Volume 30, Issue 4 – April 2020
While the COVID-19 news is scary and sometimes overwhelming, there is much we can be thankful for.
Social distancing has given many of us extra time to spend in our gardens. Nurseries remain open for stocking up on the vegetable garden starts that we need as well as ornamental plants for our joy! I keep meaning to put deep cleaning my home on my list of things to do… maybe later!
Master Gardeners are staffing the hotline, answering questions from our community. Our Facebook page has been active. Please consider responding to community gardener questions. Or post a picture for other gardeners to use as ideas. Share what you are doing in your own garden. Master Gardeners have much to offer!
We have had opportunities to continue our education as Master Gardeners. Many thanks to Molly Keck on her wonderful series, 15 Bugs Every Gardener Should Know. We also thank Molly for hosting Craig Hensley’s iNaturalist Workshop. For many people, it was their first opportunity to participate in a webinar!
Later this week your BCMG Board will be discussing new opportunities for outreach so please view the April Monthly Meeting video coming later this month through a link in the Leaflet.
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!
The BCMG service pin for 2020 is the Maroon Bluebonnet!
Ten years ago, the original bluebonnet was issued as our first service pin. The BCMG Board decided to reissue the popular pin, this time as a maroon bluebonnet.
To earn the 2020 Maroon Bluebonnet pin, the criteria has evolved and certified Master Gardeners must now complete at least 30 volunteer hours, 6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and attend two regular BCMG monthly meetings. Amazingly, 18 Master Gardeners have already completed and submitted in VMS enough hours to earn the maroon bluebonnet pin! The pins will be available at our next face-to-face monthly meeting. Afterwards, they can be picked up at the Master Gardener office during the Office Manager business hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays (when they re-open for regular hours). For other delivery options, please contact Susan Noonan, [email protected]. The complete year to date list of certified master gardeners can be found at our website.
Certified Through 3/15/2020
|Adams, David *||Campos, George *||Emery, Grace||Keiser, Owen|
|Kellogg, Lou||Kelman, Aaron *||Lutz, Barbara||Marshall, Tera|
|Milikien, Linda *||Mills, Nancy *||Montez, Ray *||Newman, Constance*|
|Opiela, John||Padilla ,Robert||Reed, Donna *||Sells, John|
|Stramer, Melody||Swantner, William|
* Class 63 Internship Completed
WISE WATER WORDS
Hello Fellow Master Gardeners,
I hope this finds all of you well as we navigate through these uncharted times.
As you all know, because of the current ‘shelter in place’ guidance, all public gatherings have been cancelled until further notice. However, due to the resourcefulness of the SAWS Conservation Department and Texas A&M Agrilife staff, the SAWS WaterSaver Rewards program is still continuing. SAWS will be giving rewards credit to members who attend online webinars and answer a short survey afterward. The events are announced on the SAWS GardenStyleSA website. (https://www.gardenstylesanantonio.com/events/)
The idea started when Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Entomologist, Molly Keck, put together a series of presentations on insects for the community to give as a webinar at the end of March. The SAWS Conservation Department heard about it and asked if Molly could give a second presentation each day just for SAWS WaterSaver Rewards Members and Molly was happy to do that. She did a great job educating us on a variety of insects we typically find in our garden or in our homes. On the 31st of March, SAWS also gave credit for the iNaturalist App webinar given by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Nature Tracker Biologist, Craig Hensley. There were a series of questions after each webinar for us to answer through a survey provided by SAWS Water Conservation, and that’s where our Rewards numbers were logged for credit.
We are looking at how BCMG might be able to help support this program in the future.
Please help get the word out, from a distance, to your friends and neighbors that they can still get their WaterSaver Reward points during these restrictions. The GardenStyleSA Event Calendar is the easiest way to track upcoming webinars, so check that site regularly for updates.
Please continue to practice all the safety precautions to keep yourselves healthy and don’t forget to call a neighbor who may be feeling a bit lonely or even overwhelmed during these restrictions. Thank goodness that gardening in our own landscape has not been canceled! Enjoy this extra time to cultivate your own spaces.
Water Conservation Coordinator
Due to Covid-19, There will be no face-to-face Monthly Meeting in April. However, watch for the April Monthly Meeting video link in the April 22 Leaflet, brought to you by Lynn Cox.
And You can get 1 CEU per year (of the minimum 6 CEUs required for Master Gardener re-certification) for watching Bill Swantner’s Channel YouTube videos! VMS CEU Code 001.
“We’ve been getting some good rains lately and that rain could be captured in rain barrels and used to supplement our regular watering throughout this coming growing season.” In this month’s video, MG Lou Kellogg, who has given numerous workshops on the subject and has received Advanced Training in Rainwater Harvesting, will explain the importance of rainwater capture and how to set up our own system.
- President Lynn Cox has combined all of her March announcements into this Youtube Video. No CEUs can be counted from watching this video, but she’s got some great facts and announcements in it.
AgriLife Extension offices are closed to the public, at least until May 4. That date may be extended. Please call before going 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.
Your Help is Needed!
This is a Board position. While the Board is meeting regularly, we have been using conference calls but plan to go to a Zoom video meeting for this month. If you would like to help make a difference in the Bexar County Master Gardeners, this is a great way to do it! Contact President Lynn Cox ([email protected]) if you have questions or would like to volunteer!
Membership Meeting Hospitality Coordinators
In recognition of the fact that our Monthly Meetings are open to the public and our membership gathers once a month for fellowship, fun and education, the Board has authorized the formation of a Membership Meeting Hospitality Committee. Each member will be responsible for one (or more) meetings. There responsibilities include :
- Ensure volunteers are available to welcome, sign-in and distribute meeting material to attendees.
- Responsible for meeting room set up and break down according to requirements.
- Ensure volunteers set up water and napkins for the hospitality table
- Purchase (reimbursable) items for the end-of-meeting drawing.
Currently we have the following openings:
July – Melanie Short
Aug – Paula Peters
Sept – Nancy Mills
Oct – Nancy Mills
Thank you Melanie, Paula and Nancy for volunteering!
Lynn Cox, President
All face-to-face classes / events for April have been canceled.
We want to express appreciation to Molly Keck for her wonderful webinars. She has done an excellent job of presenting and the webinars have been attended by records numbers of participants. Many thanks, Molly!
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!
Pollinator Training Webinar
|The Citizen Science Pollinator Project Team will be conducting a webinar for pollinator citizen scientists Thursday, April 2nd, from 10:00 – 11:00 am (CST). The training will include information on the importance of pollinators, how to recognize the different pollinator groups, and how to contribute to the project through the citizen science form. Citizen scientists will be required to complete a short quiz after viewing the training; a quiz with unlimited tries, but will help ensure that the citizen scientists are meeting required standards for observations. The completion of this quiz will greatly increase the value of the data you submit. 1 CEU. VMS CEU code 001.|
Must register before the meeting using this link. And between now and Thursday, if you’re finding yourself itching to learn about and appreciate pollinators, click here for a clip from a TED talk by Louie Schwartzberg:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
BCMG is on YouTube! Watch classes on a computer (or on your smartphone)!
You can get 1 CEU per year (of the minimum 6 CEUs required for Master Gardener re-certification) for watching Bill Swantner’s Channel Youtube videos! VMS CEU Code 001.
The new April 1, 2020 video is Rainwater Harvesting with Lou Kellogg.
Check often for other new videos! The whole list of available videos is HERE.
You can 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. And they are fun!
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.
You can find all the TEXAS MASTER GARDENER ADVANCED TRAINING 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. Be sure to watch for cancellations on the website.
Some of the offerings in 2020 are:
- CANCELED – 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.
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.
Respect nature, property, others when taking wildflower photos
With wildflowers sprouting up all over roadsides throughout Texas during springtime there are ample opportunities to take photos. “But shutterbugs should be careful, as well as respect private property and nature, when trying to find the right spot for that perfect shot”, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.
Stopping to smell – and shoot – the flowers
“The Texas Department of Public Safety, DPS, encourages motorists not to impede traffic and to be cautious when slowing down or stopping to enjoy the sight of wildflowers on the roadside”, said Bev Kellner, AgriLife Extension traffic safety program manager, College Station.
“If you decide to stop to admire the flowers or take photos, choose areas with light traffic conditions to pull off,” she said.
Kellner also suggested wildflower fans follow these additional safety tips from the DPS:
- Signal before leaving or entering the roadway.
- Park off improved roadway shoulders and parallel to the road in the direction of traffic.
- Don’t cross lanes of traffic on foot to get to the flowers.
- Obey signs that prohibit parking on a particular stretch of roadway.
“Remember, failure to follow the rules of the road at any time of the year could result in you getting a ticket,” Kellner said.
Legal considerations on property
While there is no longer a law against picking wildflowers in Texas, including the most popular of all – the bluebonnet – there are still laws against trespassing and damaging or destroying rights of way and government property. Additionally, it is a Class C misdemeanor to collect plants, animals or rocks from state parks.
“Those people admiring flowers or taking photos of them must consider laws against both civil and criminal trespass. Individuals should also be cautious of snakes, fire ants and other potential dangers while observing or photographing wildflowers.” says Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, AgriLife Extension agricultural law specialist, Amarillo.
Lashmet also noted while picking a few wildflowers is legal, people shouldn’t dig up large patches of them or drive their vehicle onto fields of flowers.
She said those wanting to take photos should see if the property they want to be on is privately owned.
“If it’s private property, you need to get permission before you proceed,” she said. “Otherwise you may be guilty of trespassing. But don’t take it personally if some landowners don’t allow you on their property, as they may have legitimate reasons for denying you permission.”
“People should treat other people’s property with the same respect they would treat their own,” she said.
Good manners — and sense — help make good photos
“Often people will trample on wildflowers to get to what they consider that ideal spot for their picture,” said Lou Kellogg, an avid nature photographer and 16-year member of Bexar County Master Gardeners, a volunteer horticulture association supporting AgriLife Extension. “But it’s usually possible to find open areas, or a pathway around or between the wildflowers, so you don’t damage them getting to a preferred spot.”
Kellogg said he prefers using a tripod for wildflower photography.
“Using a tripod will help you get sharper photos and it also makes you a little more concerned about camera position and photo composition,” he said. “It also helps keep you from wandering around and snapping a lot of pictures, which is more likely to harm the flowers and disturb your surroundings.”
He said in his experience the best time to take wildflower photos is at dawn or dusk “when the colors are more vivid,” but realizes most people have to shoot their photos whenever their personal or family schedule allows and an opportunity arises.
“Basically, as much as possible, leave everything the way you found it. Be careful not to damage plants or trees. If you’re setting up props for a shoot, pick up after yourself and, if it’s a popular spot, keep out of the way of other people taking photos.”
Lou Kellogg also cautioned against taking risks to get a different angle for a photo.
“Some people may climb trees or stand on top of unstable objects to get a picture, but that can be really dangerous,” he said. “Just remember to be vigilant and use common sense while getting your photos.”
Kellogg said it’s also important for adults wanting to photograph their children in a field of wildflowers to take the time to explain why they should respect nature and property.
“Another thing to consider is your subject doesn’t have to be directly in the flowers to obtain a good photo,” he said. “You can have your subject in front of or behind the flowers and still make it appear he or she is actually in them. That way you don’t have to worry about damaging the flowers. You just have to use a little perspective.”
Texas Highways magazine has two online articles, “Wildflowers of Texas” and “Everything You Need to Know About Texas Wildflower Season” to help wildflower aficionados identify and locate the state’s abundant wildflowers.
By: Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
The San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABOT) is closed for now. When they re-open, there will be a notice in the Leaflet, or you can check the new SABOT updated website for the latest news and activities.
We appreciate all the hard work of our Docents and we look forward to seeing you again when SABOT re-opens. Watch your weekly Leaflet for re-open dates and get ready to volunteer again or to attend training for this popular program!
MORE Volunteer Opportunities are available on the VMS Calendar! Check it often, as it is updated as new activities are scheduled.