August 1, 2014

Dear Friends,

Here is the 68th 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.



By Brenda Beust Smith

Worth braking for . . . red yucca on Harrisburg, Silverado sage in Corpus Christi, left, 
and a sunflower "tree" in Galveston



"Jane Withersteen gazed down the wide 
purple slope with dreamy and troubled eyes." 
--"Riders of the Purple Sage" by Zane Grey
If you're ever driving behind me, be forewarned. Making quick U-turns to get a perfect shot of a flower that boggles the eye is something over which I have no control whatsoever. 

Did this three times recently to shoot the photos above.

Left, red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora). This mis-named Texas native treasure is not a yucca. It's an agave, also known as red hesperaloe,  Hummingbird Yucca, or Samandoque. 

I wish the City had planted it in an easier-to-photograph spot - not many places to safely stop on Harrisburg, right before it turns into Prairie in downtown Houston. 

Red yucca doesn't have the sharp points of similar-looking plants. Curling threads along the blade-like leaves catch light, making it almost glow at dawn and in evenings, a beautiful compliment to the fire-enging red flower spikes. 

Early Americans used the leaves for cords and ropes. (Note: Deer do find it tasty.  If you have a deer problem, my "No Deer! Plants"flyer might help. Email me for a free copy at

Center, an absolutely spectacular Silverado Sage. Like red yucca, this super-hardy native is mis-named. Not a sage, it's a cultivar of our native cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens). But it is the plant described in Zane Grey's "Riders of the Purple Sage."

Wonderful mass plantings of this drought-tolerant Texas native compliment a beautiful water view in Corpus Christi, which does not experience our usual spring and fall (and sometimes summer) monsoons.  

Native Americans brewed the leaves to cure the common cold. Another name is Barometer Bush, so-called because they bloom best in high humidity or rainfall. 

Right, our "common sunflower" (Helianthus annuus). This rouncival specimen of one of my favorite Texas natives was photographed in Galveston, along Ferry Road. The obviously-clever gardener-in-residence has apparently pruned off side branches from this prolific Gulf Coast wildflower. The remaining upright branches grew taller and stronger as a result, creating this "sunflower tree." Marvelous!

Early Americans used it to treat inflammations, stomach ailment, asthma, osteoarthritis and pulmonary problems and migraines. It's being studied as treatments for colon cancer, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and snake or spider bites.  Careful, tho. Some folks are allergic to the foliage. 

Who else would tell you these things?

What do these three incredible bloomers have in common?  Beside the fact that all three are great for a concrete-bordered street-side, driveway or other hard-to-water, extremely well drained, hot sunny area?

All are noetic examples of why we must consult LOCAL gardening advice before making substantial investments.

All are highly recommended as low-water plantings. Here along the Upper Texas Gulf Coast, they need extremely well-drained areas - NOT on a daily or even weekly watering system.

Our usual spring and fall (and sometimes summer) monsoons will work against these very drought-tolerant plants. In the wild you will only find them on slopes, raised areas or in very sandy/porous soils.  Most of us have very nutritious, but poorly draining gumbo soils.

If you can't get them up high, plant them in containers. Want them "in" the garden?  Raised the soil levels, or plant in containers with no bottom and set these in the ground. 

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LEFT and CENTER: SILPHIUM PERFOLIATUM.  Not often do I hear about brand new-to-me flowers, but Gudrun Opperman sent in one in response to my request for more 
Silphium, or compass plant, is grown more commonly in the eastern U.S. A major pollinator, it supports a wide variety of insects, including butterflies and bees. One warning: it's considered invasive in some eastern areas. But Gudrun says her 8-year-old planting has very well behaved in her Kingwood area garden.

Perhaps that's because the compass plant tolerates wet soils. Our swampy climate with spring and fall monsoons often wipes out many drought-tolerant varieties unless they're planted in raised beds.

RIGHT: KUMQUAT. A Woodville gardener shared this recent experience after reading last week's warning about a local ban on citrus tree sales
She "... bought a kumquat off eBay a couple of years ago. (The) USDA showed up in a beige Suburban to confiscate it!  I didn't get into trouble, but I'm sure the eBay seller did.

Obviously the eBay seller released her purchase information. She sent the agents to her sister's house, where the kumquat then was, then called her sister who immediately double-bagged the plants in garbage bags. The agents were grateful, saying they "wished everyone would handle suspect/quarantine plants in the same manner."

Moral: Only buy fruit trees from sources you know and respect. Kumquats are great plants for us. The trees are ideal for espalier, or growing against walls or fences.



Here's a similar report sent in by in Frankie in Richmond: 

"Last year my husband bought some bamboo seeds on Ebay (they never grew, so we eventually trashed them) but this past spring the USDA knocked on our door and inquired about these seeds!  I guess "big brother" is watching for real.  They were, of course, extremely nice and just wanted to know what happened to the seeds. The man's card said ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION & PLANT PROTECTION AND QUARANTINE. 

In our Spotlight below is Randy Lemmon, best known for his past 20+ years of dispensing gardening advice over the radio, especially on his current GardenLine on KTRH (740 AM). Randy, who holds an agriculture education degree from Texas A&M, is a bit upset with the excessive use of black dyed mulch.

Please drop by the Woodlands Home & Garden ShowAugust 23-24 when Randy will be broadcasting and dispensing gardening advice along our newsletter publisher John Ferguson of Nature's Way Resources and myself (at various times). Details: .  And now . . . the spotlight's on Randy!

* * *

Brenda's group lectures include: "How to Reduce the Size of Your Front Lawn to Save Water Without  Infuriating Your Neighbors," "Landscaping for Security," "10 Commandments of Lazy Gardening," and "What's Blooming in the Lazy Gardener's Garden." Details:

Black dyed mulches are drawing the ire of many. At right, Texas native mulch.


GardenLine host

The Woodlands homeowners associations try hard to control what can and can't be done there to keep things "woodsy" and natural. So, how and why have they allowed so much unnatural dyed mulch to dominate new home construction?


"Wood mulches can slow the growth of established plants and just plain starve new ones to death by 'tying up' the available food in your soil, a process known as "nitrogen immobilization." Those are the exact words of one of the nation's leading experts on mulch - Dr. Harry Hoitink, revered soil scientist and professor emeritus at The Ohio State University.


"Wood is carbon, and carbon always looks for nitrogen to bond with so it can break down into new soil," Hoitink says. "That's the principle behind composting. Wood mulches take that nitrogen right out of the soil, out-competing your nitrogen-needy plants. And dyed mulches ARE THE ABSOLUTE WORST offenders. The wood in these old pallets, chipped up and sprayed with dye, is the worst type of mulch for use around new landscapes ... especially on smaller shrubbery, annuals, perennials and just smaller plants."


Double-shredded Texas native hardwood mulches are composed of finely shredded wood mixed with compost, Texas-native varieties that also include ample compost, which is beneficial to the soil, not harmful. Dyed mulches are nothing more than chips and chunks of wood - neither mixed with anything organic nor shredded. Gardeners can see the sick plants almost always brought on by nitrogen immobilization.


Some landscapers do know this. But a homeowner says they want black, and instead of running the risk of losing business, the landscaper simply puts down black mulch. Unscrupulous landscapers who know that black-dyed mulch loses its color quickly count on re-applications throughout the year for a customer who wants a consistent "black look."


Equally as guilty are real estate agents who encourage the use the use of black-dyed mulch to stage a house for sale, telling homeowners black mulches look classy. Educated landscapers and gardeners think it looks unnatural and inelegant. A fresh application of Texas native mulch has much more curb appeal.


Editor's Note:  GardenLine with Randy Lemmon airs every Saturday andSunday 
6am-10am on KTRH (740AM) Call-in line: 713-212-KTRH(5874)


*Note: If you haven't seen your specialty plant group in our "Society Spotlight," it could be because
we do not have valid email address for you. To make sure your group is contacted, email us at 
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This week I want to talk about what was once a good organic fertilizer and still is if organically grown and processed.


Soybean meal goes by several different names depending on the brand and seller (soybean oil cake, soya bean meal, soybean oil meal, and a couple others). Soybean meal is used mainly as animal feed due to its high protein content that can be up to 48% crude protein. Many gardeners get their soybean meal at feed stores where it is a common item that is sold in 50 pound bags and less costly than at a garden center.


The soybeans are ground, dried and heated to extract the oil and the solid residual is known as soybean meal. It is generally yellow or brown in color. One of the benefits of soybean meal is that it is very high in nitrogen for an organic fertilizer often reaching 7%.  Soybean meal has a typical analysis of 7-1.5-1 (N,P,K) and is a naturally a slow release fertilizer.  Typical use is 1-2 pounds per 100 square feet of garden. Many gardeners like it due to its slow release nature as they only have to apply it once per year. Soybean meal is not water soluble hence does not leach and pollute waterways like artificial fertilizers.


Several university studies have found that soybean meal has a natural herbicidal effect when first applied preventing the germination of many small seeds. The University of North Carolina found that collards, lettuce, and turnips had a 50% reduction of seed germination when soybean meal was applied at the rate of two pounds per 100 square feet.  Other research has shown that soybean meal under plastic mulch can burn roots of transplants, inhibiting growth and leading to plant death.  This can easily be prevented by applying a few weeks before planting and allow the microbes to break it down into harmless forms.

Soybean meal is often used for plants that have a high nitrogen (N) requirement (i.e. corn) or used as nitrogen source in composting.


In today's society there are two major problems with soybean meal. First, Soy beans used to be processed by benign methods, however today toxic chemicals are used like the solvent hexane. Hexane is the most common method today and is an environmental pollutant, a non-biorenewable resource, is extremely flammable, it poses numerous health risks including being a suspected carcinogen, and it is regulated as a hazardous air pollutant.


Secondly, 90% of the soy beans grown in the USA are genetically modified (GMO's) and are considered by more and more researchers as some of the most dangerous foods one can consume. They are now illegal to grow in many countries due to the problems they cause and in many other countries they must be labeled as Genetically Modified before they can be sold.  


A couple years ago I remember reading a couple reports on GMO grains, one by the Center for Disease Control and the other from Rutgers or maybe Purdue University. They found that animals that ate GMO grains like soy or corn, had a 65% spontaneous mis-carriage rate! I read reports and studies almost daily in my books, journals and newsletters on the dangers and health problems caused by GMO foods.


I am going to get on my soap box for a moment:  as a Christian and a American, I believe in the principle of "freedom of choice" and without labeling there is no choice. Many of our politicians (both parties) believe that campaign contributions from Agri-business are more important than the safety of our food supply, the wishes of their constituents and the principles of our constitution and faith.  Polls have repeatedly shown that over 90% of all Americans want labeling.




Soybean meal is a good organic fertilizer if it is certified as "Organic".  If not certified as organic I would advise not to use it as there are many other safe choices.




- good source of major nutrients

- contains some minor and trace elements

- feeds soil microbes

- does not affect soil acidity

- increases soil organic matter

- naturally low in salts

- only apply once per year

- doesn't leach and pollute



- most likely GMO (unless certified organic)

- not water soluble

- may contain BT poison from genetically modified varieties (GMO)

- not approved for organic production unless certified organic





"Attracting beneficial bugs to your garden - A natural approach to pest control"

by Jessica Walliser, Timber Press, 2014, ISBN 978-1-60469-388-1

As gardeners we often hear about purchasing ladybugs or lacewings to control pests in our garden. We have also seen many articles about planting various plants whose pollen or nectar attacks assorted insects. This is the first book I have seen that uses an eco-system approach when designing our gardens and incorporating the plants that attract the beneficial insects as part of the overall design. 

The author explains each group of insects and the role they play in our gardens. The photos illustrating various insects and their prey, as well as the garden design are excellent.  The first section of the book is on the good insects and their preferred prey. This is followed by a section on the plants that attract beneficial insects by providing food and shelter for them. The last section of the book is on how to integrate these plants into the gardens design. The book was easy and fun to read and will help a gardener improve their garden as it explores the relationships between insects and plants to produce an insect friendly garden.







Edible Earth Resources's "Planted: Houston" project is launching a series of urban pocket farms within this city's "food deserts." Main points Edible Earth wants to share:

* "Planted: Houston" is being jointly funded by local chefs and an indiegogo fund-raising campaign.
* Nutritional focused impacts are being executed in partnership with CanDo Houston, a non-profit focused on children's nutrition
* 10% of the produce grown on the farm remain in the neighborhoods in which they are grown 
*  Think Tom's shoes with vegetables.
* For every share sold, a share of high quality fresh produce gets distributed within food deserts are low or no cost. 
* Edible Earth Resources is selling produce subscriptions, like CSA shares or a co-op 

Details available at



 (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.) 




Sat., Aug 2: Fall Vegetable Gardening by Fort Bend Master Gardeners, 9-11am Q&A with MGs, 10am program, Agricultural Center, 1402 Band Road, Rosenberg. Demonstration gardens open 9-11am with Master Gardener Q&A.  Details: 281-341-7068 or    


Sat, Aug 2: Urban Harvest's Starting a Community or School Garden, Part 1 of 2. 9-11:30am. $65. (Price is for Parts 1 and 2) Urban Harvest, 2311 Canal St # 124, 77003.  Details: 713-880-5540 or   


Tues., Aug. 5: Popular Perennials by Cheryl Lennert , noon, (11:30am-Hamburger Lunch $5), Harris County Extension Office auditorium, 3033 Bear Creek Dr. Free. Master Gardener event. Details:


Tues., Aug. 5: Using Native Plants to Create Wildflower Meadows or Pocket Prairies in Backyards by DonDuBois, 7:30pm, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. Free. Butterfly Enthusiasts of South Texas (BEST) event. Details:       


Wed., Aug. 6: Gardening Daze in native flower beds with Teri MacArthur, 8:30am-noon, and in vegetable gardens with Doug Ebeling, 9:30am, Jesse Jones Park and Nature Center, 20634 Kenswick Dr., Humble. Free. Details: 281-446-8588;


Thurs, Aug 7: Urban Harvest's Propagate Your Own Plant, 6:30-9pm. $36. Urban Harvest, 2311 Canal St # 124, 77003.  Details: 713-880-5540 or 
Fri.-Sat., Aug.8-9: Houston Orchid Society 35th Annual Summer Workshop, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, 2450 River Oaks Blvd. "Northern Caribbean Species and Hybrids" by Claude Hamilton; "Mysteries of Orchid Pollination" by Thomas Mirenda; "Orchid Growing in Texas" by Todd Miller. Fees and details:   

Mon., Aug. 11: HUG Semi-Annual Seed Swap, 5:45-6:30p, and What to Plant and Do Now in Our Home Vegetable Gardens by Gary Edmondson, 6:30pm, MultiService Center, 1475 West Gray. Free. Houston Urban Gardeners (HUG) event. Details:   

Tues., Aug. 12: Texas Super Stars by Master Gardener Ginia Keen-Mattern, 6:30pm, Clear Lake Park Meeting Room, 5001 Nasa Parkway, Seabrook. A Harris County Master Gardeners Precinct 2 event. Free. Details:    

Tues., Aug. 12: Water Star Gardens and Great Houston Plants, 6:30 pm, Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park, 5001 NASA Pkwy., Seabrook. Free. Harris County Master Gardener event. Details:


Wed., Aug. 13: Orchid Growing 101 by Bruce Cameron, noon-2pm,  Mercer Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine Westfield, Humble. 8am-3pm. Free. Details:  


Thurs., Aug.14: Companion Plants for Roses by Margaret Sinclair, 7:30pm., St. Andrew's Episcopal Church parish hall, 1819 Heights Blvd. Free. Houston Rose Society event. Details:


Thurs., Aug. 14: Green Roofs, Green Walls, the South Carolina Way by Ethan Kauffmann, 7pm, Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St., Nacogdoches. Free. Details: 936-468-1832


Sat., Aug. 16: Successful Fall Vegetable Gardening by Luke Stripling, 9-11:30am, Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office, Carbide Park, 4102 Main (FM 519), La Marque. Galveston County Master Gardeners event. Reservations: 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or

Sat., Aug. 16: Vermicomposting - Raising Worms & Harvesting Castings for Fertilizer by Fort Bend Master Gardeners, 9 am, County Extension Office, 1402 Band Rd, Rosenberg. $15 ($25 couple). Details: 281-342-3034,;; 


Sat., Aug. 16: Water Star Gardens and Great Houston Plants, 10 am, Maude Smith Marks Library, 1815 Westgreen Blvd., Katy. Free. Harris County Master Gardener event. Details:


Sat, Aug 16: Urban Harvest's Starting a Community or School Garden, Class 2. 9-11:30am. $36. Urban Harvest, 2311 Canal St # 124, 77003.  Details: 713-880-5540 or


Mon., Aug. 18: Open Garden Day, with Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2. 8:30-11am, Genoa Friendship Garden,1202 Genoa Red Bluff Rd. 9:30am-Fall Vegetable Gardening (adults); make a bird feeder/bath (children). Free. Gardens open, plant sale every Monday, May - October.  Details: 


Tues., Aug. 19: Gardening by the Square Foot by John Jons, Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office, Carbide Park, 4102 Main (FM 519), La Marque. Galveston County Master Gardeners event. Reservations: 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or      


Tues., Aug. 19: Water Star Gardens and Great Houston Plants, 6:30 pm, Recipe for Success, 4400 Yupon St. Free. Harris County Master Gardener event. Details:


Wed., Aug. 20: Aquaponics by Jim Bundscho, 10am, Clear Lake Park Meeting Room, 5001 Nasa Parkway,  Seabrook. Harris County Master Gardeners Precinct 2 event. Free. Details:  


Thur., Aug. 21: Water Star Gardens and Great Houston Plants, 6:30 pm, Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter, Free. Harris County Master Gardener event. Details:   


Thurs., Aug. 21:  Get Out There Houston by Laurie Roddy, 7:30-9 pm, Houston Arboretum, 4501 Woodway. Free. Native Plant Society of Texas/Houston Chapter event. Details:

Sat., Aug. 23: "Organic Gardening, Making your Yard Safe for Children and Pets", Woodlands Home and Garden show, John Ferguson, 11:30 am, Woodlands Marriott Hotel, 

Sat, Aug 23,: Urban Harvest's Low Volume Irrigation. 9-11:30am. $36. UH Central Campus, 4800 Calhoun, Roy Cullen Hall #104, Houston 77004. For more info: 713-880-5540 or


Sat.-Sun., Aug. 23-24: 12th Annual Fall Home & Garden Show, 9am-7pm Sat., 10am-6pm Sun., The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, 1601 Lake Robbins Dr. Garden speakers Mark Bowen, John Ferguson, Randy Lemmon & Brenda Beust Smith. Details:


Sun., Aug. 24: "Q&A with the Lazy Gardener" by Brenda Beust Smith, 11:30am on stage with cuttings give-away, noon-4pm in booth, Woodlands Home & Garden Show, The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, 1601 Lake Robbins Dr. Details:  


Tues., Aug. 26: Backyard Series: Strawberries by Robert Marshall, 6:30-8pm, Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office, Carbide Park, 4102 Main (FM 519), La Marque. Galveston County Master Gardeners event. Reservations: 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or      


Tues. Aug. 26: Open Garden Day/Water Star Gardens and Great Houston Plants, tours, workshops, 9-11:30am, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office Demonstration Gardens, 3033 Bear Creek Dr.. Free. Harris County Master Gardener event. Details:


Tues., Aug. 26: Attracting Wildlife to Your Yard by Glenn Olsen 2-3pm, Sugar Land Branch Library, 550 Eldridge, Sugar Land. Free Sugar Land Garden Club event. Details:     

Thurs., Sept. 4: Terrariums 191 by Ann Wegenhof, 10am, Municipal Utility Building #81, 805 Hidden Canyon Dr., Katy. Free. Nottingham Country Garden Club event. Details: or 713-870-5915.


Sat, Sept 6: Urban Harvest's Rainwater Harvesting, Rain Barrels & More. 9-11:00am.  $36. UH Central Campus, 4800 Calhoun, Bldg & Room TBA, Houston 77004. Details: 713-880-5540 or 


Sat.-Sun., Sept. 6-7: The Galveston Bay Orchid Society Show & Sale, Sat. 8am-5pm, Sun. 9am-4pm, South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center, 2500 South Shore Blvd., League City, TX. Free. Details:


Sat, Sept 13: Urban Harvest's Constructing the Home Vegetable & Fruit Garden. 9-11:30am.  $36. Location TBA, Houston. Details:  713-880-5540 or

Sat., Sept. 13:  Wildscapes Workshop & Native Plant Sale, "Bringing Douglas Tallamy, Ph.D., featured speaker. 8:30am - 3:30pm, Houston Zoo Brown Education Center, 6200 Hermann Park Drive. $40, $50 after Aug. 29. Native Plant Society of Texas/Houston Chapter event. Details: 832-859-9252 or  


Thurs., Sept. 18:  Green Roofs by Dustin Brackney, Houston Zoo Horticulture Supervisor: 7:30-9 pm, Houston Arboretum, 4501 Woodway. Free. Native Plant Society of Texas/Houston Chapter event. Details:


Sat, Sept 20: Urban Harvest's Fall Vegetable Gardening: What to Plant Now. 9-11:30am.  $36. UH Central Campus, 4800 Calhoun, Bldg & Room TBA, Houston 77004. Details: 713-880-5540 or 


Sat., Sept. 27: Texas Rose Rustlers 2014 Fall Cutting Exchange, 10am, Brookwood Community, Brookshire. To request cuttings of specific antique roses, email: Details:


Sat., Sept. 27:  Sugar Land Garden Club Fall Festival and Plant Sale, 8:30am-1pm, Knights of Columbus Hall, 702 Burney Road, Sugar Land (new location).  Details:; Diana Miller, 713-724-3113, 


Sat, Sept 28: Urban Harvest's Sustainable Living Through Permaculture, Class 1. 2-6pm. $40. Private Residence @ 610 West Loop/Stella Link.  Detais:  713-880-5540 or 


Thurs., Oct. 2: Garden Club of Houston Bulb and Plant Mart Early Bird Shopping and Party
4:30-7:30, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, 2450 River Oaks Blvd. $20. Details: 
(Note new site)


Fri., Oct. 3: Garden Club of Houston Bulb and Plant Mart, 9am-5pm; St. John the Divine Episcopal Church 2450 River Oaks Blvd. Free. Details: Details: new site)


Sat., Oct. 4: Garden Club of Houston Bulb and Plant Mart, 9am- 2pm, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church 2450 River Oaks Blvd. Free. new site)


Sat.-Sun., Oct. 4-5: Spring Branch African Violet Club Annual Fall Sale, 10am-4pm Sat., 10am-3pm Sun, Judson Robinson Jr. Community Center, 2020 Hermann Dr. Free. Details: Karla Ross, 281-748-8417,


Thur., Oct. 9: "Soil Biology and Gardening", "Mulches and Compost","Backyard and Small Scale Composting" by John FergusonMercer Arboretum, 9am - 3 pm, Texas Gulf Coast Gardeners Class. Details:  


Fri.-Sat., Oct. 10-11: The Southern Garden Symposium, St. Francisville, LA.      

Thurs., Oct. 16:  Plant Propagation by Randy Johnson, Horticultural Consultant- Randy Johnson Organics: 7:30-9 pm, Houston Arboretum, 4501 Woodway. Free. Native Plant Society of Texas/Houston Chapter event. Details:     

Sat.-Sun., Oct. 25-26:  Southwest Bromeliad Guild Show and Sale (Texas & Louisiana), DoubleTree Hotel Houston Airport, 15747 JFK Blvd. Sale: 9am-5pm Sat.;10am-3pm Sun. Show: 2pm-5pm Sat.; 10am-3pm Sun. Free. Details: Gene Powers, 281-633-9036.

Tues., Nov. 18: "Ten Commandments of Lazy Gardening" by Brenda Beust Smith, 10am, Knights of Columbus Hall, 702 Burney Road, Sugar Land. Sugar Land Garden Club event. Details:

Thurs., Nov. 20:  Native Seed & Plant Swap and Social,7:30-9 pm, Houston Arboretum, 4501 Woodway. Free. Native Plant Society of Texas/Houston Chapter event. Details:





To ensure rapid publication, submit events in the exact STRAIGHT LINE  format used above so they can be copied and pasted right in. Events NOT submitted in our format will take longer to get published as someone has to reformat and retype them. 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. 

Brenda recently ended her decades-long stint as Production Manager of the Garden Club of America's BULLETIN magazine. Although still an active horticulture lecturer and broad-based freelance writer,  Brenda's main focus now is  THE LAZY GARDENER & 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 co-editor 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. 
COUPON: Buy three antique roses and get one free at Nature's Way Resources .
Offer Expires: 08/09/14