Insects were the highlight of the first meeting of the year for the Heritage Gardeners Sept. 1 at the Marie Workman Center in Friendswood. Dr. William Johnson, Galveston County Extension Agent, presented the program on Beneficials in Texas Upper Gulf Coast Gardens and Landscapes showcasing nature’s pest control agents.
Johnson, a horticulturist, oversees the Master Gardener Program as well as the Junior Master Gardener program in Galveston County.
His office, as well as his many gardens, are located in Carbide Park at 4102 Main Street (FM 519) in La Marque.
He encouraged the large audience of gardeners to stop, look and listen to their own gardens and they will see the many wonders and benefits of the insect world. The majority of the photos he showed in his presentation were taken by Johnson at the Carbide Park office and gardens.
While he does not consider himself a totally organic gardener, he advised everyone to only use insecticides when necessary and to read the instructions carefully, mixing it correctly as advised and using it in a manner that is responsible.
Being a native of Virginia, Johnson shared the differences in urban areas for insects and those that thrive in open spaces, such as farmland. One example he gave was the adult firefly. Unlike popular thought that spraying for mosquitoes has killed off firefly populations, what is really firefly fact, according to Johnson, is that fireflies do not populate in large groups in urban areas.
From lady beetles and milkweed assassin bugs to paper wasps, hover flies and brown and green anole lizards, Johnson spoke highly of the many benefits of having these insects be part of a garden.
Also at the meeting, he presented certifications to two young Junior Master Gardeners. Each had completed the three-plus year program in Friendswood under the direction of area Master Gardener and Heritage Gardener member Kay Corey.
Emily Smith and Caleb Wales were presented their certification and congratulated by the club members. Smith is the daughter of Carolyn and Mark Smith of Friendswood. Wales is the son of Api and Dan Wales of Pearland.
The Heritage Gardeners are celebrating their 50th year in Friendswood.
Story by Karolyn Gephart