Travis County Master Gardener Ian McKenna grows food for donation in his backyard garden. (Courtesy photo)
Travis County Master Gardener selected TIME magazine finalist
Ian McKenna, 16, of Austin, a Travis County Master Gardener, was named by TIME magazine as one of five national finalists for its Kid of the Year selection. He was chosen for his work growing and donating food for those less fortunate in his community.
Now a senior at The Liberal Arts and Science Academy in the Austin Independent School District, McKenna has been gardening since he was four – and growing and providing food to others since he was eight. Over the past eight years, he has led the effort to establish “giving gardens” at several Austin-area schools and has developed his own extensive home garden. To date, these gardens combined have yielded more than 10 tons of fresh produce for low-income Austin-area families.
“Ian also volunteers his time to assist with various food banks and other food-related events and continuously advocates for the underserved in our community,” said Daphne Richards, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist for Travis County and Travis County Master Gardener program coordinator. “He has helped with our demonstration garden, volunteered at the East Austin Garden Fair and has spoken at many community venues. He is a dedicated and remarkable young man.”
McKenna’s Texas A&M AgriLife connection
Richards said she was already aware of McKenna and his efforts from his guest appearance several years ago on the Central Texas Gardener television show — a PBS network show on which Richards is a regular.
“What impressed me then was how mature Ian was — and how sincerely committed he was to addressing community food security, even at an early age,” she said. “It’s rare to see someone that young so concerned about such an important issue and also as dedicated to giving his time and energy to helping.”
Richards said McKenna contacted the AgriLife Extension office in Travis County a few years ago to see about becoming a Travis County Master Gardener.
“I was elated to hear from him but knew he was too old for our Junior Master Gardener program,” she said. “So, we decided to make an adjustment to our Master Gardener training program and offer it as a summer program — both as a way to help accommodate him and find out if a summer program might be successful.”
Richards said McKenna passed his Master Gardener test with flying colors and soon completed the volunteer hours he committed to as a requirement for becoming a Master Gardener.
Growing food for others
McKenna’s interest in gardening and helping his neighbors started after encountering the daily reality for many Texas children and families.
“I got seriously involved in growing and donating food for the community when I was in third grade,” McKenna explained. “I was helping deliver Christmas gifts and food to the family of a classmate of my younger sister Addison. The girl had never gotten a visit from Santa or had a meal besides what the school breakfast and lunch program offered. She told me she thought the reason Santa had never come to her house was that he didn’t like poor people.”
McKenna said he learned the true meaning of Christmas that day. He also realized there was a tremendous need to provide food for the less fortunate in the community.
“I had always gotten presents and never worried about having enough to eat,” he said. “Before this, I never realized some kids didn’t get presents and even went to bed hungry. Being able to give presents and food to this family filled me with joy and made me feel good inside. It made me want to keep helping people.”
McKenna also said before that experience he was under the impression food insecurity was only an adult problem.
“I just didn’t realize how many kids didn’t get enough to eat,” he said. “I had been told hunger was something adults had to deal with, and I shouldn’t worry about it. But later on, I found out that one in four kids in my own school didn’t have enough to eat. That really affected me.”
McKenna’s plan to help fight hunger
To become more actively involved in fighting hunger, McKenna tried to volunteer at an area food pantry.
“They told me I was too young and couldn’t help there,” he said. “But I didn’t want that to stop me. I spoke to some other people and came up with the idea of growing food to give to the people who needed it.”
McKenna proposed building a giving garden to his elementary school garden club advisors, who agreed wholeheartedly. Once he received permission from the principal, he developed a garden design, recruited volunteers for the build and sought donations from area businesses. The result was the construction and planting of nine raised beds and 15 fruit trees that would help feed 54 families.
“I had applied for a grant and was awarded $500 to build the garden,” he said. “I put together a wish list of materials and went to our local Home Depot to get them. Although the materials we needed amounted to more than $500, the store let us have them at that price. They also gave us free delivery.”
Over the next several years, McKenna led garden builds at three more Austin ISD schools and created his own backyard produce garden. He collaborated with others, especially Austin Orchards, to secure additional space for growing more produce to donate to food banks, hunger relief organizations and individuals in need.
McKenna also has a pop-up farm stand from which he and his sister Addison distribute produce grown in the giving gardens to people in low-income areas of Austin. Additionally, he has hosted community dinners serving more than 1,750 meals and raised more than $60,000 for his gardens and to support an organization that encourages young people to fight hunger by growing food in their own communities.
Other recognition for McKenna
McKenna and other Kid of the Year top finalists were recently recognized during the first-ever Kid of the Year TV special, hosted by Trevor Noah of The Daily Show. The special was shown on Nickelodeon, TV Land, TeenNick and Nicktoons, as well as Comedy Central and CBS television networks. Celebrities who made guest appearances on the special included Simone Biles, Kristen Bell, Billie Eilish, Neil Patrick Harris, Angelina Jolie, Brie Larson and Zachary Levi.
McKenna also received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award as one of Texas’ top two youth volunteers of 2019. The award was presented by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals and represents the nation’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.
McKenna’s future plans
McKenna said while the COVID pandemic has kept him from doing as much community work as he would like, it has allowed him to focus on applying to several colleges.
McKenna said he is especially looking at colleges that encourage volunteer work and public service.
“I plan to continue supporting the giving garden efforts and want to pursue a degree in horticulture or another field related to my interest in providing food for others,” he said.
McKenna said he will also continue to try inspiring other young people to become involved in growing fresh produce to donate to those less fortunate.
“A lot of people my age say they can’t volunteer or don’t have time,” he said. “I tell them just one small plant can provide food for someone else and can make a difference,” he said. “Even the smallest thing can help.”
Editor's Note: Gardening news is slow at the beginning of the year, and many gardeners are unable to work in their gardens during winter. We thought you might enjoy a change of pace during this slow season, so following is a gardening-themed short story presented for your enjoyment. — Michael Bracken, editor
By Margaret S. Hamilton
Nan Bassett walked up the driveway of a ramshackle farmhouse calling, “Bea Cahoon, need an assist?” Nan assumed Bea was tidying up her deceased aunt’s wildflower garden. As she rounded the rear corner of the nineteenth-century home, she found Bea engaged in a heated argument on her phone.
“You keep planting your so-called ‘weeds’ in my gardens and I keep digging them up.” Bea continued to pull crabgrass growing between clumps of orange ditch lilies. “I don’t care what you call it, I don’t want anything to do with your hemp, marijuana, or cannabis. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all illegal.” Bea clicked off her phone and threw it in her tool bucket. Spotting Nan, she yanked her long shirt sleeves over her wrists.
“Need some help?” Nan asked, surveying the remnants of what had been a large bed filled with prairie wildflowers—coneflowers, daisies, and brown-eyed Susans. Queen Anne’s lace was in full bloom, with a similar weed twice its height at the rear of the bed.
“Just about finished,” Bea said, dabbing her face and neck with a bandanna.
“Good heavens, Bea, what did you get into?” Bea’s neck was covered with what looked like deep burns and large blisters.
“Something growing in this bed,” she said. “I worked here a few days ago.”
Nan stepped closer to the tall weeds, topped by what resembled the dainty composite flower heads of Queen Anne’s lace. Easily twelve to fifteen feet tall, the white flowers formed an umbrella shape two-and-a-half feet across. Nan squinted at the hollow green stems, dotted with purple splotches and coarse white hairs. Her gut churned, and beads of sweat formed on her forehead.
“Bea, I see giant hogweed.”
“No, it’s cow parsnip. See the fuzzy grooved stems?”
Nan took another look. “No fuzz, but definitely purple splotches.” Hands on hips, she stared at Bea. “The sap from the giant hogweed plants gave you those burns and blisters—a phytophotodermatitis reaction when sunlight hit your sap-contaminated skin.”
“Oh, Nan, don’t be ridiculous.”
“Why’d you plant the giant hogweed?”
Bea slammed her pruners into her tool bucket. “For the last time, cow parsnip, to keep critters out of the bed. My cousin sent me the seeds from his wildflower meadow.”
Nan snapped cell phone photos of the giant hogweed. “How long has this stuff been growing here?”
“Four years, ever since my aunt moved to the nursing home. This is the first year it’s flowered.”
Nan started mailing photos to the county ag agent. “It takes giant hogweed four years to mature and form seeds. You’ll need a remediation team to destroy the flowers before the wind blows the seeds all over town. The dirt in this bed will have to be replaced or treated with glyphosate.”
“You’re fretting over nothing. Please don’t get the county ag agent involved.” Bea wheezed as she gathered her tools and a yard waste bag.
“I’ll take your bag,” Nan said, pulling on a pair of gardening gloves.
“I’ve got it.” Bea snatched it back. “You’re going to get everyone upset about killer weeds in town.”
Nan answered a call from the county ag agent.
“Good catch,” he said. “Based on the photos you sent, it looks like giant hogweed. I’ll drop by tomorrow to confirm your identification.”
Worried about an infestation of giant hogweed in the area, Nan followed Bea to the Cahoon family home. Bea’s sister occupied the main house while Bea lived in, and ran her garden design business from, the garage apartment.
Bea’s sister, who didn’t know a dahlia from a daisy, planted her display beds with rigid rows of petunias, begonias, and salvia, bordered by striped green and white hostas. Nan preferred Bea’s luxuriant herbaceous border behind the garage. Tiptoeing past a newly-seeded area, Nan slipped around a row of blue spruces and made her way down to the creek bed. She clutched branches as she navigated the embankment to a clearing, where she found a second stand of giant hogweed. After snapping photos, she noticed that the soil around the weeds had been recently disturbed.
Curious, Nan returned to the Cahoon backyard. Glancing at Bea’s rooftop deck, Nan was astonished to find it stacked with brown paper yard waste bags. What was Bea hiding? Nan walked to the far side of the garage to check Bea’s compost pile, filled with grass clippings, dead leaves and weeds. She picked up a digging fork and turned the mixture, finding nothing of interest. Bea always emptied yard waste into her compost, never into the trash.
Nan paced back and forth. She’d found Bea arguing with someone who had planted a variety of cannabis—hemp or marijuana—in the wildflower garden, shielded from view by the giant hogweed. Nan suspected the creekside giant hogweed had also protected a cannabis patch.
Nan drew a deep breath and banged on Bea’s door. “If you identify all the locations where you planted what you thought was cow parsnip and actually is giant hogweed, I’ll quietly ask the county ag department to dispose of cannabis plants when they remove the deadly weeds.”
“Thanks,” Bea said. “I was in a real pickle. My cousin keeps sneaking cannabis plants into the area, assuming I don’t know what they are. If I composted the cannabis, the plants might sprout. If I dumped them in a field, the plants would take root and grow. I decided to bag them and let them die before I disposed of them.” She gave Nan a wry smile. “And of course, once I saw my skin reaction, I suspected the cannabis plants might be contaminated with giant hogweed sap. I couldn’t risk having anyone touch them.”
Nan nodded. “Good thinking, Bea. Why don’t we tell the police about your cousin’s plant-growing habits?”
“It’s a deal.”
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: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is helping Texans explore beekeeping anytime through an online course – Beekeeping 101. Beekeeping has increased as a popular hobby and a way to reduce property taxes on smaller tracts of land. The four-hour online course for beginners will cover beekeeping basics, including how to start a beehive. Cost is $45.50 per person. Participants will learn how to raise bees in their backyard and how much it costs to start beekeeping. The course will answer questions about honeybee biology, beekeeping equipment and suit options, and what to expect during the first year of beekeeping. To enroll: https://agrilifelearn.tamu.edu/product?catalog=ENTO-025
Online: Fruit Tree & Tomato Sale, shop online through January 31. Pick up fruit trees and tomato plants Saturday, February 20 at Campbell Hall, Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7601 Red Buff Road, Pasadena. Order online at HCMGA-online.company.site.
Online: This year the Houston Rose Society’s annual pruning demonstration will be virtual. Kelly Texada and Billie Flynn will demonstrate the proper and easy process to examine each rose bush in the garden in order to make the appropriate cuts promoting growth and bloom production. Pruning a bush incorrectly can lead to weak and deformed branches which will affect the landscape. Both Kelly and Billie are Consulting Rosarians and members of the Central Louisiana Rose Society (CLRS) in Alexandria, Louisiana. Billie served many years as the Editor of the Rosebud, their society’s newsletter and is currently serving as CLRS President. Kelly is CLRS Immediate-Past President. They both serve on the board for the American Rose Society Gulf District and together have presented rose horticulture programs at local, district and national meetings. Join the free, virtual meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone on February 11, from 7-9 p.m. https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/935062093 You can also dial in using your phone. United States: +1 (224) 501-3412. Access Code: 935-062-093.
Gonzlaes: Gonzales Master Gardeners will have two plant sales this Spring. The Tomato/Vegetable Sale will be held Saturday, March 6, selling only tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables. The sale will take place at PACE (Plantatarium: A Center for Exploration) in the GMG building at 623 N. Fair Street (between the Gonzales Elementary School and Bus Barn). The sale will be held inside from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Masks and social distancing will be required. The number of people in the building will be limited at any given time. The annual Spring Plant Sale will be held Saturday, April 17, on Texas Heroes Square in downtown Gonzales from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Many perennial/adaptive native plants, annuals, herbs, tropical house plants and succulents will be available. There will also be a few varieties of citrus trees, blackberries and blueberries available. There will be a great Silent Auction, children’s activities and “Ask the Master Gardener” booth. Consider signing up for the next MG training class scheduled for the fall of 2021. Cash, checks, credit, debit cards will be accepted this year. Come on out for a great time (rain or shine). For more information contact Fran Saliger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 830-203-0311.
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.
Hempstead: The John Fairey Garden Conservation Foundation, 20559 F.M. 359, Hempstead, hosts Open Day Tours at 11 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Members can call 979-826-3232 to schedule a weekday Private Tour. Memberships available online at http://jfgarden.org/ or at the office.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The Fannie Marchman Garden Club meets at the Mineola Civic Center, 9:30-11:30 a.m. the third Wednesday of each month from September through May. For additional information, find them on Facebook or email FannieMarchmanGardenClub@gmail.com
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Planning Guide & Books of Interest
2021 Planning Guide & Calendar
Only $14.95 per copy (includes tax and shipping)
Make gardening easier and more enjoyable in 2021. No more keeping it in your head or, worse yet, juggling all those wrinkled, sweat-stained pieces of paper that seem to accumulate and end up lost. It's time to get organized and the perfect way to start that off is with your very own copy of the 2021 Texas Gardener Planning Guide and Calendar. No more guessing when to plant or do different activities. You will find everything you need in one simple but informative guide and calendar. Plus plenty of room to record your own planting dates, rainfall events and other data for future reference.
Here's a sample of what you will find in this information-packed guide:
- Many, many practical and timely garden tips that are for Texas - not Maine or California!
- Organic, earth-friendly tips to make your garden grow and prosper
- Lots of space to record your own activities for future reference
- Planting dates and tips for vegetables, flowers, herbs, fruit and lawns
Order today, while it's fresh on your mind. Don't forget to order copies for your gardening friends and relatives!
Easy Gardening for Texas
By Joseph G. Masabni
Only $31.94 (includes tax and shipping)
Gardening in the Lone Star State has unique challenges, but that doesn't mean you can't grow vegetables here. This new book tells what varieties are best, how to handle insect and disease problems, and how to control weeds with a minimum of work, plus detailed growing information on a host of vegetables that do well in Texas. This is the perfect guide for gardeners new to the state as well as those more-experienced gardeners looking for a handy guide of research-tested advice. 220 pages with lots of color photos! Click on this link to order https://texasgardener.com/product/easy-gardening-for-texas/.
By Judy Barrett
Only $29.75 (includes tax and shipping)
Eating fresh and eating local has really caught on! Easy Edibles: How to Grow and Enjoy Fresh Food focuses on ways to grow some of your own food without devoting a lot of space, time and work to the project. Barrett also covers how and where to find the bounty offered at local farmers markets, farm stands and pick-your-own operations. This book is the perfect gift or guide for folks new to gardening or those who have limited time and resources but still want to eat fresh! Click on this link to order https://texasgardener.com/product/easy-edibles/.
The Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook
By William D. Adams
Only $31.94 (includes tax and shipping)
The best thing for tomato enthusiast since the tomato itself! Adams draws on more than thirty years' experience to provide a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Learn everything from soil preparation, planting, feeding, caging and watering. Liberally sprinkled with the author's easy humor and illustrated with his own excellent photographs, the must have book has everything you'll need to assure a bumper crop! 189 pages. Lots of color photographs! Click on this link to order https://texasgardener.com/product/texas-tomato-lovers-handbook/.
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
Texas Gardener's Seeds is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved. You may forward this publication to your friends and colleagues if it is sent in its entirety. No individual part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.
Texas Gardener's Seeds has been published each Wednesday since April 26, 2006.
Texas Gardener's Seeds, P.O. Box 1676, Brenham, Texas 77834-1676
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