October 22, 2018

Dear Friends,

Here is the 271st 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. (John is 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: [email protected]. 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.

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This week's so news-packed, I hardly know where to begin. But that's the way it ought to be, as Fall - even with our quickie cold spells - is really our best gardening period.
First though . . .  
A TIP O' THE TROWEL to the Bayou Preservation Association and multiple other groups who are saluting " Houston Women in the Environment," a truly-community series of events Oct. 27-28. Groups, in particular, should send representatives to these events. Reports will make fascinating programs. Learn more at  houston-women-in-the-environment.eventbrite.com. 
Below we take a look at the broad scope of what's going on in the Greater Houston area's horticultural arenas: 
"Children see magic because they look for it." -- Christopher Moore, writer
  • In the first of our three Spotlight Articles below, a group of Magnolia ISD children are taking their school garden to a new level, by incorporating aquaponics.
    With the addition of aquaponics, they will learn an alternative to growing vegetables in the soil outside and how to grow plants in a more efficient, sustainable way. Their leader, Merrie Decker, is a winner of Marva Beck award for Junior Master Gardening at the Texas State Conference.
  • In the second Spotlight Article, the Houston Rose Society's Suzanne Gilbert review of some soon-to-be-marketed roses and why they've won such accolades should put all of us into the mood for one of the HRS' most popular free workshops, the "Root-A-Rose" Clinic which Gaye Hammond will conduct Nov. 3 (7pm, Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, 1500 Hermann Dr. Details: houstonrose.org).
One reason Houston boasts the largest rose society in the nation is its constantly welcoming and support of a wide range of rose growers, from novices to international award winners. Gaye's clinic will teach the basics of rooting. And in her Spotlight article below, Suzanne gives us a glimpse of how Serious Rose Growers view and rate top award-winning bloomers.
  • Our third Spotlight Article urges us to Look Up to make sure we're not harboring any "zombie trees," as Paul Johnson of Texas A&M Forest Service once christened Harvey-damaged trees that are producing one last gasp of life before giving up the ghost.
Trees represent such a major investment, it's worth the time and effort to understand how and why they thrive, or fail to do so. Two upcoming events will focus specifically on the best trees for this area.
    • 1. SAT., NOV. 3: FREE TREE GIVEAWAY SPONSORED BY NASCAR WITH SUPPORT FROM HARRIS COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS - 10:00am-12:00pm, Hermann Park, McGovern Centennial Gardens, Houston. 500 one-gallon trees available (includes Live Oaks, Shumard Red Oaks, Bur Oaks, Red Maples and Wax Myrtles), limit 4 trees per adult. Free. 713-274-0950; hcmga.tamu.edu
      . This Free Tree Giveaway is a collaboration between Texas A&M Forest Service and Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Recovery Program.  The event is sponsored by NASCAR and will be held at McGovern Centennial Gardens with the help of Harris County Master Gardeners. The Forest Service and Arbor Day are organizing four events around Houston. Each event will give away 500 trees each, totaling 2,000 trees! hcmga.tamu.edu
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L to r, Giada misting the milkweed seed. Checking out the plants.  
Paisley and Gaida and, right, Merrie feeding the fish.   
Montgomery County Master Gardener
Bear Branch Elementary, Magnolia ISD, has introduced aquaponics to their well-established gardening program. The six-year-old state award-winning Junior Master Gardening Club is led by Montgomery County Master Gardener (MCMG) Merrie Decker, assisted by fellow teachers Carla Allen and Kimberly Moser.  
The aquaponics system is new this year. The children help maintain the system by taking the pH, feeding the fish, and planting seeds in the plant table. A generous couple donated their aquaponics system to the school. MCMG colleagues Michael Bodman, Jim Bundscho, Mike Cooley, Yvonne Stephenson and Libby Lachman helped design a functioning system that would work well in the school's greenhouse and would be easily accessible for the children to use and maintain.  
Traditionally, the children grow their own vegetables from seed in the school's greenhouse. With the addition of aquaponics, they are learning a more efficient, sustainable alternative to growing outside in soil. Aquaponics is way of raising fish and plants in an enclosed, recirculating ecosystem. Within the system, a fish tank contains bluegill, which provide nutrients for plants. In turn, plants, along with bacteria, help clean the water for fish. The water continually recirculates throughout the system, creating a system that produces a dual harvest from one process.
Aquaponics can be used as a tool for STEM subjects like Math, Biology, Chemistry and Horticulture. In the past, the JMG group has conducted fertilizer trials, production trials as a way of learning the scientific method. This year we will grow vegetables in the aquaponics systems to compare to what we grow outside in the soil.  Lettuce harvested and washed is enjoyed as a snack, as well as used for a comparison.  Substantial differences were found between lettuces grown in a tray in the greenhouse and the lettuce in aquaponics.
Bear Branch Elementary also has a Monarch Waystation that provides a place for Monarchs to rest, lay eggs and get a drink on their journey to and from Mexico. However, the school has had a difficult time getting enough milkweed in the garden due the low germination rate of milkweed seeds. The aquaponics system successfully will allow the six seeded varieties of native milkweed to germinate, producing several sprouts in just two weeks. A record success that will provide more food for the Monarchs!

All grade levels at Bear Branch Elementary go to the greenhouse to learn about aquaponics, with the help of the JMG club members. In the spring, the school will have a carnival where all will be invited to tour their new aquaponics system.
And what do the children have to say about the new approach? "Really cool experience getting to take care of fish at school" -- Jake; "I learned plants are happy and grow better on the aquaponics table" -- Giada; "We get to see fish ... and the plants they help" -- Lillian; and from Paisley about what she likes best: "That you have to test the water, I like that!"   
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  • On Twitter, the Bear Branch Junior Master Gardeners' handle is @BBES_JMG
  • Merrie Decker can be contacted at [email protected] 
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 Oso Easy Urban Legend (R. 'ChewPatout')and Shining Moment (Radshining) 
Houston Rose Society   
This year on September 29 winners of the 2018 Biltmore International Rose Trials were announced after a final judging by rosarians from across the country. Paul Zimmerman of Paul Zimmerman Roses launched the Biltmore International Rose Trials in 2011. The roses in the trial are planted in the walled Rose Garden, which is located on the historic Asheville N. C, estate that was the home of George and Edith Vanderbilt.
The winners of this year's trial were planted in 2016. A permanent jury judges the roses four times a year. The trial goes for two and a half years. There is a nominal fee to enter and it is open to professional and amateur breeders who submit their roses by mail in one-gallon pots on their own roots. Each entry must have six plants of that variety.  
The roses are planted and cared for by the Biltmore's horticultural staff. During the trial the roses receive minimal care. They are not sprayed with chemicals. The roses are fertilized with sustainable products mostly from Beaty Fertilizer using a combination of granular and foliar feedings. Roses continually plagued with blackspot are removed from the trial.  
The roses in the trial are cared for in the same way the home gardener would take care of them in his garden with monthly care. The roses have been grown, tested and evaluated under sustainable conditions so the real winner is the consumer who can buy a rose that will be healthy and beautiful in his garden.
Roses in the trial are evaluated on four categories. The first is overall appearance. Does the rose have a pleasing shape? Is the foliage healthy and does the plant appear to be vigorous? The second is flower. Are there many buds, blooms and color? Is there evidence of recurring bloom such as spent blooms or withered flowers? The third is disease resistance. There should be evidence of minimal fungal disease. The fourth category is fragrance. This is a very subjective category because we all smell roses differently. However a fragrant rose will have a pleasing aroma that is detected easily.
Asheville N.C. and Houston are different growing areas of the country however, we experience similar challenges such as hot dry summers, humidity and periods of cold in the winter. Since the roses are tested in no spray, sustainable conditions they should be a good choice for the Gulf Coast area as long correct growing practices for our area are followed: raised beds, 6 hours of sun, good air circulation etc. They won't grow in shade or near tree roots.
Princesse Charlene De Monaco (Meidysouk ) and Highwire Flyer (Radwire)    
The winners are:
-- George and Edith Vanderbilt Most Outstanding Rose in the 2018 Biltmore Int'l Rose Trial:  
  • Princesse Charlene De Monaco (Meidysouk), hybrid tea rose bred by House Meilland in France, distributed by Star Roses & Plants.This rose also won the Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil Award for Most Fragrant Rose and Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid Tea.   
-- Lord Burleigh Award for Best Disease Resistant and the Chauncey Beadle Award for Best Shrub Rose:
  • Oso Easy Urban Legend (R. 'ChewPatout'), bred by Chris Warner of Spring Meadow Nursery.
-- Gilded Age Award for Climbing Rose and the William Cecil Award for Best Growth Habit:
  • Highwire Flyer (Radwire), bred by William Radler of Star Roses and Pla
-- Edith Wharton Award for Best Floribunda:
  • Shining Moment (Radshining) bred by William Radler of Star Roses and Plants.
Winners of the 2018 Biltmore Rose trials should be widely available in nurseries this spring. They may be also ordered online.
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THURS, NOV. 8: ROOT-A-ROSE CLINIC by GAYE HAMMOND, 7pm, Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion,
1500 Hermann Dr. Houston Rose Society event. Free.  houstonrose.org 
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Trees are the oldest living organisms on earth. In Utah, an Aspen tree, dubbed Pando, is estimated to be at least 80,000 years old. The Angel Oak, that recently survived hurricane Florence is the oldest living tree east of the Mississippi.  
Both have weathered the challenges of hurricanes and drought, yet still stand tall.
In our Houston climate, trees survive harsh and variable weather. Sometimes a tree struggles, especially after hurricanes such as Harvey, or the recent prolonged rains.
Homeowners may think their tree is a "goner" and wonder if their tree will live or can be saved. Trees are resilient and will recover from nature's most extreme weather events.
Tree recovery tips and what to consider:
  • Does the tree have 50% of it's branches and leaves intact? Is it growing new foliage to ensure its recovery?
  • If debris and mulch has mounded and surrounded a tree, rake it back to allow the tree to breath and dry out
  • High winds can wind-burn a tree causing brown foliage. Look for new green leaves which are a sign of recovery
  • Leaning trees, that are 4-5 inches wide with intact roots, can be up righted and anchored using stakes and "guy" wires
  • Mud smothers. Use a hose to wash off mud allowing the tree to breathe and renew
  • Leaves turning yellow at the top of the tree or the ends of branches are a distress sign and time to call a certified arborist
  • Call a certified arborist for removal of high placed dead branches or if the tree has a split trunk or leaves continue to turn yellow.
Healthy trees encourage healthy lives by:
  • Providing shade that cools the air by 2%
  • Reducing soil erosion
  • Improving air quality by absorbing greenhouse gases
  • Being a shelter and home for wildlife
  • Providing food for people and pollinators.
Whether you are treating a damaged tree or replacing a tree from Hurricane Harvey you are keeping Houston green and vigorous. The benefits of trees are endless. Trees clean our air and water and feed the human soul with their splendor. Each new tree planted is one more step to create beauty in your landscape and one more step for healthy lives.
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  • 1. SAT., NOV. 3: FREE TREE GIVEAWAY SPONSORED BY NASCAR WITH SUPPORT FROM HARRIS COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS - 10am-noon, Hermann Park, McGovern Centennial Gardens, limit 4 trees per adult. Free. 713-274-0950; hcmga.tamu.edu
Is based on her 40+ years as the Houston Chronicle's Lazy Gardener.  To sign up for this free,  
weekly Greater Houston area gardening report or read past issues, go to natureswayresources.com
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For those living in The Woodlands , there is a new landscaping rebate program for those whom purchase low water use drought tolerant plants. For each household there is a maximum of $300 and you may receive a rebate up to $150 of the purchase price (the rebate will pay up to 50% of the purchase price). The plant rebate is only for low water use and drought tolerant native plants. These range from large trees to small trees and shrubs. It includes many native perennial plants that are not only beautiful they provide food for butterflies, birds and wildlife. The complete list and instructions may be found at:

Nature's Way Resources is a proud partner in this water saving program and currently has many of the plants in stock with more on order. Participating Nurseries for Native Plant Rebates are:
Nature's Way Resources
101 Sherbrook Circle
Conroe, Texas 77385
Alspaugh's Ace Hardware of The Woodlands
10720 Kuykendahl Rd.
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
Studies showing the importance of soil microbes continue to be released almost daily. One study in the journal New Phytologist by researchers at the  University of California found that the species of microbes makes a big difference. The study on a member of the pea family found  a 13-fold growth increase when partnered with the nitrogen fixing bacterium Bradyrhizobium. However, other species of nitrogen fixing bacterium did not produce the same dramatic results. This study suggests a new field of study by matching which strain of microbes works best with which species of plants. In the meantime there are inoculants shown to work with many species of plants and the single best of the inoculants is a high quality well aged compost. 
Recent tests found Monsanto's carcinogenic herbicide glyphosate in popular oat-based cereals at levels up to eight times higher than what scientists consider safe. That's outrageous! Corporate agribusinesses are spraying this dangerous chemical on crops right before they're harvested, putting your health at risk. This practice is unsafe and unnecessary. Our friends at EWG (Environmental Working Group) have filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency to get glyphosate out of our food. Will you join us? ADD YOUR NAME: Tell the EPA to stand up for our health and get glyphosate out of our food!
A related article from the Dr. Mercola Newsletter on our health:

Glyphosate Also Impacts Plant Nutrition and Soil Biology - Glyphosate's primary mode of action is that it shuts down amino acid synthesis, followed by inhibition of protein synthesis necessary for plant growth. As a result, the plant dies. However, this also causes the plant to be more susceptible to soil microbes, especially pathogens (The link will take you to an article by Robert Kremer, Phd., is a certified soil scientist and professor of Soil Microbiology at the University of  Missouri. He recently retired from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), where he worked as a microbiologist for 32 years. Since he is retired from the USDA he can now talk about the dangers of glyphosate without being punished by the government). The reason for this is because the amino acids are also building blocks for other compounds that have defensive functions against soil pathogens. As a result, the plant becomes more susceptible to attack and infection by microorganisms in the soil. 

Glyphosate also acts as a mineral chelator, and minerals such as zinc, copper and manganese, which are essential cofactors in many plant enzymes. Chelating or removing these minerals from the plants is largely responsible for impairing their protein synthesis as the enzymes involved in syntheses require the minerals to function. This then opens the plant up to attack.

Now, since glyphosate becomes systemic when applied to the plant, meaning the chemical is integrated into every cell of the plant, it also ends up passing through the roots into the soil. That's in addition to that coming into contact with the soil surface during application. Once the glyphosate is in the soil, it acts as an antibiotic and a chelator, making valuable minerals unavailable to the plant and greatly lowers the quality (nutrient density) of our food.

While that's bad enough, as this affects the nutrient content of the food, nutrients also become unavailable to the beneficial microorganisms living in the rhizosphere. What's more, if the minerals are bound to glyphosate in the plant, there's no way for your body to dissociate that bond to make the nutrients available when you eat it. Instead, those minerals will simply be excreted back out, or stored in your body right along with the glyphosate.  Click here for the full article.

Another study has found that when different species of plants are planted together they are healthier than when a single species is used. In agriculture it is called mixed cropping and a variation is called intercropping where rows of different species are alternated. Another benefit is dense plantings of multiple species ensures a thick canopy of foliage. This prevents sunlight from reaching the ground and triggering weed seeds to germinate. With less sunlight reaching the ground, the soil is cooler and there is less evaporation. This means far less water is required.

Another type of soil amendment to enrich our soil and grow healthier plants is "bone char". This important for two reasons: 1) The world supply of cheap and available phosphorus (P) is running out. However, bone char is 37% phosphorus and 33% calcium (Ca) plus some other minor and trace elements. 2) One of the benefits of using bone char for phosphorus is that it does not contain the toxic element cadmium (Cd) that is found with mined phosphorus deposits which are used in artificial fertilizers. Bones can be cooked in an oven similar to making bio-char or just dried and ground up into small particles. The cooking process makes the nutrients in the bones more readily available for plants. Farmers have been using bones for thousands of years to provide nutrients for their crops. Many gardeners have used a similar product called bone meal (dried and ground bones) for decades.

There is a new method of testing soils for fertility and nutrient management called the "Haney Test" that is growing in popularity. It integrates both microbial and chemical measurements providing more accurate information to help gardeners or farmers. Ward Laboratories has a easy to understand summary on their website at https://www.wardlab.com/haney-info.php

I often get asked where can I learn more about the dangers of pesticides and how I can protect my children (or pets).  There is a non-profit organization dedicated to this issue called Beyond Pesticides. On their website one can find information on all types of health issues caused by pesticide exposure. This ranges from the food we eat, to just breathing the air after an application. They also offer a quarterly magazine  and have a free e-newsletter. Many reasons to only use the modern organic methods in our gardening. For more information go to their website:   https://www.beyondpesticides.org

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Black Thumb, Brown Thumb, Green Thumb... it takes passion, rich soil and the right information to be a successful gardener. Sometimes it hard to know who to trust. 
Add HomeShow Garden Pros to your Saturdays starting at 7 AM on SportsRadio 610 AM. Join Dany Millikin, Conservancy Program Manager for Memorial Park, and a rotation of local experts from leading garden centers. They'll welcome your calls and provide solutions for all your gardening and landscaping challenges. 
Need help fast? Visit www.homeshowgardenpros.com for videos, podcasts and timely tips. You'll find an easy way to send your questions and problem pics directly to Dany. 
HomeShow Garden Pros is free, thanks to a co-op of leading garden centers including Buchanan's Native Plants, Enchanted Nurseries & Landscapes, Nelson Nursery & Water Gardens, Plants for All Seasons and Warren's Southern Gardens.
Be a part of the program: Call (713) 572-4610 between 7AM - 9AM each Saturday morning
Join the conversation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HomeShowGardenPros/
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   Events NOT submitted in EXACT written calendar format below may take 2+ weeks to be posted.
 Adult gardening/plants events only -- If you don't see your submitted event, email us


WED. OCT. 24: HISTORY OF TEQUILA & MEZCAL by LILIANA CRACRAFT, 7:30pm, Metropolitan Multi-Services Center, 1475 West Gray. Free. Houston Cactus & Succulents Society event. hcsstex.org 
SAT., OCT. 27: FRUIT TREE CLASS by JIM MAAS & PAT CORDRAY, 10am, Maas Nursery, 5511 Todville Road, Seabrook. $25. 281-474-2488, maasnursery.com

SAT. OCT 27 :  "TEXAS TUFF" PLANTS by MARIA LEAL, 9-11 am; TURNING DIRT INTO SOIL-CREATING AN IDEAL GARDEN by JIM GILLIAM, 1-3 pm.  Galveston County Master Gardener events. Free but register: [email protected], 281-309-5065. aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.html.

SAT., OCT 27: A NEW YEAR OF HERBS STARTING NOW! by ANN WHEELER, 10am, The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball. Free. 281-351-8851. www.arborgate.com

SAT., NOV. 3: MINIATURE FAIRY GARDEN CLASS by JIM MAAS & PAT CORDRAY, 10am, Maas Nursery, 5511 Todville Road, Seabrook. $40. 281-474-2488, maasnursery.com

SAT., NOV.3:  SEABORNE NATURE FEST, 10am-4pm, Seaborne Creek Nature Park, 3831 TX 36, Rosenberg. Free. SEABOURNE NATURE FEST 
SAT., NOV 3: 46th ANNUAL HERB FAIR, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Judson Robinson Community Center, 2020 Hermann Drive, Houston, TX 77004. The Herb Society of America, South Texas Unit. Free admission. herbsociety-stu.org
SAT. NOV 3: BACKYARD CITRUS by ROBERT MARSHALL, 1-3:45pm, Rosenberg Library Wortham Auditorium, 2310 Sealy St, Galveston. Free. Galveston County Master Gardener event. Register: [email protected], 281-309-5065. aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston 
SAT., NOV. 3: NASCAR TREE GIVEAWAY, 10am-noon, Hermann Park, McGovern Centennial Gardens. Free. Harris County Master Gardeners co-op. 713-274-0950; hcmga.tamu.edu
SAT., NOV 3: WINTERIZE YOUR GARDEN by CINDY CHAMPION, 11am-noon., Wabash Feed and Garden, 4537 N. Shepherd, Free.
MON, NOV. 5: SOUTHERN BULBS BY CHRIS WIESINGER OF THE SOUTHERN BULB COMPANY, 9:30 am, Amegy Bank Community Room, 28201 State Hwy 249, Tomball.  Free. Tomball Garden Club event. [email protected]
WED., Nov. 7: COLOR PLANTS AND BONSAI by PHILLIP DRILLING, 9-11 am, Clear Lake United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall,16335 El Camino Real. Free. Gardeners by the Bay event. gbtb.org  
THURS., NOV. 8: FERTILIZERS by BOB PATTERSON, 10am, MUD Building #81, 805 Hidden Canyon Dr. Free. Nottingham County Garden Club event. ncgctx.org 
THURS, NOV. 8 ROOT-A-ROSE CLINIC by GAYE HAMMOND, 7pm, Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion,1500 Hermann Dr. Houston Rose Society event. Free. houstonrose.org 
THURS. NOV. 8: HOLIDAY GARDEN COLOR by LINDA GAY, 6:30pm, Canopy, 3939 Montrose. $30. Peckerwood Garden event. Register: peckerwoodgarden.org.  
FRI., NOV. 9:  THE PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS - TEXAS' STATE PLANT by LILIANA CRACRAFT, ",  Speaker Liliana Cracraft. 10am, First Christian Church, 1601 Sunset Blvd. Free. houstonfederationgardenclubs.org
SAT. NOV 10:  WHAT IS A GALVESTON COUNTY MASTER GARDENER? by DIANE SCHENKE, 9-11am; EVALUATING YOUR SOIL'S HEALTH by JIM GILLIAM, 1-3 pm., AgriLife Extension Bldg, Carbide Park, 4102 Main (Hwy 519), La Marque. Master Gardener events. Free but register:[email protected], 281-309-5065, aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.html 
SAT., NOV. 10: HOW TO GROW FRUIT TREES AND CITRUS by DIANNE NORMAN, 1-2pm, Wabash Feed and Garden 4537 N. Shepherd. Free 
TUES., NOV. 13: CREATIVE HOLIDAY IDEAS FROM YOUR GARDEN by Betty Lahiri, 9 am, Shenandoah Municipal Complex, 29955 I-45 North, Shenandoah. Free. The Woodlands Garden Club event. 
WED., NOV. 14: SUCCULENT DESIGN, noon-2pm, Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine-Westfield, Humble. Free. Register: 713-274-4160
FRI., NOV. 16: HOUSTON URBAN TREE CONFERENCE, 8:15am-3pm, Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.. $45. Register: houston-urban-tree-conference.eventbrite.com 
TUES., NOV. 20: GOT TREES & GRASS & WEEDS? by DEBORAH BIRGE, 10am; St. Basil's Hall, 702 Burney Road, Sugar Land. Free. Sugar Land Garden Club event. sugarlandgardenclub.org 
SAT., DEC. 8: HOLIDAY IN THE GARDENS, 11am-5pm, Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine-Westfield, Humble. Free. 713-274-4160
WED., DEC. 12: WINTER COLOR, noon-2pm, Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine-Westfield, Humble. Free. Register: 713-274-4160
FRI., DEC 14: WINTER WONDERLAND LUNCHEON GALA, speaker: BILL McKINLEY. 10am, Houston Federation of Garden Clubs event. $30.  houstonfederationgardenclubs.org
FRI., DEC. 14: WALLER COUNTY MASTER GARDENER TRAINING PROGRAM REGISTRATION DEADLINE. Begins Thurs. Jan. 17. $160. txmg.org/wallermg/training

FRI., JAN.11: THE HISTORY OF THE PEGGY MARTIN ROSE by PEGGY MARTIN, 10am, First Christian Church, 1601 Sunset Blvd. Free. houstonfederationgardenclubs.org
FRI., JAN. 25: MONARCH TRAIN THE TRAINER WORKSHOP, Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine-Westfield, Humble. Free. Register: 713-274-4160. 

FRI: FEB. 8: PLANT SALE and speaker CORRIE TEN-HAVE, 10am, First Christian Church, 1601 Sunset Blvd. Free. houstonfederationgardenclubs.org FRI: MAR. 8:  NATIVE PLANTS ARE BEAUTIFUL TOO! by Linda Gay, 10am, First Christian Church, 1601 Sunset Blvd. Free. houstonfederationgardenclubs.org
SAT., MAR. 16: MARCH MART PLANT SALE, Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine-Westfield, Humble. Free. 713-274-4160.

FRI: APR. 11:  PLANT SALE and REFUGEES FROM THE ANIMAL KINGDOM by MARGARET PICKELL. 10am, First Christian Church, 1601 Sunset Blvd. Free. houstonfederationgardenclubs.org
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: [email protected] 

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.
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 and  quality control.
Pablo helps this newsletter happen from a technical support standpoint.