2015 Spring Plant Sale Saturday!


Bring Your Wagon! (Credit:WikiMedia)

Remember – the 2015 edition of the BCMG Sprint Plant Sale is this Saturday from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Modern Living Mall – Taylor County Expo Center. Here are links to the plant lists: Type-and-Common_NameCommon_Name. The first is sorted by type and then common name; the second by type and then common name.  We are very excited about the plant sale and are looking forward to seeing you there.

Coreopsis, Heavens Gate-1

Before Buying Plants

Abilenian Article by Audrey Gillespie

Some Things to Consider Before Buying Plants

The annual Big Country Master Gardener Association’s annual spring plant sale is this Saturday, April 25, from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Come early for the best selection.

Join us April 25

Join us April 25

Here are a few things to think about while you are waiting. They will help ensure you have a good experience with your purchases.

Do you have a general plan for the area you are going to plant? If you do, you will likely be more satisfied in the long run than if you buy all your plants on impulse.


How much sun will the plants you buy receive? If a tag says full sun, be sure there are eight hours of sun in that area.

Shade is a little trickier. Light shade can usually be achieved with an eastern exposure. According to Steve Huddleston, the senior horticulturist at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens and author of “Easy Gardens for North Central Texas,” light shade under a tree means you look up and see only about 20-30% foliage compared to the amount of sky visible. Medium shade would be about 50%. Dense shade is no more than 20-30% of visible sky.


What kind of soil is present in the location you are considering for plants? Whether clay or sand, adding compost will improve it. If you are considering plants that demand excellent drainage, you need a sandy soil or need to build an above-ground bed to accommodate your choices.


As you consider color, think about the effect you want. Cool colors like blues and grays will give the illusion of distance, a decided advantage in a small garden. They are also soothing.

Bright colors demand attention. Create an atmosphere of excitement with them.

You can create a harmonious planting with colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. For drama, combine colors from opposite sides.


Unless you are planting succulents or cactuses, you will need to pay special attention to watering. A rule of thumb is to water at least three times a week until the plants are established. That might be a couple of weeks for many annuals and herbaceous perennials or a season or more for shrubs and trees. Those fragile roots need time to recover from being transplanted. You can buy a water meter for just a few dollars to help you keep the root ball from drying out without overwatering.


Have mulch ready to cover the soil around your new plants. Three inches will help reduce evaporation of water from the soil and help moderate soil temperatures. If you use an organic mulch like wood chips, it will break down over time and actually improve the quality of your soil.


Be sure you look for a copy of the first edition of the Big Country Master Gardener Association’s new book, “Successful Gardening in the Big Country” at the plant sale. They are just $15 and will prove to be a great resource.


We look forward to seeing you! You can contact us any time by calling our hotline at 325-672-6048 or emailing us at mgardeners@yahoo.com.

Until next time, happy gardening!


2015 Plant Sale

Join us April 25!

Join us April 25

More details available on Facebook


Training Class is Full

THANK YOU to our many training applications for the 2015 training class. What an interesting mix of gardening enthusiasts!

The 20 seat class has been filled. Stay tuned for updates from our new crop of Master Gardener trainees as they make their way through the 15 sessions of intensive gardening training.

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2015 Applications are Open

So you want to be a Texas Master Gardener? MG training

Then fill out an application to join the 2015 Big Country Training Class! This year’s class will feature 15 sessions from February 12 to May 14 with speakers from across the state sharing their gardening knowledge.

The class is limited to 20 members, and applications are due by February 1, 2015.

Please call the Taylor County Extension office at 325-672-6048 with any questions or concerns.


2014 Fall Plant Sale

Please join us this Saturday, October 11th from 8:00 AM until 1:00 PM for the Big Country Master Gardeners Fall Plant Sale.  The sale will be located in the Modern Living Mall at the Taylor County Expo Center.  There will be three different free workshops offered as well.

  • 9:00    –  Putting Your Garden to Bed
  • 10:00  –  Plan Before You Plant
  • 11:00   –  Drought Proof Your Garden

A super-special treat for children ages 7-12 will be a garden art session at 10:00 AM.  Please register with Cheryl in advance by calling 325-513-8623.


Plants included in the sale will be Butterfly and hummingbird plants, Natives, hard to find annuals, roses, blooming perennials, grasses, trees, shrubs, and herbs.

The flyer for the plant sale can be found at this link:   Big Country Master Gardeners 2014 Fall Plant Sale

Remember Bring Your Wagons!



A BRAND NEW EMPHASIS IS BORN at the 2014 BCMGA Spring Plant Sale

by Kathy Feagan (this article is dedicated to Rhonda Blanton, Superwoman idea-ist, decorator extraordinaire and beautiful person!)

This year’s sale is going to be different! Rhonda has been talking about us having a ‘plant of the year’ or ‘sale’ for the longest time – pushing that plant as a great, beneficial one for our area and ordering LOTS of it. We thought and thought. It was just too danged hard for me to come up with one plant!

By J.M.Garg  [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)]

By J.M.Garg [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)]

Then, inspiration struck! Why not make several plants ‘plant of the spring’ with an emphasis on plants that attract Butterflies, Song and Hummingbirds and even bees. I decided to order LOTS of Butterfly Weed. All that is commercially available is Asclepias tuberosa, the native butterfly weed. Jean Dotson called and begged that I reconsider and order Tropical Milkweed, which she had located at a nursery in Barton Springs. I did some research and found that, although there is nothing wrong with the native tuberosa but that Monarch strongly prefer the milk-producing Asclepias curssavica. I was concerned after reading some of the problems caused by Tropical Milkweed, according to NPSOT, but, after more research and from listening to Jean, decided that it was not a problem for us here in North Texas. So, we will have 90 of these Monarch attracting plants available at the sale!

Other Butterfly, Song and Hummingbird, and even bee attractive plants (to name just a few that A BRAND NEW EMPHASIS IS BORN at the 2014 BCMGA Spring Plant Salewere purchased in abundance) that will be offered at our sale this year are:



2014 Spring Plant Sale

Spring is slowly crawling into the Big Country and that means it is time for the Spring Plant Sale.  This year’s sale will take place at the Taylor County Expo Center, Modern Living Mall on April 12th.  The sale will feature plants (of course!), workshops, and lots of fun.  Head on over to the Plant Sale page (HERE) for the flier and more information.  A list of plants available at the sale has now been posted.  I haven’t counted them, but there are a lot of native and adapted plants represented as well as vegetables, herbs, grasses, roses and more.  The sale will run from 8 am to 1 pm.



Growing and Caring for Clematis in the Big Country

by Audrey Gillespie

Photo Credit - Aggie Horticulture : https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/nativeshrubs/clematistexens.htm

Photo Credit – Aggie Horticulture Native Shrubs of Texas

Many thanks to my good friend and fellow master gardener, Vicki Adams, for her advice for this column and to “Texas Gardener” magazine for an excellent article on this subject last spring.  A grudging thank you to my husband, who remembers very well my first attempt at growing clematis here, well before I had the slightest idea what I was doing in the garden.  I say grudging because I planted my clematis one day, went outside the next and found it dead, and came inside.  I told him even I had never managed to kill anything so quick.  He did finally confess, a year later, that he had cut it down with the weed eater.  Thanks to his confession, I have two beautiful clematis vines that I have enjoyed now for several years, with plans to add to my collection. (more…)


Valentines Day Means Time to Prune Your Roses

by Kathy Feagan

Valentine’s Day is the traditional time to think about pruning your roses but it is actually just the ‘starting point’. Now is the time to start thinking about pruning and bed-building. It’s not just for roses, it is also a great time to ‘gently’ prune your crape myrtles, too.

Roses need a great home. They need at least 6 hours of sun each day and a nice, rich soil with very good drainage. You might have to do some amending. Roses grow laterally and shallow, so you can do great with a raised bed.

Pruning controls the size and shape of your roses and keeps the varieties blooming repeatedly all summer long as they flower with new growth. Well established hybrid teas, floribundas and grandifloras should receive a pretty major pruning each spring after the winter protection is removed and just as the buds swell – which is why Valentine’s Day is the key date used to begin the process. After this pruning, all that’s needed through the growing season is to remove any diseased foliage or canes and to dead-head, cutting the stems just above the first five leaflet leaf. (more…)