January 6, 2016
  
The garden reader:
Gardening made easy
 
By William Scheick
Book Reviewer
 
John Tullock. Straw Bale Gardening. Alpha, 2015. 218 pp. $19.95.
 
Can a homeowner or renter have a highly productive vegetable garden without any digging, tilling, raised beds or even containers? Yes you can, John Tullock insists in Straw Bale Gardening.
 
Relatively inexpensive straw bales, which can be placed almost anywhere (even concrete surfaces), "extend the growing season [and] reduce the incidence of crop diseases." And "they are free of weeds and many of the pests you encounter when growing [plants] in soil."
 
There is more good news: "Impossible to overwater, and resistant to drying out, the straw bale garden is forgiving of the inevitable mistakes new gardeners make."
 
A thermometer is necessary for monitoring the temperature of these straw bales, which generate heat that allows for earlier planting and later yields than typical in-ground approaches. The heat-generating bacteria in the bales "need only a few basic things to thrive: water, nitrogen, oxygen and a supply of organic matter."
 
This bacterial activity eventually results in the decomposition of the bales, which last for only one season. But "when your straw bale garden has given up its last harvest, what remains behind is a rich and nourishing compost you can use elsewhere."
 
Not all veggies perform ideally when grown in straw bales. So Tullock's brightly illustrated guide offers not only helpful step-by-step advice on how to get started and but also detailed profiles highlighting which veggies (including corn and sweet potatoes) thrive in this regimen.
 
Judy Barrett. Easy Edibles: How to Grow and Enjoy Fresh Food. Texas A&M University Press, 2015. 128 pp. $22.95.

Straw bales also appear as an option in Judy Barrett's handy Easy Edibles, which "is designed to encourage people to grow even a little of their own food and have a good time doing it."
 
There is an admirable sensibleness and practicality to Barrett's informed recommendations. And this levelheadedness is not confined to the usual emphasis on backyard containers and raised beds.
 
Barrett also cleverly proposes tucking various veggies among flowers already growing in existent beds. And she suggests crisscrossing privacy fences with wire or twine to support climbing edibles.
 
"You need two [climbing] plants to go across an arch - one on each side - [because] they will only grow up," Barrett explains in her easy-to-read manner.
 
Sheet composting, hydroponics, aquaponics as well as keyhole, cylinder and spiral gardening are possibilities (among others) considered in Barrett's book. Readers will especially delight in her homegrown recipes, including "Mother's Hot-Water Pie Crust" and "Mother's Pecan Pie."
 
Easy Edibles exemplifies how sometimes it is indeed true that good things come in small packages.
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

The Devil's Garden
 
By John Weagly
Freelance Writer
 
"This is foul earth," Horace Watson said, pointing at the ground. "The food grown here will be tainted by the Devil's touch."
 
Sheridan Whitmore ignored Horace's comments. He kept walking and dropping turnip seeds into the furrows he'd plowed. The fresh-turned soil smelled of promise.
 
It was early May of the year 1886. Sheridan had come to Whispering Gulch from St. Louis, following Horace Greeley's advice to "Go West, young man!" Sheridan wasn't exactly a young man, but traveling west had been a good decision for him. The General Store he'd built had prospered.
 
"Mark my words," Horace continued. "The vegetables brought forth out of this desecrated dirt won't be fit for man nor beast."
 
Sheridan kept planting. He had carrots, parsnips, and radishes to sow before sundown. The air was warm, but a cool breeze kept the temperature from getting oppressive.
 
The past winter had been a hard one - cold, ice, wind and snow conspiring to make hardship and misery the status quo. Deliveries didn't always make it through during the harsh, frozen months. Sheridan wanted to have a good stock of root vegetables on hand for his customers before the next frigid season arrived.
 
"It will be a curse," Horace said, gesturing for emphasis. "A scourge upon our simple town. Anyone that tastes of Satan's offering will surely find themselves burning in the hereafter!"
 
Sheridan finally couldn't stand anymore. He stopped and turned to the owner of Smilin' Jack's Saloon. "What's your problem with my garden, Horace?"
 
Horace's sermon caught in his throat. He seemed befuddled at having Sheridan actually acknowledge his existence.
 
"What's wrong with my garden?" Sheridan repeated.
 
Horace pointed at the ground again. "You intend to grow vegetables here?"
 
"I do."
 
"And sell them to the good people of this town?"
 
"I do."
 
"Look around," Horace said, his fire building. "Don't you see where you stand?"
 
Sheridan obliged and glanced around at the town. Hotel. Saloon. Blacksmith. Livery. A couple of boarding houses. He smiled. "I'm next to my store. I own the plot of land the store stands on and I own this one as well."
 
"You may possess the deed, but the Devil owns the land."
 
"Could you please tell me what you're talking about?"
 
Horace blinked as if he didn't understand why Sheridan didn't understand. "The roads cross here."
 
Sheridan looked at the two dirt roads, the only two roads in town. They did, indeed, cross right next to where he was planting his garden. "So?"
 
"So?!" Horace said, frustration creeping into his holier-than-thou anger. "You're planting your garden at a crossroads!"
 
Sheridan took a deep breath. "Get to the point, Horace."
 
"Crossroads are a dangerous place! They are neither here nor there, betwixt and between. They are a place between two worlds."
 
"Are you being serious?"
 
A vein in Horace's temple throbbed. "It's at the crossroads that demons are summoned, that the Devil is called."
 
"I'm not planning on calling any demons, I'm just planting a garden -"
 
"A garden! A garden at a crossroads! The only things fit to go into the ground at a crossroads are criminals and sinners - those that die by their own hand and those that take the lives of others! It is their curse, their punishment to wander the multiple avenues, the manifold thoroughfares, never to find peace."
 
"Superstitious nonsense," Sheridan said.
 
Spittle flew from Horace's mouth as he howled. "As a man of faith, I forbid you to sell the contaminated vegetables that come forth out of this corrupt ground!"
 
"That's your problem?" Sheridan asked. "You don't want me to sell the vegetables I grow?"
 
"I forbid it!" Horace repeated. The vein in his temple grew bigger. Sheridan wondered if he was on the verge of some kind of seizure. "Someone has to protect the souls of our virtuous town."
 
"You forbid it."
 
"I do."
 
Sheridan thought for a moment. He didn't want Horace having convulsions on his property. It would be bad for business. He also realized that, despite not being the best of friends, he would probably feel bad for his neighbor if Horace fell ill. "Fine," he said. "I won't sell my vegetables."
 
"I forbid..." Horace started, then caught himself. "You won't sell your vegetables?"
 
"I won't," Sheridan said. "If that's all you want, I won't sell them, not a single one."
 
"Will you swear to that on the Bible?" Horace asked. "On your immortal soul?"
 
Sheridan smiled. "If it will make you stop talking, I'll swear on anything you say."
 
The two men came to an agreement and the matter was settled. Horace Watson walked back to his saloon in a cloud of smug satisfaction. Sheridan Whitmore continued his planting.
 
The following winter, the townspeople of Whispering Gulch were treated to a gift of free turnips and carrots and parsnips and radishes.
 
John Weagly is an author and playwright living in Chicago. His most recent book, Ten Tentacles, is available from Amazon.
Gardening tips

"I keep my rooting hormone powder in a shaker container (like a salt shaker)," writes Sheri Bethard, "and when I need just a little for a couple a things I want to root, I sprinkle the stem. This saves a lot of rooting hormone as you would normally pour some out to dip the cutting in then you would discard what was left over. Now you are not throwing away good hormone. Just sprinkle what you need."   
 
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 2016 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.
JANUARY

San Angelo: Friday, January 8, The People/Plant Connection will present "Lunch 'n' Learn" seminar series with Allison Watkins, AgriLife Extension Horticulturist for Tom Green County. She will be talking about "Old Fashioned Plants: Heirloom Vegetables and Antique Roses." If you want to try something new in your garden this year, heirloom vegetables might be just what you are looking for. Antique roses are hearty and need very little care. Sometimes you just can't improve on Mother Nature. Learn about growing both of these tried and true favorites. We meet from noon to 1 p.m. at the Edd B. Keys Building, 113 W. Beauregard, San Angelo. We'll be in the AgriLife Extension Offices, in the former Library location, on the first floor by the elevator. Cost is $5 per person. All proceeds go toward building the Children's Adventure Garden, projected to open in April, 2016. For more information, visit www.peopleplantconnection.org.

La Marque:
"Growing Avocado and Papaya" with Jerry Hurlbert, Moderator & Coordinator of Texas Rare Fruit Growers Association, presenting. 9-11:30 a.m., January 9, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension in Carbide Park, 4102 Main, La Marque; Ph 281-534-3413; email reservations to galv3@wt.net, further details see www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston. Free.
 
La Marque: "Growing Peaches in Galveston County" with GC Master Gardener Herman Auer presenting. 1-3 p.m., January 9, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension in Carbide Park, 4102 Main, La Marque; Ph 281-534-3413; email reservations to galv3@wt.net, further details see www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston. Free.

Houston: Houston Urban Gardeners will meet at 6:30 p.m., January 11, at the Houston MultiService Center, 1475 W. Gray, Chris Rain will present "What to Plant and Do Now in Your Home Garden." 

Schertz: On January 11, Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will present a Gardening program from noon to 1 p.m. at the GVEC Service Center Community Room in Schertz. Jim Johnson, Vegetable Specialist will present "Grow Spring Vegetable Transplants from Seed." Johnson will explain how to save money by growing spring vegetables from seeds, how to make a grow light, and the right vegetables for the season. The Program will be at the GVEC Service Center Community Room, 908 Curtis Street, Schertz, is free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring lunch and handouts will be available.

Waller County: Waller County Master Gardeners is accepting applications to the 2016 Master Gardener Intern Training Program. Classes will be held most Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until noon January 21 through March 22. There will be 2 day-long field trips. The cost is $160 per person, which includes a Texas Master Gardener handbook, Background check (required by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension) and 2 lunches. If 2 people from the same household share a handbook, the cost is $260 for both, a $60 savings! Registration closes Monday, January 11. If you have any questions, call the Waller County Extension office at 979-826-7651 M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or email the Waller County Master Gardeners at wallermgardener2013@gmail.com. Waller County Master Gardeners are at the Extension Office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-noon. The application packet is also available at http://txmg.org/wallermg/forms/.

La Grange: Fayette County Master Gardeners present their Lunch-N-Learn on "Herbs" with Henry Flowers as speaker from 12:05 p.m. to 12:50 p.m., Tuesday, January 12, at Fayette County AgriLife Extension Service, 255 Svoboda Lane, La Grange. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, call 979-968-5831.
 
Comal County: Want to be a Master Gardener in Comal County? Class applications are being accepted for the 2016 class that starts January 13. There are 50 hours of classroom instruction over 17 weeks. The Class meets every Wednesday 12:45-5:00 until May 4 and covers all Texas A&M University educational requirements to start your journey to become a Master Gardener. Visit txmg.org/comal for more information and click the Training Tab for an application.

Houston: "Bed Building from the Ground Up" will be the topic of the Houston Rose Society meeting on Thursday, January 14, at 7:30 p.m. The speaker will be Earl Krause, past president of the Houston Rose Society, a long time Master Rosarian and the recipient of the ARS Bronze Service Award for his service to the Houston Rose Society. Earl will discuss the best bed building designs and techniques for the area to accommodate for the clay soil and heavy seasonal rains. Please note our new meeting location. The HRS has moved to the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, 1500 Hermann Drive, Houston. The parking lot is Lot C, located at Hermann Drive and Crawford Street. Free admission. For more information, visit http://www.houstonrose.org.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society will present the Herb of the Year, Capsicum (Peppers), at the San Antonio Garden Center at 3310 N. New Braunfels. President Leslie Bingham has prepared a colorful variety of different Chili plants and peppers for her presentation and of course their origins. The lowly Chili will be raised to culinary excellence this year.Meeting will be held on Thursday, January 14, starting at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.For more information, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org.

Conroe: Montgomery County Master Gardeners present Spring 2016 Gardening Classes. All classes will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11 a.m. on Saturday mornings. A fee of $5.00 per person (cash or check) is due at registration the morning of each class. The fee covers costs of materials, supplies, coffee and snacks The first class will be January 16 - Fruit Trees: Selection, Planting, Pruning, Spraying, and Care. Additional classes occur each month until May.  For more information, call 936-539-7824 or visit www.mcmga.com.
 

La Marque: "Wedge Grafting" with GC Master Gardener Sue Jeffco presenting. 9-11 a.m., January 16, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension in Carbide Park, 4102 Main, La Marque; Ph 281-534-3413; email reservations to galv3@wt.net, further details see www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston. Free.
 
La Marque: "Kitchen Gardening" with GC Master Gardener Mary Demeny presenting. 1-3 p.m., January 16, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension in Carbide Park, 4102 Main, La Marque; Ph 281-534-3413; email reservations to galv3@wt.net, further details see www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston. Free.

San Antonio: Whether one fruit tree or a whole orchard, David Rodriguez, Extension Horticulturist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will show you how. He will cover the basic steps of selecting appropriate tree species, how to properly plant them, how to train and manage these trees as well as harvesting and general overall maintenance. This annual opportunity will be hosted and is FREE at Milberger's Landscape Nursery, 3920 N Loop 1604 E, San Antonio, on Saturday, January 16, starting promptly at 10:30 a.m and concluding around noon. Bring plenty of questions, a pen and a notebook. 1.5 CEUs w.ill be awarded to Master Gardeners who attend.

Seguin: Extension Agents Charla Bading and Connie Sheppard will lead "Preserving Your Garden Vegetables,"  9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, January 16, at 210 East Live Oak St., Seguin. Preregistration if $20 per person and $25 at the door. For more information, call 830-303-3889.

Bastrop: David Otahal, one of the first Master Gardeners in Texas, will speak at the January 19 meeting of Texas Sage, at Bluebonnet Electric Co-op, 155 Electric Ave (650 Hwy 21 E), Bastrop. David Otahal Landscape and Design specializes in landscaping using native and adapted plants. He will discuss Rain, Xeric, and Butterfly Gardens. Light refreshments will be available at 6:30 p.m. Otahal will speak at 7. This event is free and open to the public. As a bonus, combination packages of various seeds will be given to each attendee. For more information, visit http://txmg.org/tsmg/, email TexasSageMG@gmail.com, or call 512-581-7186.

La Marque: "Gardening by the Square Foot" with GC Master Gardener John Jons presenting. 6:30-8 p.m., January 19, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension in Carbide Park, 4102 Main, La Marque; Ph 281-534-3413; email reservations to galv3@wt.net, further details see www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston. Free.

San Antonio: Bexar County Master Gardeners will meet 6-8:30 p.m., Thursday, January 21, at 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio. The meeting begins with a social time at 6 p.m. followed by the free, special presentation at 6:30 p.m. Jackie Van de Walle of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition will be speaking on the history of the Stock Show and Rodeo, legacy, educational impact, and much more. There will be a question and answer session at the end of the presentation. 1.5 CEUs for MGs. For more information, email the BCMG President, President@bexarmg.org, or call 210-699-0663.

Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardeners are having their annual Fruit and Nut Tree Sale, on Saturday, January 23, at the Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Center, 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. Program is at 8 a.m.; sale is from 9 a.m. until noon. For additional information or a plant list, call 936-539-7824 or visit http://www.mcmga.com/.

La Marque: "Successful Spring Vegetable Gardening" with GC Master Gardener Luke Striping presenting. 9 a.m -11:30 a.m., January 23, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension in Carbide Park, 4102 Main, La Marque; Ph 281-534-3413; email reservations to galv3@wt.net, further details see www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston. Free.
 
La Marque: "Growing Blueberries" with Dr. David Cohen presenting. 1-2:30 p.m., January 23, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension in Carbide Park, 4102 Main, La Marque; Ph 281-534-3413; email reservations to  galv3@wt.net, further details see www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston. Free.

McKinney: The Collin County Master Gardeners Association will host, "Spring into Vegetable Gardening" on January 23, from 9 a.m. until noon at the Landing at Myers Park and Event Center in McKinney, Texas. The focus of the program will be basic vegetable gardening in Collin County. Vegetable garden experts will discuss the specifics of when and what to plant in Collin County, with month-to-month guidelines for January through May planting. Attendees will learn about the importance of soil and soil preparation, how to propagate seeds, and which varieties of plants grow well in the area. Demonstration tables will be manned by Master Gardeners who have expertise in raised bed construction, vertical gardens, row covers, water conservation, rain barrels and drip irrigation, propagation, vegetable container gardening, and more. Representatives from Texas Pure Products will be on hand with examples of various soil amendments and mulches. Spend the morning with Collin County Master Gardeners learning how to grow delicious, nutritious veggies. Tour the potager and vegetable trial gardens at the end of the program with the volunteers who work in these gardens. This ambitious project began in the fall of 2013 with 16 raised beds, including two wheelchair accessible beds, and utilizes the principles and practices of Earth-Kind Environmental Stewardship. Registration will open online January 1, 2016 at the CCMGA website, www.ccmgatx.org. There is a $10 per person fee to attend. The fee is payable at the door with cash, check or credit card. Registration is required to guarantee handouts and goodie bags. Contact 972-548-4219, or visit www.ccmgatx.org for more information. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. on January 23 at the Landing at Myers Park.

San Angelo: On Saturday, January 23, The People/Plant Connection will present the first of a New "Green Thumb Gardener" Mini Seminar, "All About Trees." Allison Watkins, AgriLife Extension Horticulturist for Tom Green County, will be talking about growing trees in West Texas. She'll discuss the best drought-tolerant varieties that do well in the area. This is the time to plant new trees and she will talk about the best techniques for pruning and watering to assure the health of your new tree. Ms. Watkins will also talk about caring for your mature trees to keep them healthy and looking great. As a special activity, everyone attending will have the opportunity to learn how to make art using leaf stamping. We meet from 9 a.m. until Noon at the Southside Recreation Center, 2750 Ben Ficklin Rd., San Angelo. Refreshments will be served and a door prize will be given away. The cost is $25 per person. Preregistration is required to assure materials for the project. Call 325-656-3104 or visit www.peopleplantconnection.org.

San Antonio: Whether one fruit tree or a whole orchard, Dr. Larry Stein, Professor and Extension Horticulturist, Texas A&M University, will show you how. Dr Stein will cover the basic steps of selecting appropriate tree species, how to properly plant them, how to train and manage these trees as well as harvesting and general overall maintenance. This annual opportunity will be hosted and is FREE at Fanick's Garden Center, 1025 Holmgreen Rd, San Antonio on Saturday, January 23, starting promptly at 9 a.m. and concluding around noon. Bring plenty of questions, a pen and a notebook. 3 CEUs will be awarded to Master Gardeners who attend.

La Marque: "Anyone Can Grow Roses" with GC Master Gardener and American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian John Jons. 6:30-8 p.m., January 26, at Galveston County AgriLife Extension in Carbide Park, 4102 Main, La Marque; Ph 281-534-3413; email reservations to galv3@wt.net, further details see www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston. Free.
 
La Marque: "Fig Tree Pruning and Propagation": with GC Master Gardener Terry Cuclis presenting. 9-10 a.m., January 28, at the orchard in the Galveston County Master Gardener Research & Demonstration Garden in Carbide Park, 4102 Main, La Marque; Ph 281-534-3413; email reservations to galv3@wt.net, further details see www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston. Free. (Rain Date: February 4)
FEBRUARY

Overton: 2016 Annual East Texas Turfgrass Conference For School Districts, City Parks & Recreation. Lawn & Landscape Managers and Homeowners will be held Thursday, February 4, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center, Overton. $35. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. For additional information, call 903-657-0376.

San Angelo: On February 6, The People/Plant Connection will present the first in a new series, "Family Day in the Garden-All About Trees." We invite families to come and learn about trees; why we need them, how to plant them and how to care for them. We will have activities for families to do together. Weather permitting we'll go outside for more activities. This is the first Family Day before the opening of the Children's Adventure Garden in April 2016. These seminars will be offered quarterly with more activities in the garden. It will be held from 9-11 a.m. at the Southside Recreation Center, 2750 Ben Ficklin Rd., San Angelo. Cost: $3/Adults $2/Children 4 and up. Children 3 and under get in free. To reserve your space and assure materials call 325-656-3104.

La Grange: Fayette County Master Gardeners present their Lunch-N-Learn on "Attracting Pollinators" with Harold Pieratt as speaker from 12:05 p.m. to 12:50 p.m., Tuesday, February 9 at Fayette County AgriLife Extension Service, 255 Svoboda Lane, La Grange. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, call 979-968-5831.

Dallas:
"Master Gardener - Water Efficient Landscape Design" will be presented
Wednesday-Friday, February 17-19 at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Building C Classroom & Large Hall, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Do you have a demonstration garden or school garden project that needs help to be water efficient? The Water Efficient Landscape Design Program for Master Gardeners provides you the skills to be your own landscape designer. You bring the project and we provide the guidance. You will learn basic landscape design techniques, native/adaptive plant selection, rainwater harvesting and efficient irrigation to help your project become the envy of water efficient landscapes. This is a three-day program with Wednesday and Thursday evening optional design workshops. This workshop is only open to current Master Gardener volunteers. One registration is good for two club members to attend with design materials to share. Additional design materials available for purchase. Registration: Only 20 Master Gardener participant spots are available for this training (10 groups). Registration is first come/first served basis. Cost: $300.00: (includes lunch, dinner and design materials). For additional information please email Karen Sanders at karen.sanders@tamu.edu. To pay by credit card please contact Clint Wolfe at 972-952-9635.Registration Dallas.tamu.edu/courses.

New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will present their Spring Seminar featuring "Plants For All Seasons, Magnificent Monocots, A to Z" at McKenna Events Center, 801 West San Antonio Street, New Braunfels, on Friday, February 19, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration is $55 and includes lunch, snacks, and seminar handout. Dr. Flo Oxley, Professor of Biology at Austin Community College, will give an introduction to Monocots; Joanne Hall, owner of South Texas Growers of Bulverde, will give an overview of ornamental grasses in the landscape; Velia Sanchez-Ruiz, a member of the American Hemerocallis Society and a Region 6 Daylily Judge, will cover Daylilies; David Will, Texas Certified Landscape Professional and owner of Landscape Details, will speak on bulbs; Dotty Woodson an AgriLife Extension Specialist, will provide instruction on how to make a rain garden. Seating is limited, so register early. Registration forms are available at http://txmg.org/comal/event/seminar/. For additional information, call 830-620-3440.

San Angelo: Friday, February 19, The People/Plant Connection will present "Lunch 'n' Learn" seminar series with Allison Watkins, AgriLife Extension Horticulturist for Tom Green County. She will be talking about "Spring Forward: Get Ready to Grow." Spring is almost here, get a head start by learning the right things to do in the landscape and garden to be prepared for the spring planting season. You'll find out the best EarthKind practices to assure a water conserving landscape. We meet from noon to 1 p.m. at the Edd B. Keys Building, 113 W. Beauregard, San Angelo. We'll be in the AgriLife Extension Offices, in the former Library location, on the first floor by the elevator. Cost is $5 per person. All proceeds go toward building the Children's Adventure Garden, projected to open in April, 2016. For more information, visit www.peopleplantconnection.org.

San Antonio: Bexar County Master Gardeners (BCMG) and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will offer Master Gardener Intern Training Class #60 from February 24 to May 25 (Noon-4 p.m., each Wednesday) at 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio. Application Deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 9. Application form available at http://www.bexarmg.org/get-involved/.
MARCH
 
Santa Barbara, Calif.: The Santa Barbara International Orchid Show returns to Earl Warren Showgrounds March 4-6. As the oldest and one of the largest annual orchid shows in the United States, the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show marks its 71st year with the theme "Wild World of Orchids." General admission to the show is $12. Seniors and students with ID pay $10; children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Individual tickets can be purchased at the show box office or through Ticketmaster. Group sales information is available at www.sborchidshow.com, via email at sborchidshowpublicity@gmail.com or by phone at (805) 403-1533. The Show is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 4, Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6. To learn more, visit www.sborchidshow.com.

Dallas: "Landscape Design - Be Your Own Landscape Designer, with Water Efficiency in Mind" will be presented 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Tuesdays, March 8, 15, 22, 29 at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, WaterSense Labeled Home, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Are you on a budget, but your landscape needs a facelift? Be your own Landscape Designer by learning hands on approaches to landscape design for the do-it-yourself homeowner. Learn proper plant placement, design aspects and installation for a more water efficient landscape. This is a four-week class meeting once per week. Cost: $395. Note: This is a project-based class and is limited to one project please. Fee includes dinner each week for up to 2 project leaders/homeowners listed at initial registration. If you will have two project leaders/homeowners please reply to the confirmation email after you have registered. Registration Dallas.tamu.edu/courses.

Marshall: The Annual Spring Plant Sale of the Harrison County Master Gardeners will be held on Saturday, March 19, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., on the Tractor Supply parking lot at 105 E End Blvd (Hwy 59) in Marshall. Many Master-Gardener grown (pass-along) plants will be available, as well as commercially-grown flowers and vegetables, all at competitive prices. Arrive early for the best selection.

Orangefield: The Orange County Master Gardeners Association will host their Annual Bloomin' Crazy Plant Fair on Saturday, March 19, at Cormier Park, 8235 FM 1442, Orangefield. Available will be Texas Superstar plants, natives, perennials, annuals, vines, tropical storm, vegetables, citrus, blueberries, and many other varieties. In addition, vendors will have locally produced products, specialty plants and organic items for plants and lawns. For more information, visit txmg.org/orange.
Monthly meetings
 
If you would like your organization's events included in "Monthly Meetings" or would like to make a change to a listed meeting, please contact us at Monthly Meetings. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details. 
 
FIRST WEEK
  
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 sbburden@ag.tamu.edu.

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 bunny-williams@sbcglobal.net.
 
Kerrville: Hill Country Master Gardeners meet the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 pm at Hill Country Youth Event Center, 3785 Hwy 27. For more information visit www.hillcountrymastergardeners.org.
 
Midland/Odessa: The Permian Basin Master Gardeners meet at noon, the first Wednesday of each month, lternating between the Midland and Ector County's Extensions Offices. For more information about location, call 432-498-4071 or 432-686-4700.
  
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.

Atlanta: The Cass County Master Gardeners meet the first Thursday of each month at the Atlanta Memorial Hospital Conference Room, State Highway 77 @ S. Williams St., Atlanta. A business meeting is followed by an educational program. The public is welcome to attend. For additional information, call 903-756-5391 or visit http://cass.agrilife.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 kayleetl@sbcglobal.net.
 
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. 
 
SECOND WEEK
 
Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month (except December) at the Austin Area Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit www.austinorganicgardeners.org.

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 tom@deerfield-abbey.org.
 
Harrison County: The Harrison County Master Gardeners meet on the second Tuesday of each month in the Harrison County Annex building, 102 W Houston St. (south side of the square), Marshall. Meetings are held in the 2nd floor AgriLife Extension meeting room. For more information, call 903-935-8413, or email wannagrow2@gmail.com.   
 
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. Meetings are open to the public. For complete details, visit 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 6 p.m. (social) 7:00 (meeting) the second Thursday of each month except in July in the AgriLife Extension auditorium, 1225 Pearl 2nd floor (downtown Beaumont next to the Court House). For more information contact: 409-835-8461 or txmg.org/jcmg.
 
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.
 
THIRD WEEK
 
Arlington: The Arlington Men's Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the third Monday of each month (except December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact Lance Jepson at LJepson@aol.com.
 
Cleburne:The Johnson County Master 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/.

Texarkana: The Four Corners Chapter of Native Plant Society of Texas meets at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the Southwest Center, 3222 W. 7th St. (U.S. 67), Texarkana. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Belinda McCoy at 903-424-7724 or blackmtngardens@yahoo.com.

Bastrop: Texas Sage meets the third Tuesday of each month. The location varies. For additional information, call 512-581-7186 or email TexasSageMG@gmail.com
 
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. 
 
New Braunfels: The Lindheimer Chapter (Comal County) of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. Meetings include an informative speaker, plant of the month presentation, and plant raffle. Visitors are welcome. For more information, visit www.npsot.org/wp/lindheimer.
 
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 November and January through April at 10 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 702 Burney Road, 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) at the Houston SArboretum and Nature Center in Memorial Park (4501 Woodway Dr.). For more information on programs, and for information about native plants for Houston, visit http:/npsot.org/wp/Houston.
 
Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, at the AgriLife Building, 210 East Live Oak, Seguin. After a brief social hour, the meeting and guest speaker begins at 7 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 830-303-3889 or visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.
 
FOURTH WEEK
 
Brackenridge Park: The Native Plant Society San Antonio Chapter meets every fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Lions Field Adult and Senior Center, 2809 Broadway at E. Mulberry, Brackenridge Park, except August and December. Social and seed/plant exchange at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bea at 210-999-7292 or visit www.npsot.org/sanantonio.
 
Bryan: The Brazos County Master Gardeners, a program of Texas AgriLife Extension, meet the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. There is a public gardening program at each meeting and pertinent information may be found at brazosmg.com or 979-823-0129.
 
Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners present their "Come Grown With Us" seminars on the fourth Tuesday of each month, January through October, beginning at 7 p.m. at 411 N. Wells, Edna. The seminars are free, open to the public and offer 2 CEU hours to Master Gardeners or others requiring them. For additional information, contact the Jackson County Extension Office at 361-782-3312.
 
Linden: The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the senior citizens building at 507 S Kaufman St. in Linden at 6:30. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Karen Tromza at khtromza@yahoo.com.
 
Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Forth Worth meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month except July and December at the Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, 3220 Botanic Blvd., Ft. Worth. Refreshments are served. For more information, call 817-263-9322 or visit www.ogcfw.webs.com.
 
San Antonio: The Native Plant Society of Texas San Antonio Chapter meets the fourth Tuesday of each month, except August and December, at the Lions Field Adult & Senior Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio. Social and plant/seed exchange at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.npsot.org/sanantonio or email npsot.sanantonio@gmail.com.
 
Houston: The Houston Native Prairie Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Cherie Flores Pavilion in McGovern Centennial Gardens at Hermann Park, 1500 Hermann Drive, 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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