January 13, 2016
  
Ease into gardening with a raised bed
 
By Melinda Myers
Gardening Expert
 
Raise your garden to new heights for easier access and greater productivity. Raised beds allow you to overcome poor soil by creating the ideal growing mix, plus make gardening time more comfortable thanks to less bending and kneeling.
 
Whether you purchase a kit or build your own, there are a few things to consider when creating a raised bed garden.
 
Locate the garden in a sunny area if possible. Most plants require at least six hours of sun, and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and melons produce best with a full day of sunlight.
 
Select a long-lasting material such as interlocking block, fieldstone, plastic lumber or naturally long lasting wood like cedar. The material selected will influence the shape and size of your garden. Some materials allow for curved beds while others are limited to squares, rectangles and other angular shapes.
 
Design your raised bed to fit your space and your needs. A three- or four-feet width makes it easy to reach all parts of the garden for planting, weeding and harvesting. Raising your planting bed at least 8 to 12 inches improves drainage and provides an adequate space for most plants to root and grow. If you want to minimize bending, go higher. Add benches to increase your gardening comfort and ease. Bonnie Plants has free downloadable plans (bonnieplants.com/library) for building a raised bed garden with benches in just one afternoon.
 
Roughen or loosen the existing soil surface if your bed is built on compact, slow-draining soil. This will allow water to readily move from the raised bed into the soil below. Cover the bottom of the bed with newspaper or cardboard, if needed, to suffocate existing weeds and grass.
 
Line the bottom of your raised bed with hardware cloth to reduce the risk of animals burrowing into your garden. Lay the hardware cloth over the ground and bend it up along the inside of the raised bed walls.
 
Fill the bed with a quality growing mix that is well drained but also able to retain moisture and nutrients. This may be a mixture of quality topsoil and compost, a high quality potting mix, or a planting mix designed specifically for raised bed gardens.
 
Grow any plants that you normally would grow in ground. Just make sure the plants are suited to the growing conditions (such as sunlight, heat and wind) in your area. Because the soil mix and drainage is ideal in a raised garden, you will be able to grow more plants per square foot. Just be sure to leave sufficient room for plants to reach their mature size.
 
Keep your plants healthy and productive with proper watering. This is critical for growing any garden, but even more crucial in a fast-draining raised bed. The simple act of raising the garden height increases drainage, and a raised bed filled with planting mix means more frequent watering. Consider using drip irrigation or soaker hoses for watering ease. Always water thoroughly when the top inch of soil is dry.
 
Add some mulch to help reduce watering and the need for other garden maintenance. Spread a layer of evergreen needles, pine straw, shredded leaves or other organic matter over the soil surface. This helps conserve moisture, suppresses weeds and adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. You'll spend less time watering and weeding throughout the season.
 
Add an organic fertilizer at planting if your planting mix does not already contain one. Apply again mid-season if the plants need a nutrient boost. Always follow the label directions on the fertilizer container.
 
The time and effort invested in creating raised beds will be returned many times over with years of healthy and productive gardens.
 
Gardening expert Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening
and the Midwest Gardener's Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses "How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone" DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda's Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine.
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

All Creatures Great and Small
 
By Lida Bushloper
Freelance Writer
 
"Aren't you going to answer the door?" my mother asked, as the bell at the back entrance to our florist shop rang for the third time. Since it was Friday and the shop was already closed for the day, we both knew it could only be my boyfriend, Les Harper. I sighed and went to unlock the door. Les bounded in, cheerful as always. Then why wasn't I as cheerful to see him? The thought troubled me as I turned from his kiss to finish watering a tray of potted plants, while Les greeted my mother with a bear hug.
 
As I replaced the last gloxinia, a spider, startled from its hiding place amongst the leaves, panicked and ran up my sleeve. I shook my arm and gave a little scream. Spiders give me the creeps. I was fine with worms, beetles and other creatures that are a fact of life for anyone who works with plants, but I had an irrational fear of spiders.
 
The spider fell to the floor, but before it could dash to a new refuge, Les gleefully squashed it with his manly shoe.
 
"Saved you again, Norma," he teased. "I'll always be around to protect you from spiders - and from anything else."
 
Les had made it plain that, as his wife, my role would be entertaining his business associates - not "mucking around in the dirt" - as he called what I did for a living.
 
I turned to my mother.
 
"Sorry to leave you with so much work, Mom." There was a wedding the next morning and she was completing the last of the table arrangements.
 
"Maybe you'll be working on Norma's wedding next, Mrs. Sheppard." Les had been pushing me to accept his proposal, but so far, I had resisted.
 
Before we left, Mom pulled me aside and whispered,
 
"Les won't wait forever, Norma. And he'll always be able to take care of you."
 
"But Mom, before Dad died, he made sure we could take care of ourselves. Isn't that better than knowing you have to depend on someone else?"
 
Mom looked doubtful. "Maybe. But it's been hard work."
 
I smiled and gave her a hug. "Neither one of us has ever been afraid of hard work. And it's kept alive our connection to Dad. Besides, I love this job."
 
"Well, that's true," she said, but I noticed a tear in her eye. As Les and I left the shop, she called to us, "Have fun, you two."
 
After Dad died when I was 14, Mom needed my help to keep the business going. I had had no time for sports and cheerleading. Les, on the other hand, had been a football star and one of the class bigwigs. After college, he had returned to town, started his own insurance company and, just like in high school, was now one of the town bigwigs.
 
Monday morning found me making my twice-weekly visit to the nursery where we bought our potted plants. Old Mr. Reynolds, who had owned the nursery as long as I could remember, was helping another customer on the other side of the lot. I was beginning to worry about getting back in time to help Mom open the shop, when a voice behind me said, "Can I help you?"
 
I turned to face a young man with a shy grin, curly brown hair and blue eyes that looked warm and serious at the same time. I felt my heart beating faster, and knew it wasn't because I had been startled.
 
"Well," I responded, "Mr. Reynolds usually has my order ready to go. Do you think he'll be long?" Suddenly, I found myself hoping Mr. Reynolds would be tied up a while.
 
"You must be Norma Sheppard. I'm Mr. Reynolds' nephew, Jeff Broderick. I remember when you used to come here with your father. Your order's right here."
 
He turned to walk to the nearby hand truck and I paused a moment to savor the rear view of his long, lean body. A vague memory was forming in my mind, but I still couldn't help asking, "Well, if you're Jeff, how come I haven't seen you in years?"
 
"I just finished getting my degree in horticulture at the state college. It took a little longer because I had to work my way through."
 
I picked up a potted plant. "These look especially healthy."
 
"Okay, I admit it," Jeff laughed. "I selected them myself. I was kind of hoping you would show up today."
 
Before I had could answer, I gave a little shriek and dropped the pot holding the plant. Jeff looked alarmed.
 
"Spider," I gasped and pointed to where the spider was crouching in the dirt. Jeff bent down and gently scooped up the little creature. I was amazed to see it nestle in the palm of his hand instead of running up his arm. Calmly, he carried the spider to a nearby hedge and deposited it on a leaf. He hadn't destroyed it to "protect" me. Suddenly, I felt safer with Jeff than I ever had with Les.
 
When Jeff returned, I loaded the last pot onto the truck bed, then faced him. "That thing you did - picking up a spider. Don't they creep you out?"
 
"Nah. There's nothing to fear, once you understand their instincts and behavior."
 
"Could I learn that?"
 
"Sure, if you want to," he said, as if it were no big deal. He touched my arm. "Look, Norma, I know I'm like a stranger to you. But I really do remember you - and your father. I'd like to stop by the shop sometime and pay my respects to your mother."
 
My mind raced. I didn't want to hurt Les, but I knew I had to explore what was already a strong attraction I felt for Jeff.
 
"How about tonight," I suggested. "We close at six."
 
"I'll be there."
 
Jeff's strong arm encircled me as he boosted me up into the truck. I was sure we both knew I didn't really need his help.
 
Lida Bushloper's stories have appeared in King's River Life, True Story, True Confessions, Mysterical-e, Flash Bang Mysteries and other publications. Visit her website at http://lidabushloper.wordpress.com.
Texas Gardener contributor named Volunteer of the Year 

Lee Franzel, who provided the photograph used on the cover of the 2016 Texas Gardener Planning Guide and Calendar and who wrote "Texas-Style Homemade Pickles" (Texas Gardener, Jan./Feb 2016) was named 2015 Volunteer of the Year by the Comal Master Gardeners.

In addition to writing about gardening, Franzel also regularly speaks about gardening, leads gardening workshops, and serves as an officer of the Comal Master Gardeners.
New partnership provides funds to landowners who improve forest health
 
Texas A&M Forest Service
 
Funds are now available for forest landowners near the Sam Houston National Forest through the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership.
 
This partnership between USDA Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Texas A&M Forest Service looks to improve forest health and resiliency on the Sam Houston National Forest and surrounding private forestland.
 
Landowners may be eligible for financial assistance to implement prescribed burning and thinning treatments on their property which helps reduce wildfire threat, prevent Southern Pine Beetle infestations and improve forest health.
 
Management practices such as prescribed fire enable landowners to contribute to community safety and restore ecosystems on their land.
 
"Overgrown vegetation contributes to wildfires that damage the ecosystem and threaten communities," said Andy McGrady, fuels coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service. "Using prescribed fire will help return the ecosystem back to its natural state and reduce the threat of devastating wildfire."
 
The partnership also focuses on improving habitats for endangered species, reducing attacks from invasive pests, like Southern Pine Beetle and protecting water quality through thinning treatments.
 
While Texas has not had a Southern Pine Beetle outbreak in more than 20 years, it's important that landowners and resource professionals remain cautious of this threat.
 
"Thinning overly dense pine stands is a proactive way to prevent a Southern Pine Beetle outbreak from occurring and increase the overall health of the watershed - where the majority of Houston gets its drinking water," said Texas A&M Forest Service Staff Forester Shane Harrington said.
 
Priority areas for this project consist of Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Walker counties. Eligible landowners can visit their local TFS office for specific information or visit www.tfsweb.tamu.edu/jointchiefs for information on how to apply for funding.
 
Applications for prescribed burning must be submitted by Feb. 15, there is no submission deadline for landowners applying for thinning funds.
Gardening tips

"To simplify digging a deep hole for each potato seed piece," writes Ellen Atkins, "I use an old swing stabilizing anchor, the kind that resemble a small (3") auger. Remove the looped end, insert into your drill and make 12" deep holes. As potatoes grow, gradually fill the holes with soil or compost." 
 
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

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.
Whether canning goods from a home garden or the local farmers market, preserving can stretch the fruits of summer labor far into winter, for a fresh homegrown taste all year round. Preserving produce is not only a fun and useful skill to acquire, but is also a healthy, cost-effective way to cut back on consuming processed food. Water-bath canning, pressure canning, pickling and freezing are all common food preservation methods. Many vegetables and other low acidic foods can only be canned by pressure canning in order to destroy bacteria and prevent botulism. This food preservation workshop will teach you the basics of canning, including how to use pressure canners and water bath canners to preserve pickles, jam, and vegetables. There will be free handouts to attendees. 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.

Austin: Texas First Detector will be presented Saturday, February 6, 10 a.m.-noon, Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin. "See something, say something," a program that gardeners can use to improve observation skills detecting invasive pests (insects) and diseases such as the brown marmorated stink bug and rose rosette that may appear and cause problems in our gardens and landscapes. Susan Jung and Tommie Clayton, Travis County Master Gardeners, will introduce attendees to the National Plant Diagnostic Network program, review "wanted posters" so they'll know what to look for, provide web-based resources, and where to report sightings for confirmation. Seminar is free. Zilker park entrance fee is $2 per adult, $1 per child (ages 3-12) or seniors (age 62 & over), $3 for non-Austin Residents. Cash or check accepted. For more information contact: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Travis County, 512-854-9600.

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.

Houston: "Rose Pruning Done Right" will be the topic of the Houston Rose Society meeting on Thursday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m. at the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, 1500 Hermann Drive, Houston. The parking lot is Lot C, located at Hermann Drive and Crawford Street. Expert rosarians with the Houston Rose Society will demonstrate pruning techniques on actual bushes of all types of roses. Tables will be placed so all can get a close-up view of the demonstration. Questions are encouraged. Added bonus: all pruned bushes will be given away as door prizes; obtain a free raffle ticket upon arrival to be eligible. Free admission. For additional information, visit http://www.houstonrose.org. 

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.

Hempstead: The Waller County Master Gardeners usually mee tat 9 a.m. the first Thursday of each month at the Waller County AgriLife Extension Office, 846 6th St., Hempstead. For more information on the meeting schedule, visit http://txmg.org/wallermg or call 979-826-7651.

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.

Glen Rose: The Prairie Rose Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Somerville County Citizen Center, 209 SW Barnard St., Glen Rose. For additional information, email prairierose.npsot@gmail.com
 
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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