Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sustainable Land Development

Our Master Gardner is Education Chairman and on the Board for The Mercer Society and again has been involved in the production of the following event.    This is the second year Mercer Arboretum has put on a professional conference on sustainable development.  Part of this year’s conference will be a trip to Mandolin Gardens .  Stop by and visit this remarkable example of a Sustainable landscape project.

Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens is hosting the 2nd annual Sustainable Landscape Conference Friday, October 25, from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. at Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park, 907 Riley Fuzzel Road, Spring.   (I am kind of late on this but you could still sign up)

Presentations include:
  • "SITES Rating System: Encouraging and Rewarding Leadership in Site Sustainability" by Jonathan Garner, SITES Coordinator, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center;
  • "Lower Resources, Higher Performance: Native Grasses for Turf, Roadsides, Green Roofs, Golf Courses and Parks for the Urban Landscape" by Mark Simmons Ph.D., Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center;
  • "Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center: A Commitment to Environmentally Responsible Practices" by Rick Lewandowski, Director, Shangri La;
  • "Turning Scarce Resources into a Bountiful Harvest (Financial & Natural)" by Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, Harris County Precinct 4;
  • "Mandolin Gardens - Converting a Traditional Detention Basin into an Award-Winning Park Amenity" by Merrie Talley, RLA, ASLA, LEED.

The day of the conference will include remarks from Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens Director, Darrin Duling, Lunch, and will conclude with a site visit to Mandolin Gardens Park.

Professional Conference Fee (including CEU credits) is $135 for Mercer Society members and $150 for non-members. General Conference Fee (without CEU credits) is $112 for Mercer Society Members and $125 for non-members.

To register or for additional information, contact The Mercer Society at 281-443-8731, or you can email them 

Monday, October 21, 2013

One for your Bonnet ?

Bees.   Yes, we all know that bees are important to our gardens and many other crops. But who knew?  Bees that don't sting?  Bees that don't live in a hive?  Bees that look more like flies? Bees that produce neither honey nor beeswax ???  Well, Mason Bees can be described by all of these qualities.

Our Master Gardner has become rather interested in Mason Bees.  These little guys are great pollinators and live in small tubes or tunnels that other insects have hollowed out of dead trees. Well, that is when woodpeckers and squirrels don't get them. 

There are some very decorative "boxes" one can build or buy for these bees to live in.  Place it on the south side of a tree or house as they need the warmth from the sun to be able to fly.

Google "Mason Bees" for some interesting reading and surprise your friends with some "Entomological Wisdom." 

Here is some information on a documentary about bees that is soon to be available at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.
It is 91 minutes with show times on Wed, Oct 23 at 6:30 pm and Sun Oct 27 at 5 pm.  See THIS LINK for details.. I believe there is a discussion period following the talk.

And if you are a fan of TED Talks... HERE IS a link that is in keeping with the theme of this post. As of today it has had over 414 thousand views since it was posted last month.

"Bee Good and Bee Well"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Texas Eye Candy

Kerrville and Fredericksburg Area

Here are a few pictures from this week of shopping, sightseeing, and plant viewing.  These two hill country communities have a lot of interesting things to see.  Kerrville and Fredericksburg Texas.

These are from Gardens of the Ridge, Kerrville

And this from "The Pinnacle" of Comanche Trace  

And at Wildseed Farms near Fredericksburg