January 27, 2016
  
Create a garden anywhere with straw bales
 
By Melinda Myers
Gardening Expert
 
Add productive garden space and raise your planting bed with straw bale gardening. This technique allows gardeners to create raised bed gardens on a patio, lawn or any area with poor compacted soil. Straw bale gardening has been around for centuries, but thanks to Joel Karsten's book "Straw Bale Gardens" it has gained new popularity.
 
All that is needed are a few straw bales, fertilizer, a bit of compost and time to condition, plant and water the garden.
 
Be sure to purchase straw bales made from alfalfa, wheat, oats, rye or other cereal grain that have less weed seeds than hay. Start a few weeks before the designated planting date.
 
Place the bales in their permanent location with the cut sides up and twine parallel to the ground. Once you start the condition process, the bales will be very heavy and hard to move. When the bales are in place you are ready to start the conditioning process. This is done to start the inside of the straw bales composting, so they'll support plant growth.
 
On day one, spread fertilizer over the top of the bale. Use a 1/2 cup of a complete garden fertilizer or three cups of an organic fertilizer. Then completely moisten the bale. The organic fertilizers feed the microorganisms that help decompose the straw into a nutrient rich planting medium.
 
Thoroughly soak the bale every day. On days three and five you will add more fertilizer at the same rate used on day one.
 
Days seven through nine use half the rate used on day one. This would be 1/4 cup of a complete garden fertilizer or 1-1/2 cups of an organic fertilizer. Thoroughly water the bale each time.
 
On day 10 you will add one cup of 10-10-10 or three cups of an organic fertilizer rich in phosphorous and potassium. This completes the conditioning process.
 
Bales treated with a complete fertilizer should be ready to plant. You may need to wait a few more days when using an organic fertilizer. The inside of the bale should be the temperature of warm bath water or cooler for planting. If it is hotter than this, wait for the bale to cool a bit before you plant.
 
Use a trowel to pry open a hole in the bale. Place the plant in the hole and cover the roots with potting mix or compost.
 
Create a planting bed for seeds by covering the bale with a one- to two-inch thick layer of planting mix. Follow the planting directions on the back of the seed packet.
 
Regular watering is critical for success with this method. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation make this an easier task. You can also use gallon milk jugs with holes in the bottom or inverted two-liter soda bottles placed near the base of each plant to provide water where it is needed.
 
Give your straw bale garden a nutrient boost about once a month or as needed throughout the growing season.
 
Follow these steps and you'll be well on your way to growing a productive straw bale garden to enjoy throughout the season.
 
Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 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. Myers' web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.
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

Ophelia's Dilemma
 
By Gloria Alden
Freelance Writer
 
The morning dew sparkled on the roses filling Ophelia with joy as she moved through her rose garden checking each rose for aphids, thrips or other problems. It was less than two weeks until The Rose Society's Festival. She'd placed second last year and knew she had a good chance at getting a first this year with her roses looking so lovely. She hummed as she carefully examined each rose and rose bush.
 
Her happy mood was shattered when her husband shouted from the back porch.
 
"Ophelia, get in here and fix my breakfast. I'm not waiting all day."
 
She sighed. Hamlet is driving me crazy, she thought as she took her time walking to the house.
 
When she went into the kitchen, he was scowling. "Keep on ignoring me, Ophelia. You might just find all your rose bushes cut down some day."
 
She refused to look at him. "What do you want for breakfast?
 
"Eggs. You know how I like them. Bacon, and make sure it's crispy this time. Hash browns, fresh ones, not the frozen kind. Homemade waffles, and not the frozen kind you pop in the toaster, either."
 
She nodded and started mixing the batter for waffles while he opened the morning paper to read. If she was beating the eggs for the waffles a little harder than usual, he didn't notice, nor did he notice the look on her face.
 
"You're not eating?" Hamlet asked when she didn't sit down with him.
 
"I ate earlier, before you got up," she said.
 
"Sit down and keep me company," he ordered.
 
She sat down and listened to his comments on what was in the newspaper, all of them negative, of course.
 
Not for the first time, she regretted marrying him. What a fool she'd been to fall for an English grad student full of himself. His parents were English professors, and his father, a Shakespeare scholar, named his only son Hamlet. She'd fallen for Hamlet's dark good looks and those soulful eyes. He wrote poetry - depressing poetry - and she'd thought she could make him happy, thought they were meant to be together with her name and all. It was foolish of her. Maybe it was the name her parents had given her that cursed her. He might not have noticed her if she'd been named Patty or Sue.
 
She looked at him as he read the paper beside his plate and shoveled food into his mouth. And now he's aged, bald, a perpetual grouch who's even worse since he retired from the university. I don't know how much longer I can stand living with him, she thought, but she knew she didn't have much choice. He insisted on her leaving her job when the kids came, and now she had no skills to get a job to support herself. Plus, she couldn't bear the thought of leaving her gardens, which she'd have to do if she left him.
 
The next morning, when she walked out and saw that all her rose bushes had been cut down, she knew there was no reason to stay with him any longer.
 
He waited for her to make some comment, but throughout the day she didn't look at him or respond to any of his comments. She spent the morning cleaning up the slaughtered rose bushes, piling them at the back of the lot before working in her perennial garden. While she weeded around the foxgloves she made her decision.
 
That evening she made the spaghetti and meatballs that he liked so much, set aside a separate dish, and added some chopped leaves in addition to the basil she usually added. She also added a few leaves to the salad she prepared for him.
 
They both ate silently. If he felt any guilt over what he'd done, he wouldn't admit to it. He never admitted to being wrong about anything. She ate slowly, keeping a surreptitious eye on him as he wolfed down his food. As usual, he put a large amount of salad dressing on his salad.
 
After they finished, he went into the other room to watch the evening news while she cleaned the kitchen, put the leftover spaghetti in the refrigerator, and did the dishes, making sure she washed his dishes thoroughly.
 
Shortly after she finished, he started complaining of a headache and demanded she bring him aspirin. After he'd taken the aspirin with water, he started vomiting.
 
"What did you put in that spaghetti?" Hamlet asked.
 
"Nothing that I didn't eat, too," Ophelia answered.
 
As his blood pressure rose and he started sinking into delirium, he moaned and asked her to call for an ambulance.
 
She waited a while before calling. When the EMTs arrived she told them she thought he had the flu like she'd had earlier in the week, or maybe he was having a heart attack because he had a heart condition and was taking digitalis. After they left, she went to the medicine chest and, using gloves to open the container, flushed a half dozen or so digitalis pills down the toilet.
 
A few days later, she was contacted by two detectives. They told her Hamlet had a high amount of digitalis in his system. Expressing surprise, Ophelia wondered if he'd forgotten he'd taken it earlier and then took more.
 
"He was becoming irrational, you know," Ophelia said and showed them the rose bushes he'd cut down for no reason.
 
"I thought maybe it was early stages of dementia."
 
She told the detectives where they could find his digitalis bottle, and they took it with them. After checking with the date it was last filled and finding no fingerprints except those of Hamlet's, his death was ruled accidental.
 
Ophelia sighed as she replanted new rose bushes. It's too late for this year, but next year I might place first with my roses, she thought.
 
Gloria Alden is the author of The Catherine Jewell gardening mystery series, The Blue Rose, Daylilies for Emily's Garden, Ladies of the Garden Club, and The Body in the Goldenrod. Her website is www.gloriaalden.com.
Additional funds available for prescribed burning near Sam Houston National Forest
 
Texas A&M Forest Service
 
The Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership is providing $60,000 to landowners near the Sam Houston National Forest for prescribed burning.
 
The funds reimburse eligible landowners who have taken measures to reduce grass and brush, enhance ecosystems and protect homes and communities from wildfire through strategically-planned prescribed burning.
 
"Overgrown vegetation contributes to wildfires that damage the ecosystem. Using prescribed fire helps return the ecosystem back to its natural state," said Andy McCrady, fuels coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service.
 
Through prescribed fire, landowners contribute to community safety.
 
"Wildfire behavior is more problematic and harder for firefighters to control when there are excessive dry fuels. This is even more problematic when these hazardous fuels are near homes and communities," McCrady said.
 
Texas A&M Forest Service offers grants directly to landowners to reimburse the cost of certified and insured prescribed burn managers conducting the burn treatments.
 
"This program allows trained specialists to conduct effective, cost-efficient methods to remove dangerous fuel loads," McCrady said.
 
This year, Texas A&M Forest Service signed agreements with 50 landowners in East Texas, allowing them to take advantage of $263,755 in funding. The additional $60,000 is made available by the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership to support fuel reduction in and around the national forests of Texas.
 
The Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership brings together Texas A&M Forest Service, USDA Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
 
Eligible landowners must live within 30 miles of the Sam Houston National Forest. Priority areas consist of Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Walker counties.
 
For more information and to apply for the prescribed burning grant visit http://www.tfsweb.tamu.edu/jointchiefs . The deadline to apply is Feb. 15.
New horticulture director begins work

Peckerwood Garden 

Adam Black, an expert in rare, unusual and endangered plants, has been named director of horticulture at Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead.

"I look forward to working in such an important, fascinating and beautiful garden," said Black, who comes from the Forest Pathology and Forest Entomology Laboratories at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

"Adam not only has the expertise and experience necessary to maintain and preserve Peckerwood Garden, he also possesses a long-standing passion for plants," said Sarah Newbery, Peckerwood's foundation board president. "He has many ideas for developing a broader network of support and expanded offerings to garden visitors, and we are extremely excited to see those ideas come to fruition."
Gardening tips

If you have deciduous fruit trees, look for scale on the limbs this month. It is much easier to spot scale on the branches after the trees have dropped their leaves. Flag the infested branches with fluorescent survey tape so you can find them later in February when they need to be sprayed for best control.    
 
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 copy of the latest issue of  Texas Gardener magazine. 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

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)

Hempstead: The Waller County Master Gardeners would like to remind everyone about our Fruit and Nut Tree Fundraiser. Pre-Ordered trees will be available for pickup on Jan. 30, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Tegler Autos, Hwy.6 @ 290 in Hempstead. Pre-ordered trees will be ready to pick up. There will be a limited number of trees available for sale. Payment can be made by cash, check or credit card. Also available on Jan. 30 is registration for the 2016 Spring Vegetable Conference to be held on March 5, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Waller County Road and Bridge building. Registration is $25.00. Purchase a tree from the fundraiser and register on Jan. 30 for the conference, to receive a $5.00 discount. Featured speakers will be Paul Eyre, vegetable gardens and soil; Pam Romig, bees; and Herman Auer, fruit trees. Lunch is included with registration. For additional information, call 979-826-7651 or e-mail wallermgardener2013@gmail.com.
FEBRUARY

San Antonio: San Antonio Garden Clubs will meet Wednesday, February 3, at 10 a.m. at 3310 N. New Braunfels @ Funston. The program, "River Romance: Beauty and Restoration," will be presented by Lee Marlowe, Sustainable Landscape Ecologist for the San Antonio River Authority. Learn fascinating facts about installing, restoring, and managing the native trees and shrubs that line the Riverwalk and its extensions from the person who keeps the romance of the River alive and well for all to enjoy. Coffee at 9:30; meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.sanantoniogardencenter.org or call 210-824-9981.

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.

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will present Lunch & Learn with a Master Gardener. Thursday, February 4, noon-1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office in Seguin. Agent Travis Franke and a panel of Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions. If you have gardening questions or want to learn more about gardening in Guadalupe County bring them to the Lunch and Learn and get your answers from the experts. The Lunch and Learn Program will be at the AgriLife Extension Office, 210 East Live Oak, Seguin, free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring lunch. For additional information, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call the Guadalupe County Extension Service Office in Seguin, 830-303-3889.

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.

Cleburne: Seed Swapping Good Thyme, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, February 6, at the Big Bear Native American Museum, Located at the Chisholm Trail Museum, 2929 W. Henderson, Cleburne, just west of Hill College & the Hospital on HWY 67. Trade a seed pack for a seed pack. Don't worry if you run out of seeds or forget your seeds, we accept a $1 donation per pack. The first 20 people to attend get a FREE pack of seeds from our favorite sponsor, Seed Saves Exchange. Door Prizes Tickets: $1 per ticket; $5. for 6 tickets. Help Cleburne Animal Shelter by bringing your newspapers or canned pet food for 1 FREE Door Prize Ticket. Bring in up to 6 cans or 2 bags of newspapers and get 6 FREE Door Prize Tickets. Admission to BIG BEAR is FREE for the Seed Swap. For more information contact Pat Kriener at 817-793-4625 or wildwoodc@yahoo.com.

Dallas: Learn ways to maintain a healthy lawn with less frequent watering. Discover the most effective and earth-friendly way to care for lawn at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center Auditorium (17360 Coit Road, Dallas) on Saturday, February 6 from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Patrick Dickinson, a horticulturalist with the Urban Water Program at Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Dallas, will teach how to care for lawn like an expert. Subjects covered will include basic care for lawns, common turf problems, how to water most efficiently and much more. Space is limited, so please register online at SaveDallasWater.com or by calling 214-670-3155.

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.
 
Austin: "Effects on Insect Ecology: How You Can Help," will be presented Thursday, February 11, 10 a.m.-noon, at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Travis County, 1600-B Smith Road, Austin. The talk covers why insects and other arthropods are important to humans and other animals, how drought impacts various insect groups and how people can help attract and keep insects in their yard even in times of drought. Wizzie Brown serves as Program Specialist - IPM in the Austin metroplex encompassing Travis County and surrounding counties. Cost: $10 through 2/1; $15 starting 2/2 and on-site. NO cash accepted - checks and credit cards only. Space is limited so register on-line early to reserve your seat! Register: https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty , Register by Phone: 979-845-2604. For more information, contact: Sue Carrasco, 512-854-9610 or sacarrasco@ag.tamu.edu.

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. 
 
San Antonio: Ohio native Pat James-Hasser will present how herbs were transported to this country on the Mayflower and stored and used in colonial times for medicinal, pest control, and to make food more palatable. We will learn how our herbs were shipped to America and why. The presentation will be at the San Antonio Garden Center at 3310 N. New Braunfels on February 11 from 6:30 to 8:30. Free and open to the public. For additional information, visit the Herb Society website at www.sanantonioherbs.org .

Pasadena: Saturday, February 13, Precinct 2, Harris County Master Gardener Fruit Tree and Tomato Sale at Campbell Hall, Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Red Bluff, Pasadena. Fruit Tree Overview by Heidi Sheesley, owner of Treesearch Farms, at 8 a.m. Sale hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m. If it's sold at our sale, it grows in our area. Details: https://hcmga.tamu.edu.

Cleburne:The 2016 Johnson County Junior Master Gardener classes begin February 15 at the Johnson County Demo Garden located in the Chisholm Trail Museum, 2929 W. Henderson, Cleburne. Morning Class 10:00; Afternoon Class 4:00. Classes geared for kids 7-11. Funky Fungus starts the year. Learn some Fun Fungus Facts and take home an Organic Mushroom Kit. This class is $10.00 per Take-Home Project. Siblings can get 1 kit per 2 kids. Register NOW by contacting Pat Kriener, 817-793-4625 or wildwoodc@yahoo.com.

San Antonio: David's Garden Seeds, 7715 Tezel Drive, San Antonio, will present a "Tomato Grafting Class" at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 15. They will graft rose tomato plants with Maxifort rootstock plants. Call ahead to make sure the plants are ready because this is the best guess at when they will be ready to graft. Visit http://www.davids-garden-seeds-and-products.com/gardening-seminar.html for more information. For information on other gardening seminars, visit www.davids-garden-seeds-and-products.com.

Diboll: The 2016 Texas Timber Tax Workshop scheduled for February 16 in East Texas is a day-long event that provides information on timber tax laws and rules, helping attendees understand recent changes before filing taxes. This annual workshop hosted by Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas Forestry Association gives hundreds of foresters, landowners and other professionals the training and education needed for applying new tax rules, which could prove an advantage in forest management planning. The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lottie and Arthur Temple Civic Center, 601 Dennis St., Diboll, Texas. Registration is $75 and includes a workbook, lunch and refreshments. The workshop is designed for forest landowners, consulting foresters, public accountants, loggers and anyone who deals with timber taxes. Participating in this workshop also qualifies for continuing education credits. For more information or to register, go to http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/timbertaxworkshop, or contact Jennifer Hayes at 979-458-6630 or jhayes@tfs.tamu.edu.

Lockhart: Have you ever wanted to become a beekeeper? Are you afraid of bees when you are working in your garden? Tara Chapman with BeeWeaver Apiaries will present a fun and educational talk about Bees, the Great Pollinator at the Lockhart Library at 6:30 p.m -8 p.m., February 16. For more information, visit http://txmg.org/tsmg/, email TexasSageMG@gmail.com, or call 512-581-7186.

Woodway: "What to Plant in the Spring and Fairy Gardening" will be presented by Sandra Killough of Bonnie's Greenhouses February 16 from noon to 2 p.m. at 1 Pavilion Way (The Pavilion at Woodway Arboretum), Woodway. Bring lunch and enjoy learning about planting a Fairy Garden and about the best choices for a spring garden. For more information, call 254-399-9204.

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.

San Antonio: Bulbs for San Antoni
o, a BCMG Educational Seminar, will be presented 1 p.m.-4 p.m., February 18, at 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio. Bexar County Master Gardeners (BCMG) sponsors this free, afternoon seminar. Sandy Justice will present a program on how to select the kinds of bulbs that will grow in San Antonio on how to plant and propagate them, and where to find them for starters. 2 CEUs for MGs. For more information, email the BCMG President, President@bexarmg.org, or call 210-699-0663.

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.

Bastrop: Do you know a good bug from a bad one? Tommie Clayton and Susan Jung, First [Bug] Detector Specialists, will explain the difference on March 15, from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Bluebonnet Electric Co-op building (650 Hwy 21 East) in Bastrop. With more than 30 years of Master Gardening experience between them, Tommie and Susan are also founding members of Texas Sage Master Gardeners, which serves Bastrop and Caldwell Counties. For more information, visit http://txmg.org/tsmg/, email TexasSageMG@gmail.com, or call 512-581-7186.

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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