Seminars

2024 Seminars:

10:00 am – 11:00 am

“Getting Your Lawn and Landscape Ready for the Summer Heat the Earth-Kind Way”

David Rodriguez, County Extension Agent, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

David Rodriguez is deeply rooted in the Texas gardening and landscape plant world. He started working at the
prime age of 10 with local nurseries which included Grimm’s Garden Centers and Landscape, Wolfe Nurseries
and Calloway’s. David then went off to Texas A&M University and earned bachelor and master’s degrees in
horticultural sciences. Before and during these formal educational years, he often worked seven days a week to
save up money for his educational and living expenses.
David joined the ranks of the Extension Service an educational agency of the Texas A&M University System in
2006 as the area Extension Horticulturist. During his service with the Extension Service, David has helped
expand youth horticulture programming, enhanced outreach to the green industry which includes trialing and
releasing new plant introductions in support of the Texas SuperStar™ Plant Program as well as increasing the
awareness of the Bexar County Master Gardener program and their significant contributions to the community.
David also oversees the Bexar County Youth Gardens program, which serves more than 80 schools, the
majority of which are in low-income areas of Bexar County. Among the most popular of his youth gardening
programs are two award winning and national recognized Children’s Vegetable Gardens at the San Antonio
Botanical Garden and at Phil Hardberger Park. As part of these programs, children are provided a plot and learn
to grow their own vegetables, herbs, and seasonal annuals under the mentorship of a Master Gardener. For many
urban youths, these programs provide their first experience working in a vegetable garden and learning how
plant-based foods are grown and how their nutritional value impacts overall health. It also teaches them
responsibility, teamwork, and leadership in addition to many aspects of earth science.
David can be heard every Saturday morning on the WOAI 1200 AM Lawn and Garden Radio Show answering
horticulture and gardening questions. He regularly provides his expertise through television interviews, print
articles and numerous presentations on gardening and landscape topics at venues countywide and beyond.
David has received numerous awards and recognition including most recently The Texas A&M AgriLife
Extension Service Superior Service “Greenies Urban Farm” Team award for growing and harvesting 25,000
pounds of fresh vegetables during the COVID-19 pandemic to supplement the food needs of needy citizens in
Bexar County and The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Vice Chancellor’s Superior Team Award in the category
of Earth-Kind® Environmental Landscape Stewardship for his many community activities and educational
outreach efforts as well as the National Outstanding Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Coordinator Program
award.


11:30am – 12:30pm

“Cultivating Flying Flowers: Simple Steps for Improving or Starting Your Butterfly Garden”

Vicki Blachman, Travis County Master Gardener

Vicki Blachman had been a Travis County Master Gardener for over 18 years earning
advanced certification in Rainwater Harvesting, Plant Propagation, Vegetable Gardening,
Landscape Irrigation Efficiency, Junior Master Gardening, Composting, and Entomology.
She served one 3 year term as VP of community education programs, and an additional 4
years as Speakers Bureau Coordinator and speaker trainer. Finally finding the perfect fit
for her varied interests, Vicki became a member of Capital Area Master Naturalists in
2020.
She is both a trained Habitat Steward and a Monarch Steward through the National
Wildlife Federation and has completed Landscape Design certification through the Native
Plant Society of Texas. She’s repeated Jane Tillman’s class on landscaping for birds
three times (so far.)
She’s honored to assist Carol Leonardi Clark as a Hill Country representative on the
Board of “Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas”, a program of the Native Plant Society of
Texas. Reviewing applications for NPSOT’s annual BBMT grants may be her favorite
role with BBMT as it gives Vicki inspiration for new landscape designs and native plants
to use in the pollinator gardens she enjoys creating with various community groups. Her
own garden has been a Monarch Waystation and NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat for over
17 years.
Drawing on her experience as a professional chef, Vicki was a Contributing Editor for
Texas Gardener magazine writing for 7 years on growing and using culinary herbs. After
preparing food props for a Hallmark movie, she was drawn into film industry art
department and casting gigs for the next two decades.
Vicki is happiest when spreading the word about our more than 800 species of native
bees in Texas. To that end, she’s currently co-chair of the Pollinate Austin (PollinATX)
working group that worked to get Austin certified through the Xerces Society as a Bee
City USA in 2022. She’s now working on getting the city of Pflugerville certified as a
Bee City USA.
Her outlook on life is “Share your popcorn – it’s a short movie.”


1:00pm – 2:00pm

Organic Roundtable
Speak to the experts in the organic world…everything organic is on the table!

Moderated by Bob Webster, KTSA “South Texas Gardening“ Show Host, co-owner, Shades of Green Nursery

Panelists:

Bruce Deuley, host of Organic Matters podcast emphasizing organic living and gardening, climate change, air and water concerns, and the advance of renewable energy, author of The Organic Guide to Gardening.


Stuart Franke, President of Medina Agriculture Products Co. Inc. which produces farming, gardening and environmental products distributed internationally.

- June 1972: Medina Agriculture Products Company, Inc.
Part time Laboratory Assistant during summers. Part time building
production equipment for Medina Agriculture Products.
- June 1976: Medina Agriculture Products Company, Inc.
Full time Plant Manager.
- February 1986: Medina Agriculture Products Company, Inc.
President and Chief Executive Officer - Medina is a manufacturing
Company which produces biological products for farming, gardening
and environmental control.
- Created new operating divisions within company to include
Bioremediation, Commercial Waste Treatment, Mail Order and Export.
- Actively involved in all aspects of financial management, marketing and
product development.
- November 2000: AirGround of Texas LLC.
Managing Partner - Developed and marketed equipment to grind
and dry materials with high-speed air.
- 2010 to 2022 designed and built equipment used to mechanically harvest,
dry, and process oleander plants for pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
The processed biomass was used by both Nerium and Phoenix
Biotechnology.
- 2013 to 2022 worked on team that built a pelleting operation to manufacture
organic fertilizer from broiler chicken litter. We have been continually
improving the process and adding innovative equipment.

1. Medina Valley Soil & Water Conservation District Business/Professional
Individual of the Year 1987.
2. Involved in the EPA Study on oil spill cleanup of the Exxon Valdez.
3. Elected Businessman of the Year in 1990 by the Hondo Area Chamber of
Commerce.
4. Developed bioremediation equipment and procedures to improve the speed
of degradation of contaminated soils.
5. Founding member and director of the Texas Bioremediation Council.
6. Consultant to remediation specialists that develop new state of the art
designs for continually changing bioremediation systems.
7. Worked closely with the TNRCC and Texas Railroad Commission to create
standards for Bioremediation.
8. Author of many published articles in environmental magazines about
bioremediation of contaminated soils.
9. 1994 South Texas Entrepreneur of the Year. Went on to compete for the
National title.
10. Designed and manufactured specialized equipment for bioremediation of soil
including a Bio Chisel and Bio Tiller to inject remediation nutrients,
hydrocarbon degrading bacteria and microbial activators into contaminated
soils to reduce hydrocarbon contamination.
11. Designed and manufactured specialized equipment to reclaim soil from coal
strip-mining sites. Successfully treated 500 acres of soil four feet deep by
using deep injected lime slurry.
12. Expanded markets of biological products into foreign countries including
Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, China, Central America, Africa, Guatemala and
the Middle East Countries.
13. Developed products for drain line and grease trap treatment.
14. Formulated specialty products for golf course and industrial turf markets.
15. Formulated Biological Seed Treatment to improve germination and root
development.

Sam Sitterle, President, Green Grow Organics the first in South Central Texas to bring you healthy, green, lush landscapes, through the application of the perfect blend of fully organic compost tea.


2:30pm – 3:30pm

“Bluebonnets, The Gateway to Native Plants”
The older I get, the more I love native plants.  Native plants require less work and have fewer pest problems than our adapted landscape varieties.  In addition, most can survive the droughts and freezes that Texas weather throws their way.  Jay’s fast paced talk uses our favorite native plant, the bluebonnet, to explain the scientific reason natives will thrive for every level of gardener in virtually every garden setting.

Jay White – Owner and Publisher, Texas Gardener Magazine