Master Gardeners expect to complete pavilion at Victoria Educational Gardens in 2010

December 17, 2009


by Pat Plowman,
Victoria County Master Gardener


edited by Charla Borchers Leon,
Victoria County Master Gardener
PHOTO BY JOE JANAK/VICTORIA COUNTY EXTENSION AGENT
Construction began this fall on the Master Gardener pavilion project located to the west and adjacent to Victoria Educational Gardens. It will contain several breakout rooms, handicapped accessible restrooms, and a rainwater harvesting system, providing more usable space in the gardens than any other area.
PHOTO BY CHARLA BORCHERS LEON/VICTORIA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER
The 6,000-square-foot air-conditioned building is expected to be complete in March. It will be used for extension and 4-H educational purposes and will be available to the public for event rental.
If you follow the activities and projects of Victoria County Master Gardeners, you have probably read or heard us say that "all proceeds benefit Victoria Educational Gardens." Have you wondered what this is? Or where the gardens are located?

Enter Victoria County Regional Airport on Big Bend Drive, and follow the road back to the airport tower on Bachelor Drive. You will be directly across from the Master Gardener award-winning gardens that surround the old Officer's Club at Foster Field.

V.E.G. Master Plan

The master plan for the gardens, affectionately called VEG by our members, consists of six phases.

It is a hands-on environmental and educational site for children and adults to learn and appreciate the importance of all kinds of plants to daily life, ecosystems and preservation of natural habitats.

The first phase, completed in 2003, includes the children's garden, the birdhouse classroom, vegetable garden and our own greenhouse.

The second through fifth phases include 17 mini gardens, including the military honor garden, a large water garden with koi fish, turf grass demonstration area, EarthKind rose trial, several significant garden structures and a rainwater harvesting system. This area was completed and opened in 2007.

The final and sixth phase is a pavilion structure planned to be used for educational purposes and events of all kinds.

V.E.G. Pavilion Features

Victoria County Master Gardeners are excited to announce that the VEG Pavilion is well into construction and will be completed by early 2010.

When plans for it were drawn in 2001, it was a large open air pavilion with picnic tables that would be built on the old slab of the Foster Field dining hall.

Since then the plans have changed several times to a metal building enclosed with multiple roll-up doors and then changed with the old slab to be removed, and finally the facility would be a 6,000-square-foot metal building with air conditioning built on a new slab.

It contains several breakout rooms and handicapped accessible restrooms.

A rainwater harvesting system will be installed using gutters and downspouts on the building. The water collected from the roof will be directed to a 10,000-gallon tank from which collected water will be pumped and used to supply water to the garden's greenhouse and vegetable garden.

Also, the water from the tank will be made available to the fire department if additional water should be needed in times of unforeseen water unavailability.

The area around the pavilion will be completely fenced and landscaped.

Pavilion Uses


The pavilion will be used as the Master Gardener educational facility for planned activities like those in the garden tours for school children.

Gardening symposiums, spring and fall plant sales and other projects will be conducted in this building.

New Master Gardener classes, monthly board and general meetings will also be held there.

Its uses go further. Texas AgriLife Extension-Victoria County and the 4-H program will also use the facility for various educational programs, meetings and projects.

Available For Public Use


The building with the gardens will be available for public rental beginning in March. This will provide an area that can accommodate a larger attendance than any other facility at the garden. Air-conditioned space for several hundred standing occupants or a couple of dozen seated tables will be available - and are we ever so proud to offer a location inside away from Mother Nature's elements yet enhanced by her beauty all around it.

Proceeds from rentals will be used as a revenue source to maintain the building and the gardens.

Half Million dollar Project

With the completion of the pavilion, the garden is a more than $500,000 project dedicated to the enhancement of horticulture education in our community.

Master Gardeners is extremely grateful to Victoria County, all individuals, businesses and foundations who have given so generously to make the Victoria Educational Gardens project possible.

Placing A Memory In the Garden

One of the significantly more memorable and proud experiences through time in working on the garden project was the dedication of the military garden in the expansion project.

In the new section, Master Gardeners chose to honor our military by including a Military Honor Garden in which pavers at their cost to the group were sold to the community to include name, rank, military branch and service area etched on clay colored bricks. More than 400 pavers were placed near the patio of the Foster Field Officer's Club at Victoria Regional Airport.

If single pavers were ordered, they were placed on the south side of the military garden, according to the branch of service.

On the north side of the garden, the pavers were placed into military family groups or with others who served together.

Etched oatmeal-colored pavers were also available to anyone in the community who wanted to honor their friends and families. These were placed in the pathway to the large gazebo on the east side of the gardens.

Paver Project Opens Again

Over the last year, there have been many requests from visitors to the garden who would like to purchase a paver. So Master Gardeners will start another paver project that will run from today through March 31.

Honor Military, Family and Friends


Pavers sold at cost, to honor our military men and women, will be placed in the Military Honor Garden.

Non-military pavers, to honor family and friends or as a memorial, will be placed in the Path of Family and Friends or in other preferred areas of the garden.

All pavers will be ordered the first week of April and be placed in the garden when received. Purchasers will be notified by postcard when pavers are ready to be viewed.

Honoring someone with a paver for a special occasion such as Christmas, a birthday or anniversary is a lasting and unique gift.

A paver in the garden can be a permanent memorial for your loved one. Let us help you with that special gift as we complete the garden for the betterment of the community.
VEG AND PAVILION RENTAL
Call Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Victoria County at 361-575-4581 for rental information.

PAVER PROJECT

Military Pavers
4x8 inches, $25
Placement of pavers for several family generations in the military may be placed together in an area of the Military Honor Garden.

Family and Friends Pavers

4x8 inches, $50
8x8 inches, $100
12x12 inches, $150
Pavers preferred in a certain location in or near a particular mini-garden will be accommodated, if at all possible.

Order Form Availability
Victoria Public Library
Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Victoria County

vcmga.org 2010 Paver Project

For more information,
call Linda at 361-576-2408 or
Brynn at 361-275-5903.
PHOTO BY HENRY HARTMAN/CREATIVE IMAGES
The Victoria Educational Gardens expansion project consisting of 17 mini gardens and including the Military Honor Garden at the base of the Officer's Club patio was dedicated in June 2007 with more than 350 visitors in attendance.
PHOTO BY HENRY HARTMAN/CREATIVE IMAGES
More than 400 pavers were purchased at a price equal to cost and placed in the Military Honor Garden in the expansion project. Due to popular demand, the paver project re-opens today and will run through March 31.
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or vcmga@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.