an overview of plants that will be offered at the March 28th Master Gardener Plant Sale, Tuesday February 24, 7-8 p.m., The Brazos Center, Room 102, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. Every year you are planning to plant a vegetable garden and then you turn around and the time has passed you by. Get the scoop from McAden, along with a list of especially high performing (but hard to find) varieties for this area. Many of these plants such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplants, melons, plus herbs, ornamentals, natives and trees will be on sale at the Annual BCMGA Spring Plant Sale. For additional information, visit at www.brazosmg.com, phone 979/823-0129 or email [email protected].


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. 


Rosenberg: Join the Fort Bend Master Gardeners on Thursday, February 26, for a program to preview the plants to be sold at their Annual Vegetable-Herb Plant Sale. The program will be held at the Bud O'Shieles Community Center, 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the program will be from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. For more information call 281-341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com.


Dallas: For more than 30 years, Dallas Blooms has been a tradition as the largest floral festival in the Southwest. This year's theme plays homage to the beloved state: Dallas Blooms: Deep in the Hearts of Texans. This Texas-sized extravaganza, February 28-April 12, features more than 500,000 blooming spring bulbs along with Texas themed topiaries, entertainment, food and special activities celebrating Texas. Dallas Blooms features tulips, daffodils, Dutch Iris and hyacinths, pansies, violas, poppies and thousands of other spring-blooming annuals and perennials that bloom throughout the entire festival, so the garden changes all the time. The finale of this spring celebration is the mass flowering of the garden's collection of 3,000 azaleas that bloom through the end of April. Throughout the festival and beyond, there are multiple events to celebrate Dallas Blooms including Mommy and Me Mondays, Tiny Tot Tuesdays, a special 1980's concert and Easter activities. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. More information can be found at www.dallasarboretum.org.


Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners will hold their Annual Vegetable-Herb Plant Sale on Saturday, February 28, in front of the greenhouse behind the Agriculture Center, 1402 Band Road, Rosenberg. The sale will open at 9 a.m. and will run until noon or until sold out. For more information call 281-341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com.


Longview: The annual Spring Garden and Landscape Seminar will be presented by the Gregg County Master Gardeners, on Saturday, March 7, at the First United Methodist Church, Faith Center, Whatley St. entrance, from 7:45 a.m. to noon. Chris Wiesinger, owner of The Southern Bulb Company, will be the speaker. He is nationally known as the "The Bulb Hunter." Wiesinger's topic will be "Seeking Botanical Treasures." He has a passion for seeking bulbs once-lost to the Southern gardeners, bulbs that thrive in warm climates, many of which are heirloom and rare flower bulbs. Wiesinger will have bulbs and copies of his two books for sale at the seminar. There will be vendors, door prizes, raffle and refreshments. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For information, call the Gregg County AgriLife Extension Service at 903-236-8429 or visit www.txmg.org/gregg.


The Woodlands: Helicopters in flight, hummingbirds delight the eye! Discover the antics and charm of nature's jewels at Hummingbirds 101: Everything you wanted to know about hummingbirds and more on Thursday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. Cliff Shackelford, non-game ornithologist with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, reveals the latest information on the hummingbirds of Texas and the habitat that brings them here. This free program of The Woodlands Township will be held in the L.G.I. Lecture Hall at McCullough Junior High School, 3800 S. Panther Creek Drive. For more information, visit Walk in the Woods Nature Lecture or call 281-210-3800.   


Huntsville: Herb Festival at the Wynne Home will be held Saturday, March 28, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at 1428 Eleventh Street, Huntsville. Sponsored by the Texas Thyme Unit of the Herb Society of America. Herb, butterfly and hummingbird, camellias and citrus plants for sale. Herbal and garden vendors, artists, musicians, food, and children's activities. Speakers: Bill Varney of UrbanHERBAL, Dave Whitinger of Allthingsplants.com, and Master Gardener Bonney Kennedy.

The Festival is FREE. For information, call 936-891-5024 or visit www.facebook.com/texasthymeunit.


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 [email protected]; Roy Culbertson at [email protected]; or Lin Grado at [email protected].



Nacogdoches: On April 17-19, Stephen F. Austin State University will host the sixth Big Thicket and West Gulf Coastal Plain Science Conference. The focus of this year's plenary session will be "Watersheds and Waterflow" to be addressed by invited speakers. Dr. Francis "Ab" Abernethy, professor emeritus of English at Stephen F. Austin State University and editor emeritus of the Texas Folklore Society, and Dr. Kirk O. Winemiller, Regents Professor, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University will give plenary presentations. The Science Conference provides a forum for scientists and resource managers to share their research in the West Gulf Coastal Plain ecosystem, which comprises a variety of communities including southeastern pine forests, bottomland hardwood forests, and prairies. All topics relevant to the ecology of the region are appropriate, including studies of plant communities, wildlife, restoration ecology, effects of climate change, invasive species, fisheries, and large-scale disturbance ecology. In addition to the general call for papers, symposia or special sessions may be planned and available on a variety of topics. Contact the Program Committee [email protected]  if you are interested in hosting a session. Presenters are encouraged to submit manuscripts to be published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Southeastern Naturalist. All manuscripts will be subject to the full peer-review process and the standards of the Southeastern Naturalist. Abstracts for papers can be submitted to Dr. Chris Comer [email protected] by 1 March. Registration fees are $100 by 20 March; late registration is $150 and student registration is $25. Registration for only one day is $60. Optional field trips are not included in fees. Three trips are planned: 1) Saline Prairie, led by Will Godwin and Jason Singhurst; 2) Tonkawa Sand Hills, led by James Van Kley, and 3) Birding in the SFA Experimental Forest, led by Cliff Shackelford. Sponsors of the event include the Big Thicket Association, Stephen F. Austin State University, USFS Southern Research Station, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Big Thicket National Preserve. Contact Dan Saenz of the U.S. Forest Service (Conference Chair) with questions at [email protected] or check the conference website at www.bigthicket.org for additional information.

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 http://www.kcmga.org, call 972-932-9069 or email to [email protected].

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.

Dallas: Garden Masters, Inc., meet the first Wednesday of each month at North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd., Dallas. The club hosts different speaker each month from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Bring your lunch! For more information, email Bunny Williams at [email protected].


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.

Fort Worth: The North Central Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. except (January and July) in the Fort Worth Botanical Garden Building at 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard, Fort Worth. For additional information, contact President Theresa Thomas at [email protected]


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.

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 www.austinorganicgardeners.org.

Jacksonville: The Cherokee County Master Gardeners meet on the second Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at Woodmen of the World, 1800 College Ave., Jacksonville. For more information, e-mail Tom Abbott at [email protected].  


Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the second Tuesday of each month except July, August and December at St. John's Lutheran Church in Marion. Directions to St. John's Lutheran Church: From FM 78 turn south onto FM 465 and the church is just past the Marion School on the right. From IH-10 go north on FM 465 towards Marion. The Church will be on the left, just before you get to town. A plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For more information or an application to join NPSOT visit www.npsot.org/GuadalupeCounty/ or contact [email protected].


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 [email protected].


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's Learn at Lunch program meet the second Wednesday of each month. The business meeting begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program at noon, at the AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Longview. The program is presented for horticultural education and is free to the public. For further information call 903-236-8429, visit www.txmg.org/gregg, or like us on Facebook at Gregg County Master Gardeners. 


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.

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 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 [email protected].


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 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.


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 [email protected] or call 361-790-0103.


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


Denton: The Denton Organic Society, a group devoted to sharing information and educating the public regarding organic principles, meets the third Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) at the Denton Senior Center, 509 N. Bell Avenue. Meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are preceded by a social at 6:30. For more information, call 940-382-8551.


Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners meet at 10 a.m., the third Wednesday of each month at the Somervell County AgriLife Extension office, 1405 Texas Drive, Glen Rose. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call 254-897-2809 or visit www.somervellmastergardeners.org.


Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners meet at 1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Hood County Annex 1, 1410 West Pearl Street, Granbury. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program each month preceding the business meeting. For information on topics call 817-579-3280 or visit http://www.hoodcountymastergardeners.org/.


Seabrook: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the Lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.


Brownwood: Brownwood Garden Club meets the third Thursday of each month, 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m.  The club meetings are at Southside Baptist Church, 1219 Indian Creek Road, with refreshments and a speaker presentation. Visitors are welcome. For more information, email [email protected] 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.


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 [email protected].


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 email [email protected].


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 [email protected].


Leander: The Leander Garden Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month (except July and August) at 10:30 a.m. at the community room behind the Greater Texas Federal Credit Union,1300 N. Bell, Cedar Park, unless there is special event planned. Following a program and short business meeting, we share a pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call president Cathy Clark-Ramsey at 512-963-4698 or email [email protected].


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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