Scion – January 2023

Volume 33, Issue #1 – January 2023

Liana Benavides, President BCMG

“What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” –Vern McLellan

Happy New Year, BCMG! I am honored to once again be serving as President for 2023. As we enter this New Year, we are looking forward to doing more in-person activities. We have already received invitations for events that had been shut down due to COVID and we anticipate many more offers throughout the year.

We have plenty of garden education opportunities this year beginning with “House Plants” presented by David Rodriguez on January 7th. David will help you learn to care for your old & new house plants throughout the year.

If you are interested in learning the process of planting vegetable seeds for a successful harvest, sign up for our “Seed to Harvest Workshop” on January 13th. For a nominal fee, you will get supplies and instructions on how to grown your own tomatoes and peppers from seed, taught by our own Bexar County Master Gardeners.

For those of you who would like to try growing some fruit on your own, consider attending one of 2 “Growing a Home Fruit Orchard” presentations by David Rodriguez. There is one on January 14th and another on January 28th at 2 different locations. Find out which one is closer to your home.

On Thursday, January 19th, AgriLife Extension Service is proud to present the 2023 Tree Management Workshop at the SA Botanical Garden-Betty Kelso Center. This is an all-day event and registration is required.

Our Lunch & Learn Workshop series will begin on Friday, January 20th with a presentation on “Pecans” by Dr. Larry Stein. These events are free, but registration is required as seating is limited.

This year, we will continue to remain flexible through any changes that may come our way.  Stay in touch through our website and Facebook pages to find garden education opportunities near you. BCMG is ready to show you all that we can be in 2023!

Marsha Krassner, Principal Editor “In the Garden”

January in the Garden

Although it can be pretty cold outside in January, there is still plenty to do to get your garden in tip-top shape for the spring. Our gardening checklist will help you get prepared!

Baking with Mesquite Flour

By Judie Frisch, Bexar County Master Gardener

Living in South Texas, and especially in San Antonio, mesquite trees offer nothing but a mess to clean up.  The pods appear on the ground in March and often don’t disappear until the following February. How can these pods be put to good use other than being underfoot and getting stuck with thorns?  How about baking? 

Several years ago, I read an article in the San Antonio Express-News about making mesquite flour and decided to give it a try.

While conventional wisdom suggests harvesting the pods directly from the tree, I decided to rake up a large pile (a pound or so) from my backyard….


By Mary Cennamo, Bexar County Master Gardener

At this time of year, when most plants are dormant and the leaves have fallen from the trees, there is one plant that begins to flower, bringing brightness to an otherwise dreary overcast winter day.  

The Paperwhites arrive during this season in San Antonio.  These beautiful flowers are just starting to bloom in my garden sporadically, and I will use them as cut flowers to bring inside and put in a small vase.  Paperwhites are the last flowers to bloom every year, and they make us look forward with hope and sunny expectations for the upcoming spring growing season.

Paperwhite bulbs are native to the Mediterranean region, and prefer warm, sunny conditions. In most parts of the United States, the weather is too cold for this narcissus variety to thrive outdoors, especially during the winter months…

Presenter Mary Beth Parsons, BCMG and Tree Specialist
Photo by Regina Maspero

Basic Tree Care with Marybeth Parsons

Summary of the BCMG December Lunch & Learn meeting

By Shirley Conrad, Bexar County Master Gardener

Do you have questions on what, when, where, why, and how to plant trees?  At the December Lunch and Learn at the Bexar County AgriLife Extension office, Marybeth Parsons, a Bexar County Master Gardener with advanced training on the subject, provided answers to those questions.

Marybeth began by defining a tree as a perennial plant typically with one trunk and usually a height of 15 feet or more and explained that the benefits of trees are numerous.  They provide habitat for birds and wildlife, reduce storm water run-off and erosion, reduce energy consumption, provide wind and noise breaks, reduce the heat island effect in our communities, cool and/or warm the air, clean the air by filtering, improve human health, and add value to our homes…

Texas Superstar Spotlight- Chinkapin Oak

Quercus muehlenbergii

Chinkapin Oak is an attractive medium to large shade tree suitable for use in much of Texas. Its distinctive saw–tooth leaves, which resemble those of the chinquapin tree found in the eastern U.S., are a rich green, turning yellow to bronze in fall. It grows in the wild on well–drained bottomland soils and limestone hills near water, but it is adaptable to a range of soils and exposures. It is moderate to fast–growing and develops an open rounded crown as it ages.

Hardiness: Zone 5

Exposure: Full sun

Size: Height — 50 to 90 feet tall; width — 20 to 40 feet wide

Gardening Education Opportunities

January 2, 2023

Offices Closed: New Year’s Day (Observed)

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

January 7, 2023 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

House Plants – Free

Milberger’s Landscaping & Nursery, 3920 North Loop 1604, San Antonio, TX

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

January 11, 2023 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Improving Your Soil Free

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

Presented by Bill Swantner, Bexar County Master Gardener and hosted by San Antonio Botanical Garden. Free but registration is required by January 10 at 10:00 A.M. This seminar is WaterSaver Rewards eligible.

January 13, 2023 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Seed to Harvest Workshop

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

Presented by Bexar County Master Gardeners Bill Swantner and Karen Gardner. This 3-hour, in-person workshop will provide participants with the seeds, soil, containers, and the know-how to get started on growing vegetable seedlings indoors. Class size is limited to 20 participants. Registration in advance is required. Fee $20. Read More

January 14, 2023 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Growing a Home Fruit Orchard – Free

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

Presented by David Rodriguez, Horticulturist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and hosted by The Garden Center. Learn all you need to know about growing delicious fruit in your own backyard.

January 16, 2023

Offices Closed: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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

January 19, 2023 @ 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

2023 Tree Management Workshop – “Oak Wilt & More”  

San Antonio Botanical Garden – The Betty Kelso Center, 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, TX

Presented by the Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Advanced Registration is required. Fee: $65. Read More

January 20, 2023 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch & Learn with a Bexar County Master Gardener – Pecans – Free

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

Presented by 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 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.  Read More

January 21, 2023 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Fruit Tree Basics – Free

Fanick’s Garden Center, 1025 Holmgreen Road, San Antonio, TX

Presented by Dr. Larry Stein, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and hosted by Fanick’s Garden Center. Dr. Larry Stein, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will demonstrate how to properly select, plant, and prune your fruit, nut, citrus, berries, and grapes for maximum production.  In this seminar, you will learn about the overall maintenance and care of your plant before, during, and after harvest.  This program will be outside and will go on rain or shine, so please dress for the weather. Read More

January 28, 2023 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Growing a Home Fruit Orchard – Free

Milberger’s Landscaping & Nursery, 3920 North Loop 1604, San Antonio, TX

Presented by David Rodriguez, Horticulturist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and hosted by Milberger’s Landscaping & Nursery.

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

BCMG News!

BCMG had a very successful Poinsettia and Pansy Sale. Thank you to all the volunteers that made this event such a success. Proceeds from this sale fund scholarships for Bexar County horticulture university students and master gardener educational outreach programs. 

Photos by Andres Villagran

BCMG had a potluck Holiday party for our members at the San Antonio Garden Center. The BCMG Board of Directors took this opportunity to recognize the many contributions of our members in 2022.

Photos by Barbara Lutz

Master Gardener of the Year: Brigid Oman

Brigid Oman, BCMG

Congratulations to, Brigid Oman for being selected as, Bexar County Master Gardener (“BCMG”) of the Year. It is an honor to be recognized by your peers for your work and dedication to the mission of the BCMG. It is even a higher honor to be recognized as, Master Gardener (“MG”) of the Year.

Every quarter of the year, the BCMG board selects a BCMG who has made significant contributions to our mission, someone who exemplifies what it means to be a BCMG. The names of BCMG are suggested by board members, the MG involvement is carefully, and confidentially, considered. After some deliberation a candidate is selected, their name announced, and a brief bio is printed in the Scion. 

At the end of the year, one of these candidates is selected as, ‘Bexar County Master Gardener of the Year”. Their name, with a more comprehensive bio, is sent to the State awards committee for consideration as State Master Gardener of the Year…

Texas A&M AgriLife News!

Photo by Brantley Spakes Rickter, University of Florida

Asian Lady Beetle Invasion

By Molly Keck, Board Certified Entomologist and Integrated Pest Management Program Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Bexar County

It is that time of year when Asian Lady Beetles make an appearance indoors, and usually in large numbers. While they can be a major nuisance, they shouldn’t cause panic and some simple exclusion practices can help prevent this issue in the future.

Asian Lady Beetles are not native to Texas – they were introduced from Asia to the United States in 1960s and 1990s as a UDSA project to help reduce agricultural pests in several Southern and Eastern States from Louisiana to Connecticut.  They are now found throughout the United States either from natural spread or from further introductions into the United States from Japan on freighters.

Asian Lady Beetles are a true lady beetle, better known as a ladybug.  They are wonderful biological control agents of pests such as aphids in nature and during warmer months, help control those pests in our landscape…

Snow covered broccoli Photo by Michelle Hobbs

Protecting Landscapes and Horticultural Crops from Frosts and Freezes

Written by Monte Nesbitt (Extension Fruit Specialist) and Robert “Skip” Richter (Extension Agent – Horticulture)

Fall, winter, and spring bring the danger of frosts and freezes to Texas gardens, orchards, and landscapes. Although sporadic and unpredictable, these cold spells have left their mark on horticulture in Texas by wiping out peach crops, freezing pecans in their shucks, forcing the replanting of spring vegetables, killing valuable landscape plants, and necessitating the replacement of beloved avocado, citrus, and fig trees.

Home gardeners and commercial growers can minimize these losses by understanding how cold affects plants and implementing diverse strategies to protect them…

View on AgriLife Learn

Nick Vazquez

Congratulations Nick Vazquez!

Nick Vazquez, Office Assistant IV in our Bexar County office, has been selected as a recipient of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Superior Service Award, Administrative Support (County) category. These awards are the highest honor conferred by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to faculty, agents and staff who have excelled in their job performance.
To be nominated, recommended, and selected for this special award is a process involving his co-workers, peers on the Extension Honor Awards Committee, and Extension administration. It is high praise indeed of his outstanding accomplishments.

Helpful Resources

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!

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.

Bexar County Master Gardeners will once again participate in the Champions fore Charity fundraiser for 2022-2023.  We ask for your support to help us raise funds that will make us eligible for the additional 7% match from the Valero Texas Open. BCMG uses the funds to support our mission of providing unbiased, research-based, locally relevant gardening information through our hotline, seminars, workshops, children’s gardens, and culinary docent program.

Did you know that you may be able to make a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) directly from your IRA to BCMG? Consult your tax or financial advisor for more information on this strategy that may even lower your taxable income.

We appreciate your consideration. Your donations are welcome through April 2nd. The link to make your donations is Valero Texas Open – Champions fore Charity.

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