Bulletin Staff Report

Programs on landscaping, native plants, rain water harvesting, gardening on top of soil are scheduled for the Heart of Texas Wildflower Exhibit and Plant Sale opening this morning for a two-day run at the First Baptist Church Activity Center, located at the corner of Center and Depot.

The sale will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Saturday, with programs set for 1 and 3 p.m. today, and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday.

Specimens of wildflowers from Brown and surroundings counties will be on display and identified by their common and scientific names. Dr. Jack Stanford, retired professor and head of the Howard Payne University biology department, will be on hand both days to assist with wildflower identification.

Master Gardener Joyce Nuckels will speak on “Native Plants Special to Texas History” art 1 p.m. today. Novella Newman will speak on “Lasagna Gardening” at 3 p.m. today.

Steven Chamblee, chief horticulturist at Chandor Gardens of Weatherford, will speak on “Landscaping in Texas” at 11 a.m. Saturday. Billy Kniffen of Menard, water resource specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, will speak on “Harvesting Rain Water” at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Admission is free to the event sponsored by the Brownwood Garden Club. Club members will hold the plant sale.

Chamblee also serves as consulting editor and author for Neil Sperry’s GARDENS magazine, writes a monthly e-newsletter column entitled “Native Son,” and is an adjunct instructor for Tarrant County College and Texas Christian University’s Extended Education.

After developing his love for plants by transplanting trees with his father back in the late 1970s, Chamblee formed a landscape maintenance company. In 1986, he joined the Fort Worth Botanic Garden as a gardener. He earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in horticulture at Tarrant County Junior College, and his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Tarleton State University. He received a fellowship in the Longwood Graduate Program, and earned the Master of Science degree in Public Horticulture Admin-istration from the University of Delaware.

Kniffen has been a county extension agent in agriculture and natural resources for Texas Cooperative Extension 24 years. He earned a B.S. in animal science from Abilene Christian College and an M.S. in agriculture education from Tarleton State University.

He has served on the Texas Master Naturalist State Advisory Committee as a state director of the Native Prairie Association of Texas, on Extension’s Rainwater Task Force and the central region representative for the American Rainwater Catch-ment Systems Association.

He has developed and taught the Master Gardener Rainwater Specialist course, certifying 200 Master Gardeners in the past 14 months. He will teach the first Texas Cooperative Extension workshop on in-home rainwater harvesting in September in Dallas. He has received the TAMU Board of Regents’ Fellow Service Awards, Extension Superior Service award, and various industry and association awards. He lives in a home solely dependent on rainwater for all inside and outside water needs.

As the daughter of a rancher, Nuckels said she had the opportunity to see many wild plants. Her parents encouraged her interest in nature and at the age of 9 she enrolled in the 4-H Landscape Plant Identifica-tion contest.That interest continued through her sophomore year in high school when she expanded her contest entry to a contest dealing with insects.

“I learned to identify, tell which were beneficial and control the harmful,” Nuckels said. “After retiring from 35 years of teaching school, I focused my attention on landscaping with native plants.” She has Master Gardener certification.

Newman plans to tell about how to garden on top of the soil using layers of different material — cardboard, straw, compost, manure and other items.