Greeting Fellow Gardeners & Friends,

The Master Gardener Association fiscal year officially began September 1, 2009.

The Board is very enthusiastic and has planned a busy year. We hope you will continue to participate as you have in the past.

As we begin this New Year, we would like to invite everyone to the first regular Master Gardener Meeting. It will be held on Thursday, September 10th at the San Benito Extension Meeting Room.

Prior to the membership meeting, the speaker and presenter for this evening will be Mary Beth Simmons, Master Gardener and Board Secretary. Her presentation will be on “Identifying Palms of the Rio Grande Valley”. We encourage you to bring a guest or invite someone you know that would enjoy this evening’s topic. The program will begin promptly at 7:00 PM.

As I mentioned, the Master Gardener Board is very enthusiastic about the upcoming y ear and with your help we will continue to present educational programs and events to the community. The Arboretum will continue to expand in the area of more bedding plants and demonstration gardens to be made available for additional educational programs.

In October, we plan to host the 2nd Annual MG Plant Sale. It will be held on Saturday, October 10th, at 9:00 AM. The plants to be sold for this sale will be donated by the membership – grown from our own gardens. There will be a planning session on Wednesday, September 9th at 1:00 PM in the Extension Meeting Room. Everyone is invited to attend.

The graduation of the 2009 Master Gardener Interns will be held on Wednesday, October 7th. Location for hte graduation ceremonies will be announced shortly. I encourage all interns to submit their volunteer hours before the cut-off date of September 28, 2009. We look forward to welcoming this new group of Certified Master Gardeners.

The Board is looking to fill the following Committee Chairman positions: Publicity, Membership/Telephone, and Fundraising. Any members who would like to assist in these areas, please contact me.

See you all soon.

Happy Gardening,

Mary Gutierrez, Cameron County Master Gardener President

President’s Greeting Sept009

Greeting Fellow Gardeners and Friends,

It’s official at least when I am out working in my garden. Even though summer does not begin until Jun 21st, who would know? Living here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley we all know what to expect come July and August. As I write this I look back to this past year and the Master Gardener’s many accomplishments.

The last Regular Master Gardener Meeting was held in May with the elections held and the offices of Vice President and Treasurer are now in place for serving two year terms. We thank Mary Martha Miller and Bonnie Garcia for taking on this responsibility.

The Master Gardener Group hosted two Major Events at the Arboretum. The Recycle Day and Plant Sale held in November 2008, the Arbor Day Event in April both being successful thanks to the many volunteers.

The Annual Birding Festival held in November 2008 chaired by Dorothy Earley. Volunteers sold plants to the many visitors, repeated customers, and of course the best customers of all the Master Gardeners themselves. The Annual Christmas Party held at the beautiful home of one of our members with plenty to eat and as always a great gift exchange that turns into a lot of fun.

The Composting Education Meetings were held and chair Deb Cox motivated the members on giving presentations on Composting to the various schools, organizations and the Community. We are in a position to offer Composting Education thanks to her and the volunteers who participated in this education process.

In January a 3-day Vegetable Training was arranged by Dr. Perez. This training gave the members an opportunity for continuing education needing re-certification as Master Gardeners. Programs on how to design a hummingbird/butterfly garden by our invited guest Mr. Mark Klym, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife. In May as arranged by Intern Tammy Martinez, the Garden Tour and Program held at the home of Helen Ceyanes on her native and non-native property with Dr. Alfred Richardson, well-known author and UTB professor giving us detailed information on what to expect on touring this 7 acre area. What a treat all these educational programs were!

The Grant was completed in February with all necessary purchases and reports done by Bonnie, Colleen, Deb, and Mary Beth. Accomplished were the Outdoor Pavilion, Shed, Tiller, Shredder, Plants, Trees, Compost Bins, Signage and Miscellaneous Supplies. Without these dedicated members we would not have what we has been accomplished to date. We are truly blessed with such enthusiastic members willing to dedicate their time for the good of the organization; I personally cannot say enough of their dedication and support.

Colleen chaired the design team on designs for the Arboretum on plants, shrubs and additional trees. In February many volunteers gave their time in getting the plantings into the ground at the Arboretum. Compliments have been given to the membership on how relaxing the flowering plants and shrubs have brought to the area. The Signage is in place and the trees are adapting to the area very nicely.

The Tuesday workdays will continue even through the summer. Colleen, Mary Beth and Bonnie will be preparing a list of duties that will be posted in the shed and on the website. We will be asking for commitment from the membership on keeping the Arboretum in top form. We ask for your help and encourage you to sign up.

The Master Gardener Classes will be coming to an end in July. We hope that during these months the interns have had an enjoyable and learning experience. We also hope that they continue to participate in the Master Gardener Association volunteering their time with the programs, events and in attending the meetings.

Thanks to Mary Beth we have a website that all can read and visit and see what is going and what will be going on with the Association. This has been an exceptional way to get to know our purpose and motivation.

In closing on behalf of the Board, we thank Dr. Enrique Perez and the many volunteers for making this year a very productive and enjoyable year. You have made it all possible.

Thank you all, enjoy your summer and we hope to see you all very soon.


Mary I. Gutierrez

Cameron County Master Gardener Association President

Arbor Day

Live Oak Canopy

Live Oak Canopy

Fellow Gardeners and Friends,

What a Great Arbor Day Event it was!

The visitor’s registration listed 184 adults and children that were present for the Arbor Day Event. HOORAY!!!

Many visited the activities presented by the Master Gardener Volunteers in the Arboretum. Activitiesvincluded edible compost, coloring, seed tape, face and hand painting. The tree distribution was a great success also. Everyone wanted a tree!

Visits were also made to the exhibit by the AgriLife Extension Better Living for Texans Program for bringing awareness on healthy eating with vegetables.

Tours were given of the Compost Demonstration Garden , the Valley Forest Area and the Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden .

I would like to “Thank You Volunteers” because YOU made it all possible.

Mary Ann Betancourt, Sheila Bradstreet, Colleen Catlett, Jack Clancy, Anna Z de la Rosa, Felicia Edge, Rosie Fruia, Bonnie Garcia, George Garcia, Taffy Herridge, Nikki and Gina Hodgson, Anna Khayyatt, Carla Martinez, Tomara Martinez, Mary Martha Miller, Carole Montemayor, Juan Olivares, Dionel Ortiz, Kristi Plattner, Melissa Ramos, Manuel Salinas, Mary Beth Simmons, Roger Stoeber, Rosalinda and Tom Sullivan, Gerardo Tapia and Jeremiah Yzaguirre.

I received very positive feedback. Volunteers took their positions where they had volunteered to be and to those who showed up to help you filled the spots where help was needed. Thank you very much.

I would like to especially Thank Mr. Jesus Amaya and the young men from the Rio Grande Marine Institute for their help and cooperation.

Manuel Salinas, Thank you for bringing your students from the Community Garden Project in Brownsville to visit and participate in the Event.

Dr. Enrique Perez, for inviting Judge Cascos, Commissioner Garza, and Paul Johnson to be part of our celebration and for getting the Arboretum in shape for the event.

A special Thank you to Jack Clancy and Jeremiah Yzaguirre for coming one day in advance to set up the sound system. Thank you Gerardo Tapia for your assistance provided in all areas that we needed help.

Thank You to Ms. Esmeralda Avila and Juan Olguin for the “Better Living for Texans” educational exhibit.

A special Thank you to Colleen Catlett for taking care of where to plant the ceremonial tree, the instructions to the volunteers on registration, the addition of the lantana’s to the butterfly and hummingbird garden with the assistance of the 4H council members and the girl scouts.

Thank you to Ms. Martha McClain, Community Director for the City of San Benito and to Mayor Pro Temp Victor Garza’s for their Proclamation to the Cameron County Master Gardeners Association.

Thank You to Marco Ponce and the 4H Council Members and special thanks to Laurel and Heather Cantu for their contribution with the history and poem on Arbor Day.

Thank You to Ms. Ramona Cantu and the San Benito High School Horticulture Club. Special thanks to Cris Torres, Madeleine Vallejo and Leo Gonzalez for the original poem and celebration song performed especially for this occasion.

Thank you to Ms. Diana Garcia and the Girl Scout Troop #135, and Troop #133, for their participation in the program. Thank You Leaders!

Thank You to Board member Mary Beth Simmons for being Master of Ceremonies at the 1st Arbor Day Event 2009 by the CCMG Association.

Thank You to Felicia Edge and Bebe Crooks for the photo’s taken of the Event. They will be used for future promotion and the Associations Scrapbook.

On behalf of the Board, Thank you all the volunteers at the activities, for those conducting the tours, for being there with your smiles and presence made the Event a great success! I apologize to anyone I may have neglected.

Blessings to you all and let’s do an even better one next year!

Mary I. Gutierrez, Cameron County Master Gardener President

March 11, 2009

Greetings Gardeners and Friends,

We have accomplished much in the month of February and March is the beginning of Spring a Gardener’s Delight.

Members and interns that have been present at the Arboretum Tuesday’s Workday – A Big Thank You.

The bedding plants at the entrance to the pavilion are now on timers with a drip irrigation system. Member present received a brief course on the installation of the irrigation drip system.

I would like to acknowledge and thank Gulmar, Inc for donating the supplies and their employee who also donated his time in helping us to get the drip system installed. The plants look great and are blooming beautifully. They are receiving daily watering from the automatic timers placed to the drip system. A big Thank you to Roger for also helping us in this installation.

Mr. Tony Reisinger, a County Extension Agent for Marine donated a Royal Poinciana Tree that was planted in the Arboretum. We thank him for this kind gesture.

The Master Gardener Intern Classes are proceeding on their monthly schedule and in speaking with some of the Interns they are enjoying the classes.

This month’s class will be held as scheduled on the 18th of March. On this day the Interns will be constructing and establishing two raised beds in the Arboretum. This will be a hand’s on training session. With the afternoon to be dedicated to the study of Native Plants and Trees of the Rio Grande Valley with Martin Hagne, Director of the Valley Nature Center Weslaco.

This month there will be no Master Gardener Meeting, but mark your calendars for April 16, 2009 as our next meeting date.

This month we are pleased to present a short program with the invited speaker, Mr. Mark Klym, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife in Austin. Mr. Klym is the State Coordinator of the Texas Hummingbird Roundup and is co-author of the book “Hummingbirds of Texas”. He will speak on “How to Design a Hummingbird Garden in your Backyard”. This will be on Thursday, March 26th at 7:00pm at the Extension Office. We hope you can join us and we ask you invite a friend. This will be a real treat!

Thank you and Happy Gardening,

Mary I Gutierrez

Master Gardener Association President

February 19, 2009

Fellow Members and Interns,

On Tuesday, Feb 17 a work day at the Arboretum was set up for Plantings. On behalf of the Executive Board, I would like to thank Colleen (chair) and the Design Team for their design in making this possible.

I would like to acknowledge the following members and interns who helped and participated in the workday: Mary Anne Betancourt (MG), Dionel Oritz (I), Iris Lanning (MG), Mary Beth Simmons (MG), Sheila Bradstreet (I), Felicia Edge (I), RosieFruia (I), Tomera Martinez (I), Bonnie Garcia (MG), Anna de la Rosa (I), Sylvia Gonzalez (I), Yolanda Begum (I), Carole Montemayor (I), Jack Clancy (I), Juan Olivares (MG), Mary McBroom(I), Marilyn Palmer (MG-visitor) and Mary Gutierrez (MG).

Thank you to Deb Cox (MG) ,Carla Martinez (MG) and Gene Catlett for delivery of the plants.

The front bed approximately 50 feet long facing the pavilion is where the flowering plants were planted by the group. The plants on these beds consisted of red pentas, blue and white plumbagos, yellow and purple lantanas, prostate rosemary, lion’s ear, bird of paradise, pata de chivo, and many other various plants.

Duranta Shrubs were placed along the west side facing Maggie’s house which eventually will create a privacy screen.

The Cedar Elm Tree which was removed previously for the work performed around the Pavilion by the Contractor in January was replanted to a new location.

Seeds donated by Colleen were given to the Interns for them to plant along the circle where the oak tree stands. In due time we should start seeing flowers accompany the oak tree.

I stress daily watering will need to done until the irrigation lines are placed on timers.

Until this is done I hope teams of (2) members and or interns will help in performing this task.

The key to the shed may be obtained with Melissa at the Extension Office. Remember not to forget to water the trees and grass around the pavilion to get the grass to spread. Please notify us via this website or call Melissa at the Extension Office at 361-8236.

I witness an enthusiastic group who worked hard and made the workday very enjoyable. There is still much to be done but this was an extraordinary way to begin.

Thank You Again

Mary I Gutierrez, CCMaster Gardener President

February 2009

Greetings Gardeners and Friends,

On behalf of the Master Gardener Membership, I welcome the new incoming Master Gardener Intern Class of 2009.

In the following months the interns will experience a hands on training and knowledge they will find useful in their everyday gardening projects. We are glad to have you abroad. If you have any questions, suggestions, or concern in gardening, the class, your hours or any other subject, please contact any board member or member through this website.

Much progress has been made in the month of January and I am very excited because I finally saw a Yucca bloom. I know now that WE ARE READY to start establishing the gardens at the Arboretum.

Roger and members of the new Intern Class were present on a Tuesday workday to till and prepare the soil to the front beds facing the Pavilion. Edging was installed and they worked on the compost bins. Thanks Roger and the Interns for helping to get the front bed ready for the garden and the compost area.

A planting day of February 17th at 8:30am has been programmed. We hope you can join us on that day for planting the plants the Design Team have selected for the front beds.

The leveling and drainage problem to the Arboretum has been resolved. A contractor was hired by our Board to set the drainage and elevations. This worked was performed on January 15 and completed on the 16th. He brought in topsoil and compost working his machinery in preparing the area in front and around the Pavilion. The area should drain properly and rid us of standing waterlogged areas.

Grass seed of Rye and Bermuda were planted in the last week of January and with much anticipation should have grass coming in very soon. Watering has been done on a daily basis. Thank you to all the volunteers who have taken on this daily watering chore and the care of this project.

Thanks to Mary Beth’s donation of a beautiful Oak Tree. The tree was planted on January 27th and placed in the center ring in the Arboretum. Her Nursery Manager and workers brought the tree on a trailer prepared the area and properly planted the tree. Thank you Mary Beth and Leonard Simmons for this gracious gesture. It will be enjoyed for years.

This months MG Regular Monthly Meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb 12th at the San Benito Extension Office. The social hour will begin at 6:30 pm snacks and beverages will be provided, if any member that would like to contribute to our waistline in a form of a snack or dessert is greatly appreciated. The meeting will begin promptly at 7:00 pm.

The guest speaker at this meeting will be Lynda Breeze, Master Gardener who will give us her knowledge and insight on saving and collecting seeds and creating a “Seed Bank”.

Awards for 2008 will be presented and recognition will be given to the Intern Master Gardener and Master Gardener of the Year.

Items on the Agenda will be a discussion on the Arboretum, the Compost Demo Garden Treasurers Report and volunteer opportunities. There will be a Plant Swap if you wish to participate with another member but is not mandatory.

We hope you can join us, see you there.

Thank you

Mary I Gutierrez

Message from the President

Mary raking

Mary spreading mulch in The Arboretum

January 2009

Fellow Gardeners and Friends,

We welcome the New Year with much anticipation and enthusiasm.

First and foremost I hope all our members, friends and family enjoyed the Holidays.

This season in the lower Rio Grande Valley we have been experiencing unusually good weather. However, there is still that fear that it will freeze. So we wait for the yuccas to bloom knowing it will no longer freeze so we can start to prepare and work in our gardens or our garden projects.

There are many activities the Master Gardener Board is planning for this coming year and we hope it is a good one.

For this month of January, Dr Perez has organized a Vegetable Gardening Training to be held Jan 21, 22 and 23rd. Classes will begin at 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. We encourage all members to attend. This training will give members the CE hours needed to keep certifications current. To check go to the website for the subjects to be presented and the featured guest speakers. There will be no charge for these sessions. Members wishing to attend this course please contact Melissa at the Extension to reserve at 361-8236.

On January 28th, the Master Gardener Intern Classes will begin and continue until July. These classes will meet once a month. We will have a new group of interns that will be just as nervous about completing their hours as we were. We urge former interns now MG’s to attend at least one of the class days to encourage and give these interns their insight into how they were able to complete their hours.

The Arboretum teams will continue to meet every Tuesday. Their first workday will be January 6th at 8:30am and every Tuesday thereafter. All members are encouraged to help. The Teams will be preparing and getting the Arboretum grounds ready for planting in the front gardens. The Drainage problem has been somewhat resolved and we hope to have a review at our February meeting.

We have still a few items that need to be completed for the Arboretum Grant Project. We have until the end of February to complete the project. The team is diligently working on completing before the deadline.

Jennifer is looking for a volunteer to help at Rodriguez Elementary. They have a teacher who is doing a great job in getting a beautiful garden on their grounds and she is looking for composting tips for the children. I encourage any member to call Jennifer if you wish to help in this project. You can reach her at the Extension Office at 361-8236.

The Regular MG Monthly Meeting will be held on February 12th. Award presentation will be given at this meeting. One of the items on the Agenda will be a Plant Swap. So members get ready to SWAP your Plants!

See you soon.

Mary I. Gutierrez


November 2008

Group Photo

Recycle Day & Plant Sale 2009

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for a successful Recycle Day and Plant Sale Festival. It started out as a very chilly and windy day but our turnout was great! That was shown by the great participation and support from all the volunteers.

I would like to especially thank Commissioner David Garza for presenting the group the Proclamation at this morning’s opening. It may be viewed at Dr. Perez’s office. We also want to thank Deb for making this possible. This was approved at the recent County Commissioner’s Meeting. A special recognition was given to Bebe Crooks for her volunteer time in making the grant possible.

Thank you to Mari Galvan and the County Workers for cleaning and making the Arboretum ready for the event. Even though there was standing water and waterlogged in some areas, they were weed cutting and trimming the area making it look just great!

Thank you to all the volunteers who donated their offspring of plants for the plant sale. Juan, George, Joe, Zurly, Diane, Dorothy, Sharon, Mary Beth, Colleen, Roger, Rosalinda, Mary Martha and Mary. A few were left behind and are parked under the mesquite tree in the Arboretum. They will hopefully find their new home at the Arboretum.

Taking charge of the Children’s activities were Mary Anne, Carla, Mary Martha, and Debbie, everyone was having fun. Thank you, ladies.

Dorothy, Iris, Pauline and Sharon oversaw the Registration booth, sold tickets for the door prizes, and water and gave out the colorful beads!! Thank You.

Thank you also to Mary Beth, Colleen and Mary for handling the plant sale and the “Gardening Questions”. We did experience quite a bit of questions.

Floyd, thank you for helping where help was most needed and for bringing your wife, I bet she wishes she should have purchased the Lavender Chaste Tree (Vitex). Maybe next year, if my White or Pink Variety do bloom, I will make cuttings from those and with much success I will have (3) different colored varieties.

Thank also to Dr. Perez for overseeing the festivities and being there with the tables and chairs so early in the morning and Jennifer for helping where help was needed.

We also like to thank Craig and Rosa Timmer, Master Composters, for hosting some compost demonstrations along with Roger and Floyd. Thank you, Mary Beth for creating the compost information flyer.

Thank you, Deb for getting the information to the media and working very closely with the Sponsors. I especially enjoyed the article from the Brownsville Herald that I read late Saturday evening. Great piece!

Also we want to thank Harlingen Proud for providing handouts given to the children.

If I have missed someone or someone’s duties, please forgive me for it was a very chilly and windy day. Getting to check on the other activities was difficult to break away from the plant section it kept all us pretty busy with the many visitors. Each and every volunteer has made this organization well known with this event and with the Composting Education through the schools and organizations.

I am truly honored for coming to know a great group of individuals. Even though we have different personalities we come together and enjoy each other’s company because we all have one common interest and we have fun doing it at the “Arboretum”.

Thank you all for making this 1st event a Great Success!!!

Mary I. Gutierrez

Cameron County Master Gardeners Association President



Boy with plants

Boy with plants