January 4, 2017
The garden reader:
The freshest veggie characters
By William Scheick
Marcella Hazan and Victor Hazan. Ingredienti: Marcella's Guide to the Market. Scribner, 2016. 238 pp. $20.00.
Ingredienti is not a cookbook. It is mostly a handbook on how to assess the kitchen-readiness and the preparation of over 30 veggies before harvesting or purchasing.
"Think of this book as a collection of portraits," the authors write. "Each wants to be a description of character."
freshest character possible, in fact.
Consider beets: "The first thing to look at is the leafy top. It must not be limp; it should spring healthily from the root and be colored a vivid green."
When selecting broccoli, "avoid exceptionally thick stems" and "any yellowing and opening up of the head." Look for a pale veggie core, which "may well be more enjoyable than the cabbagey florets."
"There is one accurate clue to freshness" for eggplants: the little green cap where the fruit was attached. "The brighter green that cap, the fresher the eggplant."
Green beans "should snap crisply in two." If they bend without snapping, they are not fresh.
Green beans also "should be cooked in salted water until they are tender yet firm, but not crunchy" because "crunchy beans are grassy in taste."
For those who love peppers, first shave off the peel with a swiveling blade. As a general rule, "a discriminating cook peels peppers before cooking"; usually "the only thing that a cooked pepper's skin contributes to taste is a faint bitterness."
Editor's Note: Gardening news is slow at the beginning of the year, and many gardeners are unable to work in their gardens during winter. We thought you might enjoy a change of pace during this slow season, so following is a gardening-themed short story presented for your enjoyment. - Michael Bracken, editor
A Green Thumb
By John M. Floyd
Fran Valentine pulled up next to her daughter Lucy's patrol car at the Grimes farm, a mile from town. She waited for the road dust to settle before climbing out, slamming the door, and hitching her purse over one shoulder.
Lucy, sweating in her sheriff's uniform, said, "Thanks for coming, Mother."
Fran nodded to Deputy Ed Malone and gave her daughter a wary look. "What's all this about?"
"You'll see." Lucy turned and shouted, "She's here, Harlan."
Fran stared across the field, where the owner of the farm - a bearded, burly man named Harlan Grimes - was pulling on a taut rope that disappeared down into a well.
"What in the world's happening here, Lucy?" Fran asked.
Sheriff Valentine sighed. "What's happening is Harlan's gone crazy. He's been asking for you."
"For me? Why?"
"It involves Bernie Plunkett."
Fran's eyes narrowed. "The Mouse Man?"
"He's the Snake Man, now. Bernie's slithery pets ate all his squeaky pets."
Fran rolled her eyes. She'd known Bernie Plunkett since they were kids, and he'd always been weird.
"And Harlan says Bernie tried to kill his wife yesterday," Lucy said.
"His wife? Harlan's not married."
"Not Harlan's wife. Bernie's."
Fran blinked. "Harlan's sister? Harlan thinks Bernie tried to kill Sophie?"
"That's right. And now Harlan's set on killin' Bernie Plunkett."
"Good grief," Fran said. "But I still don't see the problem. Why don't you just arrest him? You're the sheriff."
"I can't arrest him, not as long as he's holding that rope."
"Why not?" Fran asked. "What's on the other end of the rope?"
"Bernie Plunkett," Lucy said.
Fran's jaw dropped. She turned again to look at Harlan Grimes, who was leaning back on the rope at a forty-five degree angle, his muscles bunched in his forearms, his heels braced against the edge of the well. His thick hair and beard were soaked with sweat.
"Bernie's down there in the well?" Fran asked.
"He sure is. Apparently Harlan whacked him on the head, tied him up, and lowered him into the well, to just above water level. Then he called me, asking for you. Says he'll let Bernie fall in if we make a move. And, tied up or not, unconscious or not, Bernie can't swim."
"None of the Plunketts can swim," Fran agreed. "Never could. Why does Harlan think Bernie tried to kill Sophie? Where is she?"
Lucy took her hat off and ran a hand through her matted hair. "Sophie's in the hospital. She almost died yesterday afternoon from a snakebite on her hand. Doc says she'll recover in a day or two. Folks in the hospital lab think the venom's from something called a krait, from India or someplace."
Once again Fran turned to stare at the man holding onto the rope. He looked like the world's dumbest fisherman. "So Harlan figures Bernie let one of his pet snakes bite her on purpose?"
"He's convinced of it," the sheriff said.
"What's he want me for?" Fran asked.
"He wants your advice. He says you're his cousin, so you won't lie to him."
"You're his cousin too."
"I'm law enforcement," Lucy said. "Big difference to a guy like Harlan."
"Fran!" Harlan shouted, as if on cue. "We need to talk."
"Give me a minute, Harlan." In a lowered voice Fran said to her daughter, "So what do you know about what happened?"
Lucy took off her sunglasses long enough to rub her eyes. "Sophie's mother told me Sophie was fine yesterday morning. They drove down to Jackson to shop just after lunch, and when they got home Sophie was really sick and finally passed out on their way to the emergency room. Nobody saw any snakes. Her mother's with her at the hospital."
Fran rooted around in her purse until she found her cell phone. As she punched numbers she glanced at Harlan and whispered to Lucy, "You won't have to shoot him, will you?"
"I couldn't even if I wanted to, with this setup. That well's really deep. If he releases that rope Bernie drowns. I told you, he's tied up - we'd never fish him out in time."
Fran turned away to speak with Sophie's mother, Martha. She told Fran that Sophie had bought a potted fern at a nursery in Jackson yesterday, and then they'd stopped at a fabric store on the way home. When Fran asked her whether she had seen anything bite Sophie on her hand, Martha said no, but that Sophie had asked the people at the fabric store for a Band-Aid.
"A Band-Aid?" Fran asked.
"For her right thumb," Martha said. "Doc Hardin says that's where she got bit. Sophie thought maybe she'd stuck herself with a thorn at the flower shop."
Fran's next call was to Merrill's Garden Shop in Jackson, followed by the fabric store on Highway 51. By the end of that call Harlan shouted he was getting impatient, not to mention tired. Fran stuffed the phone back into her purse and marched over to talk with him.
Five minutes later, to the sheriff's amazement, Harlan sighed, nodded to Fran, and with the deputy's help hauled Bernie Plunkett up to safety.
Lucy supervised as Deputy Malone arrested and handcuffed Harlan and put him in the back of the patrol car. A soaked and frightened Bernie Plunkett was untied, dried, and put in the front seat, and the car drove off, leaving the sheriff staring at her mother. Fran was on the phone yet again.
When she clicked off Fran asked her daughter, "Will Harlan go to jail over this?"
"We'll hold him, but I doubt Bernie'll press charges," Lucy said. "They're family, after all, and Harlan's more stupid than mean."
Lucy pushed her hat back off her forehead. "What in the world did you say to him, Mother?"
Fran smiled. "I convinced him Bernie hadn't caused Sophie's problem."
"How'd you do that?"
"Pretty easy. I pointed out that Sophie was fine when she left the house, so she must have gotten bitten somewhere in Jackson. In fact I said a snake must've been hiding in one of those plants at the nursery."
"Yeah?" Lucy asked. "How in the heck did an Asian snake get in a Jackson flower shop?"
"I told Harlan the nursery's one street over from the zoo, and told him the zoo said a krait was missing."
The sheriff frowned. "I've been to Merrill's Garden Shop. It's nowhere near the Jackson zoo."
"I know," Fran said. "The zoo isn't missing a snake. I made all that up. I'm pretty sure Sophie got bitten in the fabric store."
Lucy just gaped at her.
"I saw a documentary on TV awhile back - the Discovery Channel, I think. Apparently, all kinds of exotic bugs and varmints stow away in shipments of fabric. And a lot of that material is imported from India. When I called the fabric store, the owner remembered a co-worker had glimpsed something alive behind a bolt of cloth earlier in the day, and thought it was a lizard."
"It was the snake?"
"Yep. I told the fabric-store owner to evacuate the building and contact the animal control folks. They'll catch it in no time."
Lucy, stunned, said, "Then why'd you make up the story about the flower shop?"
"I just told Harlan what I thought he would believe. In case you haven't noticed, he's not your Discovery Channel type."
The sheriff chuckled. "Not bad, Mother. Not bad at all. Maybe hostage negotiation is your thing."
"I'm always available," Fran said, raising her chin. "Unless it's my sewing-circle day."
Lucy opened the door of her patrol car, started to climb in, and paused. "Something just occurred to me," she said. "I guess Bernie's guilt wasn't the only thing Harlan was wrong about."
"He said you were his cousin and wouldn't lie to him."
Fran grinned. "Well, he is my cousin."
"He was half right," Fran said.
Derringer Award winner and Edgar nominee John M. Floyd's work has appeared in more than 200 different publications, including
The Saturday Evening Post,
The Best American Mystery Stories 2015.
His latest book,
(2016), is available via Amazon and http://www.johnmfloyd.com/books.html. "A Green Thumb" was originally published in the July/August 2006 issue of
Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine
and is reprinted here by permission of the author.
January is the time to set out onion transplants in most of the state. Use the small "pencil-sized" transplants and avoid the small "marble sized" mini-bulbs when planting onions. Set them out so the base is about an inch deep and water them in well.
Have a favorite gardening tip you'd like to share?
Texas Gardener's Seeds
is seeking brief gardening tips from Texas gardeners to use in future issues. If we publish your tip in
we will send you a copy of
r's 2017 Planning Guide & Calendar.
Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at:
Upcoming garden events
If you would like your organization's events included in "Upcoming Garden Events" or would like to make a change to a listed event, please contact us at Garden Events. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details at least three weeks prior to the event.
La Marque: "Collection of Dormant Peach and Plum Graft Wood" with GC Master Gardeners Sue Jeffco and Herman Auer presenting, 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m., January 5, at the Galveston County Master Gardeners' Research & Demonstration Garden in Carbide Park, 4102 Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/. Seating limited to 90 persons.
Victoria: Victoria County Master Gardener Association will hold its first "Lunch and Learn With the Masters" program Monday, January 5, at the Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria, noon-1 p.m. Master gardener Charlie Neumeyer will discuss "Landscape Chores to Do Now." The event is free to the public. Those who wish to do so may bring a sack lunch and beverage.
Peckerwood Garden presents Peckerwood Insider's Tours: Saturday,
10 a.m., 20559 FM 359 Rd. Hempstead. Pre-Registration Required. Tours will highlight a focused subject each month, ranging from Peckerwood's specific plant groups, garden design strategies, seasonal interest and more. Attendees will have the rare opportunity to see sections of the garden never visited during the general tours as we explore "Early Interest Winter Plants." $15 admission and parking, Free for members. For more info, visit
La Marque: "Wedge Grafting" with GC Master Gardener Sue Jeffco presenting, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., January 7, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Building in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/. Note: Class limited to 32 participants; pre-registration required to participate. Others may attend to observe.
La Marque: "Propagation of Plants by Cuttings" with GC Master Gardener Bill Cummins presenting, 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m., January 7, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Building in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/. Note: Class limited to 24 participants; pre-registration required to participate. Others may attend to observe. Bring a small, sharp knife, if participating.
Austin: The Austin Organic Gardeners' Club kicks off their 72nd year with their first meeting of 2017 on Monday, January 9. They will have a compost panel discussion with local commercial compost experts: George Altgelt of Geogrowers; Lisa Boatman, a DilloDirt engineer from Hornsby bend; Phil Gosh from Organics by Gosh; and Dakota from Whittlesey Landscape Supply. The Austin Organic Gardeners' Club meets at the Austin Area Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd, in Zilker Botanical Gardens. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the opportunity to meet, mingle, and ask questions with local gardeners. Club business begins at 7 p.m., followed by our guest speaker's presentation. For more information, visit www.austinorganicgardeners.org.
Schertz: Peggy Jones will present "Growing and Pruning Roses," noon-1 p.m., January 9, at the Guadalupe County Office Building (Annex), 1101 Elbel Road, Schertz. For additional information, phone 830-303-3889.
Houston: Harris County Master Gardeners Precinct 2 Lecture Series
featuring Charlene Perry of "Diggit Organics." She will present a program on Vermiculture, Composting Worms. 10:00-11:30 a.m., January 12, at the Genoa Friendship Garden Educational Building, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff Rd., Houston. Note: New Location. For more information, visit https://hcmga.tamu.edu.
Houston: "Backyard Rose Hybridizing" will be the topic of the Houston Rose Society meeting on Thursday, January 12, at the
Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion,
1500 Hermann Drive, Houston. The parking lot is Lot C, located at Hermann Drive and Crawford Street. The program will be presented by John Jons, an award-winning Galveston County Master Gardener, Texas Master Naturalist and American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian. John has hybridized the new and unique 'Texas Tough Roses.' One of his roses has been selected as an American Rose Society 'All American Rose Center Trial Grounds Winner.'
Free admission. For more information, visit www.houstonrose.org.
Tyler: Smith County Master Gardeners at the library, January 13 at 11:30 a.m. "Winter Sowing" with Trish Wittinger. Presentation with Q&A to follow. Tyler Public Library, 201 S. College, Tyler. Free and open to the public. For additional information, call 903-590-2980.
The Fort Bend Master Gardeners will present a program on Thursday,
to preview the trees to be sold at their Annual Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale. Topics will include how to plant, prune and care for the trees, as well as an overview of trees at the sale. The program will be held at the Bud O'Shieles Community Center, 1330 Band Rd., Rosenberg. The doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the program will be from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. For more information call 281-341-7068 or visit
San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets January 12. Beginning in 1995, the International Herb Association has chosen an Herb of the Year to highlight. Based upon being outstanding in at least two of the three major categories: medicinal, culinary, or decorative; the herb of the year is selected. This year's selection is Coriander/Cilantro. Leslie Bingham will present a fun and informative look at the Herb of the Year with the assistance of fellow herb society member, Adrienne Hacker. Leslie has a degree in Horticulture, was a member of the Herb Society of America, Southern Ontario Unit for more than 20 years, and is currently a member of San Antonio Herb Society. In addition, Leslie has worked on the restoration of several 19th century museum gardens including Dundern Castle, McKenzie House Museum, and Montgomery's Inn Museum where she delved into the historical archives, letters, journals and diaries to re-create the garden designs of the early 19th century inhabitants.
The meeting will be held at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels at Parland,San Antonio, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free and the public is welcome. For more information, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org.
La Marque: "Growing Great Tomatoes (Part 2 of 3)" with GC Master Gardener Ira Gervais presenting, 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m., January 14, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Building in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/.
La Marque: "Successful Spring Vegetable Gardening" with GC Master Gardener Herman Auer presenting, 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., January 14, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Building in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/.
Join the Fort Bend Master Gardeners at their 2017 Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale on Saturday,
The sale will be held at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds - Barn H, Rosenberg. The sale will be open from 9:00 a.m. until noon or until sold out. For more information call 281-341-7068 or visit
for a list of trees and directions to the sale.
David Rodriguez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Horticulturist will present a
Fruit Tree Seminar, January 14, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at
Milberger's Landscape Nursery, 3920 N Loop 1604 E, San Antonio. Whether you want to plant one fruit tree or an orchard, learn the basic steps of selecting appropriate tree species, how to properly plant them, how to train and manage these trees as well as harvesting and general overall maintenance.
Angel Torres-Luna at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
Peckerwood Garden presents Evening at Peckerwood Lecture Series: Friday,
7 p.m.-9 p.m., 20559 FM 359 Rd. Hempstead. Topics will include various aspects of horticulture, botany, garden design, plant collecting adventures, conservation and many other related fields of interest. Wine and refreshments provided. $10 admission and parking, $5 for members. For more info, visit
Houston: Open Garden Day
, with Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2. 8:30-11 a.m., January 16, Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff Rd., Houston. Master Gardeners will also be available to answer your gardening questions. FREE. Plants for sale in the Greenhouse. Details: https://hcmga.tamu.edu.
La Marque: "Gardening by the Square Foot" with GC Master Gardener John Jons presenting, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., January 17, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Building in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/.
The Lindheimer Chapter (Comal County) of the Native Plant Society of Texas will hold their monthly meeting
at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, Smithson Valley. The doors open
at 6:30 p.m
. and the meeting starts
at 7:00 p.m
. The speaker will be Andrew McNeil-Marshall, LBJ Wildflower Center. Andrew will speak on "Texas Oak Collection, Hall of Texas Heroes and other exciting exhibits at the Center." The meeting is free and the public is welcome. For more information, call Martha Guethle,
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is offering a training program with weekly classes running from January 19 to graduation on April 25. Classes will be held on Thursday mornings at the Fayette County Agriculture Building in LaGrange. Topics for the class include plant growth and development, entomology, soils and plant fertility, landscape and fruit trees, plant pathology, vegetable gardening, lawn care and various aspects of environmental horticulture. Classes are taught by Texas AgriLife Extension specialists, agents, and local experts. The Texas Master Gardener program boasts the largest corps of Master Gardener volunteers in the nation. A love of gardening and search for knowledge is central to why Master Gardeners join the program. They remain Master Gardeners to enjoy the camaraderie and friendship of others who share their interests, to gain and share horticulture knowledge, and to give back to the community. For additional information, contact Susan Yancey at email@example.com.
Hempstead: Peckerwood Garden presents Peckerwood Garden Open Day: Saturday, January 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m, 20559 FM 359 Rd. Hempstead. Visitors enjoy 1-hour guided tours of the garden led by knowledgeable docents. Guided tours are offered approximately every 30 minutes, leaving between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Purchase Tickets. $10 admission and parking, Free for members. For more info, visit http://www.peckerwoodgarden.org/explore/visit-peckerwood-garden/ or firstname.lastname@example.org.
La Marque: "Fig Tree Pruning and Propagation" with Certified, GC Master Gardener Terry Cuclis presenting, 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m., January 19, at the Galveston County Master Gardeners' Research & Demonstration Garden in Carbide Park, 4102 Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/. Bring gloves.
San Antonio: The Bexar County Master Gardeners will meet Thursday, January 19, 6-8:30p.m., at
3355 Cherry Ridge, San Antonio. Meeting begins with a social time at 6 p.m. followed by the special presentation at 6:30pm. For information, email
Jack Downey, BCMG President
, or call
Montgomery County Master Gardeners will offer "Fruit & Nut Trees: Pruning to Planting!"
at the Montgomery Co. AgriLife Extension Office,
9020 Airport Road, Conroe
9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. January 21. Their annual Fruit and Nut Tree Sale will be January 28. Learn how to plan for your harvests of fresh fruit. $5.00 per person (cash or check) is due at registration the morning of each class. The fee covers costs of materials, supplies, coffee and snacks.
or more info visit
Dr. Larry Stein from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
, will present the Annual Fruit Tree Seminar, Sat., January 21, 9 a.m. to noon, at
Fanick's Garden Center Inc., 1025 Holmgreen Rd, San Antonio. Stein will demonstrate how to properly select, plant, prune and maintain fruit and nut trees for maximum production. For more information, visit
Montgomery County Master Gardeners
are having their Fruit and Nut Tree Sale on Saturday,
at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. The presentation starts at 8 a.m., the sale is from 9 a.m. until noon. Varieties sold will grow well in Montgomery County. Trees and plants include apples, blackberries, blueberries, citrus, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, and much more. Take your wagon! Visit
or call 936-539-7824 for more info.
La Marque: "Growing Peaches in Galveston County" with GC Master Gardener Herman Auer presenting, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., January 28, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Building in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/.
La Marque: "Kitchen Gardening" with GC Master Gardener Mary Demeny presenting, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., January 28, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Building in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/.
Join the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) for the 56th
Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference
in Orlando. The annual conference brings together nearly 900 seed industry professionals from more than 20 countries for four days of global networking and education. Held at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort next to EPCOT Center, the 2017 Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference will bring agricultural innovation to life with exclusive tour opportunities at Disney's trial gardens, greenhouses, and a special version of Disney's "Behind the Seeds" tour, in addition to ASTA sessions on plant breeding, organic seed, communications, and more. On the evening of Saturday, January 28, All-America Selections (AAS) and National Garden Bureau will provide an update on both organizations' yearly activities and new AAS Winners, followed by a meet-and-greet cocktail reception. Sunday, January 29 and Monday, January 30, will feature special Disney "Behind the Seeds" tours, including the AAS trial garden. On Monday, January 30, the General Session will feature Walt Disney World's Eric Darden, the man behind the magic of EPCOT's International Flower and Garden Festival - an event that has grown in popularity in each of its 20-plus years to an audience that is now over 7 million! Bringing to life a renewed interest in gardening, produce and food, this festival has been instrumental in the creation of EPCOT as the "festival park" of Walt Disney World. For more information including the full schedule of events, visit
La Marque: "Anyone Can Grow Roses" with GC Master Gardener and American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian John Jons presenting, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., January 31, at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Building in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., La Marque. Fee/Free. Participants must pre-register: Ph 281-534-3413. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Further details: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/.
San Antonio: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County is now taking applications for its Master Gardener Intern Training Class No. 61 in San Antonio. Master Gardener volunteer training is conducted by AgriLife Extension for adults interested in gardening, horticulture and related topics. Currently there are more than 400 certified Master Gardener volunteers in the Bexar County Master Gardener program. Classes will be conducted from noon-4 p.m. each Wednesday from Feb. 22 to May 24, 2017 unless otherwise noted. Instruction will be given in Suite 208 of the AgriLife Extension offices, located in the Conroy Square office complex at 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio. Master Gardener classes address topics ranging from plant growth and development to plant diseases, insects, soils, and basic landscaping and garden design. Individuals who complete the training become certified Master Gardeners and assist AgriLife Extension through community education in horticulture. Volunteer hours may be applied to a variety of approved projects discussed during training. Submission of an application is not automatic acceptance into the class. Interns completing classroom training and passing the final exam will be required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service toward youth and/or adult education outreach their first year, and 30 hours annually thereafter. Class size is limited to 30 participants and the deadline for submitting the application is February 3. A registration fee of $260 is payable in full on the first day of class. If the applicant withdraws prior to March 1, a processing fee of $100 will be administered. No refunds will be issued after that date. Applications are available online at http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu/. If unable to submit the application through the website, a completed application can be printed from the site and faxed to Angel Torres at 210-631-0429 or mailed to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Attn: Angel Torres, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr., Suite 212, San Antonio, Texas 78230-4818. A background check is required on all applicants participating in the Master Gardener program and will be done on the first day of class. For more information, contact Torres at 210-631-0400.
San Antonio: Spring Youth Garden Educator Training will be presented Sat., February 4, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m., at Phil Hardberger Park, West Urban Ecology Center, 8400 NW Military Highway, San Antonio. This training is designed for teachers, educators, and volunteers in support of youth gardening in the classroom and community. If you are interested in starting a gardening program in your school/community or you are looking for ways to enhance your already existing youth garden, do not miss this educational opportunity! Breakout sessions will be conducted with different garden topics for you to choose from, and a starter garden kit will be distributed to youth gardens that are ready for planting. (Plant material is given per school/institution.) For only $20, training and lunch is provided to all participants. Walk-ins will not be accepted, so please register early at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/productListingDetails/2191. For additional information, email Ruby Zavala, Youth Gardens Coordinator, at Ruby.Zavala@ag.tamu.edu.
Smith County Master Gardeners at the library, February 10 at 11:30 a.m. "Rose Rustlers" with Greg Grant, Smith County horticulturalist and Texas Gardener contributing editor . Presentation with Q&A to follow. Tyler Public Library, 201 S. College, Tyler. Free and open to the public. For additional information, call 903-590-2980.
Rosarian Ed Bradley
will present "Roses for 2017," Thursday, February 16, 1-3 p.m., at
3355 Cherry Ridge, San Antonio.
Free. Bexar County Master Gardener (BCMG) Educational Seminars/General Meetings are held on the afternoon of the third Thursday every other month at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, Suite 208. Bradley will share his expertise his wealth of knowledge on growing roses in San Antonio. For more information email
, or call 210-699-0663.
Hitchcock: "Galveston County Master Gardeners 2017 Spring Plant Sale" with pre-sale seminar 8:00 a.m.-8:50 a.m., plant sale 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., February 18, at Jack Brooks Park Rodeo Arena, 10 Jack Brooks Rd and Hwy 6, Hitchcock (Galveston County Fairgrounds).
Harris County Master Gardener "Fruit Tree and Tomato" Sale will be held February 18 at Campbell Hall, Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Red Bluff RD., Pasadena. For more information, visit
Smithson Valley: The Lindheimer Chapter (Comal County) of the Native Plant Society of Texas will hold their monthly meeting on February 21 at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, Smithson Valley. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. The speaker will be Kathryn Bryant, Management Chair, Lindheimer Chapter Plant Sale. Kathryn will speak on "Plant Sale Primer." Kathryn will review native plants of interest for the sale and propagation techniques. The meeting is free and the public is welcome. For more information, call Martha Guethle, 830-438-5996.
If you would like your organization's events included in "Monthly Meetings" or would like to make a change to a listed meeting, please contact us at Monthly Meetings. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details.
The Kaufman County Master Gardeners meet the first Monday of each month at the First Community Church at 1401 Trinity Drive in Crandall. January through April and August and September meetings are at 9 a.m., with the remaining meetings beginning at 7 p.m. For additional information visit http://www.kcmga.org, call 972-932-9069 or email to email@example.com.
The Harris County Master Gardeners meet at noon the
first Tuesday of each month at the Texas AgriLife Extension, 3033 Bear Creek Drive (near the intersection of Highway 6 and Patterson Road), Houston. For additional information visit
or call 281-855-5600.
Garden Masters, Inc., meet the
first Wednesday of each month
at North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd., Dallas. The club hosts different speaker each month from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Bring your lunch! For more information, email Bunny Williams at
Hill Country Master Gardeners meet the
first Wednesday of each month
at 1:00 pm at Hill Country Youth Event Center, 3785 Hwy 27. For more information visit
Midland/Odessa: The Permian Basin Master Gardeners meet at noon, the
first Wednesday of each month, lternating between the Midland and Ector County's Extensions Offices. For more information about location, call 432-498-4071 or 432-686-4700.
The Allen Garden Club meets at 7 p.m. on the
first Thursday of each month, February through December, at the Allen Heritage Center, 100 E. Main St., Allen. For more information, visit
The Cass County Master Gardeners meet the
first Thursday of each month
at the Atlanta Memorial Hospital Conference Room, State Highway 77 @ S. Williams St., Atlanta. A business meeting is followed by an educational program. The public is welcome to attend. For additional information, call 903-756-5391 or visit
Hempstead: The Waller County Master Gardeners usually mee tat 9 a.m. the first Thursday of each month at the Waller County AgriLife Extension Office, 846 6th St., Hempstead. For more information on the meeting schedule, visit http://txmg.org/wallermg or call 979-826-7651.
Fort Worth: The North Central Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. except (January and July) in the Fort Worth Botanical Garden Building at
3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard, Fort Worth. For additional information, contact President Theresa Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gonzales Master Gardeners hold their monthly meeting at noon on the
first Thursday of each month at 623 Fair Street, Gonzales. Bring a bag lunch, drinks provided. Contact AgriLife Extension Office at 830-672-8531 or visit
for more information
The Comal Garden Club meets the
first Thursday of each month
at 9:30 a.m. at Southbank Clubhouse, 222 Southbank Blvd., New Braunfels.
Hempstead: The Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation, 20559 F.M. 359, Hempstead, hosts a special Peckerwood Insider's Tour at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month. Spaces are limited so pre-registration is required. $15, free for members. For more information, visit http://www.peckerwoodgarden.org/explore/visit-peckerwood-garden/.
Austin Organic Gardeners Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the
second Monday of each month (except December) at the Austin Area Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit
The Cherokee County Master Gardeners meet on the
second Monday of each month
at 9:30 a.m. at Woodmen of the World, 1800 College Ave., Jacksonville. For more information, e-mail Tom Abbott at
The Glen Rose Garden Club meets at 10 a.m. on the
second Tuesday of each month
(September through May) at the Somervell County Community Center in Glen Rose. For additional information, email
The Prairie Rose Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets at 6 p.m. on the
second Monday of each month
at the Somerville County Citizen Center, 209 SW Barnard St., Glen Rose. For additional information, email
The Harrison County Master Gardeners meet on the
second Tuesday of each month
in the Harrison County Annex building, 102 W Houston St. (south side of the square), Marshall. Meetings are held in the 2nd floor AgriLife Extension meeting room. For more information, call 903-935-8413, or email
The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the
second Tuesday of each month except July, August and December at St. John's Lutheran Church in Marion. Directions to St. John's Lutheran Church: From FM 78 turn south onto FM 465 and the church is just past the Marion School on the right. From IH-10 go north on FM 465 towards Marion. The Church will be on the left, just before you get to town. A plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For more information or an application to join NPSOT visit
The Quitman Garden Club meets at 2 p.m. the
second Tuesday of each month at the Quitman Library on E Goode Street, Quitman. It is a diverse group that welcomes all visitors. For more information, e-mail
The Denton County Master Gardener Association meets from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. the
second Wednesday of each month
. Meetings are open to the public. For complete details, visit
Humble: The Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, hosts a Lunch Bunch the
second Wednesday of each month from noon until 2 p.m. Take a sack lunch or order a box lunch from Starbucks when you call 281-443-8731 to reserve your spot. Master Gardeners and Masters Naturalists may earn CEU credits by attending.
Jacksboro: The Jacksboro Garden Club meets at 9:30 a.m. the
second Wednesday of each month (except June, July and August) at the Concerned Citizens Center, 400 East Pine Street, Jacksboro. For more information, call Melinda at 940-567-6218.
The Gregg County Master Gardeners Association's Learn at Lunch program meet the second Wednesday of each month. The business meeting begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program at noon, at the AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Longview. The program is presented for horticultural education and is free to the public. For further information call 903-236-8429, visit www.txmg.org/gregg, or like us on Facebook at Gregg County Master Gardeners.
Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, meets the
Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including historical uses and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. Sometimes they take field trips and have cooking demonstrations in different locations. For more information, contact Linda 361-729-6037, Ruth 361-729-8923 or Cindy 979-562-2153 or visit
Woodway: The McLennan County Master Gardeners meet on the
second Wednesday each month at noon at the Carleen Bright Arboretum, 9001 Bosque Blvd., Woodway. Educational programs follow the business session. For more information, call 254-757-5180.
The Jefferson County Master Gardeners meet at 6 p.m. (social) 7:00 (meeting) the
second Thursday of each month
except in July in the AgriLife Extension auditorium, 1225 Pearl 2nd floor (downtown Beaumont next to the Court House). For more information contact: 409-835-8461 or
The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. the
second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. 8th Street. Georgetown. For additional information, contract Kathy Henderson at email@example.com or visit
Orange: The Orange County Master Gardeners Association holds their monthly meeting on the
second Thursday of each month. A short program is presented. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the new Orange County Expo Center on Hwy 1442 in Orangefield. Enter the building in the front entrance, first door on the right, Texas AgriLife offices. Pot luck supper at 6 p.m. Visit
for more information
The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7 p.m. on the
second Thursday of each month at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels (corner of Funston & N. New Braunfels). For more information on programs, visit
The Smithville Community Gardens meets at 5:30 p.m. the
second Thursday of each month
at the Smithville Recreation Center.
Angleton: The Brazoria County Master Gardeners meet at 11 a.m. on the
second Friday of each month at the Brazoria County Extension Office, 21017 County Road 171, Angleton. There is a general business meeting followed by a brief educational program each month. For further information call 979-864-1558, ext.110.
The A&M Garden Club meets on the
second Friday of each month during the school year at 9:30 a.m. in the training room of the College Station Waste Water Facility building at the end of North Forest Parkway, College Station. Expert speakers, plant sharing, and federated club projects help members learn about gardening in the Brazos Valley, floral design, conservation, and more. For more information, visit
Houston: The Spring Branch African Violet Club meets the
second Saturday of each month, January through November, at 10:30am at the Copperfield Baptist Church, 8350 Highway 6 North, Houston. Call Karla at 281-748-8417 prior to attending to confirm meeting date and time.
Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 1:30 p.m. on the
second Saturday of each month. For more information, call Carole Ramke at 903-986-9475.
The Rainbow Garden Club of North Texas meets the
second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Meetings are held at member's homes and garden centers around the area. For more information, visit
The Arlington Men's Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the
third Monday of each month (except December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact Lance Jepson at
The Johnson County Master Gardener's meet on the third Monday of each month at McGregor House, 1628 W Henderson, Cleburne. Meeting times are at 2 p.m. October through April, except December and at 6 p.m. May through September. An educational program precedes the business meeting. For additional information, contact Sue Matern at 817-517-9076.
The Comal Master Gardeners meet at 6 p.m. the
third Monday of each month
(except April and December,) at the
GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. An educational program precedes the business meeting. The public is invited to attend. For additional information, call 830-620-3440 or visit
The Four Corners Chapter of Native Plant Society of Texas meets at 7 p.m. on the
third Monday of each month
at the Southwest Center, 3222 W. 7th St. (U.S. 67), Texarkana. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Belinda McCoy at 903-424-7724 or
Corpus Christi: The Nueces Master Gardeners meet at noon the
third Tuesday of each month, except December, at Garden Senior Center, 5325 Greely Dr., Corpus Christi. An educational program precedes the business meeting. For further information call 361 767-5217.
Evant: The Evant Garden Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m., usually at the bank in downtown Evant. To confirm the date, time and place of each month's meeting, call 254-471-5860.
The Lindheimer Chapter (Comal County) of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the third Tuesday of each month at
at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. Meetings include an informative speaker
and a Plant of the Month presentation. Meetings are free and
visitors are welcome. For more information,visit www.npsot.org/w/lindheimer.
: there will be no meeting in June or December.
Monthly meetings of the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners are held at 10 a.m. on the
third Tuesday of each month
at Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Aransas County Office, 892 Airport Rd., Rockport. For additional information, e-mail
or call 361-790-0103.
The Sugar Land Garden Club meets on the
third Tuesday of each month,
September through November and January through April at 10 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 702 Burney Road, Sugar Land. The club hosts a different speaker each month. For more information, visit
Denton: The Denton Organic Society, a group devoted to sharing information and educating the public regarding organic principles, meets the
third Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) at the Denton Senior Center, 509 N. Bell Avenue. Meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are preceded by a social at 6:30. For more information, call 940-382-8551.
The Somervell County Master Gardeners meet at 10 a.m., the
third Wednesday of each month
at the Somervell County AgriLife Extension office, 1405 Texas Drive, Glen Rose. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call 254-897-2809 or visit
The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners meet at 1 p.m. on the
third Wednesday of each month
at the Hood County Annex 1, 1410 West Pearl Street, Granbury. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program each month preceding the business meeting. For information on topics call 817-579-3280 or visit
The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the
third Wednesday of each month
at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the Lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit
Brownwood Garden Club meets the
third Thursday of each month,
11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. The club meetings are at Southside Baptist Church, 1219 Indian Creek Road, with refreshments and a speaker presentation. Visitors are welcome. For more information, email
or call 817-454-8175.
The Native Plant Society of Texas - Houston (NPSOT-H) meets at 7:30 p.m. on the
third Thursday of each month
except for October (4th Thursday) at the Houston SArboretum and Nature Center in Memorial Park (4501 Woodway Dr.). For more information on programs, and for information about native plants for Houston, visit
The Bexar County Master Gardeners (BCMG) meet on the
third Thursday of each month
at the Texas AgriLife Extension Office, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr., Suite 208, San Antonio. During the months of Jan., March, May, July, Sep. and Nov., an evening meeting begins with a social time at 6 p.m. followed by a free presentation from 6:30-8:30 p.m. During the intervening months (Feb., April, June, Aug., Oct., Dec.), afternoon educational seminars/general meetings are held from 1-3:30 p.m. Check
to verify meeting date for any given month, as circumstances could require a change, and to find information on the speaker and topic scheduled for each meeting.
The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets at 6:30 p.m. the
third Thursday of each month,
at the AgriLife Building, 210 East Live Oak, Seguin. After a brief social hour, the meeting and guest speaker begins at 7 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 830-303-3889 or visit
The Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation, 20559 F.M. 359, Hempstead, hosts the Evening at Peckerwood Lecture series at 7 p.m. on the
third Friday of each month
. Tickets are available online. Tickets are $10, $5 for members.For more information, visit
The Native Plant Society San Antonio Chapter meets every
fourth Tuesday of each month
at 7 p.m. in the Lions Field Adult and Senior Center, 2809 Broadway at E. Mulberry, Brackenridge Park, except August and December. Social and seed/plant exchange at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bea at 210-999-7292 or visit
The Brazos County Master Gardeners, a program of Texas AgriLife Extension, meet the
fourth Tuesday of the month
at 7 p.m. at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. There is a public gardening program at each meeting and pertinent information may be found at
Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners present their "Come Grown With Us" seminars on the
fourth Tuesday of each month, January through October, beginning at 7 p.m. at 411 N. Wells, Edna. The seminars are free, open to the public and offer 2 CEU hours to Master Gardeners or others requiring them. For additional information, contact the Jackson County Extension Office at 361-782-3312.
The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the
fourth Tuesday of each month
at the senior citizens building at 507 S Kaufman St. in Linden at 6:30. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Karen Tromza at
The Organic Garden Club of Forth Worth meets at 7 p.m. on the
fourth Tuesday of each month
except July and December at the Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, 3220 Botanic Blvd., Ft. Worth. Refreshments are served. For more information, call 817-263-9322 or visit
The Native Plant Society of Texas San Antonio Chapter meets the
fourth Tuesday of each month,
except August and December, at the Lions Field Adult & Senior Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio. Social and plant/seed exchange at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit
The Houston Native Prairie Association meets at 7 p.m. on the
fourth Wednesday of each month
at the Cherie Flores Pavilion in McGovern Centennial Gardens at Hermann Park, 1500 Hermann Drive, Houston. For more information, contact
The Garden Club of Austin meets at Zilker Botanical Gardens auditorium, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, at 7:00 p.m. on the
fourth Thursday of each month.
7:00-7:30 p.m. Refreshments and Social, followed by a presentation at 7:30 p.m. Free. For additional information, visit
The Leander Garden Club meets on the
fourth Thursday of each month
(except July and August) at 10:30 a.m. at the community room behind the Greater Texas Federal Credit Union,1300 N. Bell, Cedar Park, unless there is special event planned. Following a program and short business meeting, we share a pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call president Cathy Clark-Ramsey at 512-963-4698 or email
The Dallas County Master Gardeners meet the
fourth Thursday of each month
at 11:30 a.m. For location and program information, visit
or contact The Helpdesk, M-F, 8 to 4:30 214-904-3053.
The Greater Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 7:00 p.m. on the
fourth Thursday of each month
at the REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Dallas. For more information, call 214-824-2448 or visit
The Arlington Organic Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the
last Thursday of each month
(except November and December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact David at 817-483-7746.
Hempstead: The Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation, 20559 F.M. 359, Hempstead, holds an Open Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month. Tours start at 10 a.m. and the last tour leaves at 2 p.m. Tickets available online or at the gate. $10, free for members. For more information, visit http://www.peckerwoodgarden.org/explore/visit-peckerwood-garden/.
Texas Gardener digital edition available
Same magazine as our print edition without the paper and at a better price. Fully compatible with your desktop, laptop, iPad or Tablet. Access Texas Gardener anywhere, anytime: at the office, home, vacation, even in the garden. Easy to use with robust features and fully searchable archive as long as your subscription is active. Visit www.TexasGardener.com and click on the digital radio button to subscribe.
Vegetable Gardening in the Southwest
By Trisha Shirey
Sweet, vine-ripened watermelon, tomatoes, bell peppers, crisp winter salads are just a few of the delights awaiting gardeners in Texas and the Southwest. While the cold winters and hot, dry summers can present challenges, there are many ways to have a productive garden and an ever changing menu of seasonal food. This book is for vegetable gardeners in Texas and surrounding states who want to get the most out of their gardens. Trisha Shirey (featured in the May/June issue of Texas Gardener magazine) is an award-winning heart-of-Texas gardener, and the head gardener at the Lake Austin Spa Resort where she has successfully overcome drought, insects and early freezes. She shows readers how to deal with these problems, along with others, and come out a winner. This book isn't loaded with lots of pretty color pictures, but it is loaded with lots of terrific gardening advice written just for gardeners in Texas and the southwest! Softback. 238 pages.
Only $26.55 (includes shipping, handling and tax).
To order using your credit card, call toll-free 1-800-727-9020 or online at
Buy two books, receive cap free!
The Vegetable Book
By Dr. Sam Cotner
Finally, back by popular demand and in its fourth printing, the most informative and comprehensive "how-to" book on vegetable gardening in Texas (also, suitable for most other areas of the South) written by the late, great Dr. Sam Cotner, former head of horticulture at Texas A&M University and lifelong gardener. This interesting read has over 370 pages of detailed information on every crop, from Asparagus to Watermelon including problem/solving sections for each vegetable. If you want to maximize your enjoyment and success growing vegetables in Texas, this book is a "must have," whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gardener. Price $34.02
The Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook
By William D. Adams
The best thing for tomato enthusiasts since the tomato itself! Adams draws on more than thirty years of experience to provide a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Learn everything from soil preparation, planting, feeding, caging and watering. Liberally sprinkled with the author's easy humor and illustrated with his own excellent photographs, this must-have book has everything you'll need to assure a bumper crop! 189 pages. Lots of color photographs! Price: $31.94
Order both books, receive a FREE Texas Gardener cap!
($15.82 if ordered separately)
Remit payment to:
TG Books * PO Box 9005 * Waco, TX 76714
or call Toll-Free 1-800-727-9020
American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover Accepted