Scion – November 2022

Volume 32, Issue #11 – November 2022

Andres Villagran, Bexar County Youth Gardens Coordinator

Introducing Andres Villagran, Bexar County Extension’s New Youth Gardens Coordinator

Interviewed by Judy Warren, Vice President of the Bexar County Master Gardeners

Andres was born and raised in San Antonio.  He became a volunteer at the San Antonio Zoo when he was 14, and in 4 years was supervising volunteers as an employee, educating the public about butterflies and helping create other interpretative exhibits about nature.  The zoo was where he was first exposed to environmental education and the Master Gardener program, thanks to his boss and mentor Laurie Brown.  While at Texas A&M, Andres majored in Wildlife and Fishery Sciences, where his first exposure to gardening was in a Horticulture Sciences class.  In 2021, he secured a Gardening Internship with a non-profit near Boerne, the Cibolo Center for Conservation, near Cibolo Creek.  There he worked at the Herff Farm with the objective of improving the operation, which included revitalizing the composting area. Using overgrown compost bins, he redid the entire area, clearing out the 6-ft.-tall weeds and planning a composting system that would be both functional and educational.  He set up a three-bin system and created educational signage about composting materials, procedures, and practices and the value of using compost in yards and gardens.  He worked with volunteers of all ages, including high school students doing community service, to accomplish the compost center transformation. 

After graduating from Texas A&M, Andres was working at the San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABOT) when he was offered an internship at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (BCNWR) as a Park Ranger. During his internship, he developed and implemented a guided hike program on the Indigenous Culture and History of BCNWR.  He later worked at SABOT from February to March 2021, then as a Park Ranger with US Fish and Wildlife Service from March to August 2021.  It was SABOT’s Youth and Family Coordinator, Olivia Roybal, his mentor, who encouraged Andres to apply for the Bexar County Extension Service’s Youth Gardens CoordinatorThe job sounded interesting, and when he was interviewed by David Rodriguez, Bexar County Extension Horticulture Agent, he learned about the Master Gardeners and the horticultural knowledge and support they provide.  It seemed like a good fit and so he joined the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in August 2022.  Since he was hired, Andres has been working with Family and Community Health Agent Angie Gutierrez on the implementation of the Junior Master Gardeners’ Learn, Grow, Eat & Go Curriculum in several Title 1 elementary schools.  He has also been shadowing the Children’s Vegetable Garden team at Phil Hardberger Park and learning a great deal from BCMGs Kathy Breniman and Linda Cace.

Andres is very excited about having the assistance of the BCMG Youth Task Force to expand outreach to youth in Bexar County.  He indicated that this approach gives Master Gardeners an opportunity to be stewards of horticultural knowledge and to pass this knowledge on to the next generation.  He sees opportunities for school campus visits, exhibit development, and having the Youth Task Force become a team with input and evaluation of new ideas for developing future educational opportunities.  He says, “I’ve got a lot to learn from the Master Gardeners and I’m excited about having their support.”

You can now print or download Member Articles to your computer. Just click the Blue Button beneath the article you wish to save, and a pdf version of the article will pop up on your screen. From there, you can print or download using the indicators at the top right of your screen.

Please check out the many FREE classes and webinars listed in this issue.

Scion Index

The BCMG office is closed to Walk-ins. If you would like to set up an appointment to visit the office, please email [email protected].


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Hello, Fellow Gardeners.

What’s In a Name?

This month I would like to take a small detour from my usual topic of water conservation and delve into botanical names of plants. This topic tends to be slightly intimidating since the names are in the Latin language. The reason Latin was selected as the language for the scientific naming system is because Latin is considered a ‘dead’ language and therefore new words, or slang words, will not be created.

This naming system was created in 1758 by Carl von Linne, who was a Swedish botanist (he eventually latinized his name to Carolus Linnaeus). Mr. Linnaeus noticed that there was some confusion with the names that existed for plants because there were several different names depending on who used them. He created the two-name system, called the bi-nomial (bi=two & nomial=name) nomenclature that we use today. The first part of the name is the genus, and the second half of the name is the specific epithet. Together, these two names make up the species. As you can imagine, there is also a very specific way to write these names. The genus is always capitalized, the specific epithet is not capitalized, and they are both italicized or underlined if italics are not possible. For example, the French marigold’s botanical name is Tagetes patula.

Though this naming system sounds more confusing than using common names, it allows us to be more specific when discussing plants. You may have experienced another gardener referencing a particular plant that was unfamiliar to you, only to view the plant and realize you know it by another name. This is a very regular occurrence because common names are usually regional and will change according to the local language. The formal system of nomenclature can resolve these problems very well. Botanical names, also called scientific names, are used universally in all countries and in all languages. A gardener in Texas can mention Salvia greggii to a gardener in Frankfurt, Germany, and both gardeners know instantly which plant is being discussed.

You will sometimes see a third name after the specific epithet. This is just becoming even more specific and indicating a cultivated variety (cultivar) of a particular plant. This name is enclosed with single quotation marks with the first letter of the name capitalized but not italicized. For example, Malus domestica ‘Granny Smith’ is the botanical name for the very popular green apples people know as Granny Smith apples.  I could go into this even further, but I think I will stop here for now, so I don’t put anyone still reading to sleep.

The moral of this story is not to be intimidated using botanical names, but rather to embrace the chance to learn something new and brush up on your Latin!

Beatus plantationis!

Anna Vogler

Water Conservation Coordinator

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Marsha Krassner, Principal Editor “In the Garden”





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Gardening Education Opportunities

November 5 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Home Gardening Series: Fall is for Planting Trees and More – Free

The Garden Center 10682 Bandera Rd., San Antonio, TX

Presented by David Rodriguez, Horticulturist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

November 8 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Growing Christmas Oranges and Earth-Kind® Fruit

Northeast Community Learning Center 8750 Tesoro Dr, San Antonio, TX

Presented by David Rodriguez, Horticulturist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and hosted by NEISD Community Education Northeast Community Learning Center. Meet in Room 104. Advanced registration is required. Course Fee: $20.

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November 9 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Basic Tree Care – Free

San Antonio Botanical Garden 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX

Presented by Marybeth Parsons, Bexar County Master Gardener and hosted by San Antonio Botanical Garden. Adrvanced registration is required no later than November 8 at 10:00 A.M. This seminar is WaterSaver Rewards eligible.

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November 11

Offices Closed: Veterans Day

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Bexar County Master Gardeners offices are closed today.

November 15 @ 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Basic Tree Care– Free

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Bexar County 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208, San Antonio, TX

Join Speakers: David Rodriguez, Horticulturist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Mark Bird, San Antonio City Arborist Sara Holland-Adams, BCMG Advanced Master Gardener – Tree Care David Adams, BCMG Advanced Master Gardener – Tree Care & Grace Emery, BCMG Advanced Master Gardener – Tree Care for a half-day learning experience on the basics of tree care.  This class will cover understanding the basics of how trees work, planning and selection of trees, pruning, and common diseases that can affect your tree.  Attendees will also learn about city ordinances and the valuation of trees in your landscape.  One tree will be given to each attendee, at no cost. Advanced registration is required.

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November 17 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

BCMG November Monthly Meeting – Backyard Bird Life of South Central Texas – Free

San Antonio Botanical Garden – Culinary Garden Education Center 555 Funston Place, San Antonio

Seminar presented by Kyle Odom, Wild Birds Unlimited and meeting hosted by Bexar County Master Gardeners. Kyle will cover the following topics:  Backyard Birds of San Antonio, Attracting Songbirds to Your Yard, Contributing to Citizen Science, Preventing Decline of the Bird Population, and Migration Routes.

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November 17 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Trees & Tree Care

Seguin AgriLife Extension Services Building 210 E Live Oak St, Seguin, TX

Presented by Marybeth Parsons and hosted by Guadalupe County Master Gardeners AgriLife Extension Service.

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November 18 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch & Learn with a Bexar County Master Gardener – The Basics of Plant Propagation – Free

Bexar County Master Gardeners 3355 Cherry Ridge, Ste. 208, San Antonio, TX

Hosted by the Bexar County Master Gardeners. Bring your favorite lunch and learn from one of our Bexar County Master Gardeners at this free seminar.  Seating is limited to the first 25 respondents and walk-ins will not be accepted, so please make your reservation in advance.  Others will be waitlisted and notified in the event of a cancellation.  …

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November 24 – November 25

Offices Closed: Thanksgiving Holiday

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Bexar County Master Gardeners offices are closed today.

Frequently check the BCMG Calendar, as that is where all the new, upcoming programs will be posted. Click Here

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Poinsettia and Pansy Sale 2022!

The Poinsettia & Pansy Sale 2022 is in full swing now through November 30, or until sold out! These showy, locally grown poinsettias are stunning as gifts, and the pansies will bring a pop of color to your winter landscape! Proceeds from the sale support horticulture scholarships for university students from Bexar County. We thank you for supporting our sale; contact [email protected] with questions.


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BCMG Happenings!

“Guardians of The Garden”

The Children’s Vegetable Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Garden will have 24/7 protection from any and all varmints, cucumber beetles, tomato hornworms, loopers and squash vine borers. Why? Because on October 15th the children built and installed a layer of protection in their garden plots rarely seen any more…. An old fashion Scarecrow. Imagination, creativity and ingenuity were all at work when the children came together and started building their Superheroes (Scarecrows). Congratulations to all Kids, Parents, Master Gardeners and SABOT staff for making this garden tradition a howling success.

All photos by John Meyer

BCMG Facebook

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Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Happenings!

Holly fern named newest Texas Superstar plant

Great for shady locations, background for bedding ornamentals

Holly fern, also known as Japanese holly fern and fish tail fern, an evergreen herbaceous shrubby perennial succulent, has been named the newest Texas Superstar plant.

David Rodriguez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist, San Antonio, said established holly fern plants are reliable performers that provide a number of uses.

Rodriguez said fall is a good time to plant holly ferns, so they are well established before summer….

The holly fern prefers shade, so they can be an ideal addition around or under large trees. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Mike Arnold)

Past webinars are posted on YouTube for your viewing (or reviewing) pleasure! Check often for new postings! Click here for the list.

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Call in to Live Radio on Saturday mornings, with your gardening questions for David.
Call in: 210-737-1200 or 1-800-383-9624 on Saturdays from 7 am to 10pm

Or just listen to the show, and learn from everyone else’s questions!

WOAI 1200 AM – Lawn and Garden Show
Host: David Rodriguez, Bexar County AgriLife Extension Horticulturist.

Past shows are archived here, for easy listening on your computer, tablet or phone, anytime! Listen on your phone while you drive!

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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, 1-4 pm (Closed on county holidays)

Or Submit A Question Online

The phones and the Hotline are being operated from Master Gardener home telephones; hotline calls are being directed by the AgriLife Extension receptionist.

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Last year, Amazon Smile donated $82 to the Master Gardeners, at no cost to Amazon customers.

What is AmazonSmile?

An easy, convenient way for you to support BCMG every time you shop, at no cost to you.

Available at on your web browser and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping app for iOS and Android phones.

Amazon smile has the same prices, selection and convenient shopping experience as

How to Sign Up

Simply go to on your web browser or activate AmazonSmile in the Amazon Shopping app on your iOS or Android phone within the Settings or Programs & Features menu

On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization to receive donations from your future eligible AmazonSmile purchases.

Use the Search feature to Select:   Bexar County Master Gardeners

That’s it! AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to Bexar County Master Gardeners.

On your web browser, you can add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start shopping with AmazonSmile.

Use your existing Amazon  user name and password to sign on to Amazon Smile. No need to create another Amazon account.

Note: Amazon will remember your selected charity. You do not have to select BCMG each time you purchase from We are grateful for all you do and all you give to Bexar County Master Gardeners.

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