Notable Texas Public Gardens, Continued by June Morgan

Venturing further from the Greenville area and going east and south are The Tyler Rose Garden, The East Texas Arboretum, The Riverside Nature Center, Peckerwood Garden, The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, The San Antonio Botanical Garden, Moody Gardens, Shangri La Botanical Gardens, Beaumont Botanical Gardens, Mercer Arboretum, and The Houston Arboretum.

The Rose Garden Center, with its museum and gift shop, serves as the gateway to the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden and is located at 420 South Rose Park Drive in Tyler. The garden covers 14 acres with over 38,000 roses plus azaleas and camellias. The museum has memorabilia of the rose parades including many of the beautiful dresses worn by participants. The garden is open from dawn until dark seven days a week with free admission. The Garden Center admission is $3.50.and is open 8-5 weekdays, 9-5 Saturdays and 1-5 Sundays. While the azaleas will be blooming in the spring, the best time for the roses is in October. This purports to be the largest rose garden in the U.S. Available for special events. Phone: 903-531-1213.

The East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society covers over 100 acres at 1601 Patterson Road, Athens, TX. This non-profit centers on education, preservation and conservation, and includes historical buildings, many native plants, hiking trails with a combination of wetlands and forest. Children will enjoy a large play area and especially the replica of a one -room school house. The 1851 Wofford house is a living museum complete with period furnishings and a backyard kitchen garden. This place is surely a jewel of Henderson County. Admission is $2.00 and is available for private events. Phone: 903-675-5630.

The Riverside Nature Center is a non-profit arboretum with a wildlife and native plant sanctuary located on the Guadalupe River at 150 Francisco Lemos St. Kerrville, TX. Since 1992 after extensive clearing and planting it has become an arboretum with over 140 tree species, 200 species of wildflowers, cacti, shrubs and native grasses. In addition to a butterfly plant garden there is a unique sensory garden with signs in Braille. The river trail is a great place for a picnic, bird watching  and identifying native and drought resistant plants.  Improvements are always in the works. Free admission. Open 9-4 weekdays, 10-3 Saturdays, 1-4 Sundays. Phone: 830-257-4837.

The Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead, located on FM 359 just a few miles south of Highway 290, is another gem hidden in plain view. The design skills of architect Professor John Fairey are fundamental behind the fluid and graceful arrangements of the numerous beds with their unusual juxtaposition of shapes, textures, and colors. Of special interest is a large collection of endangered plants from Texas and Mexico which are now in a painstakingly recreated ecosystem. While the garden is not set up for unrestricted access, private tours can be arranged as well as visits on open days for a 1 hour guided tour. This season’s open days are mostly on Saturdays and tickets can be purchased online for $10 at info@peckerwoodgarden.org. Anyone can purchase seeds online at www.peckerwoodgarden.org/seeds. Phone: 979-826-3232.

To be continued……….

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What is a Master Gardener? by Byron Chitwood

The Texas Master Gardener program is an educational activity offered by the Texas AgriLife Extension Program of the Texas A&M University.  The program is designed to increase the availability of horticultural information and increase the availability of this information throughout the community.

Master Gardener prospects are selected for training in an extensive schooling and teaching project that is formulated and presented by the County Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension.  Future Master Gardeners who will be taking this training will be unpaid volunteers who will spread their knowledge to others throughout community.  In this schooling, instructors are selected for their knowledge of specific horticulture problems and goals for projects benefiting both professional and amateur horticulturist.   Some of the community needs can be environmental improvement activities, horticultural therapy projects or school garden programs.  Before being accepted as a trainee, the future Master Gardener must pass a background check.  This background check is repeated every three years.  After completing 60 hours of classroom training, the next phase for the future Master Gardener is one year as an intern. During this one year period, the intern must perform 50 hours of volunteer work, which includes at least 5 hours in the Extension office, and at least 5 hours of work in the Heritage Garden, and take an additional 12 hours of continuing education.   The Intern is responsible for keeping a record of his or her hours for all these functions and reports them monthly to the Extension Agent.  This sounds like a lot of hours but the truly dedicated person will usually exceed the required hours by a substantial margin.  The saying “time flies when you are having fun” certainly holds true for the dedicated person.

Continuing education is in the form of field trips, attending programs presented by other Master Gardeners and those programs that are offered by the AgriLife Extension Service.  Also, many Master Gardener Chapters conduct programs such as Rain Water Harvesting, Composting and Fall Vegetable Gardening.  As the individual Master Gardener becomes proficient in some subject that he or she is interested in, they might want to compile their knowledge in one of their own programs.  At first, authoring your own program seems to be an almost impossible task and the first time is very time consuming.  However, the task becomes easier with experience.  The only requirement is that only researched based, scientifically proven data is used.  Usually, there is another Master Gardener who is proficient at preparing a PowerPoint presentation and they will be more than happy to give instructions on how to prepare a presentation.  Master Gardener programs are in great demand by garden clubs, civic organizations, and schools.

The next Master Gardener training school is scheduled for the fall of 2015.  However, if a person is interested in this training, it is suggested that they call or come by the Extension office to be added to the application list.  Applications will be mailed out to individuals the first part of May 2015.   Space will be limited.  You will not be disappointed in the training and probably will learn a lot of new things.

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Grow Something Green For St. Patrick’s Day

Grow Something Green For St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by growing something green.  These shamrocks, a type of oxialis, were in the grass between the formal beds and the shade garden last year.

Green Shamrocks, or Oxalis

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Where we have been

Master Gardeners Present Mock Check To Commissioner’s Court

Hunt County Master Gardener Association President Byron Chitwood presents County Judge John Horn with a “mock check” in acknowledgment of the $107,000 of volunteer time contributed by the Master Gardeners to Hunt County in 2009. The presentation was made to the Hunt County Commissioners Court, where the court honored Master Gardeners with a Certificate of Appreciation.
Hunt County Master Gardener Association

Hunt County Master Gardener Association President Byron Chitwood presents County Judge John Horn with a “mock check” in acknowledgment of the $107,000 of volunteer time contributed by the Master Gardeners to Hunt County in 2009. The presentation was made to the Hunt County Commissioners Court, where the court honored Master Gardeners with a Certificate of Appreciation.

Commissioners Court Presentation by Sara Allen, County Extension Agent – Agriculture Hunt County

mar5.10.pdf

Commissioners Court Presentation
Commissioners Court Presentation

2010 “Art of Gardening” Off To A Good Start

Though only 23 people had pre-registered, Hunt County Master Gardeners’ quarterly “Art of Gardening” talk at the W.

Art of Gardening
Art of Gardening

Walworth Harrison Library in Greenville, Texas experienced record attendance after 97 people signed in. The topic seemed to be timely, since the economy is motivating more and more people to learn how to grow their own vegetables, or to learn about new techniques that have come along in recent years. “Square Foot Gardening: How to grow twice as much in half the space, reduce watering by half, and eliminate weeding” was the title of the talk on January 21st. When people hear they can have a garden a little bigger than a large card table and grow 16 different plants in an area that small, they’re intrigued. In addition, there’s no need to use one’s own soil: this is “above ground” planting that requires no tilling or other heavy tools. A 6” high raised bed is constructed right on top of your own little plot of grass, if necessary, and the raised bed can be done in a box that’s waist-high for older gardeners with arthritis, or for people in wheelchairs.

Art of Gardening
Art of Gardening

This informative seminar was given excellent media coverage when the local Greenville radio station ran continuous ads during the week before the talk. The Greenville Herald Banner announced the talk and ran two informative newspaper articles close to the date of the talk as well. Master Gardeners also engaged in their own “media blitz” by e-mailing to any possible prospects the attractive flyer that had been created for the event.

The 22-minute video that the author, Mel Bartholemew produced, covers everything you need to know to use this approach to planting. People are usually surprised to hear his book is the biggest selling gardening book in the country, since so few people have heard of this “non-traditional and non-row-type” planting. The speaker, Pat Abramson, is a ten-year veteran square foot gardener, demonstrated how one would construct a “vertical trellis” on one side of the 4’ x 4’ garden plot. She also demonstrated how one can incorporate the square foot method into existing flower or herb beds.

Free seeds were given out, refreshments were served, and handouts included Spring and Fall vegetable planting dates. The door prize given away consisted of a Square Foot Gardening book as well as garden accessories and tools.

The evaluation of this seminar produced outstanding results such as: “97% have a better understanding of square foot method compared to row planting”

The next “Art of Gardening” talk is also expected to have record numbers of attendees, since it is being repeated after its huge popularity last year: Byron Chitwood will be speaking on growing tomatoes and vegetables in the spring garden and explaining various ways of composting. It is scheduled to be held at a larger facility to accommodate the larger numbers of local residents who are finding these topics very timely.

Gardeners Giving Back…

Book Donation
Book Donation

Hunt County Master Gardeners recently donated two best-selling gardening books to the W. Walworth Harrison Public Library in Greenville. From left, Sherry Thomason, Master Gardener, Paul Phelan, Library Director, Sara Allen, County Extension Agent, and Byron Chitwood, 2010 president of the Hunt County Master Gardeners, preview the new books including Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space by Mel Barthelomew and Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac. Master Gardeners in conjunction with the library present quarterly gardening programs of interest to area residents. On Thursday, January 21, at 6PM the first program of the year will be “Square Foot Gardening: How to Grow Twice as Much in Half the Space, Reduce Watering by Half, and Eliminate Weeding”.

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