Hello world! We hope you will enjoy our posts, which will coverall aspects of our Garden Club life! Our monthly Newsletter will appear here, as well as news of our many activities and events!

We are members of Texas Garden Clubs and National Garden Clubs, and the Garden Club year typically runs from September 1st through May 31st.  On August 12th we will have our “Membership Social/Pot Luck” at our regular location, the College Station Waste Water Facility, 2200 North Forest Parkway, College Station, TX 77845, starting at 9.30 am.  You are welcome to join us and find out who we are, and what we do!  Find us on Facebook, and check our website amgardenclub.com

Why Horticulture Flower Show Entries can be Challenging

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Identifying just what can be entered in a flower show from the garden is yet another opportunity to learn more about gardening and to really mindfully be a part of the garden, a kind of meditation for many. Potential specimens must be closely examined for ideal growth characteristics including  lack of insect or disease damage which may reveal previously hidden detail, such as this Katydid insect caught in the act of damaging what might have been a winner before it was a meal,

 

Fun at Flower Show in Georgetown

Had the pleasure of attending the Georgetown Garden Club’s Flower Show, Tribute to Texas Women, on April 19, 2017, which was educational on several levels.  Designs shown are of first place award winners for categories: Cynthia Ann Parker, Bessie Coleman, Selena Quintanilla Perez, Emily West-the Yellow Rose of Texas, Angelina Eberly, and Mary Kay Ash. Will let you guess which is in what category and look up who these women worthy of tribute are if you do not know. All the design entries in this show were amazing and if you’d like to see more posted in this blog, let us know via comment. Each club’s flower show has their own amazing horticultural entries dependent on when the show is since blooms matter for many horticultural entries. A pitcher plant and devil’s tongue cactus drew my attention but there were so many entries to delight and amaze, including two radishes that had grown together. Can’t wait to see what our A&M Garden Club will have in our upcoming show in May. Good luck to everyone. Would you like to also see some images from the Violet Crown Flower Show in Austin held a few weeks ago? Let us know via a comment.

Happy Birthday to us ♪♫

A&M Garden Club was organized in October 1936 by a group of Bridge playing Texas A&M University faculty wives, and was the first community gardening group to teach new residents how to grow plants in the unique soils and climate of the Brazos Valley.  Although not directly affiliated with Texas A&M University, the club carried the name of A&M (without the “Texas”) because of its founding members.  In May of 1937 the members voted unanimously to become Federated with Texas Garden Clubs (and National Garden Clubs), and a garden party was held in he formal gardens of the TAMU administration building with a flower arrangement exhibition in the rotunda, and from the initial 17 members, the membership has risen to a high of 110, dropped to 39, and is now on the rise again with membership at March 1, 2017 of 92.

Readers will have seen over time how wide the club’s interests are from the nature of the posts – in this official garden club year alone, starting September 2016 and running through May 2017, we have enjoyed programs on “Beautiful Bugs & Butterflies”, Vermiculture, Edible & Drinkable Landscaping Plants, flower arrangements for spring, Aquaponics – integrating fish into your garden, “Beneficial Bats”, and to come in May, “Food Forest Gardens.  We have visited a Pecan Farm, the Aquaponic Facility, the annual American Herb Society sale & Herbal Forum, and plans are in the works to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  We host the National Garden Club Landscape Design School twice a year, have started a Butterfly & Pollinator Garden, members attend flower show schools, tend to and plant flowers and trees at local parks, set up a booth at local community events such as Earth Day, World Fest, Fourth of July Celebration in order to educate on gardening and conservation, and to hand out free plants and informational leaflets.  We travel to Guatemala annually to grow friendships, enjoy the cultural experience and give gardening workshops to the Maya kids in a couple of schools.

So at the end of March we kicked off our Birthday Celebration of our Eightieth anniversary of being federated under National Garden Clubs with a “Tea” at a local garden center’s Café, and at our May meeting we will have a gigantic Birthday cake as dessert to follow a Pot Luck luncheon.   Other surprises are planned for our members, who come from a diversity of cultures and countries.  Members make a club!  Happy 80th Birthday to us all, and may our club still be here and going strong 80 years from now!!

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Next week some of us will be travelling to Odessa, TX to attend the Texas Garden Clubs’ Spring Convention, and hopefully we will be able to share photos of the club receiving several awards.

Then on May 5 we will be holding our Small Standard Flower Show, showcasing Designs, Horticulture, Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs, and photography.  The name of the show is “Mother’s Table”.  Check our main website http://www.amgardenclub.com to see the schedule and view the details.
AMGC.Flowershow flyer

 

 

Welcome Insects, come on in!

April in Texas is a good time to get better acquainted with insects living and visiting the garden and to do something to show them they are wanted and needed. Using targeted organic insect pest control can help keep beneficial insects and other wildlife a part of a healthy garden and yard while protecting some of your prized plants. Organic soap products and even hand-picking or using a water spray from a hose can do an excellent job of getting rid of many pesky insects like aphids  and harlequin bugs while minimizing collateral damage to our beneficial insects including native lady bugs, butterflies, lacewings and bees. Some gardeners even invite MORE bugs into their gardens with insect hotels that can be made using recycled materials such as wood scraps, cardboard, bark, dead-wood, and even sections of plastic bottles filled with natural materials. Another idea to enjoy more insects and butterflies is to happily share something like dill with caterpillars so you can enjoy more butterflies later. Leaving some areas in the garden and yard alone to grow wild can help welcome insects such as native bees since it’s not always obvious where they are living and nesting. A simple web browser search can yield information on identification of and beneficial habitats to help you better enjoy and welcome native bees and other beneficial insects into the garden.

Theme Pocket Gardens  by Suzanne Milstead

 

lemon gardenHave a sunny spot in your yard?  Try planting a theme pocket garden.  In the photo above, you see a lemon themed garden.  Yellow flowers abound with either annuals or perennials.  Some herbs are there, too, such as Lemon verbena, Lemongrass, Lemon thyme, Lemon balm, Lemon basil.  This lemon garden just makes me happy.  Fresh herbs are one of the most important ingredients in my cooking, and it’s so lovely to have a little patch out back and on the porch where I can snip mint, basil, and oregano. None of these herbs are direct substitutes for real lemon, but they certainly have their own similar citrus scents and freshness of flavor. They are all easy to grow and great for the garden.

butterfly image

 

Other themes: Many of us already have allotted garden space for a Butterfly Garden.  In doing so, we have provided needed food and habitat for these lovely creatures.  Some of the other critters you might see here would be ladybugs, aphids, and spiders.  Keep a log of butterflies using the pamphlet, Butterflies of Central Texas.  In no time, you’ll begin to readily recognize them. Find the guide in the checkout lanes of HEB, and Barnes and Nobel.  It’s perfect for Central Texas.

 

15 tea herbs

This spring I started my tea garden.  One valuable resource is this book, 15 Herbs for Tea.  I’d lost my copy, but easily found it on Amazon.  Tuck some herbs amongst garden vegetables and smell the scented oils by rubbing a leaf in your fingers.  Visitors at my home are just amazed!  (Flowering herbs also bring in native bees.)

 

Last suggestion is a Cut Flower Garden.  If you love flowers, and who doesn’t, this one is for you!  My favorites are sunflowers, zinnias, and gomphrenas.  However, our best resource is Dr. Bill Welch’s list on Aggie Hort.  Dazzle your family and friends with cut flowers.  Great for nature and for you.  http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/southerngarden/cutflower.html

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Sharing Smiles through Community Service in Spring

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A workshop hosted at an A&M Garden Club member’s home created fun Spring-themed “Tussie-mussies” and pine cone rabbits for residents at a local assisted living facility home. Members and two local high school students on Spring Break had fun putting them together. Another garden club member will deliver them in person as part of a separate meal delivery program by another agency. Past deliveries for Valentine’s Day have been well received by recipients, bringing smiles and joy. Community service projects like this go well with our A&M Garden Club mission of “Promoting the love of gardening, floral design & horticulture through garden-related projects and educational programs.”

More community service projects are planned in the near future, so stay tuned.