Registration is now open for the December Webinar!
Join us on December 20th from 10:00 – 11:30 AM (Central) for “All About Evergreens“. We’ll have 5 short presentations from experts in the field and will be giving away lots of DOOR PRIZES!
You’ll need to register to receive the Zoom link the day before. It’s FREE!
Plant Party is a quarterly, advanced plant training series provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association Members recieve 1.5 CEU credits for this program.
Article and photos submitted by Teresa Wilson.
Students at Citadel Christian School in Brenham, Texas had the opportunity to learn about Monarch butterflies through two educational programs lead by Bluebonnet Master Gardener Assocation member Nancy Galloway, with assistance from Teresa Wilson and Mandy Ames, also Master Gardeners. Both programs were held at the school on Novebmer 6, 2023.
The first program was for students in grades 1 through 4. It featured a detailed display illustrating theMonarch butterfly’s life cycle, from egg to butterfly, along with a live butterfly exhibit. Nancy, clad in signature Monarch orange top with a light brown field vest mimicing the colors of the Monarch, covered aspects of the north and south Monarch migrations, explaining the life cycle and yearly generational patterns.
Students were also given the chance to practice tagging Monarchs for research purposes, using simulated butterflies. In a practical demonstration, Nancy tagged a Monarch she caught earlier that day in her garden, with hopes that it would be found in Mexico, contributing to migration data.
The second presentation was tailored for 10th-grade students who already had some knowledge of Monarchs. Nancy delved into the habits, nutrition, nesting needs, pests, and diseases associated with Monarchs. The class is now planning to create a natural area with milkweed, following Nancy’s recommendations, to establish a Monarch waystation habitat.
Nancy Galloway’s adeptness in adjusting lecture levels to suit the audience made the presentations informative. Teachers at the school also received educational packets to support ongoing learning.
This presentation was part of the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association’s work to provide garden-related education at the school.
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association announces opening registration for it 2024 Master Gardener Certification Training Class.
Our 2024 Class is scheduled each Wedenday from January 10th – April 24th, 2024 with the final graduation class on Tuesday, April 23, 2024. The last class on April 24th is a Bonus Day including topics not contained in the standard training manuel.
Participants from Austin, Colorado, Fayette & Washington Counties are welcome to register for the class. The 50+ hours of classes will be held at the Washington County Expo Event Center at 1305 East Bell Road, Brenham, Texas 77833.
Details of field trips for on-site learning will be announced in class. The Master Gardener Handbook, compiled by the Texas Master Gardener Association, is included in the $200 registration fee. You may register online below or contact the Washington County Extension office at (979) 277-6262 for more information.
Class size is limited to 25.
For more information about the Master Gardener Program and to apply for the class, HERE
Extreme heat makes for difficult gardening conditions for both the plants and the gardener. As gardeners, we focus on helping our plants and gardens survive the heat of Texas summer but also, we must also take steps to protect ourselves from the heat. More 100+ degree days are forcast for our area this summer. Spending hours in such heat can pose serious health risks to gardeners. Heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke can be debilitating or even life-threatening.
Here are a few tips to help reduce heat-related illness while gardening in the extreme heat:
Dress Appropriately: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing that allows air circulation. Long sleeves and pants can protect the skin from direct sun exposure and reduce the risk of sunburn. Additionally, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can shield the face and eyes from harmful UV rays.
Hydration: Hydration is essential when working in hot conditions. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after gardening to replace fluids lost through sweat. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages while in the heat, as they contribute to dehydration.
Time of Day: Schedule gardening activities during the cooler parts of the day, typically early morning or early evening. Avoid working during peak sunlight hours of 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m when temperatures are at their highest. Take regular breaks in the shade or air conditioning to rest and cool down.
Use Sunscreen: Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 on exposed skin, at least 30 minutes before going outside to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Sunscrean helps prevent UV-ray-damage to the skin which can cause cancer and “thin” skin that tears and bleeds easily. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if sweating heavily.
Seek Shade & Air Conditioning: Use natural shade from trees and tall plants in the garden or create a shade structure in the garden. Take frequent breaks in shaded areas or go inside to the air conditioning to lower your body temperature and minimize the risk of overheating.
Although we garden year-around in Texas, July and August are probbaly the most challenging physcially for both the plants and for us. By taking a few precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses, gardeners can continue to find joy in the garden even in the hash temperatures of summer. Stay cool out there gardeners!
The Texas Superstar brochure is updated. The new brochure is a beautiful, full color 44-page booklet with detailed descriptions, suggested uses and special notes for each plant with the Texas Superstar® designation.
You may print, download, view it in your browser or on device. Be sure to have it available when planning your landscape and vegetable gardens.
To be designated a Texas Superstar® a plant must be beautiful and perform well for growers throughout the state. Texas Superstars must also be easy to propagate, ensuring the plants are widely available and reasonably priced.
Texas Superstar® is a registered trademark owned by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, a state agency that is part of the Texas A&M University System. Plants are designated Texas Superstars by the Texas Superstar executive board, made up of nine horticulturalists from AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Tech University.
Bluebird eggs are a welcome herald of Spring at the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association’s Sens Center Demonstration Garden. Five lovely bluebird eggs are in a nest box attached at the top of an 8′ tall chain-link fence which encloses the garden. The nest box faces west toward an open area with woods approximately 100′ away. The Sens Center Demonstration Garden is located in Bellville, Texas behind the Sens Community Center.
There are several species of bluebirds found in Texas, including the Eastern Bluebird, Western Bluebird, and Mountain Bluebird. Eastern Bluebirds are the most common throughout the eastern and central parts of the state, while Western Bluebirds and Mountain Bluebirds are less common and typically found in the western and northern parts of the state. Bluebirds in Texas prefer open areas with scattered trees and may be found in fields, pastures, and orchards. They primarily feed on insects and berries and can often be spotted perched on fences, power lines, or other elevated perches. Bluebirds are a beautiful and welcome sight in Texas and are often attracted to birdhouses placed in suitable habitats.
Bluebird nest boxes are encouraged by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) as the boxes provide important habitat for bluebirds and other cavity-nesting birds. In many areas of Texas, natural cavities suitable for nesting are in short supply, so nest boxes can be a vital resource for bluebirds.
The photo was taken by certified Master Gardener and BMGA member Leah Pearce, on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.
The Washington County Bluebonnet Master Gardeners and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for Washington County, Texas announce their 2023 Spring Lunch-N-Learn Spring series.
These FREE to the public programs will feature speakers from the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association.
April 5, 2023 & May 3, 2023
Washington County Expo Event Center
1305 E. Blue Bell Road
Brenham, Texas 77833
(Parking and the Event Center face Blue Bell Road) (Map)
For paper order form, click HERE
All proceeds benefit the AgriLife Extension Horticulture Committee’s Scholarship Fund.
Bluebonnet 2023 Master Gardener Annual Plant Sale.
In addition to landscape plants for sale, tomato plants will also be available for purchase. Nine varieties will be offered. Click HERE for the complete list.
Bring your own lunch
Light refreshments: coffee, tea and snacks provided.
11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
12:0 p.m.- 1:00 p.m.
Austin County AgriLife Office
800 E. Wendt St., Bellville, Tx 77418
Questions: Call 979-865-2072
Bring your lunch and learn.
Light refreshments: coffee, tea and snacks provided.
11:50 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
12:05 p.m.- 12:55 p.m.
No pre-registration required
Colorado County Services Building
305 Radio Lane, Columbus, Texas 78934
Questions: Call 979-732-2082
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is pleased to announce that its 2023 Master Gardener training classes begin January 19th in La Grange, Texas. Registration is now open.
The series consists of 50 hours of training held every Thursday form January 19 to April 20, 2023. Master Gardener Carol Daniels of La Grange is the coordinator of the 2023 training program.
The BMGA class is designed for trainees from any of the four Bluebonnet Master Gardener counties of Austin, Colorado, Fayette and Washington. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service provides the training material and many of the expert horticulture and related speakers used by Master Gardener programs statewide.
This is a unique opportunity for individuals who are interested in horticulture and serving their community. Master Gardeners are trained in all facets of horticulture such as plant & soil science, entomology, plant pathology, fruit and vegetable gardening, and much more. Upon completion of their training, Master Gardeners will be required to give at least 50 hours of volunteer service time in their local community in order to receive the title of “Master Gardener”.
An Open House is scheduled January 12, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Fayette County Extension Office, 255 Svoboda Ln., La Grange, Texas for anyone interested in learning more about the program. This event will provide a great opportunity to visit with current Master Gardeners, learn about projects in each of the counties, and enjoy a few Master Gardener goodies.
SAVE THE DATE!
The Texas A&M AgriLife “Turf Team” is planning two Turfgrass Short Courses in February 2023.
A) the English short course will be from Feb 20 to 23th (4 days).
B) the Spanish short course will be from Feb 27 to 28th (2 days).
More details coming soon.
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is proud to announce its 2022 annual college scholarships winners. Eight scholarships, ranging from $1,500 to $1,000, were awarded to high school graduates from Austin, Washington, Fayette & Colorado Counties, Texas. To view the winners’ bios, see below. The winners are:
Mackenzie Lee (Austin Co.)
Jagar, Rau (Colorado Co.)
Brynn Mikulenka (Fayette Co.)
Laura James (Fayette Co.)
Waylon Hinze (Washington Co.)
Weston Hinze (Washington Co.)
Keely Mikolajchak (Washington Co.)
Eli Saunders (Washington Co.)
All eight demonstrated outstanding acheivement in leadership, citizenship, community service and other endevours that form the basis of becoming lifelong responsible, productive citziens and leaders in their communtiies.
Congratulations to our 2022 scholarship winners!
Hybrid Program-Live & Remote Options!
September 26 & 27, 2022, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
375 S. Castell Ave.
New Braunfels, TX
For more information, visit:
or call 979-862-1218
Fall 2022 Programs:
September 20, 2022 – Salvia for every Garden
October 18, 2022 – Texas Superstars
November 15, 2022 – Citrus
Austin County AgriLife Office
800 E. Wendt St.
Bellville, Tx 77418
Registration: 11:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Program: 12:00 p.m – 1:00 p.m.
When: Sept. 30, 2022 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Research & Extension Center, Uvalde
1619 Garner Field Rd
Uvalde, Tx 78801
Space is limited so RSVP now at: tx.ag/TxOliveUpdate
Colorado County members of the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association are pleased to announce the upcoming Colorado County Lunch-N-Learn Series focused on gardening and horticulture!
Programs will be held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Colorado County Services Facility located at 305 Radio Lane in Columbus. Registration will open at 11:50 am with the program starting promptly at 12:05 pm and ending by 12:55pm. Attendees are asked to bring their own lunch. Light refreshments including coffee, tea and snacks will be provided. No preregistration is required for this free program.
The following is our program line-up:
- July 20th – Firewise Landscaping
- August 17th – Fall Vegetable Gardening
- September 21st – All About Berries: Blackberries and Blueberries for the Home Gardener
- October 19th – Tree Care
- November 16th – Soil Biology and Compost Tea
For more information please contact the Colorado County AgriLife Extension Office at 979-732-2082.
The Gardens at Texas A&M
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Free parking available in lot 97.
Join us at our annual community Summer Celebration for food and fun for the family, including children’s educational activities, story time with Chance The Librarian, JJ’s snow cones, and more. You won’t want to miss this fun-filled morning!
By Faye Beery, 2022 Class Coordinator
On April 26, 2022, our new Bluebonnet Master Gardener intern class graduated with 33 interns. One of them, Joe Jimenez, completed his 50 hours of volunteer work during the class period and is now a full fledged Master Gardener. We also had the youngest intern that we have had, Webb Sherman, age 17. The class had the largest ever enrollment with 40 students, but unfortunately, we lost 7 due to various reasons.
We kept statistics for our class to determine the knowledge gained during the classes. Our pretest average grade was 55 with 23 missed. Our final test (posttest) averaged 89. The highest score was 98, made by several people. We also gave them 2 bonus questions from a list of words given them weekly that corresponded with their chapter. With the bonus questions, the average score was a 95. With the bonus questions, the highest score was a 108.
Several of the students were new to the area, having recently brought property in one of our 4 counties. There were also 3 sets of couples who were new to the area.
All of them were eager for information and asked lots of questions. They enjoyed the speakers and kept some of them a little over time to ask more questions. They are going to be good master gardeners, a good source of information for our community, and good friends.
Thanks also to the helpers for the class. Nikki Griffin was invaluable handling all the food and drink for the classes, as was Marcella Ausmus, helping with the hospitality and grading papers. Esther Hartman, Susan Yancey, and Leah Pierce helped to grade papers also. Thanks to all who came.
Mary Lu Campbell
Fruit & You in ’22!
The Texas Fruit Conference is returning for its 11th year, and we would love to have all fruit growers and enthusiasts join us for two days of education, networking, and fruit sharing!
When: Monday, September 26th and Tuesday, September 27th
Where: New Braunfels Civic Convention Center, New Braunfels, Texas
What: New grower information, advanced orchard management topics, research on new and existing fruit crops, fruit variety performance, pesticide CEU’s, and our Taste of Texas Fruit Reception!
Contact: Monte Nesbitt, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulture, 979-862-1218, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association’s popular Kids Kamp is back in 2022! The three day summer camp for kids is accepting registrations now. The Kids Kamp will be held in all four BMGA counties for kids ages 10 to 13 years of age.
Washington County: May 31 – June 2, 2022
Colorado County: June 14- 16, 2022
Fayette County: June 21 – 23, 2022
Austin: June 28 – June 30, 2022
The kids will learn about recycling, organic gardening, mulch and compost, erosion control and insect I.D. There will also be cricket races! The kampers will make garden related crafts and enjoy healthy snacks.
Christy Schweikhardt, a Master Gardener who facilitated the soil & gardening segments of Kids Kamp for two years, said, “We fill the Kids Kamp with hands-on activities that are both fun and educational. The kids who participated in the past Kids Kamps were entergeitc and eager to learn, even over summer break. For the volunteer Master Gardeners who particpate in running the Kids Kamp, it is rewarding to help AgriLife Extension Service and the State of Texas foster fact-based gardening and food knowelge in a future generation of Texas gardeners.”
At only $30.00 for the program, this may be the best bargin in summer fun.