About Central Texas Gardener

Central Texas Gardener showcases exquisite Central Texas gardens and teaches how to have your own beautiful garden. Find out when CTG airs in your area.

“Tom Spencer and I want to help gardeners avoid the mistakes we’ve made,” says Linda Lehmusvirta, the program’s producer. “Central Texas has a unique combination of soil and weather conditions. We want to provide useful information to our viewers, whether they’re new to the area, first-time homeowners who aren’t sure how to get started, or veterans looking for ideas.”

Every week host Tom Spencer visits with experts who cover a lot of ground from plant selection to design. Producer Linda Lehmusvirta consults garden experts from around the state to get you the most up-to-date information on gardening in Central Texas.

Guests include growers, designers, nursery owners and authors. Visits to local gardens share homegrown stories and philosophies. Location footage captures inspiring ideas created by weekend gardeners on a budget, as well as techniques suggested by professional designers and landscape architects.

Tom Spencer

Tom Spencer is the CEO of Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT.) iACT cultivates peace and respect through interfaith dialogue, service and celebration. Prior to being hired by iACT in 2008, Spencer served as a host and producer for KLRU-TV, Austin’s Public Television station, for over 25 years.

Employed by KLRU from 1982 – 2008, Spencer served as a manager and producer of local and statewide public affairs programs, nationally distributed documentaries on art and architecture, and a wide variety of special projects. Throughout his association with KLRU he has also served as the primary host for the station’s local programming.

Spencer has won many awards and honors for his work on television. A singular honor came in 1994 when he was appointed to a select task force by the President of PBS to reshape public affairs programming for the national system. More recently, his documentary, The Painted Churches of Texas: Echoes of the Homeland won the National Educational Television Association’s award for Historical Documentary of the Year (2001.) In 2003, the Austin Chronicle named Austin Now as “Austin’s Best New Television Program” as a part of its annual “Best of Austin Awards” issue, and in 2004 Spencer was chosen as “Best TV Moderator” by the same publication.

Tom Spencer

John Dromgoole

John Dromgoole, owner of The Natural Gardener nursery and organic gardening center, has been heavily involved in the organic industry and environmental issues for more than 30 years.

For 27 years, John has hosted America’s longest continuously running organic radio talk show, Gardening Naturally, on KLBJ AM.

As a member of a Texas Department of Agriculture Task Force, he coauthored standards to certify organic farms.

John Dromgoole

Trisha Shirey

Trisha’s 26-year association with Lake Austin Spa Resort has resulted in organic herb and vegetable gardens, an organic orchard, and a wealth of flowers to enhance the grounds and brighten the delicious low-fat dishes served in the dining room. Plantings are designed to be Texas tough, but beautiful. Despite the foraging deer, flowers are in evidence year round. Many of the gardens are designed to delight butterflies and hummingbirds, which are seen in abundance.

Crafts are another of Trisha’s interests, and she teaches classes such as pressed flower designs, potpourri, painting pots and herbal swags to the guests at LASR. She has participated in the writing, editing and testing of two cookbooks for the resort and teaches cooking classes also.

Aromatherapy classes are one of the most popular at Lake Austin Spa Resort, and Trisha shares her ideas for incorporating essential oils into everyday lives. With 26 years of experience using aromatherapy, she gives tips for using it in the home, in beauty routines and even for pets.

Trisha Shirey

Daphne Richards

Daphne Richards is the county extension agent for horticulture at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office for Travis County.

Before coming to Austin, she spent nine years as the AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture in El Paso.

Richards’ primary responsibilities are administering and developing the countywide Master Gardener program, coordinating and implementing various horticultural education programs and outreach, and increasing overall horticultural awareness.

Daphne Richards

Linda Lehmusvirta

Since 1983, Linda Lehmusvirta has been a producer at KLRU-TV. National PBS programs include Backyard Butterflies and Backyard Bugs. She’s been production manager, producer, writer and editor for several KLRU documentaries and productions.

In 1989, she began producing Central Texas Gardener, which went weekly in 1999. Now broadcast in several PBS markets across Texas, 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.

Linda Lehmusvirta

Ed Fuentes

Ed Fuentes is CTG’s studio director and garden Director of Photography. Behind the camera on location, he invites the viewer to share his personal experience.

Freelancing at KLRU since 1985, Ed is also the Technical Director for Austin City Limits. He co-produced and directed Art on Six Strings for KLRU’s In Context series, and premieres Art for the Dead: Dia de los Muertos for Arts In Context in fall 2011.

Along with his many projects for KLRU, he was the Director of Photography for the PBS programs The Painted Churches of Texas, Missions of the Southwest, Courthouses of Texas, Backyard Butterflies, Backyard Bugs, and Wildflowers|Seeds of History.

His freelance credits include working on live, recorded and post production events including documentaries, sports, music and entertainment programming for clients including PBS, NBC, TLC, HBO, History Channel, TNN, CMT, E’ Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Gospel Music Channel, Bud Sports, DirectTV, Discovery Health Channel, Travel Channel, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of New Mexico and SEDL (Southwest Educational Development Laboratory)

Ed Fuentes