March 7, 2018

Dear Friends,

Here is the 242nd 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 many ways. 
Thanks so much!
This newsletter is a project of The Lazy Gardener, Brenda Beust Smith, John Ferguson and Mark Bowen (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. . . .E mail 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.


Join Our Mailing List!




     The world is too much with us; late and soon,
     Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
     Little we see in Nature that is ours;
     We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
"The World Is Too Much With Us" by William Wordsworth (circa 1802)

When I started the Chronicle's Lazy Gardener column back in the late '70s, Jerry Baker was a somewhat-controversial national horticulture figure.

I really liked one of his favorite sayings, " Plants Are Like People." Treated the same ways, they tended to react the same ways, Jerry would maintain. I tended to think of them that way too.

This phrase came to mind recently as I looked over the multiple dead-stick clusters in my our new "landscape." ( It has a LONG way to go to drop those quote marks).  My recently-transplanted  Mexican bauhinia (orchid tree), Rosedown gardenia, thryallis and pink magnolia were all very old, thriving plants with deep root systems. Surely, I thought, if I moved them with tender loving care, they'd survive.

Since I'd promised Husband I wouldn't use the ax, I took advantage of recent rains (wet soil!). Thryallis and magnolia cooperated and finally agreed to being dug up, albeit after quite a battle with a shovel. Mexican bauhinia and gardenia obviously didn't want to leave their decades old home either, but were finally no match for a cable tied to my car (don't tell Husband!).
I whacked all four back to a couple of feet high. Except for the magnolia, all were dormant anyway and wouldn't have fit in my car otherwise. (See . . . ALWAYS have reason for pruning!)
Long story short, I think of Jerry when I talk to my plants. I have tremendous respect for their tenacity. If they've survive my neglect -- some for 5+ decades -- they're definitely good lazy gardener plants. Delighted to report that all four have teeny-tiny new green sprouts! No guarantee of future health, of course. But, promising.

My (now transplanted) Mexican bauhinia (orchid tree), Rosedown gardenia,
pink magnolia and thryallis back in their comfortable glory days

I really hate writing about plants that I know might be hard to find. But none of these should be with the exception of what I still call my "Rosedown" gardenia, purchased decades ago when I spoke at a Southern horticulture conference at Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, LA.  The gardenia had been growing there at least since the Civil War.  Stephen F. Austin University's Mast Arboretum in Nacogdoches has sold starter plants at its annual sales in the past, but word is not this spring. Hopefully yes, though, in the fall.

So many of our incredible, especially native, plants have been introduced at Mast, a visit to the SFA gardens at Garden Gate Gala sale time is a double-whammy treat. This year's Spring Sale will beSat., April 7, 9am-2pm at  Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St., in historic Nacogdoches. Plant lists will be available two weeks before the sale: (936) 468-4129 or

Woods around Houston to the north and east are blooming with wild Carolina jessamine (above). It's a great landscape plant, usually the first of our spring-blooming color vines. To transplan my own Carolina Jessamine (not pictured above!), I had to cut it away from the fence through which it tightly intertwined over the decades. Can't tell if it's going to return or not, but nurseries are full of these right now.

My favorite lawn weeds-er-flowers: crow poison, dandelions, strawberry grass and blackberry flowers
"Little we see in Nature that is ours . . ."  I like to think Mr. Wordsworth is smiling down when I get so excited seeing my most favorite wildflowers appear in the spring: those that used to turn our lawns into a veritable emerald mead, as cultivated patterned wildflower splashes were called in ancient Ireland.
Lawn fanatics may complain about my "weeds" (above). But I loved and protected lawn violets, strawberry grass, dandilions, oxalis and blackberry blooms. They disappear anyway when the ground heats up.
SOON WE'LL BE IN OFFICIAL TEXAS WILDFLOWER SEASON, when the dogwood and bluebonnets, above, and other more "accepted" native bloomers appear.

If you want to see Texas dogwoods in full glory, hurry. Logging has seriously devastated so much of East Texas' native dogwood habitat. It's nothing like it used to be. To truly appreciate this gift of Nature, drop in on the 80th Annual Dogwood Trails Celebration 
March 23rd-April 7th in Palestine, and/or the 75th Annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival in Woodville: weekends only Mar. 25-April 7  
Texas has numerous websites and facebook pages that detail the latest wildflower sightings (usually this means bluebonnets). One such is: The 54th Annual 2018 Bluebonnet Festival will be April 14-15 in Chappell Hill.
Bluebonnets and dogwoods have one thing in common. They both require EXCELLENT drainage. This is why you don't often see either in Houston, except for specially-sown bluebonnets on sloping highway banks. Dogwoods prefer the sandy soils of East Texas. Neither particularly care for our prolonged winter/spring rainy spells. Think "high & dry" if you're considering planting either.

Too late now for bluebonnet seed. Plant that in November/December. But nurseries are full of already-started plants and they should do fine. They will reseed but not re-sprout if they stay too wet.  And if you don't mow them down in spring. The newly-sprouted foliage looks like clover.

*  *  *

(Have to apologize to The Galveston Herb Fair and and John Jons
for not being able to get this published before the fair took place on March 7. 
Technical difficulties simply made sending this out in time impossible.)

"TOO BAD YOU CAN'T GROW BEER HERE," Husband once said to me.  Actually, you can and Galveston County Master Gardener John Jons does.  In fact, hops -- one of the four main ingredients in beer -- are the International Herb Association's Herb of the Year.  "Green Gold" -- as IAH has dubbed hops -- has benefits far beyond its attraction as a brew, such as uses as a component in stress relievers, anxiety reducers and sleep aids, plus an antibacterial impact and positive effects on skin and hair.

Want to try planting hops?  John gives great tips from his presentation at the 2018 Galveston Herb Fair below.

Left, loclly grown hop plant and hop cones. Hops produce a greenish white flower on really pretty
vines easily grown in a sunny spot. Or if John's  Spotlight article below triggers a true
expergefaction, you can go the route of this German hops garden, right.

Growing Hops in our Area
by John Jons 
Galveston County Master Gardener 
 The hop plant can be an attractive large climbing vine-like ornamental. The hop plant's flowers called cones are used in herbal medicines and as a flavoring and stability agent in beer. The young hops shoots may be eaten like asparagus. To grow hop plants:
  • Grow the plant in raised garden bedthat is at least 12" high and about 48" wide with good soil, drainage, air movement and irrigation. The bed will need to have or be near a vertical structure (trellis) to support a mature climbing plant that may weigh up to 50 pounds.
  • Hop plants are sold as rhizomes and are usually available late spring. The varieties that do well in our area are "Cascade" and "Nugget."
  • Plant the hop rhizome after the final frost. After a couple of weeks, fresh green hop canes called bines will emerge from the rhizome and naturally grow upward, adhere to and spiral clockwise around any vertical support. Select 2 to 3 bines and keep encouraging them to grow up the vertical support.
  • You may be able to harvest the hop plant's cones from May through September. As soon as the cone gets to be about ½ to 1" inch long, and feels dry and springy, harvest it by cutting it off the bine. The cones can be used fresh or stored for future use. Stored cones will need to dried and frozen.
  • Late in the fall the hop plant will go dormant and the bines will dry out. Leave the dried out bines on the plant until after the last frost the following spring. Below the ground the single hop rhizome will have grown into a mass of tangled rhizomes called a crown from which the new growth will emerge. Before the new bines emerge, cut away the dried out bines at ground level.
For a more details on how to grow hop plants locally refer to 



News from the wonderful world of soil and plants #38
A study published in Frontiers of Nutrition (2018), looking at the diets of 34,000 people has found that a diet high in fruits and vegetables with less meat is healthier. They also found that plant based food grown organically, provides significant additional benefits from climate due to reduced greenhouse emissions and far less energy consumption as compared with meat based diets.
A recent investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Guardian found that 14.7 % of the U.S. population suffer from food borne illnesses, 128,000 are hospitalized and over 3,000 die each year. Compared to the U.K. where raw milk and other unprocessed foods are allowed, only 1.5% suffer illnesses. The extremely poor condition of animals on our factory farms whom are then fed massive amounts of antibiotics which is used to keep them alive or make them grow faster and then it creates antibiotic resistance which are the major cause of these numbers. I find it interesting (alarming?) that the media talks about the small number of deaths from other causes but fails to mention the huge number of deaths by our agricultural system.
Gardeners know that they feel better after having their hands in the soil. Microbes in the soil produce scents that make us feel better and stimulate our brain function. We are learning that regular contact with healthy soil, especially through gardening AND consuming produce that contains trace amounts of soil is a great way to strengthen our immune systems as it introduces healthy soil microbes to our bodies.
On a related topic, research at the University of California (published in Environmental Health Perspectives, 2018) has found that children raised in homes surrounded by more greenspace tend to have more white and grey matter in their brains which leads to better cognitive function from better memories to better attention. These beneficial changes to their brains persist into adulthood.
A recent article in Dr. Mercola's newsletter stresses that infectious diseases continue to skyrocket as drug resistant super bugs abound. According to the CDC, 2 million Americans are diagnosed annually with disease resistant infections, that result in the deaths of 23,000 people annually (700,000 worldwide). This many more than car accidents, sharks, lightning, guns and other causes combined, and the media does not tell us about it. The good news is that researchers from Rockefeller and Rutgers universities have discovered a new class of antibiotics from the soil microbes called malacidins, which appears to work on many resistant diseases. Another reason to get our hands dirty.
A study in the Journal Structure, 2018 has found that an alkaloid extract from the common Daffodil (Amaryllidaceae Narcissus) has anti-cancer properties. Daffodils' have been used for centuries in folk medicine and this research gives an molecular explanation of why it works.
Science News has an interesting article on the human sense of smell that was published in the Journal Human Biology (January 18, 2018). Our ancestors used smell to determine if something was safe to eat, to hunt, and to sense danger. The research show that the more we use our sense of smell, the better it gets. I suspect most gardeners intuitively know this, as we sniff the fragrance of our favorite flower or herb.
Natural News had a great article last week on growing your own food called "8 reasons why you should grow your own food". One can read the details at
1) You avoid toxic chemicals
2) You are in control of what you eat
3) You eat clean food
4) You save money
5) You become healthier
6) You teach your children correct eating habits
7) You protect the environment
8) You are happier

 *   *   *

Events NOT submitted in EXACT written calendar format below may take 2+ weeks to be posted.
After that point, if your event does not appear, please email us. Adult gardening/plants events only 

Submit to:  

HOW TO GROW (OR KILL) ORCHIDS IN THREE EASY STEPS by ELIZABETH FISHER,   10 am , MUD Building, 805 Hidden Canyon Dr, Katy. Free, Nottingham Country Garden Club event.

THURS., MAR..8: ESSENTIALS OF GROWING ROSES by JAMES LAPEROUSE 7pm, Cherie Flores Garden Pavillon,1500 Hermann Dr. Houston Rose Society event. Free.

MERS by SUE HEATH. 10 am. White Oak Convention Center., 7603 Antoine. Free. Houston Federation of Garden Clubs event.
SAT., MAR. 10:  VEGETABLE & HERB PLANT SALE, 9am-noon, Fort Bend County AgriLife Extension Office, 1402 Band Rd, Rosenberg. Fort Bend Master Gardener event.; 281-341-7068;

SAT., MAR 10: PECKERWOOD GARDEN OPEN DAY, 10am-2pm tours, 20559 FM 359 Road, Hempstead. $10., 979-826-3232;

SAT., MAR. 10: FLORALS, 8-10am, & VEGETABLES, 10:30-12:30pm, AgriLife Extension Office, 9020 Airport Rd, Conroe. Montgomery County Master Gardener event. $5/one session; $8/both. 936-539-7824,

SAT., MAR. 10: MONTGOMERY COUNTY FLORALS, 8-10am, & VEGETABLES, 10:30-12:30pm, AgriLife Extension Office, 9020 Airport Rd, Conroe. Montgomery County Master Gardener event. $5/one session; $8/both. 936-539-7824,

SAT., MAR. 10: BRING YOUR TREE QUESTIONS! by Brad Phillips, 11:30am, The Old School House, 200 Slade St., Coldspring.  Free.  San Jacinto Co. Historical Society, 936-653-2332.

TUES. MAR. 13:
INTRODUCTION TO THE SOIL FOOD WEB, by JOHN FERGUSON, 10:30 am, Meadowbrook Garden Club, Bonnie Calkins, 281-650-0726

TUES., MAR. 13: PLUMERIAS!, 7:30pm, Cherie Flores Garden Pavillion, Hermann Park Conservancy, 1500 Hermann Dr. Plumeria Society of America event. Free.

TUES., MAR 13: GROWING HERBS IN HOUSTON'S MICRO-CLIMATE BY JEANNIE DUNNEHOC OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS ASSOCIATION, 9am, Shenandoah Municipal Complex, 29955 I-45 N, Shenandoah. Free. The Woodlands Garden Club monthly meeting.

THURS., MAR. 15: IMPROVING SOIL FUNCTION WITH NATIVE VEGETATION by JARED MCNABB, 6:45-8:30 pm; Houston Arboretum, (new entrance) West Loop N access road before Woodway Dr., Native Plant Society of Texas-Houston Chapter event. Free.
FRI., MAR. 16: BAYOU ECOLOGY, 12:30-1:30pm, 8500 Bay Area Blvd., Pasadena. Free.

SAT., MAR. 17: MARCH MART, 10am-4pm, Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine-Westfield, Humble. Free. 713-274-4160.

SAT. MAR 17:  TOMATO STRESS MANAGEMENT by IRA GERVAIS, 9-11am; COMPOSTING with JIM GILLIAM, 1-3pm, AgriLife Extension Bldg, Carbide Park, 4102 Main (Hwy 519), La Marque. Galveston County Master Ga rdener event. Free. Register : , 281-309-5065,
SAT., MAR. 17: ORGANIC WAY TO IMPROVE SOIL & MINIMIZE PESTS by BOB RANDALL, 11am-noon, Wabash Feed & Garden, 4537 N. Shepherd. $10, Register: 

TUE., MAR. 20: BROMELIADS IN FIBER by MICHAEL YOUNG, 7:30pm, West Gray Multi-Service Center, 1475 W Gray.  Free. Bromeliad Society / Houston event.

WED., MAR. 21: SNAKE IDENTIFICATION, noon-2pm, Mercer Botanic Gardens West Side Arboretum Pavilion, 22306 Aldine-Westfield, Humble. Free. Register: 713-274-4160

THU. MAR 22:  FIG TREE PRUNING & PROPAGATION, by TERRY CUCLIS, 9-10am; Galveston County Master Gardener Discovery Garden, Carbide Park, 4102 Main (Hwy 519), La Marque. Master Gardener event. , Free. Register:, 281-309-5065,

SAT., MAR. 24: HARRIS COUNTY MASTER GARDENER HERB, PERENNIAL & PEPPER SALE, 9am-1pm, free program: 8am, Campbell Hall, Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Red Bluff Rd, Pasadena. Genoa Friendship Gardens event..

SAT. MAR 24:  BENEFICIALS IN THE GARDEN by DR. WILLIAM M. JOHNSON, 1-3pm, AgriLife Extension Bldg, Carbide Park, 4102 Main (Hwy 519), La Marque. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Free. Register: , 281-309-5065,

SAT., MAR 24: PECKERWOOD GARDEN OPEN DAY, 10am-2pm tours, 20559 FM 359 Road, Hempstead. $10., 979-826-3232;

SAT., MARCH 24: MEMORIAL NORTHWEST LADYBUGS GARDEN CLUB ANNUAL PLANT AND TREE SALE, 9am-2pm, Memorial Northwest Community Center, 17440 Theiss Mail Route Road, Spring,
SAT. MAR. 24:  MONTGOMERY COUNTY MASTER GARDENER SPRING PLANT SALE, Program 8am, sale 9am-noon, AgriLife Extension Office, 9020 Airport Rd, Conroe. 936-539-7824;

SUN., MAR. 25: STEWARDSHIP OF THE SOIL by JOHN FERGUSON, 6pm, Sunday Evening Conversations on Creation
Webinar, Lisa Brenskelle,
SAT., MAR. 24: GARDEN VILLAS GARDEN CLUB ANNUAL PLANT & GARDEN ACCESSORIES SALE, 9am-1pm, Community Center, 6720 S. Haywood. Free.; 713-545-2926
SUN., MAR. 25: HIBISCUS CARE by MARTI GRAVES, 2pm-3pm. Klein United Methodist Church, Christian Life Center, Room #C112, 5920 FM 2920, Spring, TX 77388. Free. Cypress Creek Daylily Club event.

WED., MAR. 28: NATURE'S WAY RESOURCES HORTICULTURAL TOUR, 10:15am-4:30pm, Senior Adult Botanic Bus Trip, Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine-Westfield. $1. Register: 713-274-4160

THURS., APR. 5:  HISTORY OF MERCER ARBORETUM by JACOB MARTIN, 10 am, MUD Building, 805 Hidden Canyon Dr, Katy. Free, Nottingham Country Garden Club event.

FRI., APR. 6: SOILS by JOHN FERGUSON, Liberty Garden Club, Ellen Gossett, (409) 350-1109
SAT., APR. 7.: WHITE OAK GARDEN SPRING PLANT SALE, 10am-2pm (or sell-out); SALE PREVIEW by HEIDI SHEESLEY, 9am, White Oak Conference Center, 7603 Antoine Dr. Free.

SAT., APR 7: SPRINGTIME ACROSS THE CREEK AT PECKERWOOD GARDEN, 10am, 20559 FM 359 Road, Hempstead. $15. Register:;,  979-826-3232

THURS,.APR.12: SAVE THAT ROSE FOR NEXT WEEK by Diane Sommers 7pm, Cherie Flores Garden Pavillon,1500 Hermann Dr. Houston Rose Society event. Free.

FRI., APR. 13: THE WORLD OF SEED by ANGELA CHANDLER. 10am., White Oak Convention Center, 7603 Antoine, Free. Houston Federation of Garden Clubs event.

SAT., APR 14: PECKERWOOD GARDEN OPEN DAY, 10am-2pm tours, 20559 FM 359 Road, Hempstead. $10., 979-826-3232;

SAT., APR. 14: BROMELIAD SALE, 9am-3 pm, West Gray Multi-Service Center, 1475 W Gray.  Free. Bromeliad Society / Houston event.

 SAT,. APR. 21: HOUSTON ROSE SOCIETY ANNUAL SPRING SHOW, Noon-4pm, Memorial City Mall, 303 Memorial City Way. Houston Rose Society event. 

SAT., APR 21: PECKERWOOD GARDEN, 7pm, 20559 FM 359 Road, Hempstead. $10. Register:,  979-826-3232

SAT., APR. 21:ARMAND BAYOU NATURE CENTER PARTY FOR THE PLANET, 8500 Bay Area Blvd. , Pasadena. Register:; 281-474-2551

SAT., APR. 21: EDIBLE LANDSCAPES, 9:30-11:30am, Houston Museum of Natural Science. $30. Urban Harvest event. Register:  713-880-5540;

WED., APR. 25: PECKERWOOD GARDENS TOUR, 8:15am - 4:30pm, Senior Adult Botanic Bus Trip, Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine-Westfield. $1. Register: 713-274-4160

FRI., APRIL 27: INTERNATIONAL OLEANDER SOCIETY FESTIVAL KICK-OFF LUNCHEON, 11:30am-1pm; Hotel Galvez, Galveston. $35. Register
SAT., APRIL 28: OLEANDER FESTIVAL & GRAND OLEANDER SALE, 10am-4pm, Moody Mansion grounds, 2618 Broadway, Galveston. Free. Lydia Miller 409-770-4312
SAT., APR 28: PECKERWOOD GARDEN OPEN DAY, 10am-2pm tours, 20559 FM 359 Road, Hempstead. $10., 979-826-3232;

SAT. APR 28:  GROWING CUCUMBERS, SUMMER SQUASH, CANTALOUPES & OTHER CUCURBITS by HERMAN AUER, 9-10:30 am; Galveston County Bayside Community Center, 4833 10th St., Bayside Park, Bacliff. Master Gardener event. Free. Register:, 281-309-5065.
TUES., MAY 8: PLUMERIAS!, 7:30pm, Cherie Flores Garden Pavillion, Hermann Park Conservancy, 1500 Hermann Dr. Plumeria Society of America event. Free.

MON., MAY 14: INTRODUCTION TO THE SOIL FOOD WEB by JOHN FERGUSON, 6:30pm, University of Houston at Clear Lake, Forest Room on East of Bayou Building. Native Plant Society of Texas at Clear Lake Martha Richeson, 713-962-7747

FRI. MAY 11: HONEY BEES - JAMES AND CHARI OF BLUEBONNET BEEKEEPERS. 10am. White Oak Convention Center, 7603 Antoine. Free. Houston Federation of Garden Clubs event.

SAT., MAY 12: SQUARE FOOT GARDENING, 9:30am-11:30am, Houston Museum of Natural Science. $30. Urban Harvest event. Register:  713-880-5540;
SAT., MAY 19: STARTING A COMMUNITY OR SCHOOL GARDEN WORKSHOP, 8:30am-2:30pm, University of St. Thomas. $20. Urban Harvest event. Register:  713-880-5540;
SAT., JUNE 9: PLUMERIA SOCIETY OF AMERICA SHOW & SALE, 9:30am-3pm, Bay Area Community Center, 5002 Nasa Road One, Seabrook.  Free.

SAT., JUNE 9: LOW VOLUME IRRIGATION (HMNS), 9:30-11:30am, Houston Museum of Natural Science. $30. Urban Harvest event. Register:  713-880-5540; 

TUES., JULY 10: PLUMERIAS!, 7:30pm, Cherie Flores Garden Pavillion, Hermann Park Conservancy, 1500 Hermann Dr. Plumeria Society of America event. Free.


If we inspire you to attend any of these, please let them know you heard about it in . . .  
& please patronize our Newsletter & Calendar sponsors below! 
Events NOT submitted in the EXACT written format below may take two weeks or longer
to be reformatted/retyped. After that point, if your event does not appear, please email us.
Sorry, no children's programs. - Submit to: 


                                                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.