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
A&M Garden Club members Judy S and Deana D put up a display to educate Bryan library visitors about birds in Texas and what individuals can do to help make their yards and gardens an inviting place for birds to visit.
To help make your garden bird friendly
- provide food
- provide water
- provide shelter
- provide a place to raise young
- provide nesting materials
Food can be provided by planting native plants, although many gardeners enjoy providing food using bird feeders with seed and other treats for birds. Hummingbirds are attracted to nectar producing flowers, such as coral honey suckle. Many birds eat acorns and nuts like pecans, and berries are also a good way to help our feathered friends. Using organic gardening methods will help provide insects for birds and make visiting your yard safer for birds.
Shelter and places to raise young can also be a part of the landscape, such as dense bushes for hiding or building nests in. Bird houses can also be a fun way to make a yard bird friendly and can showcase creative talents with unique designs.
Water can be provided with a bird bath, or a water garden, or even the drip from the drainage hose on an air conditioner.
We hope you’ll get a chance to stop in at the Bryan library and see the display about birds and browse the library shelves for gardening inspiration to help resident and migrating birds.
BAI MAKRUT (KAFFIR LIME) – Citrus hystrix
In these “sensitive” times I feel it necessary to add the following note from the internet: “Known for a long time as Kaffir Lime, the Thai name “bai makrut” is now considered the much more politically correct term, as “Kaffir” in Arabic means “unbeliever” and as such, Kaffir can have derogatory implications.”
A rather uncommon herb/citrus in the western world is the Kaffir Lime, known by the people from Thailand as “green gold”. Not easy to find, it can be very expensive to buy whenever you find it, so if you know someone who has one, be nice to them and they might give you a start! It is supposedly quite difficult to root a cutting, but it is recommended that you are very generous with mist!!!
Also known as Makrood, this plant carries its dark green glossy leaves in the shape of an 8 – like two leaves growing back to back. It has many wicked thorns, up to 1 ¼” long, so care is needed when handling. These thorns can apparently be trimmed off without damage to the plant. Both the leaves and the grated rind of the small, bumpy fruit are treasured in Thai cooking. It should be grown in a large pot here in Texas, outside in the summer, but moved inside in the winter since it is not at all frost hardy. In summer it would prefer some afternoon shade and regular light feedings of fish emulsion (or liquid seaweed, 1 ounce to 1 gallon of water.) It could reach 8-10 feet in height in ideal growing conditions.
When harvesting the leaves, cut each one individually rather than cutting a branch off. This helps to preserve the shape and strength of the tree. Sometimes refrigerated fresh leaves are available packaged, in Oriental markets. The dried rind might also be found in powdered or grated form, and is used in curries, curry pastes, and soups
A few ways to use Bai Makrut:
*The leaves should be used whole when simmering in soups, stews and curries, like a bay leaf. The leaf is rarely eaten; the one exception is when it is shredded extremely finely, such as for Tod Mun (fried fish cake).
*Fresh, tender young leaves are the preferred choice for salads; do not use dried kaffir leaves in salads *The midrib and stalk may be bitter in older leaves; if this bitterness bothers you, tear the leaf and remove these parts for cooking, including simmering.
*Flavor rice – When cooking your rice, especially jasmine rice, throw in a few leaves. The flavor will be imparted to the rice.
*Add to a marinade, suitable for chicken, pork or lamb dishes.
*Make a syrup – add a kaffir lime leaf to sugar overnight and use the sugar to make a syrup the next day.
*Add perfume to bath time. Add some fresh leaves to a hot bath. A delightful fragrance will waft from your bathwater.
*Bruise a few leaves and add to an outdoor citrus-scented potpourri. The scent will linger in the evening air when eating outdoors.
*Freshen up. Use a bruised kaffir lime leaf to rub over your hands. This will freshen them and impart a delicious scent to your skin. Naturally, test a small area of skin for reactions before using this treat regularly.
(Fruit photo from the internet – my tree is too young!)
A&M Garden Club did it again with a successful booth at the Heritage Park in Bryan 4th of July event. Sudden downpours of rain at the start of the event gave way to clearer skies. Water puddles were navigated by enthusiastic booth visitors adopting plants, getting instructions from garden club members about how to take care of their new plants, taking handmade pressed-flower book marks, and learning more about butterflies. The event was well organized and we were grateful to be a part of it. We had fun and provided valuable gardening info and plants to our community.
There is a statue in the park designed by Albert Pedula, an artist who grew up in College Station. New information panels have been added in the pavilion about the history of the Carter family and the park area.
This article and pictures is part of a series showing the positive impact A&M Garden Club has on sometimes not so well known places in our community. It was submitted by our Dale and Judy reporting team. We hope you get a chance to see these gems in our community in person and go back and visit again and again throughout the year. We welcome and encourage submissions from our members to this blog sharing your garden club discoveries.
This time of year, when the daytime temperatures are consistently in the upper nineties, and at night it cools to only the mid-seventies, many garden perennials tend to droop and disappear, while others are at their blooming best! Here are five whose blooms can be enjoyed inside
1. Crinum asiaticum. In my garden this plant holds its bloom up for only about a day and then it flops to the ground. In water, in the house, a cut bloom will last up to a week in a cooler environment. The fragrance is subtle, but very pleasing.
2. Crinum v. Ellen Bosanquet. This variety holds up well in the garden but since it is such a beautiful color, and blooms abundantly, it is nice to enjoy it indoors too. The unopened buds will usually open in the house. Again, this has a slight perfume.
3. Crocosmia (aka by we “old(er) folks” as Montbretia.) These blooms are sure to brighten anyone’s day, outside and indoors. In the garden, if it is given ample water, it will multiply readily (in fact some people consider it “invasive”) but it is easy enough to control.
4. Cosmos and Gaillardia. More bright flowers, often the stars of the summer unconstructed garden! They don’t last quite as long indoors but since the blooms are so plentiful, it is easy to replenish the vase. If there is too much “heat” in the colors, it can be toned down with sprigs of sage, whos silvery green leaves add relief as well as fragrance. Sage leaves can also be plucked from the vase for cooking!
5. The ever-faithful Rose. Not all roses grow well in all areas, but once the right varieties are found, the possibilities are unending. In this photo are Mutabilis, Katy Road Pink, and Belinda’s Dream.
Disclaimer: I am not a flower-arranger/designer – my “style” is to stuff it in the vase and enjoy! Some of the green fillers I use are herbs, asparagus, holly fern, and aspidistra leaves. Sprigs of Rosemary add a delightful fragrance to a bloom without much scent, and sometimes provide a bonus by rooting in the water!
A&M Garden Club member, Helen Q, helped with the Navasota Library display celebrating gardening as part of National Garden Club Week June 4-10, 2017. Stop by to enjoy the display, do some reading, and enjoy all the air conditioning libraries have to offer.
Bryan and College Station Libraries also have garden theme displays-see previous blog post.
“Susie’s Tree Ministry”
By Suzanne Milstead
Most everyone has heard of the legendary Johnny Appleseed because of his kind and generous ways of giving away apple seeds for people to plant. His simple acts gave him symbolic importance in conservation by leaving a legacy of trees in America. This pioneer spirit of conservation is alive and well in our garden club member, Carolyn Sue Guillotte.
Carolyn has a mission. She believes in preserving the earth caused by clear cutting of trees. One only has to do an internet search to see the multiple benefits to our environment, one of which is clean air. “It would be pure hell on earth with no trees.” says Carolyn.
Trees help us breathe and provide a home for quite a few diverse kinds of animals and insects. Trees help prevent floods by utilizing the water and their roots holding onto soil. Trees are effectively the lungs of the environment. They take much of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen via photosynthesis. Therefore, the greenhouse gas load is reduced and effects of global warming are also brought down. Trees provide the human species with a constant supply of oxygen. Trees provide refreshing shade which most of us couldn’t live without in our Texas heat. Trees give us food, materials for shelter, paper, and other by-products of our everyday lives.
Knowing the benefits that trees provide, her ministry was born. Since 2005, Carolyn has given away thousands of tree seedlings to family, friends, neighbors, churches, master gardeners, garden clubs, her DAR club and most anyone who wants one. It’s like the movie, Pay It Forward, where one good deed starts many more. The Texas DAR recognized her conservation efforts by presenting Carolyn with a Certificate of Merit.
Carolyn pays for the seedlings with her own money and doesn’t ask for any recognition or favors in return. She just hopes you care for the trees she freely gives and then she knows that her mission is complete. She leaves a conservation legacy for many years to come with her tree ministry.
Here’s my mulberry tree from Carolyn: