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.


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 (]

By J.M.Garg [GFDL (]

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 :

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…)


Observations and Experiments with Soils

by Audrey Gillespie

Let’s talk dirt, specifically the soil in our landscapes.  What can we learn from observation and a few easy, quick experiments?  What conclusions can we draw from these?  Are there any reasonable actions that we might want to take as a result?  Grab your lab coat and come along. (more…)


2013 Big Country Pecan Management Seminar

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is proud to announce that the 2013 Big Country Pecan Management Seminar will be held this Thursday, December 19th in conjunction with our Abilene Area and West Texas Regional Pecan Shows. The seminar will begin at 6:00 PM in the Big Country Hall located next to the Extension Office located on the grounds of the Taylor County Expo Center.  Monte Nesbitt, a program specialist in Pecans with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will be presenting a program discussing Pecan Production and Tree Management.  Admission is free.  For more information contact the Taylor County Extension Office at 325-627-6048.

A program flyer is available at this link: 2013 Pecan Management Seminar Flyer


Fall Vegetable Gardening Seminar

Saturday morning, August 10, from 9:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., the Big Country Master Gardener Association will present a seminar on fall vegetable gardening.  The Taylor County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, 1982 Lytle Way, is the place you will want to be.  If you are unfamiliar with the area, this is inside the fairgrounds, across Loop 322 from the airport.

Whether you are a veggie gardener wannabe like me or you have tended your plot for years, come join us.  There is no charge for this event.

First on the agenda will be Lowell Johnston.  He will talk to you about having a home compost system that can help enrich your soil and save money at the same time.  You might be surprised to find out how easy and fun composting can be. John Kirk will finish up the seminar with great guidelines for planting.  You will learn which plants are the stars in the fall garden, how to know when to plant for a fall harvest, and where to locate your garden patch. John will offer some great tips on soil preparation, how to plant seeds and transplants, what to do about the inevitable weeds that are going to want to horn in on that nutrient-rich soil, and more. Other master gardeners will be on hand to help you in any way we can.

We will have a fresh pot of coffee and some snacks that you can enjoy before the seminar starts or during the break between sessions.  I’ve been around these folks long enough to know you will want to sample their goodies and enjoy their company. Copies of the power points will be provided, with space for your notes.  There will be time at the end of each presentation for questions. Cool air, warm hospitality, great speakers.  Come on down! Call the extension office at 325-672-6048 or email us at with any questions.