Scion – January 2020

Volume 30, Issue 1 – January 2020

Lynn Cox,
BCMG President

There is something about ringing in the New Year that invites us to reflect on the past year and plan for the future.

As a new president I am thankful for the leadership that has come before me. Grace Emery has led the Bexar County Master Gardener Board of Directors for the past two years. During that time the BCMG Board has focused on updating our policies and procedures to insure BCMG is following best practices for non-profits, simplified the Volunteer Hours and CEU codes, created new opportunities for outreach such as the Culinary Docent Program, all the while continuing to support the many outstanding programs that we have. Thank you Grace and the 2019 Board!

Through the volunteer service that each of you gave in 2019, we provided the unbiased, research-based, locally relevant gardening information that our community needed. Our programs were varied, reaching diverse audiences. From our 23-day rodeo plant sale to our presence at numerous community events such as Spring Bloom, Monarch Festivals, Festival of Flowers and more, we provided community access to great gardening information through our Ask-a-Master Gardener program. We provided more in-depth educational opportunities through our Speakers Bureau, Brown Bag Lunch & Learn series, workshops, and our signature event CULTIVATE! Our work with the youth of the county, through your support of the Children’s Vegetable Garden program and over 70 school gardens, resulted in more than 7,000 children who experienced the joy and the connection to the land that gardening provided. Thank you fellow BCMG volunteers!

But there is a great deal more we can accomplish in our support of the AgriLife Extension Service. While supporting all our current activities, the 2020 Board has selected a couple of areas to focus on this year.

One area of focus is increasing the depth and breadth of leadership in the Bexar County Master Gardeners.

This will help strengthen BCMG by:

  • Offloading responsibilities that the Board has been carrying so that they can focus on the strategic planning for BCMG’s future
  • Increasing the depth and diversity of our leadership in order to provide for fresh, new ideas, and
  • Increasing the resilience of our organization by diversifying the leadership roles so that no one person’s loss will diminish our organization’s capacity to serve and grow.

The Board wants BCMG to be a fun and rewarding place to serve by matching talents and interest with volunteer service. We are excited to see the skills and talents of the newer members. We hope to help them bring their ideas and talents to fruition. We also will support our experienced MGs with any desire to change, or add to, their areas of service. Stretching our comfort zones can help keep us sharp, fresh, and relevant.

In order to accomplish this leadership goal, the 2020 Board will focus on building a Leadership Team composed of strong chairs and assistants for every BCMG event and committee. As a result, all committee and event chair positions will be opened up for consideration by the general membership. While the Board will actively search for chairs and assistants, the Board will also solicit recommendations and accept applications for positions. This will help ensure that all MGs who are interested in participating in an event or committee are considered. This will be happening throughout the year with some positions opening sooner than others. These opportunities will be posted in the Leaflet and the Scion. The 2020 Board, as a whole, will be selecting members to fill the positions.

The Board has already begun this process of identifying and increasing leadership opportunities. As a result, Liana Benavides and Sandra Hernandez-Lascurain are training as Leaflet editors with Ann Marie Pease, who has served as BCMG’s Leaflet editor for many years. And Owen Keiser is training with Lisa Nixon to serve as our new Volunteer Coordinator. Thank you, Liana, Sandra, and Owen! The Board encourages all members to consider filling a role in an area of interest to them when it becomes open. Join the Team!

A second area that the 2020 Board will be focusing on is strengthening membership appreciation. Each of you makes a difference in the community we serve, and we want each of you to know you are a valued member.  The 2020 Board is already planning a new membership event for late spring/early summer. Stay tuned for more details!

I look forward to working with all of you! My virtual door is always open! Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, and ideas.

Step up and step out to great gardening opportunities!

Glorious gardening,


Marvin Perkins

Bexar County Master Gardener for 25 years!






Be sure to come to Rodeo Meeting and pick up your new logo name tags, and any shirts that you ordered online before December 15.

Cashier Training- 
All MGs who will be serving as a cashier for any 2020 event (not just rodeo) must attend one of the two Cashier Training sessions:
Friday, January 24, 1:30-3:00 pm and Saturday, January 25, 1:30-3:00 pm.
All are welcome. (1.5 VH, Code 400, Description: Cashier Training).  For more information, contact Lynn Cox at [email protected] or 281-731-8855.


BCMG BOARD MEETING will take place 3 – 5 pm on Jan 16, 2020 at 3355 Cherry Ridge 78230. If you are interested in placing items on the agenda, email  President Lynn Cox  by Friday, the week before the meeting.  All members are welcome to observe the meetings; however, in order to accommodate seating, please email Lynn that you will be attending.


BCMG offices will closed for New Year’s Day
Jan 1, 2020

BCMG offices will be closed Martin Luther King Day
Jan 20, 2020


Spring 2020 Children’s Vegetable Garden Program – Registration is now open!

January 1, 2020, San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209. 

Spring 2020 Children’s Vegetable Garden Program Saturday mornings, February 22 through June 6, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon.  Registration is now open!  NOTE:  ORIENTATION WILL BE ON FEBRUARY 1 at 10:00 AM. The CVG Program at the SABOT, one of the nation’s oldest youth gardening programs, is an opportunity for children aged 7-16 to grow their own vegetables and ornamental plants with the help of instructors from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Master Gardeners.  Find out more »

Rainscapes — NPSOT Boerne Chapter Mtg.

January 7, 2020 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Cibolo Nature Center Auditorium, 1681 River Rd, Boerne, TX 78006.

Free.  The Native Plant Society of Texas-Boerne Chapter meeting begins at 6:30 PM with a native plant/seed exchange & social time, followed by the program at 7:00 PM.  Come learn how urban and suburban landscapes impact the health of local river systems.  Find out more »

Blackberry: Herb of the Year for 2020 — SA Herb Society Mtg.

January 9, 2020 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N New Braunfels Ave, San Antonio, TX 78209.  

Monthly Meetings of the San Antonio Herb Society, free and open to the public, begin with a pot luck social at 6:30 P.M.  Meeting starts at 7:00 P.M.  Blackberries grow readily in South Texas, and the fruit can be used in many ways.  Come sample some blackberry dishes, and join us to think about picking blackberries in the summer heat. Find out more »

Brown Bag Lunch & Learn: Planting Spring Vegetables

January 10, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Bexar County Master Gardeners, 3355 Cherry Ridge, Ste. 208, San Antonio, TX 78230.

FREE and open to the public!  Bring your lunch and join us!  12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM, at the Bexar County Extension Office (3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208).  Find out more »

Tree Buds Citizen Forester Training

January 11, 2020 @ 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209.

If you would like to learn about tree pruning from professional arborists and support the City of San Antonio’s tree planting initiatives, the Tree Buds Citizen Forester training is for you.  As a Tree Buds Citizen Forester, you will be asked to volunteer a total of 12 hours each year to help the city care for recently planted young trees in parks and public spaces. Instructor:  Alamo Forest Partnership and the San Antonio Arborists Association.  Free!  Find out more »

Fruit Tree Basics

January 11, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am. Milberger’s Landscaping & Nursery, 3920 North Loop 1604, San Antonio, TX 78247.

Fruit Tree Basics With David Rodriguez Horticulturist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Free Seminar. Find out more »

The Rain to Drain Experience — SAWS

January 11, 2020 @ 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

If you’re interested in learning more about the sources of your drinking water and where it goes “after the flush” join the SAWS Education Team for The Rain to Drain Experience field trip for adults. During this day-long expedition, you’ll travel to places few people have ever visited!  Find out more »

Lunch & Learn: Seed Saving Basics for Home Gardeners — Guadalupe County MG

January 14, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Guadalupe County AgriLife Extension, 210 East Live Oak, Seguin, TX 78155.

Free presentation by the Guadalupe County Master Gardeners.  Attendees are welcome to bring lunch. Topic:  Seed Saving Basics for Home Gardeners Speaker:  Bill Nodine, Guadalupe County Master Gardeners. Find out more »

The Fungus Among Us — NPSOT Guadalupe County Chapter Mtg.

January 14, 2020 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, St. John Lutheran Church, 600 S. Center Street, Marion, TX 78124.

Free.  Native Plant Society of Texas, Guadalupe County Chapter Meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome.  There is a plant/seed exchange and greeting at 6:30 PM followed by the program at 7:00 PM. Find out more »

WaterSaver Walks

January 16, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am, San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209.

Explore our WaterSaver Gardens with Master Naturalist Linda Cace.  Learn the characteristics of different drought tolerant landscapes, including Cottage, Hill Country, Manicure Xeriscape, and Spanish style.  Come see what’s in bloom! Participants meet in the Greenwood Breezeway of the Halsell Welcome Building and the walk begins at 10 a.m. Fee is included with membership or general admission ($12-$9); registration is required. Sponsored by San Antonio Water System.  Find out more »

Health Benefits of Gardening and Gardening Safely As We Age — Guadalupe County Master Gardeners Mtg.

January 16, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Guadalupe County AgriLife Extension, 210 East Live Oak, Seguin, TX 78155.

Everyone is welcome, and it’s Free! The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners Meeting will begin at 6:15 PM followed by the speaker at 7:00.   Speaker:  Joe Urbach, Hays County Master Gardeners. 1 CEU.  BCMG Code 001.    Find out more »

Roots of Change: Community Gardens and Food Justice

January 18, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209.

Brian Gordon, Food Sovereignty Coordinator at Roots of Change Community Garden, will discuss the struggles of the food justice movement as well as the state of that struggle in San Antonio.  Participants will learn how community gardens can help address the nutritional and social justice needs of our community.  Free to the public but registration is required. Find out more »

Fruit Tree Basics Seminar

January 18, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Fanick’s Garden Center, 1025 Holmgreen Road, San Antonio, TX 78220.

Fruit Tree Basics Seminar With Dr. Larry Stein, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Free Seminar. Dr. Stein will demonstrate how to properly select and prune fruit, nut, citrus, and grapes for maximum production.  Find out more »

Bokashi Composting: Good for Your Landscape and the Planet

January 24, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am, San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209.

Bokashi composting is a method of converting food waste, including meat and dairy, into a nutritious soil amendment using specialized bacteria in an anaerobic rather than aerobic process.  Speaker:  Find out more »

Planting Shade Trees

January 25, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am. Milberger’s Landscaping & Nursery, 3920 North Loop 1604, San Antonio, TX 7824.

Planting Shade Trees With David Rodriguez Horticulturist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Free Seminar. Texas is hot.  Planting large shade trees not only adds value to your home, but it can also offer respite from the heat, shade your home to reduce energy costs, provide a home for habitat, and add beauty to your landscape.  Find out more »

Nature Walk: Rocks, Soil, and Plant Life

January 25, 2020 @ 8:00 am – 10:30 am, Urban Ecology Center at Phil Hardberger Park (PHP WEST), 8400 NW Military Hwy, San Antonio, TX 78231.

Join Master Naturalist, Gary Poole, as he discusses the geological background of our area and its relationship to soils and plants.  The talk will be followed by a walk around the Savanna Loop Trail. Find out more »

Purple Martins: Role and Requirements in San Antonio Ecosystems

January 25, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am, San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209.

Educator, purple martin enthusiast, and fabulous storyteller, John Henry, shares his knowledge of purple martins: their habits, habitat requirements, role in and benefits for our ecosystems, and how to attract them to your yard.  Fee: $10 ($9, SABOT members) Find out more »

NPSOT-SA Grant Projects Celebrated! — NPSOT San Antonio Meeting

January 28, 2020 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm, Lion’s Field.

The Native Plant Society of Texas-San Antonio (NPSOT) Chapter meetings are held every 4th Tuesday of the month except August, November, and December.  They are free and open to the public.  So come join us! Native plant/seed exchange & social time at 6:30 PM, followed by the Program at 7:00. Find out more » 

Fruit Tree Basics by David Rodriquez.
Saturday, Jan 11, 2010, 10 am – 11:20 am

at Milberger’s Nursery
For more info, go to


BCMG is now on YouTube! Watch classes at home (or on your smartphone)!

Beginning today, January 1, 2020, the Bexar County Master Gardeners will have a YouTube channel. The YouTube channel will include some of the the BCMG Brown Bag presentations and also presentations given at our general meetings. The January 2020 video will be Jay White’s Organic Gardening presentation given at the November 2019 general meeting. Just click HERE:

The San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABOT) has lots of educational programs available to members and non-members. Try out some of their Texas Native Trails and Texas Bird Walking Workshops, and get some exercise while you learn! To see a calendar of their all activities, click here.

You can now earn 1 CEU of the minimum 6 CEUs required for Master Gardener re-certification by listening to at least 1 archived podcast of
WOAI 1200 AM Lawn & Garden Show.
All of the Saturday morning episodes are available. You will surely find a topic that meets your knowledge needs! And they are fun! Listen on your phone while you drive.
Or you can earn 1 CEU (of the minimum 6 required CEUs) by listening to a LIVE radio broadcast of the WOAI 1200 AM Lawn and Garden
from 7 am-10 am on a Saturday morning.  You can only record 1 CEU per year using the radio broadcast option!   VMS CEU Code 001


And remember, you can find all the TEXAS MASTER GARDENER ADVANCED TRAINING (formerly Specialist)  COURSES offered at the TMGA website.  If you are interested in attending any courses, please email David Rodriguez ([email protected]), Extension Agent-Horticulture, Bexar County. BCMG CEU Code: 001. 

Some of the offerings in 2020 are:

  • Vegetables – February 19-21, 2020; hosted by Dallas County in Dallas, TX
  • Plant Propagation – April 17-18, 2020; hosted by Tarrant County in Fort Worth, TX
  • Vegetables – May 5-7, 2020; hosted by Bexar County in San Antonio, TX
  • Texas Superstars® – May 26-28, 2020; hosted by Bexar County in San Antonio, TX
  • Rainwater Harvesting – September 24-26, 2020; hosted by Tarrant County in Fort Worth, TX
  • Greenhouse Management – October 15-17, 2020; hosted by Tarrant County in Fort Worth, TX

This is only a sampling of the events scheduled for January, as there were way too many to list here. Please check the Calendar for a list of all the events! Click here for calendar.

“Our Bexar County Master Gardeners by-laws requires that we post the requirements for certification for the year in the January Scion. So…. the requirements for 2020 are 30 volunteer hours, 6 continuing education hours, and attend two monthly meetings. These are the same requirements that you had for 2019. I challenge you to enter them into VMS before the year is halfway through! Can you do it?”  President Lynn Cox

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It’s EASY to Volunteer!

  • To sign up as a volunteer, go to your VMS – Volunteer Management System, log in and click on GENERAL EVENT CALENDAR from the left column.
  • To record your CEUs or volunteer hours, click on ADD NEW HOURS from the left column.

If you need help learning how to use VMS or have a question, contact Lisa Nixon, [email protected] 

If you have not volunteered recently, please pick a date, or dates, and sign up on VMS today. 
  – January shifts are 10 am to 1 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
VMS has all dates/times for sign-ups! VMS Code 0100. 
Please come and use your training, and at the same time strengthen our partnership with the San Antonio Botanical Garden.  And have some FUN, too!!  Email Grace Emery if you have any questions. 

Culinary Docent Training at the San Antonio Botanical Garden on Wednesday, January 15, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sign up on VMS Culinary Docent Training at the volunteer office. just to the right of entry kiosk and wear your badge. The door is marked private. Rain or shine. Please sign up on VMS – limited to 10.

Clarification on Reporting Volunteer and Continuing Education Hours

Our purpose as a Master Gardener is to provide home gardeners with unbiased, research-based gardening information that is locally relevant. We want them to be successful in their gardening endeavors so they can love their gardening experience as much as we love ours!. However, some responsibilities also come with being a Master Gardener. Such responsibilities include reporting our hours in a timely and accurate manner.

Reporting our volunteer hours is important, as they are used for two purposes:

  • Certification – In order to be certified as a MG in good standing for the next year, a BCMG member must volunteer 30 hours (VH), receive 6 hours of continuing education (CEU), and attend two BCMG monthly meetings. By recording your hours, the Membership Director can generate a list of the MGs who have reached these milestones for David to certify for the next year.
  • Funding – Our hours of service (VH) are reported to the state and all funding organizations as part of the AgriLife Extension Service reports on services and activities provided within our county. The accuracy of these hours is extremely important when providing these funding organizations with our outputs. Our hours are often converted to FTEs (Full Time Employees) to show the work we do in terms of what a paid employee would accomplish.

In order for all BCMGs to report their hours in a manner that is appropriate for the AgriLife Extension reports, the BCMG Board has approved the following clarification points to use when reporting hours:

  • Report hours as soon as possible! – Hours that are not reported until the end of the year are often forgotten. In addition, those hours were not available for the AgriLife Extension reports that go out earlier in the year and therefore provided no support documentation for the work that we do.
  • Travel time should not be reported as volunteer time. While it is understood that the time you spend traveling to and from events is very real time (and it is greatly appreciated!), it is not considered appropriate volunteer time in the reports that are generated showing our equivalent FTEs. A full-time employee’s travel time is not included and therefore it should not be included in ours.
  • No double dipping. If you are volunteering at a presentation that qualifies for CEUs you may count the time as either VHs or CEUs, but not both. For example, if you spend 30 minutes helping to set-up, handle sign-in sheets, and take-down for a 60-minute presentation, you may count it as 0.5 VHs plus 1 CEU (two separate entrees in VMS) or you may count it is 1.5 VHs.
  • Use accurate hours. While VH and CEU times may be posted for an event, this is just to give you an idea of the time that is anticipated. Oftentimes, an event takes more or less time than this estimate. Please report the actual time you volunteered or that the CEU presentation took.
  • Record your hours to the nearest ½ hour. Sometimes this means you are recording a few minutes extra and sometimes a few minutes less, but in the course of a year it will all average out.

Please use these guidelines for 2020. Thank you for the service you provide Bexar County, home gardeners! And thank you for your support of the Master Gardener Program and AgriLife Extension through the accurate reporting of your hours!

Submitted by
Lynn Cox, BCMG President


MORE Volunteer Opportunities available on the VMS Calendar!