Roseann Ferguson, Dallas County Master Gardener speaker at Garland downtown library - Feb 15, 2016
I'm happy to report that Loving Garland Green's first in a year-long series of speaker presentations on topics of urban agriculture was a great success last night.  
The speaker from the Dallas County Master Gardeners, Roseann Ferguson, was excellent and her presentation was very informative. Roseann is also a resident of Garland and a former school teacher in the Garland ISD.  We saw slides of Texas native plants--some of which I had neither heard of nor seen before.  For example, Roseann told us of Zexmenia (Wedelia texana) a lovely flowering perennial that blooms all summer long and is a host plant for the black swallowtail butterfly. I'm going to try to find some of these plants as Roseann promised they will grow under practically any condition. And then there is Prairie Parsley (Polytaenia nuttallii) another Texas native plant I never heard of.  This one too is a host plant for the black swallowtail butterfly.
Bird Pepper - Chilipequin 
Roseann even brought plants for everyone.   This, another native I never heard of, is Bird Pepper and also known as Chilipequin (Capsicum annuum glabriusculum)--a plant that is also a butterfly host plant (not for Monarchs) but for other local butterflies.  This plant is the official native pepper plant of Texas.  I will be planting mine down at the Garland Community Garden.  The plants were a donation from the Texas Discovery Gardens in Dallas.
Roseann was not alone in bearing gifts related to native plants and urban agriculture.  Loving Garland Green presented Roseanne with a flat of six Asclepias asperula (antelope horn) milkweeds to be.  The seeds in this flat had been soaked 24 hours in Garland tap water* and planted yesterday on February 15.  If they turn our the way other seeds from this same source did, Roseanne should have six Asclepias asperula milkweed plants on or before March 1.  I'm also happy to report that Loving Garland Green was able to present Roseanne with an honorarium of $40 to be donated to the Master Gardeners of Dallas Texas. 
Loving Garland Green also gave away a flat of nine planted Asclepias asperula seeds to one of our lucky guests whose name was drawn.  In addition, three other lucky guests each received a packet of 10 Asclepias asperula milkweed seeds.  Nancy Seaberg was the recipient of the drawing for a large hugelkultur pot filled with rotten wood, leaves, and composted manure.
We also took the opportunity at this meeting to pass along information regarding the Mayors' Monarch Pledge.   Our own Garland Mayor, Douglas Athas, has taken this pledge as have many leaders of municipalities in Dallas and Tarrant Counties.  Ask if your mayor has taken this important step.
With a little bit of luck, in about two weeks Roseann's Milkweed will look like the ones in the back container as shown in the photo below.  Those Asclepias asperula were soaked in Garland tap water 24 hours prior to planting two weeks ago.  The two in the container in the foreground were soaked in sterile water.
 The Great Garland Milkweed Experiment - updated February 16, 2016
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