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New Class Series on Vegetable Gardening to Begin at The Raincatcher’s Garden 2018

We are excited to announce the first in a series of four classes  to be taught at our garden during 2018. Our first class featuring mustard greens, swiss chard, broccoli, collard greens and other spring harvested crops will be taught using our new Edible Garden. Sign up for the lunch following the class.

 Garden Greens Class

What’s in our Spring Picnic Basket?

Everyone welcome, bring a friend!

 Planting, growing, harvesting and enjoying healthy, colorful green vegetables from your garden will  be the class topic.

Tuesday, April 17th, 10:00am at Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills

11001 Midway Road, Dallas, Texas

Led by, Jeff Raska, Dallas County Horticulture Program Assistant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

This class qualifies for one-hour education credit for Master Gardeners.

Join us for a reservation only garden lunch sampler following Jeff’s presentation.


Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Greens

Spicy Mustard Greens Pesto on Baguette Slices

Minestrone Soup with Swiss Chard

Spring Quiche with Leeks and Sorrel

The Ultimate Classic Collard Greens

Chocolate Crème de Menthe Brownies

Your lunch reservation is a $15 check made payable to DCMGA

Mail to: Lisa Centala, 5525 Northmoor Dr. Dallas 75230

Reservations close on Saturday, April 14th

Class and Lunch open to the public.

Rose Rosette Disease Research Update

Gardening on a Shoestring!

Gardening on a Shoestring:

Confessions of a Frugal Gardener

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

Location:The Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills

11001 Midway Road, Dallas in the Fellowship Hall

Speaker: Dallas County Master Gardener, Fran Powell.

Education Credit for Master Gardeners. Bring a friend.

This free event is open to the public.


Fran Powell comes from a family of English gardeners. Her mother instilled in her four daughters a love of the mysteries of life in the garden; from planting seeds and watching their growth to enjoying and harvesting the results.

Fran came to the USA in 1969 and to Texas in 1982. After spending seven years in Waco, she moved to the Dallas area in 1989. Two of Fran’s sisters are true English gardeners. Her younger sister has an award-winning vineyard in the southern part of England, while the eldest has a garden open to the public every year, including a meadow, which she leaves wild, many fruit trees and an enviable vegetable garden. Fran has used many of her eldest sister’s frugal methods and plans to share them with us.

What a treat—plan to come and learn from an experienced gardener and enjoy our gardens after class.

The courtyard of The Raincatcher’s Garden

Lisa Centala

Ann Lamb

Picture by Starla Willis


Plan Now to Attend the May Master Gardener Meeting and Plant Sale

Dallas County Master Gardener Association

May Meeting

 10:00am Plant Sale · 11:30am Meeting · Thursday, May 25th

Location: Midway Hills Christian Church Fellowship Hall, 11001 Midway Rd.

(West side of Midway just north of Royal Lane) Dallas 75229

Please use the south and west parking lots at Midway Hills Christian Church. The north lot is used by Dallas Cooperative Preschool parents.

 Plant and Brick Sale

Find summer-hardy plants to continue the gardening season with selections from our annual plant sale.

Honor a loved one with a brick purchase.

Cash, checks or credit cards accepted.


Program: “Fifty Shades of Green” showcasing 50 common

and rare native plants to use in the home landscape


Speaker: Ricky Linex who is a wildlife biologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). He is also the author of

“Range Plants of North Central Texas, A Land User’s Guide to Their Identification, Value and Management” – a plant identification book for Texas detailing 324 various regional grasses, forbs, and woody plants.  

Book Sale 

The gift shop at Texas Discovery Gardens is the sole retail outlet in Dallas County for sales of this interesting book.  In conjunction with Mr. Linex’s presentation to DCMGA, a representative from the TDG gift shop will be present at our meeting and will sell copies of “Range Plants”.  The retail price of the book is $25.00.  All profits from the gift shop support TDG’s educational programs and mission.

Please join us for the plant sale and the monthly meeting,

which are both open to the public.


Rose Rosette, Now What?

There’s no doubt about it—the rose is the world’s most popular and acclaimed flower. Valentine’s Day is a natural time to think of roses, a symbol of love and beauty.

We are receiving or buying them for loved ones and also thinking about roses grown in our own gardens. Dallas gardeners know to prune their roses around February 14th.

Sadly my pruners will be on the shelf; my roses have fallen prey to the disease for which there is no cure, rose rosette disease (RRD). Instead I will be making  decisions about replanting my roses or planting perennials instead of roses.

Stephen Hudkins, Dallas County Extension Agent, Horticulture, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, encouraged me by reminding me that rose rosette has been around a long time and that other cities under its siege have eventually recovered. He also counseled me to plant a few roses and think of them as one- or two-year plants. Remove them if rose rosette returns.

Rose Buff Beauty to be replaced

Rose Buff Beauty to be replaced

We also have counsel from Maddi Shires who has answered several questions regarding Rose Rosette. Maddi is a graduate student, working on her PhD in Plant Pathology and Microbiology with Dr. Kevin Ong, Associate Professor & Extension Plant Pathologist, Dept of Plant Pathology & Microbiology and Director – Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Her research project is Rose Rosette Disease Resistance in Texas. The Raincatcher’s Garden has planted a research plot of 40 roses as part of her study. Here’s what Maddi shared with me:

Howdy Ann,

1) The gardeners that I have talked to are doing one of two things to replace their roses: Many are taking the chance and replanting more roses again. This could be a good idea for those who love roses, and many are willing to buy roses year after year to replace what was lost. There are many varieties that should be avoided, such as the Knock Out® rose family, Julia Child™, and Home Run® family, just to name some of the more prominent roses I’ve seen used in mass plantings in Dallas. The other thing that people are doing, especially those who do not want to have the cost of purchasing roses each year, is that they are moving away from roses and towards other plants.

2) I would never tell someone to not plant roses, however if they do not want to treat roses as a 1-2 year plant, people may not want to go back with them. In Dallas County and the surrounding counties, the disease incidence is high, and until we have identified a tolerant or resistant variety, it is likely that roses will have shorter lifespans when planted back in areas that have already had virus-infected plants.

3) As of right now, we have not identified any tolerant or resistant varieties, so if you enjoy roses and will be able to remove them if they become infected, I would recommend planting them! There is no reason to not enjoy a plant as long as you can remove it and properly dispose of it if it is infected by the virus. There are rose rosette trials going on all over the United States, and results are varied for many rose varieties. I have three varieties that I did not see infection in in the first 6 months of my trials—those were Basye’s Purple, Caldwell Pink, and Chuckles. Chuckles has been reported to have symptoms from a public garden in Dallas, so it may not be a good alternative. Stormy Weather, Carefree Spirit, and Sydonie are some others that have been suggested as tolerant. If you plant roses that are these varieties or others and they become infected, please let me know because we are doing a variety list of infected roses.

4) I have not heard of anything specific that people are planting to replace roses. I would recommend doing research on plants before planting them to see if they have disease problems. For example, many people replace rose gardens with boxwood but boxwood has problems with blight, which requires treatment and can kill the plant.

As always, if you suspect that your rose may have rose rosette disease, please send a sample into the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. Many times there are other plant problems confused for RRD, and plants are taken out that may not need to be. When removing plants, make sure to bag all plant material, dig up the roots, and properly dispose of the plant material.


Maddi Shires


Rose Replacements:

  • Althea (Rose of Sharon). I want to try the smaller variety, Lil’ Kim
  • Quince. There are so many varieties
  • Loropetalum, Chinese Fringe Flower. The color of the leaves replaces the red in your landscape if you lost Knock Out roses
  • Perennial Hibiscus. Try Hibiscus ‘Moy Grande’ for big color
  • Texas Superstar® plants

Ann Lamb

Rose rosette disease trials are in the early stages and nothing conclusive has been determined. If you read conflicting advice or have further questions, please respond back to us. Dallas Garden Buzz will respond.



Celebrate the new year with friends and family at Fish City Grill on Tuesday, January 10th and help the Raincatcher’s Garden.  The local gathering spot is known for Oyster Nachos, fresh seafood and a fun, casual atmosphere.

Fish City Grill supports local organizations through its First Tuesday Benefit.  Raincatcher’s will receive 15% of the day’s receipts, including take-out!

Fish City Grill is located on the southeast corner of Preston and Royal, near Central Market. Enjoy your Smokin’ Hot Shrimp and Fish Tacos from 11 am to 10 pm.

Address: 10720 Preston Road #1012
Dallas, Texas 75230
Phone: 214-891-9979


Orphaned No More – Our Incredible Edible Landscape Project

Here at Raincatcher’s, we have a wide variety of demonstration gardens spread all around: we have an orchard, raised vegetable beds, ornamental trees, five types of turf, butterfly gardens, compost demonstrations and even a mixed ornamental bed in the courtyard. But there is one, last, orphaned space; it’s known as the old playground, and in some ways, it’s the church’s secondary entrance.  Which means it’s a very visible space that most people walk past and all cars drive by.  Wrapped in cyclone fencing, the playground was deemed ‘unsafe’ by regulatory agencies, and had been sitting unused when we moved to the church from Joe Field, the location of our previous garden.  We initially used the old playground as storage for all the plants, soil, and other large objects we brought over during our move. Then we disassembled the playground equipment and put it aside, in case we might be able to use it for another purpose.

Playground "Before" Transformation

Playground “Before” Transformation

A year has gone by. The gardens have been installed.  The plants, soil, and other large objects have been moved into their new homes, and it became clear that the playground parts were not going to be needed.  We removed them, and what was left inside the cyclone fence was a greenhouse, the air conditioning mechanism for the church, a couple of compost bins, a chicken coop, mature trees, and the frame for the old swing set.  When you step back from that, you realize that the space is reminiscent of what most homeowners have in their own yards:  some nice things, some not so nice things, a fair amount of shade, some sun.

What it’s inspired us to do is play. (The space was a playground, after all!)  We’re going to be experimenting in this, last, garden, but we’ll be experimenting with a purpose.  Over the next year(s?), we’ll be installing an edible landscape in this space, this crowded, pre-owned space with some sun and a fair amount of shade.  We’ll be designing around our obstacles, turning them into features, and we’ll make the shade our ally instead of our adversary.  We’ll be showing off all sorts of different techniques from hugelkultur to vertical gardening to straw bales to edible flower beds.  Some will be raised, some will be inground; everything will be edible.  There will be some new crops, variations on common crops, and some old crops with new parts to eat.  And so in addition to growing these foods, we’ll also show you how to prepare and eat them.

Why are we going to do this? Because this space has so many similarities to the average homeowner’s yard, it’s a perfect teaching and demonstration tool, and teaching is our mission.  Why do it as an all-edible landscape?  Because there are many examples of ornamental landscaping, and plenty of examples of edible gardening, but there are not as many of edible landscaping.  We’re doing this because people are becoming interested in growing at least some of their food, but are often concerned that it won’t look good, or they can’t because they have too much shade.  This old playground gives us the opportunity to show everyone how they can create a beautiful landscape with edibles.

How are we going to do this? We’re going to do this in stages.  First, we’re going to start with the hardscape.  One of the biggest concerns people have about landscaping with edibles is the aesthetics – whether it’s an overgrown tomato plant, or the fallow season (too hot, too cold to grow edibles) for their climate.  To have a beautiful edible landscape, the first thing you need to do is make sure the landscape looks good before any plants are planted.  Plants (crops) are the ornamentation on top of a good looking base structure, your hardscape.  After all, there will be times when you may not have plants in your landscape; you might have had a crop failure, or have just harvested dinner!

In our next post, we’ll talk about hardscape ‘rules’, and show you how we’ll be incorporating them into our landscape.

Come along and follow our adventures – celebrate with our successes, and learn from our failures!

The Incredible Edible Landscape Team

Lila Rose

Picture by Starla

Note: Lila Rose will be speaking at the Whole Foods at Preston Forest soon about Edible Landscaping. Will add date to this post, so check back with us.

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