April 24, 2015

Dear Friends,

Here is the 104th issue of our weekly gardening newsletter for Houston, the Gulf Coast and beyond. We really appreciate all of our readers hanging in there with us, sharing stories and inspring us in so may ways. 
Thanks so much!
This newsletter is 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: lazygardenerandfriends@gmail.com. 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.







A great opportunity for everyone who is interested in, or curious about, antique, heritage and/or old roses will take place at Nature's Way Resources near The Woodlands.
The Texas Rose Rustlers will conduct their annual Spring Symposium on Sat., May 16, 9:30am-4pm at Nature's Way Resources, 101 Sherbrook Circle. We have these hardy, determined folks for the fact that so many antique roses are now available in retail markets. This year's symposium will include special treats for new homeowners interested in incorporating antique roses and other super hardy flowers into their landscaping.
As Audrey Beust McMurray, TRR Chairman (and, in the interest of total honesty, my baby sister), explains: "Technically, a rose is considered an antique, or 'old garden rose' (OGR), if it was introduced before 1867, the year the first modern hybrid tea, LaFrance, appeared on the scene.  It's just easier, though, to think of them as the wonderful old garden roses that our great-grandmas grew."

Left, the first identified antique rose: LaFrance. Center and left: To help new homeowners along (5 years or less), Rustlers will be lotto-ing off super hardy roses and companion plants including Candy Corn Vine (donated by Molly Buenrostro) and 'Schulenberg Apricot' 

When antiques first came to the fore, one way they were easily distinguished is by the growth pattern at the base of the plant. Grafted plants have a "bump" where the graft took place. A less-hardy rose stock that boasted phenomenal color and shapes was grafted onto a hardier rootstock.  The graft (or "bump") is easily visible.

Antique roses, on the other hand, were own-root shrubs that produced multiple stems from the rootstock since they grew on their "own roots." They tend to have pastel colors and old-fashioned flower shapes. 

Today, however, modern own-root roses are everywhere. Makes it more difficult to distinguish old from new, but it's often worth it to know the difference. Some newer own-root varieties do quite well here.  Others may not. 
So if you're interested in true antiques, it pays to meet with experts like those you'll meet at this symposium to get you off to the right start.
Antiques tend to be more carefree, but with the heavy recent rains, especially in poorly drained areas, you may see a flare-up of blackspot. (Quite literally, black spots on leaves.) Although this can be a major problem with grafted or newer roses, with antiques it can pretty much be ignored. 

As Audrey put it: "The leaves will develop black splotches, drop off, and should be raked away, but eventually the plant will return to health.  Most antique rosarians are not into spraying chemicals that will end up in our bayous and estuaries, and will just wait patiently for the plant to recover on its own.  Remember, these are bushes that have survived, uncared for, in cemeteries and along country roads for decades."

Also on the agenda will be a free tour of Nature's Way Resources, which should be a must for anyone interested in recycling, as well as in the healthiest possible soil and mulch routes to take. To me, one of the most mind-boggling aspect is the way so much widespread waste from The Woodlands area and beyond is both recycled and made available to community gardens and other nonprofit entities by NWR. I am so proud to be working with NWR's John Ferguson and Mark Bowen, I don't have the words to express myself. So grant me this opportunity to say this now!
More details on the Texas Rose Rustler Symposium topics and offerings: www.texasroserustlers.com


Peggy Martin rose blooming, left to right, at the Antique Rose Emporium, in Dr. Bill Welch's garden and in my own Hurricane Ike Memorial Garden Niche.
Speaking of antique roses, I don't think my Peggy Martin has ever bloomed as spectacularly as it is right now. 
Do you know the story of the Peggy Martin rose? 
Katrina's devastating salt water floods and high winds almost totally destroyed botanical gardens throughout lower Louisiana and Mississippi, not to mention everyone else's plants as well.
In the private New Orleans-area garden of Peggy Martin, a lone rambler rose not only survived, it amazingly continued to bloom prolifically every spring amid the devastation. It was a passalong rose - no one, not even Peggy, knew its exact origin or variety name. 
Long story short, with Peggy's consent, Dr. William C. Welch, the Garden Club of Houston, the River Oaks Garden Club and the Garden Club of America, among others, cuttings were taken of this rose, which Bill named for Peggy. Participating growers were not only persuaded to market this unique rose, but to donate $1 of every sale to the restoration of botanical gardens from Beaumont through Louisiana and Mississippi. That's still true today. These destroyed Southern public gardens will take decades to return to their former glory. 

For the whole story on this truly fascinating history, read Bill Welch's "The Peggy Martin Rose" in which he notes this rose "has become a symbol among gardeners and rose lovers of a tenacious plant associated with a spirit of renewal and regrowth in the aftermath of a devastating blow of Nature against those living and gardening in the Gulf Coast area."  
Peggy Martin roses, which are practically thornless, will be available for sale at the Texas Rose Rustler Symposium and at Nature's Way Resources. 
*  *  * 
EVER HEARD OF ORNAMEDIBLES? Below, we spotlight one of my favorite "Local Experts" - Angela Chandler. Angela has two fantastic blogs: her own www.thegardenacademy.com and regular postings on The Arbor Gate blog http://arborgate.com/blog/, in addition to the classes she teaches for Urban Harvest and other activities too numerous to mention.  Below, however, is a piece that especially touches my own slightly-quirky, slightly off-center heart - gardening tips for those of us with too little space and/or too many challenges when it comes to bending and digging (like, energy-challenges when it comes to all us lazy gardeners). 
If you've developed any "off-center" techniques for growing fresh fruits vegetables and/or herbs in spite of challenges, do share!
*  *  *
OOPS! MUCHO THANKS to Betty who pointed out that in the April 16 column, in the 3-photo strip that identified the caterpillar as a "monarch" - wrong! It's feeding on fennel which would make it a black swallowtail. (I always appreciate feedback - especially if I've printed something wrong.) If you'd like to attract black swallowtails, Betty adds she's found Black swallowtail caterpillars much prefer Bronze Fennel to Green Fennel.
*  Brenda's "LAZY GARDENER'S GUIDE" - a when-to-do-what in Greater Houston area gardens - is now available on CD only (pdf file). $20. Checks payable to Brenda B. Smith and mailed to: Lazy Gardener's Guide on CD, 14011 Greenranch Dr., Houston, TX 77039-2103.

Great for hanging - sweet potatoes (eat those greens!), ice box melons and sugar pumpkins.

by Angela Chandler
The Garden Academy 

Ornamedible gardening is the practice of growing edible plants in ornamental ways, 
including blending them right into our existing landscapes as features.  It's a lot of fun and is a great way to put your creativity to work.  Any edible plant that is attractive to you can be used as an Ornamedible.  One of my favorite groups is climbing edibles.

There are certain edible plants that can be real space hogs in a traditional row-and-furrow or wide-bed garden, such as melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.  Many gardeners forego growing them because they can take up more space than is practical in a suburban garden.  But these plants, and more, can be grown vertically, taking up no more garden space than a rose or a clump of iris.

The key to success with climbing Ornamedibles is strong trellises and healthy, fertile soils. You will need to give some thought to varieties as well.  Opt for ice box melons and sugar pumpkins, not their larger cousins, which are better suited to a farmer's field. There are a few cultural techniques to apply, such as providing slings for heavy melons, and training the plants to the support. 
Sweet potatoes grown this way will produce fewer tubers since they are only produced on the portion of the vine that is anchored in the ground at the base of the trellis.  But the bonus is the greens.  Yes, greens!  Sweet potato greens are not only edible, they are a delicacy.  Chefs have written cookbooks dedicated to them.  You might be surprised at how much you can grow when you grow upward and onward!  Read more about Climbing Ornamedibles on my blog at http://arborgate.com/blog/ornamedibles-the-climbers/


ON SAT., MAY 2, Angela is teaching a SPRING VEGETABLE GARDENING class for Urban Harvest. Details:  http://urbanharvest.org/classes-calendar. Address questions to her through her blog links above.







Geotherapy- Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase,  Edited by: Thomas Goreau, Ronal Larson, Joanna Campe, CRC Press, 2015,  ISBN: 13:978-1-4665-9539-2


In Horticulture (gardening) and Agriculture we are seeing lower quality food, increasing problems, global warming, chemical pollution and many other problems. 


This book is about healing the Earth's biosphere by restoring carbon to our soils through new techniques that restore the productivity of our ecosystems. It addresses processes and techniques of soil carbon restoration through biogeochemical cycling, biochar, slow release fertilizers, weathering of minerals and basalt rock powders, and through usage of select perennial plants.


This book is written by dozens of experts on almost every continent to restore soil fertility through remineralization from mineral dusts to seawater using biological methods. It is a combination of serious research as well as numerous anecdotal studies where the research has not been completed.


This book is for any serious environmentalist whom is interested in healthier soils, flowers and crops.





TO SUBMIT EVENTS: Find a similar event in our calendar below and copy the format EXACTLY. 

Then you can add additional information. Email to lazy gardener@sbcglobal.net

Any other formatting will result in a delay in publication. Events will not be picked up from newsletters.




Fri-Sun., Apr. 24-26: Heritage Gardeners Spring Garden Tour, Flower and Horticulture Show, Marie Workman Garden Center and Briscoe Gardens, 112 W. Spreading Oaks for details call 281 992-4438 or go to www.heritagegardener.org


Sat., Apr. 25: "Easy Care Flowers, Top Picks from Proven Winners,"10:15am, Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss Rd. Free. Details: www.corneliusnurseries.com/events 


Sat., Apr. 25: Urban Harvest's Organic Pest Control, 9-11:30am. $45. University of St. Thomas, Welder Hall. Room TBD, 3800 Montrose Blvd. Details: 713-880-5540  or  www.urbanharvest.org.


Sat. April. 25: Spring Sale by Harris County Master Gardeners. 9am-1pm, County Extension Office, 3033 Bear Creek Dr. Details: http://hcmga.tamu.edu/Public/pubSales.aspx 


Sat. Apr. 25: 32nd Annual Herb Day by The Herb Society of America, South Texas Unit, 9am-2pm, Fondren Hall, St. Paul's Methodist Church, 5501 Main St. at Bissonnett. $45 (box lunch). Registration deadline: April 15. Details: www.herbsociety-stu.org 


SAT., APR. 25: EASY HERBS, EASY RECIPES, 10am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: www.arborgate.com or 281-351-8851


SUN., APR. 26: TEXAS MONTH-BY-MONTH GARDENING, 1pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: www.arborgate.com or 281-351-8851  


Tues., Apr. 28: Harris County Master Gardener Open Garden Day and Irrigation and Rainwater Harvesting Workshop, 9-11:30am, 3033 Bear Creek Drive. Free. Details: harris.agrilife.org/hort; 281-855-5600   


Tues.-Wed., Apr. 28-29: Florescence Illusions Flower Show, 10am-5pm, Museum of Fine Arts' Audrey Jones Beck Building, 5601 Main. Regular museum admission. River Oaks Garden Club, The Garden Club of Houston and Museum of Fine Arts event. Regular museum entry fees apply. Details: www.flohouston.org/ 


Fri., May 1: "The Oleander in the Old World - An Impressive Heritage, An Exciting Future" By JAMES NICHOLAS, Oleander Festival Kick-Off Luncheon, Moody Gardens. Reservation details: www.oleander.org.


Sat., May 2: Spring Garden Tour, 9am-3pm, Venetian Estates; rain date May 9;Sugar Land Garden Club event. Details:sugarlandgardenclub.org 


SAT., MAY 2: NATIVE PLANTS FOR TEXAS GARDENS, 10:15am, Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss. Free. Details: www.corneliusnurseries.com/events/


SAT., MAY 2 :HOUSTON ROSE SOCIETY BOOTH, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church Spring Bazaar, 1819 Heights Blvd. Free. Details: www.houstonrose.org


SAT., MAY 2: FENG SHUI IN THE GARDEN, 10:00am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: www.arborgate.com or 281-351-8851


SAT-SUN., MAY 2-3: 2015 OLEANDER FESTIVAL, MOODY GARDENS. Free. Details: www.oleander.com

SAT-SUN., MAY 2-3: NOTICE OF CANCELLATION:  HOUSTON CACTUS AND SUCCULENT SOCIETY'S SPRING SALE, 9-5, Metropolitan Multi-Services Center (now closed for repairs), 1475 West Gray. Free. Houston Cactus & Succulent Society event will be rescheduled at later date: http://hcsstex.org 


SAT., MAY 9: CYPRESS CREEK DAYLILY CLUB FLOWER SHOW. 1-4pm. Mercer Arboretum & Botanical Barden, 22306 Aldine-Westfield Rd., Humble.  Free. Details. 281-356-2543 billyandjeanlewis@sbcglobal.net


SAT., MAY 9: WORM COMPOSTING WORKSHOP, 9:30-11:30am, Missouri City Recreation and Tennis Center, 2701 Cypress Point Drive. $15/family. Limited space: registration details: www.missouricitygreen.org or info@missouricitygreen.org 


SAT., MAY 9: BEAUTIFUL & PRACTICAL GROUNDCOVERS 10:15am, Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss. Free. Details: www.corneliusnurseries.com/events/


SAT., MAY 9: MONTGOMERY COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS OPEN GARDEN, 9-11am, Texas AgriLife Extension Office, 9020 Airport Rd., Conroe. Free. Details: 936-539-7824.


SAT., MAY 9: "ART IN THE GARDEN", 10am-3pm, PREMIER SHARPENING - TOOL SHARPENING, 2pm -5pm The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  FREE.  Details: www.arborgate.com or 281-351-8851


SUN., MAY 10: OPEN DAYS AT PECKERWOOD GARDENS, Hempstead. Garden Conservancy event. Tours 11am & 1pm. $10. Details: peckerwoodgarden.org, 979-826-3232; info@peckerwoodgarden.org 


Tues., May 12: Plumeria Society of America quarterly meet, 7pm, Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Drive in Hermann Park. Details: www.theplumeriasociety.org 


Thurs., May 14: Basic Pest Control for Gardeners by Harris County Master Gardeners. 6:30-8:30pm. Barbara Bush Library, 6817 Cypresswood Dr., Spring. Free. Details: http://harris.agrilife.org/hort. Register 281-855-5600


Thurs., May 14-Sun, May 17: Master Composter Program, City of Houston Green Building Resource Center, 1002 Washington Ave. $40. Details: http://www.greenhoustontx.gov/gbrceducation-2015spring.pdf 


Fri.- Sun., May 15-17 Bromeliad Society/Houston 44th Annual Standard Show & Sale, Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens 22306 Aldine Westfield, Humble. Hours and details:  www.bromeliadsocietyhouston.org. 713-858-3047


Sat., May 16: Basic Pest Control for Gardeners by Harris County Master Gardeners. 10am-Noon. Maude Smith Marks Library, 1815 Westgreen Blvd., Katy.  Free. Details: http://harris.agrilife.org/hort. Register 281-855-5600


SAT., MAY 16: THE ART OF LANDSCAPE DESIGN, 10:15am, Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss. Free. Details: www.corneliusnurseries.com/events/


SAT., MAY 16: TEXAS ROSE RUSTLERS' SPRING SYMPOSIUM. 9:30am-4+pm, Nature's Way Resources,101 Sherbrook Cir, Conroe. Details: www.texasroserustlers.com

SAT. MAY 16: FARMERS MARKET AT IMPERIAL: TREESEARCH PLANT SALE, Sugar Land. 9 am - 1 pm.  The Great Grow, a 501c3 School Garden event. Details: http://www.thegreatgrow.com/may-16-plant-sale-donate 


Sun., May 17: Payne's in the Grass Daylily Farm Open Garden, 9am-5pm, 2130 O'Day Road, Pearland.  Free. Details: 281-485-3821, 713-419-6661,paynesinthegrassdaylilyfarm.com 


Sun., May 17: Shimek's Open Daylily Gardens, 8am-6pm, 3122 Country Road 237, Alvin. Details: 281-331-4395 or 832-489-4395; www.cityscope.net/~neshimek (under Open Gardens)


TUES., MAY 19: BASIC PEST CONTROL FOR GARDENERS BY HARRIS COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS. 6:30-8:30pm, Spring Branch Memorial Library, 930 Corbindale. Free.  Details: http://harris.agrilife.org/hort. Register: 281-855-5600


Thur., May 21: Basic Pest Control for Gardeners by Harris County Master Gardeners. 6:30-8:30pm. Freeman Branch Library, 16616 Diana Lane. Free. Details:  http://harris.agrilife.org/hort. Register 281-855-5600


THURS., MAY 21: THE CREATION OF A SCHOOL GARDEN BY AHLENE SHONG & JAMIE SCOTT, 7-9pm, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, 4505 Woodway. Free. Native Plant Society o America- Houston Chapter event. Details: http://npsot.org/wp/houston/activities/monthly-meeting

THURS., MAY 21: WILDFLOWER WALK WITH LAN SHEN, 6-7pm. Start: pedestrian bridge parking lot, 7575 N. Picnic Lane. Native Plant Society of Texas-Houston Chapter & Native Prairies Association of Texas event. Details:  http://npsot.org/wp/houston/activities/monthly-meetings/ Free. Details: HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org   


Sat., May 23: Open Days at Peckerwood Gardens, Hempstead. Garden Conservancy event. Tours 11am & 1pm. $10. Details: peckerwoodgarden.org, 979-826-3232; info@peckerwoodgarden.org 

SAT., MAY 23: JUST IN TIME, DRIP IRRIGATION, 10:15am, Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss. Free. Details: www.corneliusnurseries.com/events/

Sat., Mar. 28: Documenting Peckerwood Garden Plants by Sue Howard, noon, Peckerwood Gardens, 20559 FM 359, Hempstead. Free but reservations required: info@peckerwoodgarden.org; peckerwoodgarden.org, 979-826-3232

SAT., MAY 30: DESIGN STYLISH CONTAINER GARDENS FOR POOLSIDE AND PATIO, 10:15am, Cornelius Nursery, 2233 S. Voss. Free. Details: www.corneliusnurseries.com/events/


SAT., JUN 6: TOMATO CONTEST, 10am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: www.arborgate.com or 281-351-8851

Sat., June 13: Plumeria Society of America Sale, 9:30am-3pm, Bay Area Community Center, 5002 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. Details: theplumeriasociety.org   


SAT., JUNE 13: PREMIER SHARPENING - TOOL SHARPENING, 2pm-5pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: www.arborgate.com or 281-351-8851


WED., JUNE 17: SUMMER CHILDREN'S CAMP - "FUN GARDEN STEPPING STONES", 9am-12:30pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: www.arborgate.com or 281-351-8851


Tues., July 14: Plumeria Society of America quarterly meet, 7pm, Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Drive in Hermann Park. Details: www.theplumeriasociety.org   


FRI., JULY 17: SUMMER CHILDREN'S CAMP - "WHIMSICAL WIND ART", 9am-12:30pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: www.arborgate.com or 281-351-8851


Sat., July 25: Plumeria Society of America Sale, 9:30am-3pm, Fort Bend County Fairgrounds, Richmond.  Details: www.theplumeriasociety.org  


TUE., AUG 4: SUMMER CHILDREN'S CAMP - "ALL ABOUT HUMMINGBIRDS", 9am-12:30pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: www.arborgate.com or 281-351-8851


Tues., Oct. 13: Plumeria Society of America quarterly meet, 7pm, Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Drive in Hermann Park. Details: www.theplumeriasociety.org 



If we inspire you to attend any of these events, please let them know you heard about it in





TO SUBMIT EVENTS: Find a similar event in our calendar below and copy the format EXACTLY.

Then you can add additional information. Email to lazy gardener@sbcglobal.net

Any other formatting will result in a delay in publication. Events will not be picked up from newsletters.




                                                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, certified permaculturist 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 periodic 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: Nature's Way Resources. 20% off Garden Mix Light Plus. http://natureswayresources.com/products.html 
. (Offer good for retail purchases of this product by the cubic yard at Nature's Way Resources (101 Sherbrook Circle, Conroe TX). Expires 05/10/15.