In response to one of my posts about my recently acquired garden, someone
posted that an agricultural organisation would send someone out, usually a
volunteer master gardener, to help with identification of plants. I thought
this was an excellent idea, but didn't think to ask how to go about this.
Now then, bearing in mind I'm from England and have no idea how things work
over here in Texas (but I'm learning ;-), can anyone give me some pointers
of who or where I should be approaching to go about this?
The alternative would be for me to take a whole bunch of pics and post them
on my website for y'all to look at. Meh, I might just do that anyway! But I
do think it would be great to have someone walk around my garden with me
and share their knowledge.
hehe - yes, thanks.
Spooky actually, as I found this site this morning before I took my son to
school and was going to post about it when I got back... but ya beat me to
When I was first searching, I made the mistake of using 'agriculture'
instead of 'horticulture' in the search strings. Duh!
Using M2, Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/m2 /
^_^ I used "master gardener" and as it happened, there were
references on the first page to Texas.
The usual response is "call your local extension agent/office," which
is rather cryptic sometimes. Many (most? all?) state universities have
a public service operation that is a coordinating information resource
for local agricultural, horticultural, home (cleaning, canning),
social, and other topics. They vary in usefulness. I discovered,
looking for some specific info on the web, that many are ready to
supply the same 1950s pamphlets that must have been distributed in the
millions. However...they *do* generally coordinate Master Gardener
programs, handle things like soil-sampling, and *may* have a genuine
expert on local conditions.
You may not get as much help from this source as you would like. Were I to
ask a MG to do this in my state (and this is where the MG program started),
I would be telling THEM what plants were what. If you have pretty basic
plantings - ie., your standard foundation plants, etc. - this may work.
Otherwise you may want someone in with a higher skill level.. Ask at a local
nursery if they can recommend a horticulturist to assist with this task. You
will have to pay for their time but at least you can count on what they are
telling you is accurate.
pam - gardengal
Hmm - okay, thanks for the tip.
I just wrote to the Brazoria County MG people, explaining my case. I'll see
what happens. If they are willing to send someone out, I guess I could see
how much help I can glean from them and then if necessary take it a step
further with a local nursery if I need more advice. Really, any advice will
be beneficial. This is a far cry from my little English garden with,
amongst other things... roses, London's pride, several iceplants, a
glorious huge peony that I was so proud of, poppies, pansies, zillions of
marigolds... there was nothing tropical about that garden ;-)
Hit the wrong key combinations and my post went before I wanted it to.
Whereabouts do you live in Brazoria county? Believe it or not, there's a
huge difference between the northern section of the county (Pearland) and
the southern end of the county (Freeport) because of the water.
pat, your neighbor down in galveston..
If you aren't familiar with Neil Sperry you might want to check out his web
site http://www.neilsperry.com . He has a excellent magazine on Texas
gardening and has written several excellent books.
Over here in Tennessee what I advise the newly arrived to this region
(the ones from Florida who are used to zone 8 and 9 and are now facing
zone 7 with undertones of the former 6b zone and want "something to
bloom all year......'try silk plants' lol) but seriously, I would go
to the phone book and look in the blue pages. Those are the listings
for the government and such. Or yellow pages and look for University
of Texas (or closest one to where you are) and then for the
Agricultural department. The university's Master Gardening program is
thru the Agricultural department (mine was, I went to University of
Tennessee in Knoxville for my master gardening classes but since then,
they've expanded them to Walter State Community college closer to me,
just at different times). If you don't find the listing in the book,
you can just dial 1411 (I'd expect the first two or so information
calls are free thru the phone company) and ask for the number.
Here I have BellSouth and when I dial 1411 I get "if you need a number
and in English, push one, what listing? (most of them now are voice
activated) what city? what state? the number is *** *******, if you'd
like for us to connect to that number for an additional charge of bla
bla, push or say bla, again the number is..............."
Nine times out of ten, you'll get a very friendly and helpful phone
operator and they'll direct you to the proper number.
I think I did a thorough job on that one <g>
agreed. and send me some of yer pics! I'd love to see them. Get up
in the faces of the plants and such so I can see the buggers though
because although I'm getting good at this, I'm not nearly as good as
my friend in Nashville who can identify everything by it's
leaf.....I've nicknamed him the Garden Guru.........and he studied and
went to college and took Horticulture at UT :) (more study, gotta
study and read more, more knowledge....get more knowledge,,,,,,,)
I hope this helps more......everyone has given you good advice so far
but this is more hands on with where you're at. Let me know how it
madgardener up on the snowy and wintery ridge, back in Fairy Holler,
overlooking a snow covered English Mountain (actually you can't SEE
English Mountain for the snow and clouds today) in Eastern Tennessee,
zone 7 (feels more like zone 5 today!) Sunset zone 36
hehe - I wouldn't kid too much. What is it with the silk plant folks over
here in the U.S? A relative of my hubby's was actually amazed when she
realised that I had 'real' plants inside my house.
Well, I think I found the right people, but judging by what some on here
are saying, I may not get the kind of help I was after. But here's the good
... I was chatting with my new neighbour yesterday, who came over to
apologise for not coming over sooner and asking if we needed any help
(however, when I pointed to the rake he looked at me as though I had asked
him to cut his head off... lol!). Anyway, it transpires that he and his
wife are keeping in touch with the lady who used to live in my house. She
was the super gardener that tended these lovely gardens. My neighbour
thought that she might be delighted to come over and take me through what
used to be her gardens, telling me what's what. I probably couldn't get
much better than that!
Well, I've taken the pics and I'll start another thread for that one. Even
though I'll have Mrs ex house owner coming over at some point - hopefully -
maybe - it might be good to get some other's input on what's what and
what's best to do. If anything it will be a bit of entertainment for the
experts out there, where they will be able to say, "you don't know what
THAT is!?!?" :-)
You are asking for expert advice from "Master Gardeners"?
That must be the funniest thing I've read all year!!!
From what I've seen, they couldn't even identify their own hands in front of
Why don't you have Jerry Baker mix you up a magic potion while you are
I don't think this is quite fair. While I'm sure the MG programs have
their fair share of retired postal clerks who decided to take up a new
hobby, I'm also confident (no personal experience, as usual) that
lifelong gardeners may also choose to participate. Most plant folk are
willing and eager to share their experience and knowledge. I *did*
have one 'extension agent' go through all kinds of hoops and
information/analysis resources to help me with a tree problem. Shoot,
if there's someone who can say, "I don't know, but there's this guy
who lives about 5 miles from you who's an expert," it's worth making
Okay... you asked for it ;-)
In fact I was just about to don my cam and go do the deed after reading
madgardener's post - which I will respond to properly after some time
outdoors. It's a beautiful day... much can be accomplished. Where's my
thank you Lynda. And when some people poke fun of the others here, it's
just best to pat them on the head and ignore them. You'll find that Cereoid
is quite knowledgable despite his sharp tongue. And has a mean dry wit
about him too! <g>
madgardener turning on the ceramic heater in the nook as the windchill
factor is beginning to affect the warmth of the room thru the walls brrrrr
It is best you post your pix to alt.binaries.pictures.gardens, unless you
have your own photo website, of course.
Leave the "Master Gardeners" to do what they do best.............potting up
plants and pulling weeds!!! You don't want to hurt their little heads by
making them try to think too hard. Most of them think plant taxonomy is
either stuffing dead plants or garden expenses they have to account for on
their income tax form.
Lynda -- Just take pics of each and post them to your web site. You'll get
a quicker response and it will likely be more accurate. When photographing,
be sure to get a few of each plant in particular -- flowers are very helpful
and pics that show the textures of the leaves help as well.
Given those pics and an e-mail address, you'll find far more useful
discussion and knowledge through online resources than having a single
person come out. FWIW, don't be tripped up by the title "MG" -- quality of
MG programs vary widely from state to state and the quality of the
individual varies widely within the programs.
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