Monday, February 28, 2011

Gardening club back

After that date the meetings will take place on the second Thursday of each month in the same venue at the same time. New members are very welcome. There is no membership fee and no committee so everyone comes together to share ideas swoop plants, and anything else of common interest.

Thursday evening we will be looking at the year ahead and making plans for member's gardens. Come along and get some ideas for your garden or come and share your knowledge of gardening with Avondale Gardening Club.

Vegetable gardens are the top of the agenda for Thursday. There will also be other aspects of gardening covered. Members enjoy a cup of tea or coffee after the meeting so come along and make some new friends who you share a common interest with.

BRIEF: Learn how to interest youth in gardening

The Kerrville Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will host "Gardening with Children" as part its next monthly program at 7 p.m. March 1 at the Riverside Nature Center, 150 Francisco Lemos St.

Speaker Stephen Brueggerhoff is vice president of education for the Native Plant Society of Texas state board, and he will offer ideas to help adults get children involved in gardening.

This free program is provided by the Kerrville Chapter of NPSOT as a part of its monthly program series. Guests are invited to come early for refreshments and socializing, followed by the program starting promptly at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Gardening expert had a way with plants and people

Dan Pratt, a Sacramento nurseryman who dispensed popular gardening tips as a longtime Bee columnist and media personality, died Dec. 25 of injuries from a recent fall. He was 78.
A California certified nurseryman, Mr. Pratt was a respected authority on horticulture. He spent 24 years helping customers with gardening problems as a resident expert at Capital Nursery on Freeport Boulevard. On many spring weekends, the doors opened to a line of people carrying dying plants and seeking his opinion for a cure.
He was a past president and board member of the local chapter of California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers. He taught adult classes on landscaping for the Sacramento City Unified School District, led clinics on pruning trees at Capital Nursery and promoted horticulture at trade show appearances.
"One of his best skills was telling stories," said his son, Mark. "If somebody had a problem with a plant, he could always pull from his repertoire a story about a similar experience."
Mr. Pratt's engaging personality and easy-to-follow advice won him many fans. He dispensed advice as the "Garden Doctor" on KFBK radio for 19 years and wrote a weekly Bee column, "What's Bugging You?", from 1979 to 2003. He appeared in gardening stories on local TV shows.
He was a regular speaker at garden clubs, where audiences groaned at his signature bad puns. He led garden tours in Great Britain and published an annual calendar that was sold at many Northern California nurseries.
"Dan had a particularly good way of explaining things simply," said Don Shor of Redwood Barn Nursery in Davis. "He kept up with all the science but could talk about it in a way that was easy for people to understand."
Daniel Henry Pratt was born in 1932 in Vallejo, where his parents owned a nursery started by his grandfather.
He worked in the family business, served two years in the Army and settled in Sacramento in the 1960s. He earned a teaching credential at UC Berkeley and was active in Rotary Club activities in Sacramento.
He married and divorced three times and had two children. A railroading enthusiast, he enjoyed touring train displays.
Mr. Pratt retired from an active role in the nursery industry several years ago. He split his time between Sacramento and a family home in Napa before moving permanently to Napa about two years ago.
He loved sharing his knowledge of gardening -- which he said does not require a green thumb for success.
"Just be observant," he told The Bee in 1985. "There are a lot of people who talk to their plants but few who listen.
"If this morning two of your fingers fell off, it would arouse some curiosity. Yet, when six leaves are lying on the carpet, many people don't even wonder what's wrong with their plant."


Q:My daughter would like to plant a pomegranate tree. When is the right time to plant them in our area?
A:Early spring would be the appropriate time to plant the pomegranate. Most of the nurseries will have them at that time.
Q:How cold a climate can the Golden Dwarf Duranta plant take? Will they freeze? If they freeze, do they come back in the spring? Do I have to cover them in 35 degree weather?
A:This plant will be fine here. As long as it is above freezing the plant will be evergreen.
A frost or light freeze will defoliate it; a hard freeze will kill it to the ground but its roots will survive and it will come back.
Here are a couple of great gardening educational opportunities, for both youth and adult going into the New Year.
Give the gift of gardening to a youngster in 2011 with educational opportunity at the Children's Vegetable Garden Program.
Texas AgriLife Extension Service provides an opportunity for children 8-13 to learn about gardening by growing their own vegetables through the mentoring of Bexar County Master Gardener volunteers. Each child is allotted a plot at the beautiful San Antonio Botanical Garden.
Children will have fun growing different types of seeds, herbs, vegetables and ornamental annual flowers. Weekly educational gardening presentations will stimulate these young minds.
The children will also participate in fun, hands-on Junior Master Gardener activities.
The spring session will be conducted every Saturday, starting Feb. 19 and end June 4.
For more information and an application for the spring session, call the Texas AgriLife Extension Service-Bexar County office at 467-6575.
Do you want to be a better gardener in 2011? How about becoming a Bexar County Master Gardener?
Texas AgriLife Extension Service will be conducting its spring master gardener class No. 53 for adults interested in gardening/horticulture and related topics. They then return their knowledge and time by providing educational outreach support for youth and adults.
Deadline to register is Feb. 21. The cost is $200 with classes running every Wednesday from noon-4 p.m., March 2-May 25 at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service conference room, 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208.

Lecture in Newtown is about Victorian gardening

NEWTOWN -- Marie Hayes will present a program on Victorian gardening Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Cyrenius H. Booth Library, 25 Main St.
Hayes' slide-show presentation depicts American gardening from 1836 to 1901 at such places as the Harriet Beecher Stowe house in Hartford, the Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park, N.Y., and Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y.
A master gardener and former head gardener at White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Hayes has specialized in perennial borders and cutting gardens for 25 years.
She is a member of the Hartford Landscape Design Council and provides garden consultation and customized floral designs through her business, Gardens Unlimited.
She has spoken about Victorian gardening and other horticultural subjects to historical societies, garden clubs and botanical gardens throughout New York, Florida, Delaware and Connecticut.
She created and installed a garden along the Nile River in Luxor, Egypt.
The lecture, sponsored by the Garden Club of Newtown, is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For more information, call 203-512-7320.
In case of bad weather, the talk will be canceled if Newtown public schools are closed Tuesday.