September 20, 2013

Dear Friends,


Here is the 28th issue of our weekly gardening newsletter for Houston, the Gulf Coast and beyond. This a project of The Lazy Gardener, Brenda Beust Smith, John Ferguson and Mark Bowen (both John and Mark are with Nature's Way Resources). We also have a great supporting cast of contributing writers and technical specialists who will chime in and tweak away regularly. We would love to keep receiving your input on this newsletter . . . . comments . . . . suggestions . . . . questions. . . .Email your thoughts to: Thanks so much for your interest.
Please  or sign yourself up to receive this newsletter by clicking the "Join Our Mailing List" link just below. We will never sell or share our mailing list to protect the privacy of our subscribers.


From Sara's Garden, clockwise from below left, white Easter lilies (blooming in August!), white summer phlox, red monarda, (top) one of the most vibrant roses I've seen and (below) a huge red dahlia in bloom.


"With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy."-- Lope de Vaga
Last week I shared some of our pictures from Butchart Gardens,, the most beautiful garden just north of Victoria, British Columbia. 

It was fun, but not particular triggering of jealousy.

Not so for the rest of our time "up nawth." 

Most was spent on Whidbey Island, the beautiful site my brother David Beust, his wife Sara, and children Annie and Alex, call home. Above are just a few of the flowers in Sara's garden.
As with Hawaii, I went expecting to be awed and bug-eyed over the beautiful flowers. And I was. But to my amazement, it was the trees that really rocked my boat. 

In Hawaii, the palms' towering swaying fronds seemed to be speaking a language I only wished I could understand.
On Whidbey Island, it was the magnificent Douglas firs. Douglas firs and spruces. 

How can you tell them apart? I asked David? Easy, he said.  The spruce top tips are bent over.  The Douglas firs point straight upward.
He was right! Why? Google offered lots of reason, spruce diseases, etc.  Too many diagnoses. I suspect the trees just don't want to be mistaken for each other. So the spruces nod to visitors. Douglas firs are, I suppose, just a little more stand-offish.

Where jealousy came in was when my fugleman Sara proposed a round of her friends' gorgeous gardens. 
I have never seen such spectacular hydrangeas or dahlias. 

My amazement started in Sara's garden.  You know how, here, if we have a slightly acidic soil, we get blue hydrangeas? Slightly alkaline = pink. The further northeast-to-east we live, the more likely we'll get blue hydrangeas.  The further south or west we live, the harder it is to get them to grow and bloom at all.

Well, look at this one by Sara's back door! 

This smaller shrub hydrangea, left, has true blue flowers, true pink flowers and a mixture of pink and blue- all on one bush! At right is her lacecap hydrangea that is easily 7 foot high.
At her friends' gardens . . . wow! The hydrangeas were absolutely spectacular. Huge and covered with enormous flowers. 


These blue, pink, purple ones are 'Button and Bows' hydrangeas growing in Sara's friend Jaryl Cave's garden. Her pink/green hydrangea is 'Pistachio.' 
We can grow hydrangeas here, but they're not what most folks would call lazy gardener plants. If you tried and failed, don't take it personally!
Ah, yes, you're thinking, it would be easy to turn green with envy over these. 

But I've discovered there are always two sides to every coin.  My jealousy disappeared when I saw one of these:

That's a nickel next to this slug which Sara photographed.  

Their slugs easily reach 4-5 inches or longer. She says this is one of the smaller ones! They LOVE hydrangeas and are a constant battle. 

For once it's nice not to be able to brag that everything's bigger in Texas!
In fact, on the Whidbey Island Master Gardeners have posted their "Ten Commandments of Neighborhood Gardening" on their website. Commandment #8 reads:

Thou shalt not chuck snails and slugs over the fence into your neighbor's yard.  


Had a funny email recently from 
Becky Robertson about her sago palm. She sent a picture what she thought was a huge oversized cone and wanted to know what caused this - to-her - extraordinary extra growth.

That's Becky's photo on the left. Actually what she said was, "my sago needs a woman!" I asked if she'd been feeding it V
iagra.  She emphatically denied that.

Paul Norris of the Houston Palm Society - gentleman that he is - calmly replied that this male cone is perfectly normal in our climate. 

Paul added that this year his sagos have a lot of yellow tips,  probably indicating that they need more nitrogen. But they're so tough, this really isn't a problem. 

The biggest problem with sagos is that they are so nice and small when purchased, gardeners don't expect the final ten-foot wide spread of mature plants. 

Ten foot is NOT an exaggeration. You need to be prepared for this when deciding where to plant them.  Because once they become established, they're not easy to move. 

That's why, in the photos above, I included the picture of a full size one at right. 

Another common question this time of year: can the pups be cut off and transplanted? Yes, and they root easily. But they have such vicious points, it's not an easy task.

Leave them on and expect an even bigger "shrub" eventually.

To the oft-publicized threat of poisoning from the seeds, Paul - who has been involved with palms forever - has never known of an actual case of even a dog being poisoned.

Palms not only definitely qualify as lazy gardener plants, they reached new heights of desirability for me after Ike devastated Bolivar Peninsula. All we saw on that first return trip were miles and miles of nothing but brown sand.  Buildings were gone, roads were gone, all plants were gone.

Except, that is, for the palms.  There they were, tall and green and looking for all the world like they were just yawning in the breeze.  Maybe saying to each other, "Well, that was quite a blow, wasn't it?"

But not all palms are good for us. If you're going to make that investment, better speak with the experts first.  Experts, that is, who are not trying to sell you anything.

The Houston Area chapter of the International Palm Society is looking for new members. If you're interested, contact Paul at 281-630-7105

*   *   *
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Questions aimed at me can be emailed to (altho I'll get any you send to this newsletter as well). 
"THE LAZY GARDENER'S GUIDE ON CD" - Specifically for Houston Area gardens - WHAT TO DO EACH MONTH - when to fertilize, prune, plantwhat where, best plants for sun, shade, butterflies, hummingbirds,etc. Based on Brenda's quirky 40+ year Houston Chronicle Lazy Gardener column. PDF format, print out only the month you need.  $20 total, checks payable to Brenda B. Smith. Mail to: Lazy Gardener's Guide on CD, 14011Greenranch Dr., Houston, TX 77039-2103.

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MULCH CORNER                  








Crushed Glass


Many communities are recycling glass bottles. When the bottles are separated by color they can be made into an inorganic mulch.  After separation, the glass particles are tumbled in a machine very similar to that used in polishing rocks.  The tumbling process rounds off the sharp edges and then the glass pellets are screened into different sizes.  The main use is in association with cactus and desert type landscaping. 



This mulch can be very attractive in special applications. It is good for some shady areas, prevents weeds, doesn't decompose, and it can work well around fountains and birdbaths. It also does not blow or wash away, it is a sustainable product (as it is made from recycled material), it is available in a variety of colors for special effects and for its reflective properties that make it useful for disease and insect protection.  It has also been found to be very effective in dust control on dirt roads, reducing dust problems by 80% or more (does not have to be colored separated for this usage).



The following are some of the cons associated with glass mulch: 

It can have sharp edges if not produced properly, and it can sink into soil requiring reapplication. Its use also increases the heat index in the area, and it can cause extremes of wet and dry soil. Extra heat can burn or kill shallow rooted plants.  It may leach dangerous metals used in the coloring process depending on the type of glass used. This mulch is generally of poor quality except for the special cases noted above.  Glass mulch can generally be applied 3-6" deep with some form of weed barrier (fabric, pavers, etc.) underneath it to prevent mixing into the soil.





As a mulch, gravel can be good in some shady areas, it prevents weeds and doesn't decompose. It can look very nice in some applications and does not blow or wash away.  Sometimes loose gravel can also be used on walkways, under windows and other applications to make the approach of visitors more audible. It's main use is with cactus and desert type landscaping.  Sometimes it used to slow water runoff in dry areas so as to help capture rainfall and allow it to soak into the ground.  It also slows down evaporation rates if the layer is thick enough (3-6 inches). Gravel is available in our region in two colors, a basic medium brown (flint rock) or mixed colors (quartz rock) often called Rainbow rock.  Gravel is available in several sizes. Pea gravel is often 3/8 to 5/8 inch, River rock is often 5/8 - 2 inch, and Bull rock which is 2-5 inch.  If all sizes are mixed together it may be called septic rock.  It is always best to go look at the gravel before one purchases as the names and sizes vary with different suppliers. Gravel typically comes from stream beds where the tumbling action of running water has naturally rounded the edges.



Gravel is generally a poor quality mulch except for special cases (arid areas).  It can be very expensive, hard to apply and can sink into soil requiring reapplication.  It also increases heat index, can cause extremes of wet and dry soil. Extra heat can burn or kill shallow rooted plants.



Lava Rock



Lava Rock can be good in some for shady areas. It doesn't decompose, breathes better than gravel, porous types offer roots better protection against heat than gravel, and it is sometimes available in various colors that don't fade. Like all inorganic mulches, it is fire resistant and doesn't blow away.  It is lighter than gravel and as a result does not sink into the soil as fast as gravel. Most lava rocks are also para-magnetic which new tests are showing is beneficial to many plants.  Apply 3-4 inches deep for best results.



As a mulch it varies between poor to fair in quality.  It can be very expensive as it must be shipped from New Mexico or other western states.  It may be hard to apply, can sink into soil requiring reapplication, increases heat index, can cause extremes in wet and dry soil and can look bad in large amounts. Extra heat can burn or kill shallow rooted plants. It must be compatible with garden and landscape design to look good.


Flat Rock



There are many types of flat rock, sandstone, limestone, cut granite, etc. These are good for rock gardens, and they do not decompose. Weeds cannot penetrate them, and their use can reduce erosion. 



Apply a one inch layer thick. Flat rock is best used as a decorative feature.  It can be very expensive, hard to apply, increases heat index, can cause extremes of wet and dry soil and it will sink into soil over time due to its weight.


Crushed Rock: 



Crushed rock may be produced from many forms of rock (granite, basalt, limestone, etc..  Being crushed, it has sharper edges and locks together better than gravels which are rounded and tend to slip when one walks on them.  This mulch is good for rock gardens, doesn't decompose, reduces erosion, and can supply nutrients depending on type of rock material.   It is best used when applied 3-6 inches thick.  



It is expensive due to the cost of crushing and shipping into the Gulf coast, it increases heat index, can cause extremes of wet and dry soil,, and extra heat can burn or kill shallow rooted plants.  Note that white stone (i.e. limestone, some sandstones, etc.) are light reflective and can be used to brighten shady areas but in sun it also reflects heat increasing plant heat stress and your air conditioning bill if near a house or building.


Brick Chips (Crushed Brick): 


Brick chips are popular in some areas. Being crushed, it has sharper edges and locks together well.  It is good for rock gardens, doesn't decompose, reduces erosion and is available in several different colors. As with most inorganic mulches, it works best when applied 3-6 inches thick. 

Light colored brick chips are light reflective and can be used to brighten shady areas. 


It can be expensive, increases heat index and can cause extremes of wet and dry soil. Extra heat can burn or kill shallow rooted plants.  




                                      IN THE NEWS:

                                              Fall maze, pumpkin patch opening in Cleveland



September 21 - Plants-a-Palooza: A Plethora of Perfect Plants! Sugar Land Garden Club's 15th annual Garden Art and Plant Sale at Sugar Lakes Clubhouse, 930 Sugar Lakes Drive, 8:30am-1:00pm.  Garden art and other hand-crafted items.Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms will be on hand to recommend plants and answer gardening questions.

September 21: Constructing the Home Fruit & Vegetable Garden (hands-on). This class is outdoors and is for anyone who wants to build a vegetable or fruit garden at their home. Saturday, September 21. 9-11:30 a.m. $24 Urban Harvest members. $36 non-members. Westbury Community Garden, 12601 Fonmeadow. For more information, call 713-880-5540 or visit 
September 21: "Grafting Workshop Using the T-Budding Method," 9-11 a.m. Galveston County Master Gardener Herman Auer, Propagation Specialist, will present a program and hands-on workshop on T-Bud grafting. Attendees will leave the class ready to begin their own grafting projects with confidence. The grafting method presented is used on many types of fruit and citrus trees usually about the size of a pencil. Class is limited to 24 participants and you must pre-register in order to attend. Other persons may attend for observation only. Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email 
September 21: Texas Gardening with Fall Flowers Clinic, 10:15 a.m. at both Cornelius Nursery locations, 1200 N. Dairy Ashford and 2233 S. Voss: Free.


September 21st, 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Salsa in September, Location: Culinary Institute LeNotre, 7070 Allensby
Houston, TX 77022. For more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email 

September 22: 1:30-3:30 p.m., Planting the Fall Garden, Lecture by Dianne Norman at Wabash Antiques & Feed Store, free. Fall is a great time to plant due to cooler temperatures. Learn how to prepare your vegetable garden beds and what to plant. Tips on what varieties of vegetables grow best in Houston and surrounding areas. Dianne will also introduce new container soils for herbs, vegetables and tropicals by Nature's Way. Questions are welcome. Instructor: Dianne Norman owns her own Wholesale Nursery, is a Texas Master Gardener and had one of the first Organic Subscription Farms in the Coastal area. For more info:

September 22 & 23: 7th Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference. 
Where: Bastrop Convention and Exhibit Center. Times:  Sunday, September 22, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m & Monday, September 23, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. This unique conference focuses on the policies and regulations affecting our farms and our food. Hear top speakers on a variety of issues including genetically engineered foods, the politics of organics, the 2013 Farm Bill, FDA's food safety regulations, urban farming, raw milk, water, and so much more!

September 24: "The Fabulous Fragrant Frangipani (Plumeria)," Tuesday, September 24, 6:30-8 p.m. Presented by Galveston County Master Gardener Loretta Osteen, the program will include information on the history of the Plumeria and tips for growing and caring for them in Galveston County. Also included will be information about different flower shapes, fragrance and colors of the different varieties of Plumeria successfully grown in our area of South Texas. Incorporated in the presentation will be methods of propagation, proper winter storage and care. There will also be a demonstration on how to make the popular Plumeria Lei. Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or


September 24th, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents:  Propagating Plants by Seeds, Cuttings, Layering & Dividing, location: Buchanan's Native Plants, 611 East 11th Street
Houston, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email


September 26: Organic Pest Control. Come observe how one dynamic garden actively uses common plants to attract beneficial insects that will help your garden prosper. Thursday, September 26, 6:30-9 p.m. $24 Urban Harvest members. $36 non-members. University of Houston Main Campus, 4361 Wheeler St. Bldg & Room TBA. For more information, call 713-880-554 or


September 28: 9 a.m. to noon. Meet the experts and discover trends in water-wise gardening at Woodlands Landscaping Solutions, 8203 Millennium Forest Dr., The Woodlands. Booths and demonstrations spotlight water-saving methods, rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, lawn care, vegetable and habitat gardening, easy care techniques and more! The plant sale offers heirloom bulbs; native and nearly perennials, shrubs and understory trees. Compost, compost bins, worms, garden gifts, and organic products will also be available for purchase.  Free event. For more information, call 210-210-3800 or visit


September 28-29: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Garden Faire & Fall Festival. Garden Faire is held on Mercer's west side at the picnic area. Kid's Korner provides families with free nature activities and crafts. The event features regional plant societies, local artists and crafts people who specialize in garden art. Garden-related arts and crafts and plants are available for purchase. There is no charge to attend and parking is free.


September 28: "Perennials for the Gulf Coast - Plant Sale Preview"9-11 a.m. Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms will give a presentation highlighting the plants that will be available at the October 12th Galveston County Master Gardener Ornamental & Perennial Sale. Seminar will be held at the Wayne Johnson Community Center. Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email


September 28: Autumn Container Gardening -  at both Cornelius Nursery locations. Autumn Container Gardening Clinic, 10:15 a.m. at both Cornelius Nursery locations, 1200 N. Dairy Ashford and 2233 S. Voss: Free. Symbols of the Fall Harvest infuse new qualities into your container gardens. See an array of Fall flowers to refresh containers.  Utilize the natural beauty of Autumn blooms to inspire your spaces.  Get inspiring container gardening ideas and useful tips to enhance your Fall container displays.


September 29: Houston: Sustainable Living Through Permaculture 1: SLTP 1. The design principles of Permaculture (PC) are explained, observed and illustrated in a series of breakout sessions at a home and garden remodeled to reflect PC sustainability principles. Sunday, September 29. 2 - 6 p.m. $50. NE Loop Residence. Location to be provided to enrolled students. For more information, call 713-880-5540 or visit 

September 30 - October 1: Texas Fruit Conference, Bryan/Collage Station, 

Hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialists-Monte Nesbitt, Larry Stein, Jim Kamas, Russ Wallace, Register Online: or by phone: (979) 845-2604.


October 2: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Fort Bend County is accepting applications for the Fall 2013 Master Gardener Training Class.  The 4-week class will begin the morning of Wednesday, October 2, 2013, and will meet each Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through October 30th.   Subjects include design planning, diseases, insects, soil, water conservation, trees, edible landscape, perennials and roses, Earth-KindŽ practices, and more.


October 2: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Texas High Tunnel Conference, Bryan/College Station, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialists-Monte Nesbitt, Larry Stein, Jim Kamas, Russ Wallace, register online:  or by phone: (979) 845-2604.


October 4: The Texas Rose Rustlers are traveling to Tyler for their fall meeting. October 4th they will meet at Chamblee's Rose Nursery at 1:00pm for talk by Mark Chamblee and introduction of a new rose "Delightful Phyllis," hybridized by a TRR member. From there the group will tour the Tyler Rose Gardens before traveling to Nacogdoches. Saturday, October 5th plans include the SFA Plant Sale and then a visit to King's Nursery in Tenaha. Sunday morning includes a visit to Greg Grant's home in Arcadia. For additional information please email


October 4th: OHBA/Texas AgriLife Plant Health Workshop. Go to to see details and to register. All day lectures from Houston's' leading horticulture educators. $60.00 pp


October 4-5: Bulb & Plant Mart at Holly Hall Retirement Community, 2000 Holly Hall St. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4; 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Oct. 5. New this year: a Garden Garage Sale of garden treasures.  Sponsored by the Garden Club of Houston. Details: 


October 5: Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University

will host its annual Fabulous Fall Festival Plant Sale from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, October 5, at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St. in historic Nacogdoches. A wide variety of hard-to-find, "Texas tough" plants will be available, including Texas natives, heirlooms, tropicals, perennials, shrubs, trees, and exclusive Greg Grant and SFA introductions. Most of the plants are extensively trialed in the gardens before being offered to the public and most are produced by the SFA Gardens staff and volunteers. This popular event benefits the SFA Mast Arboretum, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, Gayla Mize Garden, and educational programs hosted at the gardens. The educational programs at SFA Gardens reach more than 15,000 students ages 1 to 100 on a yearly basis. The public is encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information, call (936) 468-4404, or visit two weeks before the sale for a list of available plants.


October 5: Enjoy the rustic settings, traditional harvest themes and wholesome fun at either Cornelius Nursery location all day (9 a.m. - 7 p.m.), at our annual Fall Harvest FestivalYour family will find lots of fun activities to do including: Pumpkin Decorating, Story Corner, Mad Science, Pansy Pottin' Station, Birding Craft, Picture Takin' Place, Scarecrow Village, and Creating Fall Landscape Displays" Gardening Clinic at 10:15 a.m. This event takes place at both Cornelius Nursery locations. Learn more a

October 5-6: Spring Branch African Violet Club, Annual Fall Sale, West Gray Multiservice Center

1475 West Gray Street, Houston, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 10:00a.m. - 3:00p.m.,

Free Admission, Violets of all types such as standards, miniatures, semi-miniatures, and trailers will be available.  Other Gesneriads such as Episcias and Streps and supplies such as potting soil, pots, and fertilizers will also be featured.  Club members will be available to answer general questions on growing African Violets.  For further information, contact Karla Ross, 281-748-8417,

Note:  This is our fall sale and does NOT include a show.


October 8th, 10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Growing and Cooking with Herbs, Location: Buchanan's Native Plants, 611 East 11th Street, Houston, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email 


October 9: Montgomery County Master Gardeners will present "Landscaping with Texas Natives", 7-9 p.m., at the Thomas LeRoy Education Center, 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. "Landscape Design with Texas Natives" will be presented by Wm. Alan King, Registered Landscape Architect. "Why Choose Natives?" and "Native Alternatives" will be presented by Diana Foss, Texas Parks and Wildlife. Registration is $20 per person, due by October 1. Late Registration will be $25. Door prizes! Registration form and more information available at or by calling 936-539-7824.


October 10, 2013 at 7:30 p.m - 9:30 pm.  "A Vision of Roses...A vision of ARS"  will be the topic of the Houston Rose Society Meeting. Note new meeting location: the Parish Hall of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1819 Heights Blvd, Houston, Texas 77008.  Entrance to parking lot is on W 19th Street near Yale St.  Our speaker is Pat Shanley, the Vice President of The American Rose Society.  Free admission.


October 12: Plant Sale at the Fourth Annual Jane Long Festival,11am-4pm, Fort Travis Seashore Park, Bolivar Peninsula, near the Ferry Landing.


October 12: 2:00 p.m., Class/Workshop at Clown Alley Orchids, "Dividing and Mounting Plants", Lecture, Demonstration & Workshop. Each student will mount a free plant to take home. Tuition $25 includes the blooming size plant and mounting materials. Where: Clown Alley Orchids, 3119 Lily Street, Pasadena, 281-991-6841,


October 12: 10 a.m., The Calendar Garden Program: Natives for Fall with Mark Bowen. Mark is the General Manager of Nature's Way Resources and a native plant and organic specialist. He will be showing us some great natives to use for fall gardening.  Location: 30730 Old Hockley Rd. Magnolia*Counts as CE Hours for Master Gardeners. CLICK HERE to register now!


October15th, 10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Making Living Arrangements with Indoor Plants, Location: Buchanan's Native Plants, 611 East 11th Street

Houston, TX 77008, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email

October 16: 10:00 a.m.,
Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 - 3rd Wednesday Lecture Series will present Gaye Hammond, Houston Rose Society as the speaker. She will be giving a "hands-on" rose propagation class. Free and open to the public. Clear Lake Park meeting room, (on the lakeside), 5001 Nasa Parkway, Seabrook Texas 77586. For more info: 281 855 5600 or


October 18th, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.,  Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Juicing, Drying & Freezing, location: Culinary Institute LeNotre, 7070 Allensby

Houston, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email

October 18-19 - 41st Annual Herb Fair, South Texas Unit, Herb Society of America, (new location) Bethany Christian Church, 3223 Westheimer, Houston. Oct. 18, 4-7pmOct. 19, 8am-1pm. Herb plants, herbal products, crafts, jellies, blends, books, garden supplies, etc. Free growing advice. Special classes: 9 a.m.: Lois Sutton & Pam Harris, "Sitting Pretty - Assembling Herbal Chairs" and 10:30 a.m.: Beth & Jim Murphy, "Small Space Herb Gardens featuring Containers, Sprouts and Propagation Tips."Proceeds benefit local and national herb gardens and education. 

October 19-20: Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead, TX, would like to let everyone know of their upcoming Fall Open Days. We will be open two weekends, October 19 & 20 and November 9 & 10. Plant sales are from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Guided garden tours are at 1:00 & 3:00 pm. Tours are $10.00. The garden is not wheelchair accessible and please, no young children. The Garden is not a "wander at will" type location and is only available through the guided tours. Peckerwood Garden is located at 20571 Hwy. 359 in Hempstead, TX. The phone number is 979-826-3232 and e-mail We can also be found on Facebook.


October 21: 8:30 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 will host Open Garden Day at their Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff Rd., Houston, TX 77034. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions.  Hours are 8:30 am - 11:00 am with a program on dividing Daylillies, Canna Lillies and Iris at 9:30 am.  Free and open to the public.  Children invited!  For more info: 281 855 5600 or


Oct 26th OHBA's 'OktOHBAfest'! OHBA's annual party that raises money for college scholarships. This year it is at Buffalo Brewery 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm. Coming in costume gets you a discount. Please go to to register and see details.  


November 1-3:  Antique Rose Emporium's 25th Annual Fall Festival of Roses. Free.  Programs: Nov. 1 - 11am, Propagation by Glenn Schroeter; 1pm, Grow Roses by Judy Barrett; 2:30pm, Psycho Lighting by Linda Lehmusvirta; 3:30pm, Afternoon Tea. Nov. 2 - 11am, Grandma's Garden by Greg Grant; 1pm, Lawn Gone by Pam Penick; 2:30pm, Bulbs by Chris Wiesinger; 4pm, Fearless Gardening 101 by Felder Rushing. Nov. 3 - Behind Scenes Tour by Mike Shoup. Details: 


November 9th, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.,Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Jams & Jellies for the Holidays

Location: Culinary Institute LeNotre, 7070 Allensby, Houston, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email

November 9-10: Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead, TX, Fall Open Days. Plant sales are from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Guided garden tours are at 1:00 & 3:00 pm. Tours are $10.00. The garden is not wheelchair accessible and please, no young children. 

The Garden is only available through the guided tours. Peckerwood Garden is located at 20571 Hwy. 359 in Hempstead, TX. The phone number is 979-826-3232 and e-mail
Submit calendar items to Events must be submitted by the sponsoring organization. Please note: "garden calendar request" in the subject line. We list calendar items up to two months ahead of time.
Need speakers for your group?  Brenda's "Lazy Gardener's Speakers List" of area horticultural/environmental experts is available free for the asking. Email your request to:


                                             ABOUT US


. . . but Brenda Beust Smith is also:

   * a national award-winning writer & editor
   * a nationally-published writer & photographer 
   * a national horticultural speaker
   * a former Houston Chronicle reporter
When the Chronicle discontinued Brenda's 45-year-old Lazy Gardener" print column a couple of years ago, it ranked as the longest-running, continuously-published local newspaper column in the Greater Houston area.

Brenda's gradual sideways step from Chronicle reporter into gardening writing led first to an 18-year series of when-to-do-what Lazy Gardener Calendars, then to her Lazy Gardener's Guide book and now to her Lazy Gardener's Guide on CD (which retails for $20. However, $5 of every sale is returned to the sponsoring group at her speaking engagements).

A Harris County Master Gardener, Brenda has served on the boards of many Greater Houston area horticulture organizations and has hosted local radio and TV shows, most notably a 10+-year Lazy Gardener run on HoustonPBS (Ch. 8) and her call-in "EcoGardening" show on KPFT-FM. 

In addition to her position as Production Editor on the Garden Club of America's magazine and her freelance writing career, Brenda's latest venture is "THE LAZY GARDENER'S & FRIENDS HOUSTON GARDEN NEWSLETTER" with John Ferguson and Mark Bowen of Nature's Way Resources. 

A native of New Orleans and graduate of St. Agnes Academy and the University of Houston, Brenda lives in Aldine and is married to the now retired Aldine High School Coach Bill Smith. They have one son, Blake.

Regarding this newsletter, Brenda is the lead writer, originator of it and the daily inspiration for it. We so appreciate the way she has made gardening such a fun way to celebrate life together for such a long time.
John is a native Houstonian and has over 27 years of business experience. He owns Nature's Way Resources, a composting company that specializes in high quality compost, mulch, and soil mixes. He holds a MS degree in Physics and Geology and is a licensed Soil Scientist in Texas. 
John has won many awards in horticulture and environmental issues. He represents the composting industry on the Houston-Galveston Area Council for solid waste. His personal garden has been featured in several horticultural books and "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine. His business has been recognized in the Wall Street Journal for the quality and value of their products. He is a member of the Physics Honor Society and many other professional societies.  John is is the co-author of the book Organic Management for the Professional. 
For this newsletter, John contributes articles regularly and is responsible for publishing it.

Mark is a native Houstonian, a horticulturist and organic specialist with a background in garden design, land restoration and organic project management. He is currently the general manager of Nature's Way Resources. Mark is also the co-author of the book Habitat Gardening for Houston and Southeast Texas, the author of the book Naturalistic Landscaping for the Gulf Coast, co-author of the Bayou Planting Guide and contributing landscape designer for the book Landscaping Homes: Texas. 
With respect to this newsletter, Mark serves as the editor.

Pablo Hernandez is the special projects coordinator for Nature's Way Resources. His realm of responsibilities include: serving as a webmaster, IT support, technical problem solving/troubleshooting, metrics management, quality control, and he is a certified compost facility operator.
Pablo helps this newsletter happen from a technical support standpoint. 

Save 20%: Redeem this coupon for a big discount on Nature's Way Resources New "Herb Mix" ( ). Please note: this offer is for bulk material (by the cubic yard) purchases by retail customers only at Nature's Way Resources, located at 101 Sherbrook Circle, Conroe TX.
Offer Expires: 09/29/13