May 9, 2015

Dear Friends,

Here is the 106th 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 inspiring 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: 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.




In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row ...
                                                                                                             -- John McCrae 
Today, May 8, is V E Day (Victory in Europe), a time to publicly express our pride in, and support of, our military - past and present. Many Texas celebrations will last all weekend. I tried to find an official V E Day flower. But aside from scop John MCrae's wonderful poem that immortalizes red poppies, I couldn't.

Other flowers, pictured above, that might also work in a Texas patriotic display are, left to right - after red poppies - ALOE: healing; BLACK-EYED SUSAN: justice; NASTURTIUM: patriotism; ROSEMARY: remembrance; THYME: courage, strength; ZINNIA: thoughts of absent friends. (That fun patriotic poppy basket picture is actually a flag, available is from the Mad About Gardening website.

* * * 
Tip o' trowel to treats from Nature: l to r, 'out of sync' poinsettias,
prolific orange amaryllis and gorgeous yesterday-today-and-tomorrows!

Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good,  
sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do  
about it but carry an umbrella or choose to dance in the rain!  
- - Terri Guillemets

Have you ever danced in the rain? I have. It's fun . . . for a few seconds anyway.

For me the best part of gardening is our total inability to predict exactly how our carefully-tended (or totally ignored!) plantings will perform in any given coming season. I love it when plants march to their own drummer.

Take my Uncle Henry's poinsettias, for example. They're in pots on his Corpus Christi driveway. Earlier this year, he purchased a bunch of "bloomed-out" poinsettias to try his hand at producing the bright red leaves that are supposed to appear during fall's shorter days and longer nights. He cut them back, hoping for lush new green growth. Got that. But then, to his amazement, the new leaves started turning red!

Poinsettias producing red leaves during these longer days-shorter nights? Unheard of, but great fun!

BANNER YEAR FOR AMARYLLIS: Lots of readers reported exceptionally gorgeous amaryllis this past spring. Is it all the rain? Maybe. But amaryllis bulbs store two years' worth of blooms at one time. So spectacular (or no) blooms might be traced back two years. The main problem for gardeners is remembering back that far.

Reader Violet wrote her double orange* amaryllis (pictured center above) is multiplying faster than her other amaryllis. What should she feed it? Had to tell her the truth. I have never fed mine. I never even water them in summer, except what they might get from a sprinkler during extreme droughts.

However! If you MUST do something, sprinkle bulb food or bone meal (both available at independent nurseries) around the plants when it's going to rain. Let Mother Nature will soak it. Or, use bonemeal (caviar to squirrels) or any organic fertilizer with a high middle number. The three fertilizer bag numbers reflect the ratio of nitrogen (good green growth), phosphorus (which all blooming plants like, but especially bulbs), and potash (general health). This is simplifying a very complex process, of course.

Amaryllis not blooming? Could be . . . 
1. they were hit with lawn fertilizer (high nitrogen encourages green growth, not flowers).  
2. foliage was cut off after previous flowers died? Bad move. Bulbs need fading foliage to replenish the bulb for future growth.  
3. bulbs sunk too low? Raise them. Neck needs to be above ground. 
4. they're too crowded? Dig them up. Replant further apart. Or share. After blooming is best time. But actually you can do this anytime. That's how hardy they are.

(*Note: double orange is a generic description. Google 'double orange' amaryllis to see varieties of this color and type on the market. Violet's husband planted hers over 20 years ago from a group he ordered from a variety of catalogs.)

* SPEAKING OF MORE GORGEOUS THAN USUAL . . . seems many plants are really happy this year. Probably has to do with all the rain and the fairly mild winter. Check out the pictures at the top of the column. Like mine, and others around town, Patsy Teas' yesterday-today-and-tomorrow, pictured right above, was even more gorgeous than usual.

I thought she had it in a container and was impressed, given the size of the shrub. But, no, she said, it's in one of those all-too-common strips of soil left unpaved in an L-corner, often at the front door. A truly challenging growing site! Maybe this is a good plant to try!

But there's more . . . 
* PEGGY MARTIN CONTINUES TO BENEFIT  Pictured above are two Peggy Martin success stories sent in by readers. Left, Ed Holland's Peggy Martin blooming, to my amazement, in pure sand on West Galveston isle where it's getting full brunt of salt winds. At right, several years ago Beth Frohme gave this Peggy Martin, as a 3-gallon plant, to her daughter. Two years ago, the horses got loose and ate all the roses on THIS side of the fence. This is what has grown back!

I'd feel guilty for over-focusing on Peggy Martin roses except: 
   1. I love reporting what readers send in and  
   2. each sale of this rose benefits Katrina-destroyed botanical gardens. Details:  Our April 24, 2015, newsletter

* IS THIS A GREAT YEAR FOR GARDENIAS?  Too often gardenias (see below) have a problem here so if you know your specific variety and it's doing well, do share! I wish the Southwest Houston gardener who sent in the picture at left below knew the name of these two gorgeous ones. But these were passalong gifts from a friend who didn't know the name either. She reports the one on the left is so heavy with blooms, the branches are sagging. It gets more water than the one on the right. But notice both are on slopes so they're extremely well drained - one must for gardenias here.

* The unusual bloomer at right below is my Rosedown gardenia, the first and only gardenia I've ever had survive. This one is easily a decade old now. If you can't find this at your local nursery, the Pineywoods Environmental Center at Stephen F. Austin Mast Arboretum in Nacogdoches sells them. Unfortunately their next plant sale isn't until October, but area nurseries do carry them so please ask. If you've never visited Mast Arboretum, that makes a great field trip or day outing. They've brought so many beautiful plants into our gardens.


* Tip o' the trowel to Montgomery County Master Gardener Bob Dailey (center above). Bob was just named was just named Outstanding Master Gardener of the Year by the Texas Master Gardener Association  in the Extra Large Association category.

* * *


* If last week's column on DAYLILIES hit a chord with you, add this upcoming plant sales to the others listed:

Sat., May 23: Houston Area Daylily Society and Houston Hemerocallis Society Flower Show, 1-3pm, and Plant Sale, opens 10:30am, at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 4040 Watonga Ave., Houston, TX 77092. Free. Details. 281-332-2965,

For the latest updates on the big, free "For the Love of Daylilies" American Hemerocallis Society Region 6 Meeting here in Pearland, log onto or call Debbie Pike, 979-236-1478. In addition to a great daylily plant sale, attendees can enjoy garden tours, a flower show and more.

* I hope everyone saw Elizabeth White-Olsen and Glenn Olsen's great article in the Chronicle StarExplore Section: "Ten Ways to Save Monarch Butterflies."

Click on the title link for some great suggestions and - even better - some explanations of all the different butterflyweed/milkweed options we can, and should grow here. I heartedly echo their recommendations to join Monarch Watch, the North American Butterfly Association and the Houston-based Butterfly Enthusiasts of Southeast Texas

* FOUND YOUR MOTHER'S DAY GIFT YET? How about a bromeliad? Some of the best selections in the state will be on display and for sale May 15-17 at the huge Bromeliad Society/Houston 44th Annual Show and Sale at Mercer Botanic Gardens 22306 Aldine Westfield, Humble. Hours and details: 713-858-3047. Among the fabulous ones for sale will be, above left to right: Aechmea ampla, Neoregelia 'Mendoza,' x Neophytum 'Cosmic Blast' and Tillandsia hothii. And, below, l to r, Guzmania 'Noah,' Cryptanthus 'Thelma O'Reilly,' Dyckia 'Heaven and Hell' and Vriesea ospinae var. gruberii.


* 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: * 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.


Organic Fertilizers and Nutrients - 34





Today I want to talk about a new and exciting area of research for plant and ultimately human nutrition that is known as sea minerals.  There are many new products emerging that show great promise in re-mineralizing our soils. Last December I attended a advanced soil science conference led by researchers from the USDA and several major universities, where one of the focal points was on re-mineralizing our soils.  Several books I recently read (Geotherapy, The Soil Will Save Us, etc.) all focused on the re-mineralization of our soils as critical to increase productivity and quality of our foods, and to reduce insect disease and weed problems from agriculture to our flowerbeds and to fight global warming by storing carbon in our soil.


For years we were taught that all we needed to grow plants were 16 nutrients (elements).  As we followed this advice the problems in agriculture and horticulture, animal health on our farms and ranches, to human health exploded and have become exponentially worse.  We now know that hundreds of human health problems are caused or aggravated by nutritional deficiencies and similarly in animals.  Studies have found that the human body has 90 elements in it in almost the exact ratio as found in seawater. Hence, many researchers started asking how will these nutrients get into our bodies if they are not in our food supply (vegetable or animal sources).  Continuing the line of thought, how will these minerals get into our plants (or the animals that eat the plants) unless they are in our soil!  I became very interested in this subject over 20 years ago when I had some health issues that the medical approach was expensive surgery.  While deciding if I was going to have surgery I met a doctor at a organic farming conference whom  convinced me to try a nutritional approach. It worked and only cost a few hundred dollars versus the tens of thousands that surgery would have required. This doctor has a famous lecture available on CD called "Dead Doctors Don't Lie", By Joel Wallach, DVM, N.D. It is an excellent lecture on nutrition, trace minerals and health (available at some health food stores or online for only a couple dollars). 


This brings us back to today's subject of minerals from the sea.  Below is a chart showing all the different minerals in seawater (Note: I am using the word minerals to actually describe elements since most readers are more comfortable with that terminology).


I first started reading research articles from Israel about using sea water for fertilizer over 25 years ago. Many described how they were reclaiming the dessert and successfully growing crops using sea water for fertilization and irrigation.  Since then there has been a lot of research from all over the world in this area. A couple of the first books on the subject were Sea Energy Agriculture by Maynard Murray, PhD and Fertility From The Deep Ocean by Charles Walters (both books are available from the ACRES, USA bookstore).







There are many products in the market that are essentially sea minerals.  One of the first types is sometimes called coral calcium. It is mined from ancient coral reefs found in sedimentary rocks.  It will have high levels of calcium (Ca) in the form of CaCO3) with some magnesium (Mg) in addition to the other minerals. If your soil is low on calcium this type product might be a good choice. However, if your soil has plenty of calcium then this product can cause problems. 


The next class of sea minerals comes from ancient salt deposits which are mined and sold. One of the benefits of ancient mined deposits is that they are free of modern pollution products. My wife and I use a brand of Sea Salt from the Redmond company that we love as it makes all food taste better and we get these trace elements every time we use it.  This same company also has bagged minerals for use in horticulture and agriculture.


The next group of sea mineral products comes from sea water by evaporating the water and there are many brands in the market.  I have read several interesting articles on one brand that removes the sodium before selling it and has had many favorable articles in the literature. It is called SEA-90 and is OMRI certified for use in organic production.


Most of these products are very easy to use as they can be applied as any granular fertilizer according to the instructions on the bag.  Many can also be dissolved in water and the applied as a soil drench or sprayed on as a foliar application.



Sea Minerals are an exciting new method of improving the fertility of our soils and ultimately improving our health.  They are becoming more available and are relatively inexpensive. The biggest issue is that they are relatively new to the market and there is a lack of experience in using them in our area.




- excellent source of all minerals

- often used as an ingredient in organic fertilizers

- unlimited resource

- many brands available

- stimulate beneficial microbes

- sometimes used in animal feed

- some brands a good source of calcium

- does not burn plants

- naturally helps plants be more insect and disease resistant

- mined products are free from pollution

- helps plants absorb other nutrients better

- improves flavor of vegetables and fruits fertilized with them

- increase production and yields of all crops

- matures crops faster (less days to harvest)

- reduces transplant shock

- increases a plants heat tolerance

- increases a plants drought tolerance

- reduces mortality rate in livestock grazed on treated pasture

- better weight gain in cattle and with better flavor of meat



- limited availability in some areas

- large swings in quality of product

- lack of experience in horticulture industry on proper usage




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

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



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


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: or 


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


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: or 281-351-8851


SAT.-SUN, MAY 9-10: NATIONAL PUBLIC GARDEN DAY CELEBRATION, 8am-5pm, Mercer Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine-Westfield, Humble. Details: 


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


MON., MAY 11: SHARING WHAT TO PLANT/DO IN VEGGIE GARDEN, 630pm, (new location) Moody Park Community Center, 3725 Fulton St., Free. Houston Urban Gardeners (HUG) event. Details: 713-692-6925;


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



WED., MAY 13: BIRDS OF THE BAYOU CITY BY HOUSTON AUDUBON, noon, Mercer Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine-Westfield. Free. Details: 281-443-8731;

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: Register 281-855-5600


THURS.-SAT., MAY 14-16: FOR THE LOVE OF DAYLILIES AHS REGION 6 MEETING, GARDEN TOURS, PLANT SALE, FLOWER SHOW and more, 7am-5pm, Hilton Gardens Inn, 12101 Shadow Creek Parkway, Pearland. Free.  Details:; Debbie Pike 979-236-1478

Thurs., May 14-Sun, May 17: Master Composter Program, City of Houston Green Building Resource Center, 1002 Washington Ave. $40. Details: 


Fri.- Sun., May 15-17 Bromeliad Society/Houston 44th Annual Standard Show & Sale, Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens 22306 Aldine Westfield, Humble. Hours and details: 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: Register 281-855-5600


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


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

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: 


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, 


Sun., May 17: Shimek's Open Daylily Gardens, 8am-6pm, 3122 Country Road 237, Alvin. Details: 281-331-4395 or 832-489-4395; (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: 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: 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:

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: Free. Details:   


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

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

SAT., MAY 23: HOUSTON AREA DAYLILY SOCIETY AND HOUSTON HEMEROCALLIS SOCIETY FLOWER SHOW. 1-3pm. PLANT SALE 10:30 am, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 4040 Watonga Ave., Houston, TX 77092.  Free. Details. 281-332-2965,





SAT. -SUN., May 30-31: HOUSTON CACTUS AND SUCCULENT SOCIETY'S SPRING SALE, 9-5, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, 4501 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX 77024. Free. Houston Cactus & Succulent Society event:

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


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


WED., JUNE 10: STARTING A WORM COMPOSTING BIN, noon, Mercer Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine-Westfield. Free. Details: 281-443-8731;


THURS, JUNE 11: GROWING & USING HERBS BY HARRIS COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS. 6:30-8:30pm. Barbara Bush Library, 6817 Cypresswood Dr., Spring. Free. Details: 281-855-5600

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


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


SAT., JUNE 13: TOP BAR BEEKEEPING, 9-11am, University of St. Thomas,  Welder Hall, Room 115, 3812 Yoakum Blvd. $45. Urban Harvest class. Details: 713-880-5540 or



SAT., JUNE 13: SUMMER COLOR CONFERENCE & PLANT SALE, 8am-3pm, , Mercer Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine-Westfield. Free. Details: 281-443-8731;


TUES., JUNE 16: GROWING & USING HERBS BY HARRIS COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS. 6:30-8:30pm, Spring Branch Memorial Library, 930 Corbindale. Free. Details: 281-855-5600

WED., JUNE 17: FUN GARDEN STEPPING STONES (children), 9am-12:30pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: or 281-351-8851

THURS., JUNE 18: GROWING & USING HERBS BY HARRIS COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS. 6:30-8:30 pm. Freeman Branch Library, 16616 Diana Lane.Free. 281-855-5600


SAT, JUNE 20: GROWING & USING HERBS BY HARRIS COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS. 10am-Noon. Maude Smith Marks Library, 1815 Westgreen Blvd., Katy. Free. Details: 281-855-5600




Sat, June 30. Urban Harvest's Low Volume Irrigation.  9am - 11:30am. $30 members. $45 non-members. University of St. Thomas,  Welder Hall, Room 115, 3812 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, TX 77006, Houston 77006. For more info: 713-880-5540 or


WED., JULY 8: Monarchs & Milkweed, noon, Mercer Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine-Westfield. Free. Details: 281-443-8731;


SAT., JULY 11: TEXAS ROSE RUSTLERS ANNUAL MEETING. 9am-4pm, Mercer Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine-Westfield. Free. Details: 281-443-8731;

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


FRI., JULY 17: WHIMSICAL WIND ART (children), 9am-12:30pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: or 281-351-8851

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

Sat, July 25. Urban Harvest's Fall Vegetable Gardening.  9am - 11:30am.  $45. Location TBADetails: 713-880-5540 or

TUES., AUG 4: ALL ABOUT HUMMINGBIRDS (children), 9am-12:30pm, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball.  Free.  Details: or 281-351-8851

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



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

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 our Herb Soil Mix. 
. (Offer good for retail purchases of this product by the cubic yard at Nature's Way Resources (101 Sherbrook Circle, Conroe TX). Expires 05/24/15.