March 24, 2104

Dear Friends,

Here is the 51st 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.



Hide those late-returners behind spring-only bloomers like, from left, sweet peas, African daisies and cornflowers. Today's Society Spotlight is on orchids for Houston, such as, second from right, Brassolaeliacattleya Fatari 'Carmela' and, far right, Phalaenopsis Taida King's Caroline 'Little Zebra'

by Brenda Beust Smith

    Oh, will they ever return, 
    They may never return,  
    But their fate is still unlearned 
    Roots may rot forever 'neath our soils of gumbo 
    Or they may just decide to return
                        My apologies to Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes, who wrote the  
Here's hoping our still-haven't-returned, hopefully-still-dormant plants have a better fate than Poor Charlie.

So much - everything really - depends on how strong the roots are.  If the plant has survived several years or more, chances are it will come back.  It just may take a little longer this year.

Scrape dead stalks with a thumbnail. See green? Good sign. No green? Whack it off. Lazarus it is not. You have two choices:
* Wait to see what happens
* Replace it with something else. 

If you choose the former, gradually whack downward, watching for green. Stop about three-five inches above ground. The stumps will remind you there's potential life under there.

Around that cluster of dead stumps, plant flowers we think of as English perennial border beauties: African daisy, alyssum, anemones, calendulas, cornflowers, daffodils, dianthus, freesias, gladiolas, hyacinths, larkspur, lavenders, Louisiana phlox, pansies, primroses, ranunculus, Shasta daises, snapdragons, summer phlox, sweet peas, tulips, veronica, wallflowers.

Use only already-started plants. No seeds or bulbs. Our ground heats up too quickly now for these to germinate. Nurseries are full of varieties now that bloom through May and then fade.  Check with the nursery manager if you aren't sure about a particular variety.  

Around May or June, when these usually start looking heat-damaged, check for green growth on the hopefully-dormant plant. If you see green, that's one tough root system down there.

Still your choice. Is this a plant you'd like to keep? Or is this too much work? If so, look around at what has greened up more quickly in your neighbors' yards.  These are obviously good choices for your garden.

*  *  ¬ 
Jeanne Street and I are 
eagerly watching our Brazilian red 
cloaks (Megaskepasma erythrochlamys). 
Jeanne's (at left) has been spectacular the past two years. Mine has been 
and green, but hasn't bloomed since I moved it five years ago. Jerry Seymore of Jerry's Jungle Garden (where Jeanne and I purchased ours) is sure they'll come back.  They usually do. But it may take longer this year. Jerry says to prune mine back severely to trigger blooms. The cold took care of that!

Jerry's had some challenges lately, but his unique private tropical garden is still scheduled for its annual huge Spring Sale, April 18-10, 9am-5pm both days, at 712 Hill Rd. in Aldine ( 
This year, he'll also be selling tire treads that make great raised beds (as he uses all over his own gardens). Think recycling! 

*  *  *

Cousins are never going to let me forget this transgression.  In last week's area Agri-Life Extension Centers listing, I forgot Galveston. Mea Culpa! As the daughter of a BOI ("Born on Island) with more BOI cousins there than I can count, this is unforgivable. 

Galveston's Extension Service, horticultural agent Dr. William Johnson and its outstanding Master Gardener program provide one of the most active resources in the whole Greater Houston area. Headquartered at 4102 Main St (FM 519/Carbide Park), La Marque; 281-534-3413, the Galveston Master Gardener program has a full calendar of events, including free guided tours of their extensive Demonstration Gardens (on site) at 9am the first Thursday of every month. Next one: April 3.  

And (love this title) a "Tomato Stress Management" class will be given Sat., Mar. 29, 9-11:30am at the Galveston center. Free, but preregistration required at 281-534-3413 or email:  Among the tomato tips GCMG's Ira Gervais will offer: 
    * Planting tomatoes in the same place year after year promotes nematode infestations. Rotate crops!
    * Select plant with strong central stems and no yellow spotted leaves, insects or fruit already set. You want energy going into growth at first. 
    *  Tomatoes need at least 8 hours of sunlight per day.
    *  Now that it's late March, plant only "early" varieties. Most tomatoes stop producing when the daytime temperatures are in the mid 90s and the night time temperature are in the mid 70's.  
    *  Most heirlooms are late season (80+ days), not good for late March planting.
    *  Stake/cage plants and make sure no leaves touch the ground where soil pathogens can attack the plant. 
    * Water in the morning, at least 1 inch of water per week. 
    * Mulch about 5 weeks after planting to conserve moisture and keep roots cool. 

*  *  * 
If you missed Kathy Huber's great "Gardening for Monarchs" article in the March 15 Chronicle, click on this link. She gives great tips on what to plant in a butterfly garden and why this is such an important issue.

* * *

Hope you didn't miss this other Chronicle article, on the University of Houston's ranking as #3 in the "Ten Most Beautiful College Campuses." UH alum/former cheerleader Josanna Brattis Smith was the organizing force behind the former UH Entrances & Perimeter Committee which recommended many of the current beautiful campus landscaping highlights. It was a delight to serve on that committee.

* * *

Our Society Spotlight this week, below, is on orchids. Orchids love our heat and humidity and do well in summer hanging in our trees. Next week, I'll share some orchids and bromeliads hanging in trees I photographed on a recent Florida trip. The article below, written by John Stubbings of the Houston Orchid Society and Clown Alley Orchids in Pasadena, is adapted from the "Orchids in Heaven" powerpoint presentation he gives to clubs.

*  *  *
Please read, and consider signing, the petition to establish a Houston Botanical Garden: 
*  *  *

THE LAZY GARDENER'S GUIDE ON CD . . .  also based on Brenda's Chronicle column - when to do what in Greater Houston area gardens.  A pdf book. $20. Make checks payable to Brenda B. Smith and mail to: Lazy Gardener's Guide on CD, 14011 Greenranch Dr., Houston, TX 77039-2013.

Orchids great for Houston include (top row, l to r) Oncidium Sweet Ears 'Big Shot,' Oncidium Sweet Ears 'Big Shot,' Miltoniopsis Lennart Karl Gottling 'Red,' and Vanda Robert's Delight 'Red Black.'  Bottom row left, Dendrobium Clown Feathers 'Clown Alley' HCC/AOS and, right, Catasetum Orchidglade 'Clown Alley' male
Houston Orchid Society and Clown Alley Orchids 
The David Letterman Show could use this top 10 list of ways to send Houston area orchids to heaven!
#10. Receive a trophy or American Orchid Society Award. Just kidding, of course. But many growers swear awarded plants go to heaven faster than regular plants. Still, entering local shows is the best way to learn! 

Other uncontrollable deadly factors:
#9. Natural disasters. I lost 1000 plants due to Hurricane Ike greenhouse damage. No power (heat) in one; some sunburned when the roof was destroyed on another.
#8. Equipment failure - e.g., house or greenhouse power or natural gas failed during freezes or in summer heat.
These rest are controllable!
#7. Wrong temperature. Nearly all orchids grown here tropical or sub-tropical. Miltonia or "pansy type" orchids must stay indoors during our heat. The Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium and Oncidium orchids can take our Houston heat, also like humidity.
#6. Dividing at wrong time. Any orchid except Phalaenopsis can be divided and shared at the right time.
#5. Too long vacations. Most potted orchids can be ignored for a week, longer requires some care.
#4. Growing in incorrect light. Phalaenopsis are low light - prefer same as African Violets. Other orchids usually need more light. Too much = sunburn.
#3. Potting incorrectly. Most  prefer loose orchid mix in as small a pot as the root ball. Old media must be removed, these are air loving plants that don't want the old mix left on.
#2. Ignoring rest periods. Catasetum and some Dendrobiums types need winter rest. Phalaenopsis grow year round with no rest required.
And the #1 reason orchids die before their time?
#1. Improper watering. Water Phalaenopsis grown in sphagnum moss every other week. Sphagnum stays wet a long time. Water orchids grown in bark or rock type mix once a week. Water daily: Vandas grown in baskets with no mix or any orchid grown on a mount.
Best advice? Join the Houston Orchid Society.Visitors are welcome at meetings, first Thursday 7:30pm at First Christian Church, 1601 Sunset Blvd. Details:

At the April 3 meeting, Greg Allikas will reveal the "25 Best Orchids I've Seen in the Past 3 Years." On April 12-13, the free Houston Orchid Society Show and Sale will be held in the main lobby of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. (9am-5pm Sat., Apr. 12; 9am-4pm Sun., Apr. 13)

*  *  * 

Trees for Houston and CenterPoint Energy have partnered to give away 2,500 shade trees ideal for Houston landscapes. For more details, and to sign up for the May 3, log onto


John's Corner  



Soil Amendments #18 - Animal Manures







Last week we talked about human manure (sewage sludge or bio-solids).  So this week we will cover the other manures.  For centuries farmers used animal manures to keep their fields healthy and productive. Over the years repeated studies have shown that manure produces results better than artificial fertilizers without the negative side effects.  It is also a good way of recycling. However, today it is not as simple as the quality, variety, and contaminants vary greatly.


There are several main areas of uncertainty when using manures:


- nutrient content of the manure

- availability of the nutrients

- application variability

- organic matter content

- microbial diversity

- contaminates

- pathogens (salmonella, bad E. coli, etc.)

- local availability

- quality

- odors

- handling and transportation

- costs

- amount of bedding in the manure and the type (straw or wood shavings)


The source of the manure is a critical factor in its usage. Manure from CAF's (Concentrated Animal Feeding) operations tend to have far more problems than manure from the backyard or manure from an organic farm.  One of the biggest problems is that animal feed used in CAF's have mineral salts added to them which end up in the manures.  Along much of the Gulf Coast we already have a salt issue in our soils, and adding manures makes the problem worse particularly with repeated usage. Animal feeds at CAF's also have a lot of antibiotics in them that are released into the manures which lead to resistant bacteria that have many negative human health effects. Also depending on the antibiotic it may be absorbed into the plant, and if the plant is eaten it may cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people.


Bedding material used to soak up the urine and manure reduces nutrients by dilution but adds carbon which is required by microbes, but it may cause nitrogen tie-up if there is too much bedding material. Wood shavings are the worst as they have a very high C:N ratio. Straw is not as bad since it breaks down quickly. But they both add valuable organic matter if they are given time to break down (weeks to months) before plants are grown. Most often nitrogen in manures is in the ammonium form which escapes to the atmosphere and is vary water soluble, hence leaches quickly.


Fresh manure often looses much of its nitrogen if it is not incorporated immediately into the soil. However once applied into the soil the nutrients are slowly released, which contributes to more efficient plant utilization and decreased losses to surface and groundwater. Manure increases the soil's microbial activity and diversity leading to the formation of water stable aggregates that helps with soil aeration and water infiltration. Manure, if incorporated into the soil AND given enough time, will lead to a reduction in both plant and human pathogens in the soil due to increased activity of beneficial microbes. Manure incorporated into the soil reduces methane emissions, thereby reducing its contribution to global warming. Manure can be used as a mulch but works best if incorporated into the soil.


Manure should never be applied to cold wet soils as the nutrients leach out and the benefits are greatly reduced. Note: One should wait at least 120 days after application before harvesting any crop with manure applied to it.


Manure is available from horses, cows, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, pigeons, rabbits, llamas, elephants and rhinos, fish, earthworms, swine, etc. all with different advantages and negatives.


Horse - One of the easiest manures to get and the safest if from private stables where the horses are grass fed.  It decomposes slowly, is a good source of beneficial microbes, has a low salt content, and it has a good organic matter content.  It may contain weed seeds as a horse's digestive system does not destroy most seeds as compared to a cow.


Cow - It has a relatively low nutrient content and is high in salts and antibiotics if it comes from CAF's like feedlots.  Cow manure collected from grass fed cattle is much better but labor intensive to collect.  The majority (if not all) of bagged cow manure products come from CAF's.  While it may be beneficial in some soils, it is a poor choice for the Gulf Coast and often causes more problems than it solves.


Pig (swine) - It has more nutrients than horse manure, has less organic matter than horse manure, is slower to decompose, has parasites like helminthes that can persist for years. Its best usage is as a feedstock in making compost.


Sheep and Goat - This is one of the best manures, with similar nutrients and benefits to horse manure.


Poultry and Bird - This type of manure has concentrated nutrients and this manure is among the highest in nitrogen and phosphorus, is quick acting, has a low amount of carbon and organic matter, and may contain arsenic, and high levels of salts. Manure from layers tends to be safer than manure from broilers as they are not fed arsenic to cause quick weight gain, and they have less antibiotics in them. The best use is in a large hot compost pile where the toxic components can be biodegraded and the salts diluted and leached out.


Rabbit and Rodent - these manures are high in nutrients but are hard to collect in quantity, they work great in a compost pile as they have good microbes and stimulate good biologically activity once applied to the soil.


Dog and Cat - often contain microbial organisms along with parasitic worms that are harmful to humans. Best if buried for a long period of time before planting or used in a large hot compost pile for a long composting period where the harmful components can be destroyed. 


Earthworm - Often sold as "Worm castings" or "Vermi-compost.  One of the highest quality manures one can use in the garden. It is rich in nutrients, beneficial microbes, plant growth hormones and is odorless. It helps prevent many types of soil and plant diseases.


Bat or Seabird - This is better known as guano. This type of manure is a rich source of nutrients and microbes. It's best usage is as a natural organic fertilizer rather than a soil amendment. It can be expensive unless one collects it themselves.





- good source of organic matter

- contains essential plant micro and macro nutrients

- improves soil physical properties

- increases a soils water holding capacity

- improves a soils aggregation, porosity, tilth and reduces erosion

- relatively inexpensive

- increases microbial activity

- sequesters carbon in the soil




- quality and risk varies greatly

- bacterial pathogens may reactivate when applied

- many endocrine disrupting chemicals

- genetically modified organisms and other mutant strains of bacteria

- many disease causing microbes

- synthetic chemicals

- antibiotics

- high salts (yellowing and poor seed germination)

- weed seeds

- nutrient imbalance causing other nutrients to be tied up and unavailable

- toxic materials are absorbed by plants and enter the food chain (either by humans eating the plants or eating animals that ate the plants)

- fresh manure may burn plants

- increased risk of plant diseases

- potential for pollution of surface and ground water

- sometimes difficult to spread

- low nutrient content per weight and volume


Note: Most CON's occur in manures from CAF's and freshly applied manure.







 (Events in Houston unless otherwise noted. No events picked up from other newsletters or media releases.  Submit written in the format below, specifically earmarked for publication in the Lazy Gardener & Friends Newsletter.) 




Wed., Mar. 26: Gardening Daze, 8:30-10:30am, Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature, 20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble. Details: 281-446-8588 or   

Wed., Mar. 26: Houston's Wild West by Jaime Gonzalez of Katy Prairie Conservacy, 7:30 pm, Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, 1475 W. Gray. Free. Houston Cactus & Succulent Society event. Details:  

Wed., Mar. 26: Bring on the Butterflies by Nancy Greig, Cockrell Butterfly Center, noon-1pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920 Rd, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851,


 Sat., Mar. 29: Nottingham Country Garden Club Plant Sale, 9am-1pm, Villagio Center, Westheimer Parkway at Peek, Katy, TX. Free admission. Details:  281-579-7017281-578-5558  or  

Sat., Mar. 29: "Planting a Butterfly Garden" with Soni Holladay, 9-11am, Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr., Tickets $23, Members $17. Details: 


Sat., Mar. 29: Spring Fairy Garden Workshop, 10am, Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond. Details: 281-937-9449. Repeated: 2pm, Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359, Richmond. Details: 281-341-1206.   Free but reservations required. 


Sat., Mar. 29: Plant and Garden Accessories Sale, 9am-1pm, Garden Villas Paetk Community Center, 6720 S. Haywood. Free. Details: or 713-545-2926


Sat., Mar. 29: Harris County Master Gardeners Spring Gardening Seminar, 9-11am, Texas AgriLife Extension gardens, 3033 Bear Creek Dr. $15. Reservations/details:, 281-855-5600 or      


Sat., Mar. 29: Texas Invasives Citizen Scientist Training, 9am-4pm, Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature, 20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble. Reservations/details:     
Sat., Mar. 29: Garden Villas Garden Club Annual Plant and Garden Accessories Sale, 9am-1pm, Garden Villas Paetk Community Center, 6720 S. Haywood. Free. Details: or 713-545-2926


Sat., Mar. 29:  Memorial Northwest Ladybugs Garden Club Annual Garage and Plant Sale, 8:30am-2:30pm, Memorial Northwest Community Center, 17440 Theiss Mail Route Rd., Spring


Sat. Mar. 29: The Garden Conservancy's Open Days tour of six private Houston gardens (18 West Lane; 3640 and 3965 Del Monte Dr; 2109 Quenby St; 1 West 11th Place; 1202 Milford St; 1236 Studewood St.), 10am-4pm. $7 per garden; $35 all six; age 12 & under free. Details: or 1-888-842-2442


Sat., Mar. 29:  Brazoria County Master Gardeners 16th Annual Spring Plant Sale, Brazoria County Fair Grounds, 901 South Downing, Angleton. 8-9am, Heidi Shesley lecture; 9am-1pm, sale. Details: 979-864-1558 x110 or   


Sat., Mar. 29: Lantrip Outdoor Garden Plant Sale, 8:30-11:30am, Lantrip Elementary School, 100 Telephone Rd. Details: 281-451-5223,   


Sat., Mar. 29: Energize Your Landscape with Feng Shui by Katherine Ashby., 10am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920 Rd, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851,

Sat., Mar. 29: Creating Shade Gardens, 10:15am, both Cornelius Nursery locations, 1200 N. Dairy Ashford and 2233 S. Voss. Details:  http://www.corneliusnurseries/clinics
Tues., Apr. 1: Uniquely Different Plants by Rand Hopkins, 10am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920 Rd, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851,

Wed., Apr. 2: Gardeners By The Bay Annual Plant Sale, 9:30am-noon, University Baptist Church, 16106 Middlebrook Dr. Details: Marjorie, 281-474-5051 or      


Thurs., Apr. 3: 25 Best Orchids I've Seen in the Past 3 Years by Greg Allikas, 7:30pm, First Christian Church, 1601 Sunset Blvd. Free. Houston Orchid Society event. Details: Houston Orchid Society 


Sat., Apr. 5: Cockrell Butterfly Center Spring Plant Sale, 9am - noon (or sold out!), Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr., 7th level of the parking garage, Details: 


Sat., Apr. 5: Easy Care Roses by Robbi Will, 10am, Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond. Details: 281-937-9449. Repeated: 2pm, Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359, Richmond. Details: 281-341-1206.

Sat., Apr. 5: Fort Bend County Master Gardener Open Demonstration Gardens, 9-11am, Agriculture Center, 1402 Band Rd., Rosenberg. Details: 281-341-7068 or 


Sat., Apr. 5: Bromeliad Society/Houston Plant Sale, 9am - 3pm, Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, 1475 West Gray. Free workshops 11am & 1pm. Details: 713-858-3047, 


Sat. Apr. 5: Tropical Paradise by Linda Gay, 10am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920 Rd, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851,

Sat., Apr. 5:  A Prairie Celebration of Lawther-Deer Park Preserve. Free hourly tours 8 am-5pm. Dinner at Monument Inn at 7pm ($40).  Details/registration(required) at; or email  

Sat., Apr. 5: White Oak Bayou Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden Plant Sale & Lecture, White Oak Conference Center, 7603 Antoine. 9am-Heidi Sheesley lecture. 10am-2pm-Plant Sale. Details: 

Tues., April 8: Landscape Maintenance/Lawns, 6:30pm, Clear Lake Park Meeting Room, 5001 Nasa Parkway, Seabrook. Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 event. Free. Details:   

Tues., Apr. 8: Favorite Wildlife-Friendly Natives for Every Season
by Diana Foss., 10am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920 Rd, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851,    


Wed., Apr. 9: Container Vegetable Gardening by Jeremy Kollaus, noon-1pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920 Rd, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851,

Thurs., April 10: "Hybridizing - A Simple Experiment for the Garden Owner" by Houston Rose Society President Mary Fulgham, 7:30 pm, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1819 Heights Blvd. Free Houston Rose Society event. or Facebook.


Thurs., April 10: "The Chinese Economic 'Bloom' - People, Plans and Plants for a Verdant Earth" by Dr. David Creech, 10am, Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. $18. Reservations required: 713-639-4629,

Thurs., April 10: "The Chinese Economic 'Bloom' - People, Plans and Plants for a Verdant Earth" by Dr. David Creech, 10am. M
ercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine-Westfield, Humble. $18. Reservations required: 281-443-8731,

Sat., Apr. 12: Attracting Hummingbirds by Mark Klym, 10am, Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond. Details: 281-937-9449. Repeated: 2pm, Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359, Richmond. Details: 281-341-1206.


Sat., Apr. 12: Tomball Garden Club Annual Plant Sale, 201 Market St., Granny's Korner, Tomball. 9am-2pm. Details:  


Sat., Apr. 12: Container Herb Gardening by Henry Flowers , 10am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920 Rd, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851,


Sat.-Sun, Apr. 12-13: Houston Orchid Society Show and Sale, lobby, Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. Free. Sat. 9am-5pm Sat., 9am-4pm Sun. Details:   


Sun., Apr. 13. The Natives Are Restless by Mark Bromstad., 1pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920 Rd, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851,

Mon., Apr. 14: Grand Prizes for Small Sizes flower show, 1:30-3:30 pm; Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, 1475 West Gray St. Free Far Corners Garden Study Club event. 


Tues, Apr. 15:  I Love a Rainy Night - Water Collection, Conservation and Gardening for Drought by Boone Halladay, 10am, Knights of Columbus Hall, 702 Burney Road, Sugar Land. Free. Sugar Land Garden Club event. Details:   

Wed., April 16: Crazy Ants by Extension Specialist Paul Nester, 10am, Clear Lake Park Meeting Room, 5001 NasaParkway, Seabrook. Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 event. Free. Details: 


Wed., Apr. 16: Herbal Skin Magic by Karen Cottingham, 7pm, Judson Robinson Community Center, 2020 Hermann Dr., 713-284-1997. South Texas Unit of The Herb Society of America event. Details:


Fri.-Sat., Apr. 18-19: Jerry's Jungle Garden Spring Sale, 9am-5pm both days, 712 Hill Rd. Bring your own wagon., 832-978-5358


Mon., April 21: Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 Open Garden Day, 8:30-11am, Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff Rd. 9:30am: Educational Program. Master Gardeners Q&A. Free. Details: 

Sat., Apr. 26: Choosing the Right Vine by Margaret Sinclair, 10am, Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond. Details: 281-937-9449. Repeated: 2pm, Enchanted Gardens,   6420 FM 359, Richmond. Details: 281-341-1206.

Sat., Apr. 26: Self-Watering Containers
by Angela Chandler, 10am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920 Rd, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851,

Sat., April 26: Backyard Basics - Fruit Production by Deborah Birge, 8:30-11am, Fort Bend County Extension Office,  1402  Band Rd, Rosenberg. $15 ($25 couple). Details:, 281-342-3034, or

Sat.-Sun., Apr. 26-27
:  "Through the Garden Gate" Heritage Gardeners of Friendswood Spring Garden TourSat. 12-4pmSun. 1-5pm, five gardens in Friendswood, 112 W. Spreading Oaks; tickets $10. Details: 281-992-4438 or

Sun, Apr., 27: Space City Hibiscus Society Sale, 1-4pm, East Harris Co. Activity Center 7340 Spencer Highway, Pasadena; 

Sat.-Sun., May 10-11: Houston Cactus & Succulent Society Spring Sale,
9am-5pm, Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, 1475 W. Gray. Details: 

Sat., May 3: Know Your Enemy
(garden bugs)
, 10am, Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond. Details: 281-937-9449. Repeated: 2pm, Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359, Richmond. Details: 281-341-1206. 


Fri.-Sat., May 3-4: Houston Pond Society and Lone Star Koi Club, 2014 Water Garden and Pond Tour, 10am-6pm. Self-guided tour. Tickets $10 available at 30▒ water gardens and (starting April 26) at Nelson Water Gardens in Katy (  Details:, or 713-822-5515.      


Sat., May 10:  Sugar Land Garden Club Annual Spring Garden Tour, East New Territory Subdivision, Sugar Land. 9am-3pm. Map and details:    


Sat., May 10: Space City Hibiscus Society Sale, 1-4pm, Nessler Center, 2010 5th Ave. N. Texas City. Details: 
Sat., May 17: Creating a Backyard Wildscape by Tricia Bradbury, 10am, Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond. Details: 281-937-9449. Repeated: 2pm, Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359, Richmond. Details: 281-341-1206.    


Sun., May 18:  Celebration of Daylilies, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Payne's in the Grass Daylily Farm, 2130 O'Day Road, Pearland, Texas  77581.  Details:  281-419-6661, 281-485-3821. Details:


Sun., May 18: Lone Star Hibiscus Society Sale, 1-4pm, Knights of Columbus Hall 702 Burney Rd. Sugar Land. Details: 


Sat., May 24: Enjoy a Night Blooming Garden, 10am, Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond. Details: 281-937-9449. Repeated: 2pm, Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359, Richmond. Details: 281-341-1206. Details:     


March 29: Meet & Greet KTRH Garden Radio Host Randy Lemmon, 11am,  Kingwood Garden Center, 1216 Stonehollow Drive, Kingwood. Free. 


Sun., June 1: Space City Hibiscus Society Sale, 1-4pm, East Harris Co. Activity Center 7340 Spencer Highway, Pasadena. Details: 
Sun., June 8: Lone Star Hibiscus Society Sale1-4pm, Knights of Columbus Hall 702 Burney Rd. Sugar Land. Details:  

Sat., June 14: Bolivar Peninsula Plant Sale and Bazaar
, 11am-4pm, free, Bay Vue United Methodist Church, 1441 Jane Long Highway (Hwy 87), Crystal Beach. Details: 409-684-2634

Sat, June 14 : The Plumeria Society of America Show & Plant Sale, 9 to 3pm, Bay Area Community Center, 5002 NASA Parkway, Seabrook, Texas 77586 -  Clear Lake area.   Details:  

Sat, July 26 : The Plumeria Society of America Show & Plant Sale, 9 to 3pm, Ft. Bend County Fairgrounds, 4310 1st Street, Rosenberg. Details:  




All submitted events should be written in the exact format used for events above and
must be specifically labeled for publication in LAZY GARDENER AND FRIENDS NEWSLETTER.  Email to:


Need speakers for your group?  Or tips on getting more publicity for events?
Brenda's free booklets that might help:  "Lazy Gardener's Speakers List"
of area horticultural/environmental experts, and "Lazy Gardener's Publicity Booklet"

(based on her 40+ years of her Houston Chronicle "Lazy Gardener" coverage of area events)  Email specific requests to:
Please help us grow by informing all your membership of this weekly newsletter! 

                                                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 a coordinator and occasional article contributor.

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 "Tropical Mix" ( ). Please note: this offer is for bagged or bulk material purchases by retail customers only at Nature's Way Resources, located at 101 Sherbrook Circle, Conroe TX.
Offer Expires: 04/06/14