Scion – April 2023

Linda Cace, Member at Large

My name is Linda Cace and I’ve been a Master Gardener for ten years. I recently joined the Master Gardener board as Member-at-Large 2, and it has given me a new appreciation for how much our organization does and how much our members contribute to our community. Over the years I’ve participated in many activities sponsored by the Bexar County Master Gardeners, and I’ve always been grateful for the many ways they have enriched my life. Now I’m very happy for a chance to give back to our wonderful group of gardeners. I look forward to serving you.

I think the thing I’m most proud of as a Master Gardener is having had the privilege of helping to organize and support the Phil Hardberger Park Children’s Vegetable Garden (PHP CVG). We started this project seven years ago with pretty much a blank slate, and we have grown to 24 beds and 47 children and their parents participating. That’s a lot of kids! Our Tuesday mornings in the garden are a happy cacophony of children laughing, chattering, and digging in the dirt. We’re a cheerful place where nobody makes a mistake…. they just learn a gardening lesson. We’ve dealt with ground squirrels and every bug known to the Texas gardener. We’ve experienced every adverse growing condition a gardener must deal with, often in the same session, and our garden has continued to thrive. I’ve had some kids tell me the PHP CVG is their happy place and others say they never tasted anything as good as the broccoli they grew in their plot. They bring me funny-looking bugs and the occasional bird’s nest or bleached deer bone they’ve found. We “forage” the land surrounding the garden and talk about useful native plants as well as native plants they should avoid. We’ve even eaten cookies made from mesquite bean flour in order to get an appreciation of what plants outside the veggie garden can contribute to our lives. This garden has become a very special place, and I’m proud that I’ve had a part in that. I’m also proud of and grateful for my fellow BCMGs and all the sweat, hard work, and fellowship they’ve contributed to this project. They are a very special group of people, and I am blessed to have them as friends and coworkers.

Someday I’m going to write a book called The Greedy Gardener. In that book I’m going to talk about gardening with lots and lots of kids, and I will sing the praises of all the BCMGs who give so generously and tirelessly of their energy, knowledge, and talents. We are, I think, a very special community, and I am so lucky to have become a part of a group like this. So, garden on, my friends! Garden on!

In the Garden…with Bexar County Master Gardeners

Marsha Krassner, Principal Editor “In the Garden”

Birds and Wildlife

  • Supplement your hummingbird-friendly plants with sugar water feeders.  Use one part sugar and four parts water.


  • Plant warm weather bedding plants: lantanas, begonias, firebush, impatiens, portulaca, coleus and zinnias.  Periwinkles in late May.
  • Resist cool season plants on sale now.  That season is over…that’s why they are on sale.  
  • Maintain your spray program for roses.  
  • Fertilize the roses this month if not done last month.   
  • Let bougainvillea get root bound and stressed between waterings for blooms.
  • Hibiscus food works well for container-grown plants.   

Shade Trees and Shrubs

  • Do NOT prune oak trees now.
  • You can still plant new shrubs and trees this month if they are container-grown.  
  • It’s too late to plant bare-root trees now.
  • Prune pillar or climbing roses, wisteria, and Carolina jasmine after they flower…

If left to bloom, artichoke plants will produce a striking purple flower. (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo)

Growing, Cooking, & Eating Artichokes

By Peggy Qualls, Bexar County Master Gardener

It is easy for me to get excited about almost any plant in the Culinary Garden at SABOT, but the one that I find most fascinating is the Artichoke.   It is a member of the thistle family and looks like a monster version of the thistles we see in fields and roadways all over Texas during the summer.  The difference between thistles that grow wild in Texas and the artichoke is that the artichoke is a wonderful, tasty vegetable filled with nutrients.   As an added bonus, in Zone 8, it can be treated as a perennial. 


According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, early planning for artichokes in Central Texas requires planting your seeds indoors or in a protected area in mid-August for transplanting outdoors in mid-October.

Artichokes need room as they can reach 3 feet in height and width. The flowers grow up to 7 inches in diameter and have a beautiful blue to lavender color.  Here are some tips for successfully growing artichokes:

  • Plant them  in deep, fertile, well-drained soil and avoid sandy soils with excess drainage. 
  • Keep the soil consistently moist as artichokes can suffer from black tip when fruiting in sunny, warm and windy conditions. 
  • Watch for diseases such as powdery mildew, Verticillium wilt, curly dwarf virus, bacterial crown rot and botrytis rot, which can emerge with rainy weather. 
  • Similar to many other vegetables, artichokes can also fall prey to spider mites and aphids.
  • Leave plenty of space between plants which helps to dry them out and reduce chances for these issues to develop…

Presenter John Vann (Photo by Sherri McShane)

March Lunch & Learn – Drip Irrigation

By Sherri McShane, Bexar County Master Gardener

March’s Lunch & Learn was an interesting, fact-filled presentation on Drip Irrigation by John Vann.  His stated goal was to make the listener feel confident to install drip irrigation independently.  Judging from the frantic note-taking and the many pertinent questions, I believe he reached his goal. 

Water conservation is vital as the city’s population increases and our water sources are depleted.  John shared a quote that summed it up nicely: “Conservation is the cheapest source of water.”  Common conservation methods for the homeowner include: using compost, mulching, planting drought-tolerant plants, and using effective watering methods. 

Drip irrigation is a central element for efficiently watering your garden and lawns.

Drip irrigation has many benefits:   

  1. It targets the roots instead of needlessly watering the whole plant. 
  2. It reduces water loss due to evaporation and run-off.
  3. It reduces the leaching of nutrients as well as reducing the presence of mildew, black spot, and other foliage diseases. 
  4. It helps control weeds…

Tangerine Beauty

Texas Superstar Spotlight- Tangerine Beauty

Bignonia Capreolata

‘Tangerine Beauty’ Bignonia capreolata, known as crossvine due to the pattern inside its crosscut stem is a spring blooming evergreen vine native to Texas and the southeastern United States. In its common native form, this relative of trumpet creeper sports banana-yellow tubular flowers with maroon highlights. There are however selections with flower colors ranging from orange to red. Among the showiest and most available is the cultivar ‘Tangerine Beauty’ which was discovered growing in a garden in San Antonio by Texas horticulturist and garden writer Scott Ogden in the 1980’s. It was subsequently named and introduced by the North Carolina State Arboretum in 1993. ‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine is commonly pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds and is known to scatter repeat blooms during the growing season.

Exposure: Heaviest bloom occurs in full sun; however, the plant will tolerate moderate to dense shade. It is hardy to zone 6.

Size: Height — This clinging evergreen vine can easily grow to 15 feet wide and tall.

Plant type: Vigorous, evergreen, clinging vine.

Planting time: Container grown plants can be planted year-round.

Soil type: Well to moderately drained soils are best. Plants are soil pH adaptable and can be grown in sand, silt, or clay. Crossvine will tolerate low fertility sites, but also will grow more vigorously where adequate nutrients are available. Drought and heat tolerance are excellent once plants are established…

Gardening Education Opportunities

April 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Annual Grafting Seminar – Free

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

Presented by Dr. Larry Stein, Extension Horticulturist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and hosted by Fanick’s Garden Center. Dr. Stein will show you how and why fruit, nut, and citrus trees are grafted in this FREE seminar. 

Read More

April 1 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Lawn Basics 101 – Free

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

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

Read More

April 7

Offices Closed: Good Friday

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

April 12 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Master Gardeners in the Garden: Gardening for Pollinators – Free

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

Presented by Liana Benavides, Bexar County Master Gardener and hosted by San Antonio Botanical Garden. Free but registration is required by April 11 at 10:00 A.M. This seminar is WaterSaver Rewards eligible.

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April 12 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Earth-Kind® Brown Thumb Series – Growing Herbs and Earth-Kind® Roses

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

Presented by David Rodriguez, Horticulturist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Certified Master Gardeners. Advanced registration is required. $20/session.

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April 14 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch & Learn with a Bexar County Master Gardener – Rainwater Harvesting – 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. 

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April 15 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Lawn Basics 101 – 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 Nursery. Gardening expert and WOAI’s The Garden Show host David Rodriguez will present a seminar on lawn basics. 

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April 20 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

BCMG April Monthly Meeting – San Pedro Creek Culture Park – Free

Hosted by Bexar County Master Gardeners with guest speaker Kendall Hays, San Antonio River Authority. The San Pedro Creek Culture Park, located just west of downtown, is a world-class, linear park and restored natural habitat. 

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April 21 @ 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

New In-Person Beekeeping 101 Class Now Available!

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

Presented by Texas A&M AgrilLife Extension Service. Options for in-person and on-line sessions. Geared for those with little to absolutely no knowledge of beekeeping, we’ll help you get the right tools to get started.  From where to purchase your equipment and what to buy, to how to set up the apiary and what to do to keep the bees alive – we cover it all! Cost varies based on type of session selected.

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April 26 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm ONLINE

Webinar Series: 15 Bugs Everyone Should Know About – In Their Flowers – Free

Presented by Molly Keck, Entomologist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Join Molly for this online series of informative seminars on the 15 bugs everyone should know about and their impact in our homes and landscapes.

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April 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Earth-Kind® Brown Thumb Series – Growing Fruits & Citrus

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

Presented by David Rodriguez, Horticulturist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Certified Master Gardeners. $20/session.

Read More

April 28

Offices Closed: Battle of Flowers

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

BCMG News!

Phil Hardberger Park Children’s Vegetable Garden

Master Gardener Matt Mathews (right) with Hardberger Park volunteers Gene Breniman and Terry Larision

Master Gardener volunteers have been sharing vegetable gardening skills with the children at the Phil Hardberger Park Children’s Vegetable Garden since 2016 but this year they are adding fruit tree cultivation to their repertoire. 

These dedicated new gardeners compare their height to that of the blooming plum tree. The intent is ”watch us grow,” the children in knowledge & height and the tree in height and maturity.

Thanks to a generous contribution from Accenture, the Hardberger Park Conservancy was able to add three peach trees, a fig tree, and a plum tree to the children’s garden in December.  Since the kick-off of the 2023 children’s program in February, MG volunteers have weeded the “orchard” area, expanded planting rings, watered, pruned, and fertilized. A related lesson will be delivered to garden participants later in the season.  Volunteers expect the trees will yield some valuable lessons on fruit tree cultivation and hopefully a good harvest.  

Photos by Kathy “KC” Hernandez

BCMG of the Spring- Maria Salvatierra

By Nancy Mills, Bexar County Master Gardener

Maria Salvatierra, BCMG (Photo by Henry Salvatierra)

Maria Salvatierra was interested in agriculture in her early years; however, it was a presentation by a Bexar County Master Gardener that led her to follow her passion for gardening. She applied for the 25th intern class, was accepted, and has been an avid BCMG volunteer ever since.

Maria’s volunteer involvement has been diverse over the past years. This has included serving on the BCMG Board; as the coordinator for BCMG apparel orders and sales; as the team lead of MGs who planted and maintained the flower beds at the Hemisfair entrance; and as a helper at the Rose beds at the Convention Center. You could find her assisting with the various fruit/and vegetable trials at Verstuyft Farms in Van Ormy, as well as at the Food Bank. She was on the first Greenies Urban Farm team.  In addition, she has served as a speaker on the Speakers Bureau and currently works with students at the Phil Hardberger Children’s Garden...

Bill Swantner, BCMG

A huge thank you to all of those who made the 2023 Rodeo a success, especially the team leads and David Rodriguez. This includes the construction crew, deconstruction crew, and those who prepared meals for them, the cashiers, Ask a Master Gardeners, Youth, those who unloaded plants and watered them and greeters. Also, thanks to those who worked in publicity and those who worked behind the scenes with VMS and coordinating all of the volunteers. It was wonderful to see Master Gardeners and interns working together. 

Our primary goal was to educate the public about gardening in south Texas, and we did. Our secondary goal was to sell a tomato, that grows well in south Central Texas, to provide scholarships for the next generation of agricultural students. We were fortunate to have decent weather and fantastic volunteers. Again, thank you very much.

Bill Swantner, Rodeo Chair

Texas A&M AgriLife News!

David Rodriguez, Texas A&M Agriculture Extension Service Horticulturist for Bexar County

Spring Vegetable Gardening Seminar

Summary by Michelle Hobbs, BCMG

Spring is here and it’s a good time to brush up on your gardening information. David Rodriguez, Texas A&M Agriculture Extension Horticulturist for Bexar County, has been giving free educational talks at many of our independent nurseries in San Antonio. He was at Milberger’s Landscaping and Nursery in San Antonio on March 11 and spoke to attendees about Spring Vegetable Gardening. I would encourage you to attend one of his upcoming seminars, but in the meantime, here are a few of the tips he mentioned that you might find helpful as you get ready for spring vegetable gardening.

  • Warm weather vegetable plants (ex. tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers) should be put in as soon as possible because by mid-June “the oven turns on.”
  • We are lucky enough to have 2 planting seasons (spring and fall). By the 4th of July pull out your warm plants since “new plants do better than carry-over plants.”
  • In July & August plant vegetables he referred to as “warm warm” vegetables such as Okra, Sothern Peas, Hot peppers and Eggplant. They really like the hot weather conditions.
  • Try to grow vegetable varieties recommended by the Texas A&M Agriculture Extension service, as these are proven varieties that do best in our local conditions.
  • Drip irrigation is key to success, as “Plants don’t waste water; people do.” Make sure your plants don’t get too dry or too wet. Make sure the water gets down 4 inches into the soil each time you water.  Space plants on a drip irrigation emitter, which is usually around 10 inches dependent on the final size of the plant…

Helpful Resources

WOAI Lawn and Garden Show

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

Question of the month: On the south side of my house, I have very little sunlight. Last summer I laid St. Augustine grass but now I have lost a lot of it and the rest appears to be struggling to survive.  What can I do?


Answer:  If the shade is too dense to support the growth of St. Augustine, no other turfgrass available for the San Antonio area will grow there either.  Your alternatives are ground cover plants that will grow in shady areas such as Asian Jasmine, English Ivy, Mondo Grass, Liriope and others; perennials that will grow in the shade include Firespike, Turk’s Cap, Elephant Ears, Mexican Petunia, Blue Plumbago, Shrimp Plant, Purple Heart and others; or the use of hardscape such as decorative mulch, flagstone or others; or a combination of all of these.

Answer by Art Vazquez, BCMG

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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