PBS Newshour Weekend: Taking Care of Trees

In addition to taking care of wounded soldiers, the San Antonio Military Medical Center tends to a healing garden – a garden which actually helps heal the soldiers. This program from Central Texas Gardener includes a story that features the Warrior and Family Support System gardens at Fort Sam Houston.

“The purpose of it is to encourage warriors and their families, help them integrate back into society to a – I overuse the expression – but a whole new normal, because their lives are changed forever,” Judith Markelz, director of the Warrior and Family Support Center said.

Emotional, powerful, encouraging stories about a beautiful garden designed for healing warriors, including burn patients and patients with prosthetics. Typically, the warriors stay at the medical center for a long time.

Volunteers dedicate time to pruning roses, and local nurseries and gardeners add plants and materials to the healing garden.

“Everybody I invite to come here and take a tour, they are just blown away with what has been done for our wounded warriors, so they’re just willing to help out,” one volunteer said.

Host your own Fourth of July cookout with these recipes!

Fourth of July means fireworks, the outdoors, family, friends and FOOD. If you’re planning on hosting guests at a cookout, we’ve gathered some recipes and how-to videos to help you whip up something your family and friends will love this Fourth of July.


What’s a cookout without barbecue?  Our friend Aaron Franklin is here to help you make your grilled goods outstanding. Watch episode one of BBQ with Franklin for a step-by-step brisket cook experiment using three different methods and learn more about brisket in the process.

Not a brisket fan? Franklin can also show you tips on cooking ribs and pulled pork. Follow the links below to watch the videos or go here for all videos from BBQ with Franklin!


No Texas cookout is complete without guacamole. Try this easy Foodphiles recipe, and don’t forget to grab a bag of your favorite tortilla chips so your friends and family can snack while the barbecue’s on the grill.

Another healthy, delicious snack your cookout attendees will love: Sweet potato fries. Fry ‘em up in the oven and whip up a homemade chipotle mayo as a dipping sauce. Try this recipe from Fresh Tastes (and don’t forget to double or triple the recipe, depending on how many people you’re entertaining).


Strawberry lemonade (Image courtesy Fresh Tastes)

Strawberry lemonade (Image courtesy Fresh Tastes)

For your adult friends, check out these garden cocktail recipes from Central Texas Gardener. Get tips from Trisha on whipping up a cool cucumber, tomato tonic or peach bourbon cocktail.

For a tasty non-alcoholic refresher, serve strawberry lemonade with fresh fruit. Go here for a recipe from Fresh Tastes featuring tips on how to tone down the sweetness if you don’t have a sweet tooth.

And, of course, it is Texas…so it’s always good to have a pitcher or two of sweet tea on hand.


What’s a good barbecue meal without coleslaw? Go here for a recipe for Fresh Tastes’ no-mayo coleslaw, a healthier alternative to store-bought slaw, with a touch of honey, olive oil and lemon juice.

Courtesy Fresh Tastes

Watermelon feta salad (Image courtesy Fresh Tastes)

For a refreshing summer salad, try Fresh Tastes’ savory-sweet watermelon feta salad recipe, courtesy of food blogger Alice Currah. Click here for the recipe, and you can find more of Alice’s recipes here.

Courtesy Fresh Tastes

Grilled asparagus raclette (Image courtesy Fresh Tastes)

For another healthy side, toss some asparagus on the grill. Asparagus is a superfood and contains folate, a B vitamin that serves as an excellent mood booster. This grilled asparagus recipe from Fresh Tastes incorporates an American twist on raclette, a cheese served melted in many parts of Switzerland, but feel free to use any cheese you want. You can’t go wrong with grilled veggies and melted cheese.


Courtesy Martha Bakes

Pecan tassies (Image courtesy Martha Bakes)

For easy-to-eat dessert bites, try Martha Stewart’s pecan tassies recipe. Martha takes you step-by-step through making your own dough and filling for these tiny pecan bites.

Does any food scream “Fourth of July” more than apple pie? Check out this simple recipe, or if apple’s not your game, try this raspberry pie recipe from Fresh Tastes.

Peach cobbler may not be “as American as apple pie,” but it’s pretty close. Try this recipe to make individual peach cobbler cups for your guests — and don’t forget to buy a gallon of vanilla ice cream for peach cobbler a la mode!

Courtesy Everyday Baking PBS

Individual peach cobbler (Image courtesy Everyday Baking)

What’s your favorite Fourth of July food? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

Click here for more Fourth of July-themed recipes from PBS Food.

What’s happening this weekend: June 27-28

Another drizzly weekend is in the forecast, but don’t let that get you down – in true Austin fashion, there’s no shortage of fun activities happening across the city this weekend.

Visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden
Jump between raindrops and connect with all your senses at the Umlaut Sculpture Garden, where you can wander through the trails, view and even touch all of Charles Umlauf’s unique and passionate sculptures. Watch this clip from Central Texas Gardener then head on down to the garden’s two acres just above Zilker Park. The best part? You can visit the Umlauf free all summer long.

Admission: Free all summer. Weekend hours: Noon to 4 p.m. http://www.umlaufsculpture.org/

Check out the Ransom Center’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” exhibit
If you don’t feel like braving the rain, the Harry Ransom Center is celebrating 150 years of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” through July 6. Featuring a rare copy of Carroll’s 1865 “suppressed” edition of the book, Carroll’s photograph of the three Lidell sisters who inspired the story, Salvador Dali’s 1969 illustrations and more, the exhibit celebrates the classic book, which has never been out of print since its initial publication in 1865. To prepare for your visit, watch this Antiques Roadshow clip in which one man’s Alice-themed doorstops are worth a surprising fortune.

Admission: Free. Weekend hours: Noon to 5 p.m. http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/2015/alice/

Get down with Ray Benson and other local artists to benefit flood victims
Boogie back to Texas for a good cause with Austin’s own Ray Benson and other local artists such as Jack Ingram and Robert Earl Keen at Flood Aid TX at the Palmer Events Center. Organizers say the show will go on rain or shine, and proceeds will benefit The United Way of Hays County Flood Relief Fund and the Austin Disaster Relief Network. To get in the spirit, watch this feature on Ray and his band, Asleep at the Wheel, who were inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame last week.

Admission: $35 per person, $100 family four-pack, $150 per VIP ticket. Children 12 and under get in free. Hours: Noon to 10 p.m. http://www.floodaidtx.org/

Connecting Our Kids to Food and Nature

Why is it important to get our kids outside? Find out this week on Central Texas Gardener when Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, examines nature-deficit disorder and how it impacts our children.

See why this family made a resolution to dump the grass for organic vegetables when their daughter was born.

Visit CTG’s blog for stories of family garden traditions and to add your own!

CTG Blog gets national recognition

Central Texas Gardener

Congratulations to Central Texas Gardener producer Linda Lehmusvirta! The National Educational Telecommunications Association recognized the Central Texas Gardener blog for excellence in social media. NETA cited the blog for its top-rated work in content production, promotion, community engagement, and instructional media.

If you haven’t seen the Central Texas Gardner blog, be sure to take a look. Linda provides further information about each week’s CTG topic and also gives personal stories of her own gardening experience. The CTG Blog is at klru.org/ctg/blog

In 1989, Linda began producing Central Texas Gardener, which went weekly in 1999. Now broadcast in several PBS markets across the nation, she works as producer, writer, field director and editor. Along with Central Texas Gardener features, she’s a freelance writer, with credits in local, regional, and national publications.

The Jacob and Terese Hershsey Foundation renewing support of Central Texas Gardener

The Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation has just renewed its support of Central Texas Gardener (CTG), KLRU’s educational horticulture series, with a $3,000 grant.  We are delighted that they have chosen to continue partnering in informing our community how to be good stewards of our natural resources.

CTG brings viewers the latest information about gardening the Austin way:  creating gardens that are fun, beautiful, manageable, and kind to our environment and wildlife.  Central Texas Gardener champions the use of xeric and native plants, urging viewers to eliminate or reduce their use of harmful chemicals, and show them how to reduce the demand for our most precious resource:  water.

This gift will help us demonstrate viable alternatives to “chemically-dependent gardening” that help to transform attitudes and behaviors in Austin and beyond.  Thank you!

Funky Chickens visit KLRU

KLRU often has famous guests visit the sixth floor studios; on any given week you’ll find a variety of musicians, writers, even politicians making an appearance at a taping for one of our local programs. With so many famous faces you’d think the KLRU staff would be used to rock stars in the studio but the appearance of some local chickens proved that to be incorrect.

Special thanks to Judith Haller with the Austin Funky Chicken Coop tour for bringing her special guests. To learn about the chicken coop tour watch Central Texas Gardener on Saturday, January 23rd at noon and 4pm.