Volume 30, Issue 6 – May 2020
I’m getting more comfortable with my new “normal.” I like to think it’s because I’m still young (ignore the gray in my hair that hasn’t been colored in over a month) and not set in my ways.
I’m just as busy as I was before but in different ways. I have more time for my garden. Before, I would have done a quick spruce up and moved on to other tasks I thought were more important. Now, I am enjoying my happy place again as I plant, weed, and wrangle a drip irrigation system into submission!
I have more time for my family. Before, I would have had quick individual calls with family members. Now, we have weekly video calls that include four generations, something that, for whatever reason, we had never thought about doing!
Before, I thought most Master Gardener education needed to be face-to-face. Now, I am learning new skills such as video conferencing and dusting off old skills, such as writing, to help promote our mission of gardening education.
I encourage you to spend a little time thinking of all you can do with your new normal, before things change yet again.
I miss seeing you all!
Lynn Cox, President
Water Wise Words
May is for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Mulch!
May is the perfect time to add another layer of mulch to your garden beds. A nice layer of organic mulch, such as a double shredded, hard wood mulch can do many things to benefit your soil and your plants, including preventing soil erosion and compaction. Organic mulches, like compost, leaves from your yard, and grass clippings will add nutrients to the soil as they decompose. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension recommends that 3” or more of mulch be applied to all garden beds, ornamental and vegetable beds alike.
First, mulch will help to keep the moisture in and the weeds out. Secondly, mulch will keep the soil cool in the summer and warm in the winter, which makes the soil a much more hospitable place for your plant’s roots. This also makes for a great habitat for beneficial soil organisms such as earthworms, bacteria, and fungi. And finally, mulch finishes off your beds and makes them look more aesthetically pleasing and as a bonus, any stray weed that happens to take hold will stand out like a sore thumb against that mulch layer. Plucking said weed out from the roots will keep your landscape looking great!
Water Conservation Coordinator
Congratulations to the four Bexar County Master Gardeners who earned their 2020 certification in April.
Lynn Cox, Kathann El-Amin, Susan Noonan, Sharon Pirttima
Each year, Master Gardeners must certify for the following year. They must complete at least 30 volunteer hours in the community, 6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to keep their knowledge current, and attend two regular BCMG monthly meetings. Upon completion of these requirements they are awarded the BCMG Service Pin.
Due to Covid-19, There will be no face-to-face Monthly Meeting in May.
The May Video Presentation is “Growing Herbs” by MG Grace Emery.
Click here to watch it on Bill Swantner’s YouTube Channel
AgriLife Extension offices are closed to the public, at least until May 4. That date may be extended. Please call before going over there, to save yourself a trip. The phone and the Hotline is being operated from home telephones, calls being directed by Nick Vasquez. Feel free to email Agrilife members, as they are freely available by email. Email addresses of all MGs are available in VMS.
Announcements From The BCMG Board
- All BCMG face-to-face activities are suspended until further notice. This includes, but is not limited to:
- May Brown Bag
- May Monthly Meeting
- The Festival of Flowers for 2020 (rescheduled for May 29, 2021)
- The Top Tomato Contest at Fannick’s Nursery
- The 2020 Fall Master Gardener Training Class is on hold until further notice.
- The 2020-2021 BCMG Scholarship Application deadline has been extended until May 31.
- Announce new BCMG Board Member: Donna Meyer, Membership Director.
Featured Landscape – Muriel Lanford, BCMG
Welcome to my place! Like many of you, I have an unending list of things I want to do on my property, but landscaping was the first priority. I had to take into consideration several factors: a sloped property, desire to xeriscape, with plants friendly to native pollinators and resistant to deer. So I hired my friends, Nick and Liz Campanella (Uprooted Gardens), to help me create a landscape that was partially wild, xeric, with native, adapted, and pollinator plants.
The Campanellas and I started with the front of the property. For water diversion, Liz and I designed a long drainage swale around the front of the house, disguised as a river rock bed. The bed is flanked by lots of mulch, a few hardscape features (paths from the house), and a multitude of plants.
(1) Swale disguised as a river rock bed. Planted with pollinator friendly plants.
(2) Santolina and thyme between stepping stones. Society garlic, Mexican feather grass, Mexican honeysuckle (hidden), yarrow, and cenizo.
3) Mystic Spires salvia, Shasta daisies, coreopsis, yarrow, rosemary.
Once we completed the front of the property, the remaining projects focused on terracing the back of the house with xeric plants and more water diversion.
One of the biggest challenges for Liz, who made our plant selections, was finding plants that “checked a lot of boxes”: In addition to native or adapted xeric plants that were pollinator-friendly, Liz had to find plants that were supposed to be deer-resistant. But, as most of you know, if deer are hungry enough, they will eat anything. I have discovered that they will sometimes take bites of things they are not supposed to like, before they figure out that they don’t like them. And the Axis deer apparently have not read the rules about what deer are not supposed to eat. Such is the life in the “country,” which I gladly accept for the trade-off.
(4) Mystic Spires salvia for the bumblebees!
(5) More Mystic Spires, oregano, daisies, penstemon, and trailing lantana surrounding the bee bath.
(6) Waterfall feature that also functions as steps, down the terrace. Plants include butterfly weed, Mona Lavender, oregano, thyme, Victoria Blue salvia (from rodeo!), foxtail fern, coreopsis, daisies, yarrow, rosemary, Henry Duelberg salvia, and portulaca.
I cannot wait for all the plants to “grow up” and see the ultimate result of all the work that has been done. I feel like I have my own private park in the backyard!
All face-to-face classes / events for May have been canceled at this time.
We want to express special appreciation to David Rodriquez and Molly Keck for their wonderful webinars. They have done an excellent job of presenting and the webinars have been attended by a record number of participants. Many thanks for your hard work, David and Molly!
Webinars in May
To join each of these webinars, just click here
NATIONAL WILDFLOWER WEEK
May 3 – May 9
Lady Bird Johnson said wildflowers “give us a sense of where we are, in this great land of ours.” Right she was! From bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) blanketing Hill Country roadsides and purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) dotting Wisconsin prairies to California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) making good on their state’s nickname, wildflowers are admired nationwide — and they’re celebrated officially every first week of May.
We all miss our Master Gardener activities, so be sure to keep an eye on the BCMG Calendar and on the BCMG weekly Leaflets and eblasts. These publications will keep us all updated, as to what’s going on next. More webinars are likely to be scheduled throughout the month and you don’t want to miss them!
We hope you’ll enjoy participating in National Wildflower Week wherever you live and appreciate wildflowers this and every week of the year.
BCMG is on YouTube! Watch classes on a computer (or on your smartphone)!
Check out Bill Swantner’s Channel Youtube videos
The new May 2020 video is Herb Gardening.
Check often for other new videos! The whole list of available videos is HERE.
|Do you have gardening questions?|
Join this live, fun interactive show.
WOAI 1200 AM – Lawn and Garden Show
Airs on Saturdays, 7-10 am
Host: David Rodriguez
Call in: 210-373-1200
Bexar County AgriLife Extension Horticulturist
Got more time to cook now? Check out the recipes at DINNER TONIGHT at the Texas A& M Website.
Need Gardening Help?
Ask a Master Gardener
Master Gardeners are available to help you with your gardening questions. We provide unbiased, research-based, locally relevant gardening information. Free service. You can reach us:
By phone: (210) 631-0400 (Ask to speak to a Master Gardener)
Mon-Fri 9 am – Noon, and 1-4 pm
(Closed on county holidays)
SABOT is Reopening Sunday, May 3
The San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABOT) is closed right now.
They will re-open on Sunday, May 3, but even if you are a member, you must make online reservations in advance. Go to Sabot.org to see the rules and to make reservations!