Diverse singing lineages within the suborder Ensifera date back more than 300 million years. Clockwise from top left: cricket, mole cricket, grig and katydid. (Photo by Piotr Naskrecki)
Research shows insects evolved pathways for acoustic communication
By Adam Russell
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Songs produced by crickets, katydids, grasshoppers and other orthopteran insects are hundreds of millions of years in the making, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist’s research published in Nature Communications.
Hojun Song, Ph.D., AgriLife Research entomologist and associate professor in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University, Bryan-College Station, said there have been many changes to the way insects within the Orthoptera order hear and create sounds, but the lineage of these songs dates back around 350 million years.
“We may take it for granted when we hear crickets and katydids, but these insects are involved in very complex acts of communication,” he said. “Just like we use vocal cords and ears to relay messages in acoustic communication, these insects are engaged in a communication that is some of the oldest on Earth.”
The research publication “Phylogenomic analysis sheds light on the evolutionary pathways towards acoustic communication in Orthoptera” shows that the lineages of Orthoptera were communicating to find mates, avoid predators and navigate throughout 350 million years of diversification. By investigating these ancient communication methods, humans can better understand how we ourselves communicate, Song said.
The research was a five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation and the 1KITE, 1K Insect Transcriptome Evolution project, a large international consortium aiming to study the transcriptomes, or the entirety of expressed genes, of more than 1,000 insect species from all recognized insect orders. The publication included work from 12 other scientists from around the globe and is accessible to anyone.
“We discovered a great deal, but there is a great deal that is yet to be discovered about acoustic communication in Orthoptera,” Song said. “But the practical applications of our study are also exciting because it is possible to develop novel tools, such as hearing aid devices, modeled after these ancient mechanisms used for acoustic communication.”
Why crickets and katydids?
In terms of animal sounds, insects are the most diverse communicators on the planet, Song said. There are thousands of mammalian and avian species that communicate acoustically for mating, defense and navigation, but there are tens of thousands of insect species that make and hear sounds.
Song and the other researchers approached the project by poring over extensive literature and by using phylogeny, which refers to the evolutionary relationships among organisms. They also collected DNA- and RNA-quality samples of a wide range of Orthoptera species from around the globe and viewed curated species collections and fossil records.
The researchers deduced relationships and built a phylogeny based on DNA sampling and gene sequencing methods, including transcriptome analysis, which have improved exponentially over the past decade.
“A few data points can give a glimpse of the evolutionary relationships, but the amount of data we can generate now can give us a very clear view of the relationships among those species we sampled,” he said. “The transcriptome analysis helped us build a reliable family tree.”
The Orthoptera order encompasses about 28,000 known species, and around 16,000 of them communicate acoustically, Song said. These insects use various specialized mechanisms on their wings or legs and abdomens to create and hear sounds.
Some crickets’ wings have microscopic teeth on the underside that look like a file. When rubbed by a scraping mechanism on the other wing, the “teeth” emit the tell-tale chirp. Some grasshoppers scrape their legs with their wings. Some species of katydids communicate at frequencies at the ultrasound level, which is too high for the human ear to perceive.
Hearing mechanisms also vary from species to species, Song said. Crickets and katydids have ears on their legs. Grasshoppers have ears on their abdomen.
The authors sampled 239 species of Orthoptera for the analyses. The specimens exhibited a wide range of characteristics representing the diversity of acoustic communication within the Orthoptera order.
“There are 16,000 species that communicate acoustically, so we had to select species that covered a wide enough range of characteristics to build a robust evolutionary relationship phylogeny that investigated the use of hearing and sound producing mechanisms,” he said.
After scientists established relationships among the species, they used fossil data to calibrate the phylogeny and determine how old the lineages were, Song said. A paleontologist reviewed millions-year-old fossils of grasshoppers, katydids and crickets to create a “time tree” representing how and when the different insect lineages diverged within the Orthoptera order.
Some of the fossils that the paleontologist reviewed included a cricket’s wing from the Triassic Period, 251 million-199 million years ago. The wing displays the same scraper and teeth that crickets currently use to create sound, Song said.
“What we found was that crickets were using the same mechanism to communicate as they do today,” he said. “So, if we had a time machine, we could go back 300 million years and hear a cricket song that is the same or very similar to what we hear today.”
Song and researchers used that information as a calibration point to go back even further. They estimated, based on 272-million-year-old fossil evidence, that the crown-Orthoptera species appeared during the late Carboniferous period, around 350 million years ago.
Evolution of hearing and sound production
Song said some species within Orthoptera that appeared later likely evolved their communication to stand out in an increasingly noisy environment. Communication became more complicated as animal life exploded during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
So, they developed advanced sound tempos, patterns and frequencies to stand out among other species to attract mates, he said.
“There were more species entering the soundscape, and it was becoming saturated, so species probably had to find their narrow niche to communicate,” he said. “Their song had to stand out to mates, so they specialized, but they also had to avoid predators that were homing in via sound.”
Scientists determined very different divergences within two orthopteran suborders – Caelifera and Ensifera, Song said.
Within Ensifera, which includes crickets, katydids, mole crickets and grigs, sound-producing mechanisms and ears likely co-evolved from about 300 million years ago, Song said.
Within Caelifera, which includes grasshoppers, the time tree shows most ancient grasshoppers evolved hearing mechanisms around 60 million years ago, prior to the evolution of sound production. Their hearing mechanism – the abdominal tympana – led to a great divergence in Orthoptera species.
“They may have developed hearing to avoid predators or to modulate their flight,” he said. “But the ability to hear opened up the possibility to communicate. Those evolutionary changes led to many divergences over millions of years.”
Song has recently received another round of funding from National Science Foundation to use more species and more sophisticated technology. His international team, now including collaborators from the U.S., the U.K., France and South Korea, will increase the number of species sequenced to 1,600 and apply biomechanics and biophysics to investigate how the functions of stridulatory wings and tympanal ears have evolved.
Despite many studies, the evolution of acoustic communication is still an open field to scientists, Song said. The research has major implications for insect species’ sustainability in the changing environment and acoustic communication throughout the animal kingdom, including humans.
“Insects, like many species, are adapted to their environment,” he said. “Urbanization is changing the soundscape these insects communicate in. If we can understand these mechanisms and how Orthoptera make sound and hear, we will know more about how we hear and maybe develop novel technology that improves the acoustic environment and acoustic communication for all communicating life, from Orthoptera species to humans.”
10 Things outdoor power equipment does that makes your life better
Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
Lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, generators, and other outdoor power equipment can help you get big jobs accomplished quickly – and keep your lawn and landscaping trim and tidy. And that’s more important now than ever, as homeowners increasingly use their backyards for family fun and stress management during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). Many people don’t realize that outdoor power equipment can make your life better in a variety of ways. Here are ten examples of how outdoor power equipment improves life every day:
Disinfects public spaces. Pressure washers and leaf blowers are being used to disinfect public spaces.
Helps keep landscapes healthy. Mulching leaves and grass clippings with a mower or an attachment for your lawn mower help return that organic matter to the ground, returning valuable nutrients to the soil and strengthening your lawn and plant’s overall health.
Builds neighborly connections. Whether it’s an elderly person who just can’t do yard work, or a family busy taking care of an ill loved one – helping out a neighbor with a few yard chores is made easier with outdoor power equipment. Routinely, people use lawn mowers, chain saws, and leaf blowers to help their neighbors in need.
Battles forest fires. Chainsaws are a critical part of forest management, as dead trees are removed to they can’t become tinder for fires. Firefighters also use chainsaws and string trimmers when clearing areas or brush to limit fuel or to stop an advancing fire.
Cleans up serious dirt. A pressure washer can making cleaning stained or filthy concrete, pavement, buildings, and vehicles a fast process.
Rescues trapped people after an accident. When seconds count and victims are stuck in a damaged vehicle, the jaws of life are used by emergency personnel to pry open doors and get them out quickly. Many people don’t know that the jaws of life carried by fire trucks are actually a piece of outdoor power equipment. In many rural areas, utility task vehicles, known as UTVs, are used to rescue injured hikers when they are stranded in a difficult to reach area.
Aids storm recovery. Chainsaws and generators play a huge role in disaster relief. Chainsaws help remove storm debris from roads, homes and businesses. Generators provide electrical power when it’s not available.
Broadcasts the news. Satellite television trucks used by television news crews often rely on generator power to broadcast the news to the world and edit incoming video footage.
Powers an incredible outdoor party or camping trip. Your portable generator can help you power music, heat, lights and other amenities for an outdoor party to watch a sports event, or a fun camping trip.
Cleans up area debris. Use a rake attachment on your utility task vehicle (UTV) to collect fallen branches and leaves when doing a cleanup. While you’re at it, haul a tree or firewood where they need to go with a UTV, too.
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.
The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has caused the cancellation of many events. Because SEEDS has a long lead time, events listed below may have already been cancelled. We strongly encourage you to take care of yourself by practicing social distancing. If you do wish to attend any of the events listed below, please contact the presenters in advance to determine if the event has been cancelled or if it will take place as planned.
Online: Home Grown Lecture Series: Food Safety by Amanda Krippel, Texas A&M AgriLife County Extension Agent- Family & Community Health, Thursday, Oct. 22, Food Safety by Amanda Krippel, Texas A&M AgriLife County Extension Agent-Family & Community Health, 10:00-10:30 a.m., FREE Virtual Lecture, Register through Eventbrite at: homegrown2020october.eventbrite.com/. Deadline to register is at 8:00 a.m. on Oct. 22. hcmga.tamu.edu.
Online: Home Grown Lecture Series: Wildlife-Friendly Garden Tips by Brandi Keller, Harris County Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Thursday, Oct. 29, Wildlife-Friendly Garden Tips by Brandi Keller, Harris County Master Gardener Program Coordinator, 10:00-10:30 a.m., FREE Virtual Lecture, Register through Eventbrite at: homegrown2020october.eventbrite.com/. Deadline to register is at 8:00 a.m. on Oct. 29. hcmga.tamu.edu.
Online: HRS virtual meeting on November 12 features retired Texas Master Gardner Angela Chandler. Angela will lecture on how to choose annuals, perennials and ornamental grasses that are good companion for roses. Properly arranged companion plants can add contrast to rose bushes and attract beneficial insects. They can also help control pests naturally. Angela is a lifelong gardener and she’s teaching classes and provides a wide variety of horticultural advice at the Arbor Gate Nursery. She also has a half-acre micro-homestead in Highlands where she and her husband are growing vegetables, fruits and bee-friendly plants. This will be a virtual meeting held at GoToMeeting from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (CDT). Join meeting using computer, tablet or smartphone with access code: 338-015-965, https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/257506565 or you can also dial in using your phone. United States: +1 (571) 317-3122. New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts: https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/257506565. For more information, visit www.houstonrose.org.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Fort Bend County Master Gardeners will be hosting the last 2020 class of the popular Grow Your Own program using an online format. Saturday, November 14,
Composting - benefits and how to compost. Online classes will begin at 9:00 a.m., last approximately 1½ hours, and include a question and answer session. The registration fee is $15 per class and registration is required at least two days prior to the class date. For more information and to register visit https://fortbend.agrilife.org/grow-your-own/
or contact Brandy Rader by phone at (281) 342-3034 or by email at Brandy.email@example.com
. All registrants, including those who signed up earlier in the year, will receive instructions on joining the online class via email a few days in advance of the class.
Round Top: The Pioneer Unit of the Herb Society of the Herb Society of America will hold a plant sale 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., March 19, and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., March 20, on the grounds of the Round Top Festival Institute, 249 Jasper Road, Round Top. For more information, visit http://www.herbsocietypioneer.org/.
Galveston: The Young Gardeners Program is a school garden and healthy eating program operating on Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula. Every Saturday, 9-11 a.m., they host a garden Community Day at one of the schools. It's an opportunity for community members to work and play in the garden and it's kid-friendly. First Saturday - Crenshaw, 416 State Hwy 87, Crystal Beach; Second Saturday - Rosenberg Elementary, 721 10th St., Galveston; Third Saturday - Morgan Elementary, 1410 37th St., Galveston; Fourth Saturday - Oppe Elementary, 2915 81st St., Galveston.
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.
Jasper: The Jasper County Master Gardeners meet on the first Monday of each month at St. Michael's Catholic Church from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The evening begins with pot luck social and then guest presentations and/or educational class to conclude. Visit https://jasper.agrilife.org/jasper-master-gardeners/ 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; Visit https://mastergardener.tamu.edu/become/ to become a member.
Kaufman: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners meet at noon the first Tuesday of each month at a location in Houston to be determined. For additional information, visit http://hcmga.tamu.edu/Public/ or call 713-274-0950.
Schulenberg: Schulenburg Garden Club meets the first Tuesday of each month, at 11:30 a.m., September-May, at the Schulenburg First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 110 Upton Ave., Schulenburg.
Dallas: Garden Masters, Inc., meet the first Wednesday of each month, Sept.- May, at North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd., Dallas, 75230. The club hosts different speakers each month from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Come early and order lunch from the The Cafe, which features a healthy menu, fresh local produce and sustainably produced meats and fish (or call in advance to order 972-338-2233). For more information about Garden Masters Inc, email Marcia Borders at email@example.com.
Kerrville: 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 www.hillcountrymastergardeners.org.
Midland: The Permian Basin Master Gardeners (Ector/Midland counties) have monthly meetings at noon on the first Wednesday of each month at the West Texas Food Bank, 1601 Westcliff Drive in Midland. For more information call 432-498-4071 or 432-686-4700.
Navasota: The Navasota Garden Club meets on the first Wednesday of each month (September through May) at 10:00 a.m., usually at the First Presbyterian Church Family Life Center, 302 Nolan Street, Navasota. If not meeting at the church, a change of meeting notice will be placed on the door of the Family Life Building. Guests are welcome. Members are from Grimes County and surrounding counties.
Allen: 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 www.allengardenclub.org.
Atlanta: 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 http://cass.agrilife.org.
Fort Worth: The Native Plant Society of Texas - North Central Chapter meets the first Thursday of each month, excluding January and July, at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth. Meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., program begins at 7:00 p.m. Guest speakers present educational programs on topics of interest. Members, friends, family, guests and the public are welcome. For a list of speakers and topics or more information, visit http://www.txnativeplants.org.
Hempstead: The Waller County Master Gardeners usually meet at 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.
Gonzalas: 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 http://gonzalesmastergardeners.org for more information.
New Braunfels: 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 Insider's Tour at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month. Spaces are limited so pre-registration is encouraged. $15, free for members. For more information, visit http://peckerwoodgarden.org/product/peckerwood-insiders-tours/.
Austin: 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. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; club business begins at 7:00 p.m., followed by a presentation. For more information, visit www.austinorganicgardeners.org.
Jacksonville: The Cherokee County Master Gardeners meet on the second Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at The First Methodist Church, 1031 TX-456 Loop, Jacksonville. For additional information, contact Kim Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cedar Park/Leander/Liberty Hill: The Hill Country Bloomers meet the second Tuesday of each month (except December) at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Park Recreation Center, 1435 Main Street, Cedar Park. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. to socialize and swap plants and seeds. Meetings feature guest speakers on a variety of topics for the home gardener or landscaper. They host a plant sale in the spring and a garden tour in the late summer/early fall. Throughout the year they contribute time and expertise to local projects. Those with any level of experience are welcome. Non-members are invited to their first meeting at no cost. Membership and speaker info is available at www.hillcountrybloomers.com.
Glen Rose: 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 email@example.com.
Glen Rose: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harrison County: 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 email@example.com.
Marion: 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 www.npsot.org/GuadalupeCounty/ or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quitman: 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 email@example.com.
Denton: 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 http://dcmga.com/.
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.
Longview: 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
second 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 www.rockportherbs.org and http://rockportherbies.blogspot.com.
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.
Beaumont: 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 txmg.org/jcmg.
Georgetown: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.npsot.org/wp/wilco.
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 http://txmg.org/orange for more information.
Pasadena: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month at The Genoa Friendship Garden Educational Building at 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Pasadena. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.
San Antonio: 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 www.sanantonioherbs.org.
San Marcos: The Spring Lake Garden Club meets the second Thursday of each month at 9:30 a.m., September-May, at McCoy's Building Supply Headquarters, 1350 IH-35, San Marcos. Contact Terri Boyd (512) 395-66644 x6134.
Smithville: 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.
College Station: 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 http://www.amgardenclub.com/.
Houston: The Spring Branch African Violet Club meets the second Saturday of each month,January through November, at 10:00 a.m. 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.
Killeen: Youth Backyard Gardening Initiative holds community engagement meetings the second Saturday of each month at 2:30 p.m. at Monarch Academy, 4205 Old Florence Road, Killeen. To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/ybkydgarden/.
Dallas: 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 www.RainbowGardenClub.com.
Arlington: 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 LJepson@aol.com.
Cleburne: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 Elaine Bell at 817-309-8052.
New Braunfels: 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 comalmg.org.
Texarkana: 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 email@example.com.
Abilene: The Master Gardeners meet the third Tuesday of each month at the Taylor County Extension Office, 1982 Lytle Way, Abilene. For more information, contact Big Country Master Gardeners Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
New Braunfels: The Lindheimer Chapter (Comal County) of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm 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. Note: there will be no meeting in June or December.
Rockport: 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 email@example.com or call 361-790-0103.
Sugar Land: 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 www.sugarlandgardenclub.org.
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.
Glen Rose: 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 www.somervellmastergardeners.org.
Granbury: 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 http://www.hoodcountymastergardeners.org/.
Brownwood: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 817-454-8175.
Hallettsville: The Hallettsville Garden Club meets at 2 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month from September through May, at the Hallettsville Garden and Cultural Center, 107 Fink Street, Hallettsville. Each month, the club hosts speakers that provide informative programs on a wide range of gardening subjects, and refreshments are provided by member hostesses afterwards. Visitors are welcome! Please email Sharon Harrigan at email@example.com for more information.
Houston: The Native Plant Society of Texas - Houston Chapter meets at 6:45 pm on the third Thursday of each month at the American Red Cross Building, 2700 Southwest Fwy. For more information about meeting presentations and native plants, visit http://npsot.org/houston.
San Antonio: 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 with presentation is held 6:00-8:00 p.m. During the intervening months (Feb., April, June, Aug., Oct.), afternoon educational seminars/general meetings are held from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Check http://www.bexarmg.org/ 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.
Seguin: 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 www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.
Fort Worth: The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society meetings are held the third Saturday of each month at Texas Garden Club Inc, 3111 Old Garden Club Rd., Fort Worth (located next to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden), 10:00 a.m. to noon, September through June. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Braunfels: The New Braunfels Chapter of Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the fourth Monday of each month except July and December. Meetings are held at the Westside Community Center, 2932 S. I-35 Frontage Road, New Braunfels. Meetings start at 6:15 p.m. with a meet and greet time, followed by a short business meeting. Programs begin around 7:00. Native plant and seed exchanges are held monthly. Expert speakers present educational programs on topics of interest. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information or to join, visit www.npsot.org.
Brackenridge Park: 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 www.npsot.org/sanantonio.
Bryan: 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 brazosmg.com or 979-823-0129.
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.
Linden: 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 email@example.com.
San Antonio: 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 www.npsot.org/sanantonio or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houston: The Houston Native Prairie Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month (except November and December) at the Houston Red Cross Building, 2700 Southwest Freeway, Houston. Refreshments served at 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Austin: 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 http://thegardenclubofaustin.org/.
Leander: The Leander Garden Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month (except June, July and August) at 10:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Room of the Leander Presbyterian Church, 101 N. West St., Leander, unless there is a special event planned. Following a program and short business meeting, there is a pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call President Kathleen Tully at 512-422-8580 or email LeanderGardenClub@gmail.com .
Dallas: The Dallas County Master Gardeners meet the fourth Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. For location and program information, visit http://www.dallascountymastergardeners.org/ or contact The Helpdesk, M-F, 8 to 4:30 214-904-3053.
Arlington: 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, hosts a garden Open Days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month. Drop-in tours are permitted but pre-registration is encouraged. Docent led tours are $10 for guests, free for members. For more information, http://peckerwoodgarden.org/explore/visit-peckerwood-garden/.
Dallas: The Greater Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month (except November and December) at North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas. For more information, visit www.gdogc.org.
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And check out these other great books available from Texas Gardener:
Worms Eat My Garbage
Grow Great Vegetables Texas
Wicked Plants Coloring Book
A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens
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Texas Gardener's Seeds has been published each Wednesday since April 26, 2006.
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