August 2018 Texas Master Gardener Newsletter
fritillary on passionflower TGMA logos2 2

President's Message

Happy August!

I heard last night on the news that my neighborhood near Houston has had temperatures above 95 degrees for 24 days straight!  Many counties in our state are experiencing significant drought once again.

While I was able to go to Canada for a reprieve from the heat, our gardens have not been as fortunate. As trained Master Gardeners, however, we are cognizant of providing proper plant selection, soil preparation, mulching, water conservation, etc. to give our gardens the best possible chance of surviving. If we follow these proven principles, the likelihood is good that our landscapes will make it through these tough times. As far as how the heat affects us as humans, well, that’s something different altogether!

Stay cool and remember that everything changes in time! Autumn comes each year without fail!

Nicky Maddams 2018                August President picture pyramid island
Nicky Maddams                                 Pyramid Island Lake
2018 TMGA President         Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

gold scroll border

TMGA Updates and News

The following important information for your associations was presented at the August 4th Directors meeting.  

Questions About Volunteer Gifts and Payments

Wayne Rhoden (Williamson County), TMGA's resident tax advisor, answered questions about paying / gifting volunteers.  Volunteers are unpaid, but very valuable!  However, when wanting to provide monetary gifts to volunteers, the IRS rules are not too clear.  In fact, it can get quite confusing for non-profit associations like Master Gardeners. 
Wayne's recommendation is to stay on the “safe side” of IRS rules and not give or accept more than $100 per volunteer per year.  Records do need to be kept, but under $100 limit means you don’t have to report these on tax returns.  If you have specific questions, contact Wayne at, and he can help you with an answer.

money and gift cards

Update on New TMGA Training Handbook 

Jayla Fry, TMGA Coordinator, gave an update at the Directors meeting about the availability of the new version of the TMGA training handbooks.  Much to her dismay – and to those who are planning training classes – the new edition printing has been again delayed.  August was the latest hopeful date; however, due to changes in the personnel who produce the handbook, the date is now on hold. 
If your association is planning for their training classes, order the existing handbook (binders not included) from through your County Agent from the Texas A&M Bookstore. 
She also reminded associations that making copies of them is a violation of copyright laws, and that the payment for the handbooks help fund State Master Gardener updates and projects.

TMGA 2018 Awards Submission - Update

Beth Turlington, Chair of the Awards Committee announced that award submissions will be accepted for 2018 projects (to be presented at the 2019 TMGA Conference) from January 1 through January 31, 2019.  Deadline will be January 31 at 10 p.m. 
The Awards Committee has decided that web links in submissions are still not allowed with entries.  Using good narrative and some pictures will help judges “see the story in their head.”

Ms. Turlington also sent out a plea to the small counties – “Where are you?” – knowing that they have great, educational events and projects going on in their areas.  Most questions about awards can be found at this web page 
or contact the Awards Committee by email

SFE deadline

Specialist Training - Changes
Jayla Fry has been in touch with County Extension Agents, and a couple of changes are now in effect. 
  1. Specialist certificates will be sent directly to the County Extension offices once a year.
  2. Starting in 2019, the deadline for submitting specialist training dates and event details will now be January 31.  The trainings can be scheduled for any time during the year, but the deadline for scheduling them is January 31. This gives everyone time to
  • get the word out about the trainings,
  • review the different specialty trainings available,
  • prevent overlapping or conflicting training and dates,
  • make arrangements to attend the trainings
If your association would like to host training, contact Specialist Training Committee Chair, Duane Robinson
2019 TMGA Conference
2019 Victoria logo
Victoria Master Gardeners are excited about the upcoming 2019 conference.  At the Directors Meeting, Victoria MG representatives reported that the City of Victoria is eager to have Master Gardeners next April.  In fact, they think this may be the biggest single group of visitors that Victoria has ever experienced!  Several great speakers and tours are already being finalized.  The website for the conference is “up,” but registration and details are planned to be ready on the website around September 1.  Bookmark and visit the website frequently to watch for more details and registration. 
save the date
April 25-27 (Leadership Seminar, April 24)
“Victoria – Nature’s Gateway”
Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North Street.

If your association is interested in hosting the 2021 TMGA Conference, let TMGA know.  It's never too early to plan!

spotlight on...
Big Country
Master Gardeners

Big Country Master Gardener Association (Abilene, Taylor County) has submitted an entry for a pollinator grant from Honey Flow and is one of 6 national finalists!  They are the only one of the finalists in Texas.  
Go vote for them to win!  DEADLINE TO VOTE IS AUGUST 14.

The proposed project involves working to create new pollinator gardens and enhance existing gardens at three nonprofit sites in Abilene, Texas involving on-going BCMGA activities and using those sites as venues for educating the public regarding creation and support of pollinator gardens throughout the community.

The three sites include Swenson House, FaithWorks and First Central Presbyterian Church (FCPC) Meditation Garden. This project will also involve the BCMGA Greenhouse Committee which will identify, purchase and promulgate native plants for use at BCMGA projects.

Junior Master Gardeners, another outreach of BCMGA will participate in pollinator education for children as allowed by the curriculum of participating schools. Children participating in Junior Master Gardeners, as well as children throughout the community, will be invited to join the educational events while some educational events will specifically target children. 

The Nominations Committee has offered the following nominations for officers for 2019
President:  Duddly Hargrove (Kaufman County)
First Vice President:  Louie McDaniel (McLennan County)
Second Vice President – Robin Collins (Galveston County)
Secretary – Jamie Bruns (Grimes County)
Treasurer – Judy Ratzlaff (Tarrant County)
​Past President - Nicky Maddams (Waller County) 

Voting will be at the December 1 meeting.
2019 Nominated Officers (Aug 2018)

Save the Date Coming Up

Specialist Trainings

Vegetables - FULL
        September 4-6 hosted by Bexar County

Texas Superstars
        September 18-20 hosted by Smith County

Greenhouse Management 
        October 18-20 hosted by Tarrant County

        December 5-7 hosted by Fort Bend County

Future Events

April 25-27, 2019
Texas Master Gardeners Conference
Victoria County, Victoria
June 17-21, 2019
International Master Gardener Conference
Valley Forge, PA
May 11-14, 2020
Texas Master Gardeners Conference
McLennan County, Waco

Other Cool News and Info

Master Gardener Network
Dr. Gibby, the founder of Master Gardeners and keynote speaker at the 2018 Conference, has created an online network for Master Gardeners to be able to share news, photos and information about their association with other associations.  See the site and comments at  Check it out!
Master Gardener net home page

Texas Gardener Magazine
Texas Gardener magazine cover - July-Aug 2018
If you are already a subscriber to Texas Gardener Magazine, you already know that Jay White, is the new owner of the magazine.  He has been one of the main article contributors to the magazine and to its weekly "Seeds" e-newsletter.
Mr. White recently contacted TMGA with an interest in highlighting Master Gardener associations - one county per month. 
If you would like to see your association highlighted in the magazine, write up an article on a special topic, including pictures with captions, and send your article to Jayla Fry ( who will be the contact for TMGA articles to Texas Gardener Magazine.

Texas Gardener Magazine
Seeds newsletter 
Jay White's Masters of Hort blog

Association Events

Use the "Upcoming Event Submission" form on the website to submit your local association events, which are then included on the TXMG website events calendar.

Aug. 6-14     Pollinator Grant Voting
                     Big Country, Taylor County, Abilene
Aug. 9          Simple Irrigation
                     Henderson County, Athens
Aug. 11        Creating Sustainable Designs with Permaculture
                     Travis County, Austin
Aug. 13        Lunch and Learn with the Masters
                     Victoria County, Victoria
Aug. 14        Pollinator Grant Voting Deadline
                     Big Country, Taylor County, Abilene
Aug. 15        East Texas Fruit and Vegetable Conference
                     Overton, TX
Aug. 18        Bonsai
                     Galveston County, La Marque
Aug. 18        Urban Small Backyard Gardening
                     Galveston County, La Marque
Aug. 18        Propagating Tomato Plants Using Cuttings
                     Galveston County, La Marque
Aug. 21        Gardening by the Square Foot
                     Galveston County, La Marque
Sep. 4           1st Tuesday in the Garden
                     Smith County, Tyler
Sep. 8           Fall Landscaping Symposium
                     Concho Valley, San Angelo
Sep. 8           Fall Vegetable Gardening Seminar
                     Travis County, Austin
Sep. 8           Backyard Citrus
                     Galveston County, Friendswood
Sep. 15         Fall Bulbs 101
                     Galveston County, La Marque

Sep. 15         Kitchen Gardening
                     Galveston County, La Marque

Tour of The Gardens at Texas A&M

Prior to the Directors meeting on August 4th, fifty MG Directors and Officers toured the completed Phase I of The Gardens at Texas A&M.  As a combination demonstration and teaching venue, the seven completed acres showcase a variety of gardening specimens, techniques, and beauty.  Interesting architectural “hardscape” features, wildflower areas, a bioswale, bird, bee, and butterfly gardens, varying types of vegetable beds, vineyards, the 100 year-old oak tree, a Hispanic and a German garden were all part of the hour and a half walking tour.  Innovations such as drip irrigation devices for agriculture crops, and a “water fence” were only two of the interesting features along the tour.  

Joseph Johnson, the Director of the Gardens explained the future for the remaining 20 acres and gave details on the building of the Pavilion area.  ​Phase II of the Gardens is to begin soon. Lunch was provided in the Pavilion to those that toured before the Directors meeting.

The Gardens are open to the public at all times, and tours are offered for groups on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Parking on campus near The Gardens is limited, but the West Campus garage is an option. 

You can book garden tours at  

Visit the website for more information about The Gardens at Texas A&M.


The Gardens collage 2         
Top, from left:  Entrance to The Gardens, Kitchen Garden, Amphitheater at the Pavilion
Bottom, from left:  Maroon & White Garden at the Pavilion, Water Fence, wildflower sign, agriculture drip irrigation

Next Directors Meeting:
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Social: 11:45 am – 12:30 pm
Director’s Meeting: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Horticulture/Forest Sci Bldg., Room 102
Parking: Lot #74 off Olsen Street

Stay updated on state association information
Facebook:  Texas Master Gardeners Association
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