Folks, in case you haven’t noticed, it has been exceptionally hot and dry. During most summers in Texas, water is the limiting factor in growing and keeping gardens, landscapes, and lawns alive. This time of the year generally divides us into two distinct groups: those that use too much water and those that don’t use enough. The kind of heat and drought that we have experienced recently also shows us which plants are heat and drought-tolerant and which ones are not. It’s a learning opportunity for all.

If you’d like to learn even more about dealing with summer heat and drought in the landscape, why water is so critical for the future of Texas, and how to set up your own rainwater harvesting barrel, consider attending an upcoming educational event in Tyler.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Earth-Kind Environmental Education Committee of Smith County will be presenting “Saving Something for a Rainy Day,” a water conservation program on August 25, 2023, from 9 am until 12:30 pm in the Tyler Rose Center.

Speakers and topics include:

Greg Grant (Smith County Horticulturist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service): Water Conservation and Management in the Home Landscape.

Dean Minchillo (Program Specialist in Water Conservation, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dallas, Texas): Current Availability and Use of Water in Texas.

Richard Parish (Leon County Agent-Ag/Natural Resources, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service): Rainwater Harvesting Barrel Construction.

Rain barrel hardware kits will be available for purchase at the program in a limited quantity. These kits do not include the barrel or stand. Pre-registration for the rain barrel hardware kits is suggested. Contact the Smith County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office for details regarding the kits at 903-590-2980.

Registration for the water conservation program will be open inside the Tyler Rose Center doors from 8:30 to 9 am. The cost of the program is $20 per participant, cash or check only. Rain barrel hardware kits are $25 each, paid separately. To pre-register for rain barrel hardware kit or for more information, please contact the Smith County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office at 903-590-2980.

This program is sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Earth-Kind Education Committee and the City of Tyler Water Utilities Department. The Earth-Kind Education Committee is a group of dedicated volunteers who work passionately to provide the citizens of Smith County with sustainable Extension programs that support the Texas A&M AgriLife mission by delivering research-based, locally relevant, and beneficial programing to promote the protection of Texas’ natural resources.


Greg Grant is the Smith County horticulturist for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. He is the author of Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, Heirloom Gardening in the South, and The Rose Rustlers. You can read his “Greg’s Ramblings” blog at and read his “In Greg’s Garden” in each issue of Texas Gardener magazine ( More science-based lawn and gardening information from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service can be found at and