Master Gardener Educational Seminars & Events

Throughout the year the Travis County Master Gardeners go on the road to public events around the county, including garden festivals, community fairs, our own public seminars, and special nursery events to bring sound gardening advice to event-goers. We talk one-on-one with the public, giving out free Extension publications on many gardening topics, and we will discuss with you what plants will grow in different conditions, how to help them thrive, and we will even diagnose your plant problems if you bring us a sample.

We also sponsor public seminars on gardening topics throughout the year at different locations in the county. Our goal is to help the public learn easy-to-follow tips they can do on their own that will help them get more joy from their gardens, and to learn from research-based Extension and other sources what can go wrong in the garden and what to do about it in environmentally sensitive ways.

Lectures include such common themes as rainwater harvesting, vegetable gardening, lawn care, tree maintenance, native and adapted plants, propagating plants, and much more. Join us for some really great free learning opportunities and bring your questions!

Our other events include the Inside Austin Gardens Tour and the East Austin Garden Fair.  The Inside Austin Gardens Tour is a great opportunity to see first hand the fundamentals of sustainable gardening in private gardens.  The annual East Austin Garden Fair is a FREE public gardening event that features booths, presentations and activities that include growing vegetables, backyard chickens, bee keeping, nutrition and cooking, pests, square foot gardening, and activities for kids.

Looking for a speaker for your garden group? The Master Gardeners Speakers Bureau provides trained speakers on a wide variety of gardening topics. Email your request to travismgspeakersbureau@gmail.com and be sure to include your group name, meeting date and place, and topic to be discussed.

Insect Visitors in Your Garden

Saturday, August 16, 2014, 10am – noon
Zilker Botanical Garden 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX, 78746

Update your understanding of good bugs and bad, with Master Gardeners Pat Mokry and Sheryl Williams. Pat, an entomology specialist, will describe the common insect visitors to your garden, and help you determine if and how you should treat for them. Following identification of beneficial insects, Sheryl will then share a fascinating project she has constructed to attract insects into her garden for observation, pollination and just plain fun. Don’t miss these two lively, informative ladies!

This seminar is free; Zilker park entrance fee is $2 per adult, $1 per child or senior. The seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. www.tcmastergardeners.org. For information, call (512)854-9600.

Fall Season Vegetable Gardening

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 10am – noon
Travis County AgriLife Extension Office

With its warm days and cooler nights, along with more stable weather patterns, Fall just may be the best season for vegetable gardening in Central Texas. In our second class on Backyard Basics, Master Gardener and vegetable specialist Tommie Clayton will share her many years of experience in gardening, with details on planting schedules, proven varieties for our area and other helpful resources.

Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Backyard Basics Series.
Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 late and on-site. Class is limited to 40 people.

Integrated Pest Management

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 10am – noon
Travis County AgriLife Extension Office

Wizzie Brown, Integrated Pest Management Specialist for the AgriLife Extension Service, will discuss natural pest control in the garden and landscape, as she teaches about pests and the damage they inflict at various times of the year. Learn to encourage the good guys and discourage the bad guys in your vegetable garden in this third class on Backyard Basics.

Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Backyard Basics Series.
Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty  or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 late and on-site. Class is limited to 40 people.

Raising Backyard Chickens

Thursday, November 6, 2014, 10am – noon
Travis County AgriLife Extension Office

For our final class on Backyard Basics, Master Gardener and blogger Ally Stresing will share her love of backyard chickens in this informative talk on the care and maintenance of the home flock. From constructing a predator-proof coop, to choosing proper feed, to handling boredom and the pecking order, Ally will guide you through the ins and outs of caring for happy, healthy hens.

Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Backyard Basics Series.
Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty   or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 late and on-site. Class is limited to 40 people.

 

Earlier Events: 

Composting for the Home Garden

Thursday, February 6, 2014, 10am – noon Travis County AgriLife Extension Office

For the first class in our series on Dealing with Drought Conditions, join us for a presentation on the value of compost in building and maintaining healthy soils. Whether you want to get ready for a fabulous spring garden, or just improve the health of you lawn and landscape, compost is an easy and inexpensive amendment, safe to use and beneficial for the environment. Cathy Wood, Master Gardener and compost specialist, will teach how to build an effective compost pile, and how to use its contents as an aid to increase water retention in soils of all types.

Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Water Conservation Series Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 at site. Class is limited to 40 people.

Rose Selection and Care

Saturday, February 8, 2014, 10am – noon Zilker Botanical Garden 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX, 78746

Master Gardeners Carolyn Williams and Holly Plotner will discuss rose selection and care to encourage better bloom production. They will cover the different types of roses and their features, as well as handy tools and their proper care.

This seminar is free; Zilker park entrance fee is $2 per adult, $1 per child or senior. The seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. www.tcmastergardeners.org. For information, call (512)477-8672.

Rainwater Harvesting

Thursday, March 6, 2014, 10am – noon Travis County AgriLife Extension Office

Just in time for glorious spring showers, Master Gardener Ed Parken will give a presentation on rainwater harvesting at the AgriLife Extension Office as we continue our series on Dealing with Drought Conditions.  Don’t let valuable rain water just wash down the gutter, when it could be watering your garden and landscaping.  Learn the basics of rainwater harvesting and how to construct a system suited for your situation

Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Water Conservation Series Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 at site. Class is limited to 40 people.

Heirloom Plants in the Spring Garden

Saturday, March 8, 2014, 10am – noon Zilker Botanical Garden 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX, 78746

Author of several gardening books and founding editor and publisher of Homegrown: Good Sense Organic Gardening, Judy Barrett will discuss the merits of heirloom plants in the spring garden. Find out what makes a plant an heirloom, the pros and cons of using heirloom plants, and which of these plants do well here in central Texas.

This seminar is free; Zilker park entrance fee is $2 per adult, $1 per child or senior. The seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. www.tcmastergardeners.org. For information, call (512)477-8672.

Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

Thursday, April 3, 2014, 10am – noon Travis County AgriLife Extension Office

You may have considered reducing the size of your lawn and replacing it with hardscaping or native and adapted plants to conserve water. Although those are both viable options, Daphne Richards, Travis County Extension Agent, will show you how to properly water and care for your lawn so you can still have a beautiful carpet of grass for your family, friends, and pets to enjoy. Learn the proper techniques for watering, feeding and maintaining healthy grasses in this next class on Dealing with Drought Conditions.

Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Water Conservation Series Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 at site. Class is limited to 40 people.

Drip Irrigation Systems

Thursday, May 1, 2014 10am – noon Travis County AgriLife Extension Office

As the heat of summer arrives, your garden will need more water to continue to produce those beautiful flowers and delicious homegrown veggies we all appreciate. Reduce the amount of wasted water in your garden this year with irrigation targeted for your plants’ specific needs. Learn how to install an effective water-wise drip irrigation system from Joe Posern, current president of the Travis County Master Gardeners Association. Joe will describe the key factors involved in a system and how to gauge and monitor its efficiency, followed by a tour and explanation of the demonstration garden’s system on site at the AgriLife Extension Office.

Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Water Conservation Series Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 at site. Class is limited to 40 people.

Inside Austin Gardens Tour: Gardens Eclectic ATX

Saturday, May 3, 2014 9am-4pm

Tour Austin area gardens Details here: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/inside-austin-gardens-tour/

Alternate Methods of Gardening

Thursday, June 5, 2014 10am – noon Travis County AgriLife Extension Office Classroom at  6011 Blue Bluff Rd, 78724

Feeling adventurous? Explore alternate methods of gardening during the final class in our Dealing with Drought Conditions series. If you have time, space, or physical limitations yet still have a desire to nurture your green thumb, Master Gardener Pat Mokry will teach you how to raise carefree veggies, herbs and flowers using self-sufficient grow boxes. Then, for some more ‘new’ ideas, Master Gardener Marian Stassney will describe the ancient practices of both keyhole gardening and hugelkultur, to expand your repertoire of gardening techniques.

Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Dealing with Drought in the Landscape Series Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 late registration and on-site. Class is limited to 40 people.

Composting for the Home Garden

Saturday, June 21, 2014, 10am – noon Zilker Botanical Garden 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX, 78746

Pat Mokry, Master Gardener and compost specialist, will teach the methods of constructing different composting systems to turn kitchen ‘trash’ into garden treasure. You’ll be both informed and entertained by Pat’s presentation on how to use this valuable soil amendment to increase your garden’s fertility and productivity.

This seminar is free; Zilker park entrance fee is $2 per adult, $1 per child or senior. The seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. www.tcmastergardeners.org. For information, call (512)854-9600.

Raising and Managing Bees

Saturday, July 19, 2014, 10am – noon Zilker Botanical Garden 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX, 78746

Chris Doggett, of Williamson County Beekeepers Association, will share his knowledge and expertise in raising and managing bees. Learn how to provide a healthy and attractive environment for bees, whether you have a backyard hive, or acres of crops needing pollination. A delightful speaker with hands-on experience, Chris will gladly answer your questions and concerns to take the mystery out of beekeeping.

This seminar is free; Zilker park entrance fee is $2 per adult, $1 per child or senior. The seminar is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. www.tcmastergardeners.org. For information, call (512)854-9600.

Composting for the Home Garden

Thursday, August 7, 2014, 10am – noon Travis County AgriLife Extension Office

Whether you want to get ready for a fabulous fall garden, or just improve the health of your lawn and landscape, compost is an easy and inexpensive amendment, safe to use, and beneficial for the environment. Cathy Wood, Master Gardener and compost specialist, will teach the ingredients needed for quality compost, how to build an effective compost pile, and how to use its contents to increase the fertility of your soil and productivity of your garden. This first class in our series on Backyard Basics will include a tour of the compost methods used on site at the AgriLife Demo Garden, weather permitting.

Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Backyard Basics Series. Register at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/TravisCounty  or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 late and on-site. Class is limited to 40 people.