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Tag Archives: Midway Hills Christian Church

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.


Purple Martins Have Arrived At The Raincatcher’s Garden

Deirdre starts this utube video saying “so these are the gourds where we’d really like to have a Purple Martin Colony.” She then explains the preparation and that we have been waiting two whole years for Purple Martins. No more waiting!

As of the beginning of May 2017, Purple Martins have landed at The Raincatcher’s Garden.

Purple Martin Close Up

Looking for friendly neighbors? Put up a Purple Martin house. It’s comparable to a miniature neighborhood in your backyard and Purple Martins chirp pleasantly and  perform aerial acrobatics to snap up flying insects.  Unfortunately, Mosquitoes only comprise as low as 3% of their diet.

At the end of the breeding season they gather in big flocks and make their way to South America.

Next year, we should see some of the same Purple Martins again!

Purple Martins At Home!

Video and Pictures by Starla Willis

If you are having trouble watching our Purple Martin Utube video, please click here.

Ann Lamb

Have you ever seen a butterfly laying an egg?

Thanks to our own intrepid photographer, Starla, for capturing a rare picture of a butterfly laying an egg.

Black swallowtail butterfly laying an egg on fennel

And here’s the egg-

Look for the creamy yellow egg located on the lower right of the picture

*Eggs are laid singly on the host plants—usually on new foliage and occasionally on flowers. Development time is variable depending on temperature and host plant species, but generally the egg stage lasts four to nine days, the larval stage 10–30 days, and the pupal stage nine to 18 days.


Ann Lamb

Picture by Starla Willis


Study up on our butterfly garden by looking at the right hand side of the front page of Dallas Garden Buzz under Raincatcher’s Resources for a list of hummingbird and butterfly plants or type butterfly in our search box for a host of articles on butterflies.


April Gardening, 2017

Making our raised beds even better!

Dallas County Master Gardeners at The Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills

Upcoming Educational Events-Bring your friends and neighbors:

Saturday, April 8th , Spring Lawn Care by Stephen Hudkins and Jeff Raska at the Extension office, 10am until noon. Call the Master Gardener Help Desk for more information-214.904.3053.

Address: 10056 Marsh Ln Ste 101B, Dallas, TX 75229.

Saturday, April 15th, Updating the Home Landscape for Sun and Shade by Brad Sandy at Raincatcher’s, 10 until noon.

Address: 11001 Midway Road, Dallas, Texas, 75229. 

Ann Lamb

Picture by Starla Willis

Spring Is In The Air-Raised Bed Gardening

Good morning, Dallas Garden Buzz readers! If you are a subscriber and receiving emails of Dallas Garden Buzz posts, you can watch our informative videos by clicking on Dallas Garden Buzz at the top of your email. Pictures and videos are better if you go to our actual site rather than staying with the post in your inbox.

For those of you who have not become subscribers, please sign up to follow Dallas Garden Buzz by entering your email in the right hand column at the top of the page. We hope to have two posts a week during spring of 2017.

Recap of Jeff’s advice:

  • Top 12 inches of a raised bed should be a mixture of loamy soil amended with finished compost. We like homemade compost but it can also be purchased at garden centers by the bag or in bulk from companies who make it. Raised bed prepared mix by bag or bulk can also be purchased with compost already included.
  • Bottom portion of your raised bed could be hardwood mulch or even cut logs
  • 1/4 inch galvanized hardware cloth can be placed under the soil to deter unwanted critters from entering the bed by digging under it

What’s growing at The Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills?

Garlic, potatoes, onions, spinach, leeks, radish, and mesculun were planted earlier.

Tomato varieties, Black Krim, Celebrity, Sun Gold, and Green Zebra have been planted. We were able to plant them in late February  because of our early spring weather.

Raincathcer’s will also be planting a Three Sisters vegetable bed, Ambroisa melon, okra (of course!) and peppers.

Ann Lamb

Thank you Jeff Raska, Dallas County Horticulture Program Assistant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.





Congratulations Again!

2016 Master Gardener Graduating Class

2016 Master Gardener Graduating Class

We salute the Dallas County Master Gardeners Class of 2016, who have already contributed 5002 total hours to Dallas County at a value of $118,000. 20 interns of that class have already each volunteered 100 hours or more! After a year filled with 72 hours of class time and at least 72 hours of volunteer work, 47 members of the Class of 2016 have graduated to become Certified Master Gardeners!

The Master Gardener Program is a volunteer development program offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, which is designed to increase the availability of horticultural information and improve the quality of life through horticultural projects. What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. In exchange for their training, persons who become Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through their local Extension office to provide horticulture-related information to their communities. The Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills is just one of many Master Gardener projects that enrich the community and provide opportunities for volunteers to continue learning and share their knowledge with the public.

We recently celebrated the graduation of these newly minted Master Gardeners with a ceremony and reception, where we served this gluten-free dessert. We received so many requests for the recipe that we thought we would share it with you all. We usually share garden-inspired recipes here, but you could say this is “gardener-inspired.” I make batch after batch of this at the holidays – it looks so pretty packaged in a cellophane bag tied with a ribbon. And it’s always nice to be able to offer something gluten-free for your guests that might have food sensitivities. Make this easy bark any time!


Festive Chocolate Bark


1 cup shelled salted pistachios (about 1/2 pound if you’re starting with nuts in the shell)

12 ounces semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips work fine)

8 ounces white chocolate

3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries


If using raw pistachios, sprinkle with salt and lightly toast the nuts on a baking sheet in a 350⁰ oven for about 10 minutes and allow to cool.

Melt the semisweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, uncovered, on medium power for 2–3 minutes, stopping the microwave to stir once or twice. If using baking squares, chop them up to help the chocolate melt more uniformly. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. Melt the white chocolate separately following the same directions for 1–2 minutes, taking care not to overheat.

In a small bowl combine nuts and cranberries, then stir half of them into the semisweet chocolate. Using a spatula, spread the mixture to about a 1/2-inch thickness on a large cookie sheet. Drop the white chocolate by tablespoonfuls over the dark. With the tip of a butter knife, swirl the chocolates together to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle on the rest of the nuts and berries and lightly press them into the chocolate mixture.

Refrigerate the bark for about an hour or until firm, then break into pieces. Store the bark in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month (I find it keeps for much longer). Makes about 1 3/4 pounds.


Lisa Centala

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