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ABOVE:  These crotons are one of the many plants highlighted during the Victoria Garden Tour, Oct. 20-21.
LEFT: These ixora are one of the many plants highlighted during the Victoria Garden Tour, Oct. 20-21.
This story appeared in the October/November Issue of The Magazine of the Golden Cresent/AN EDITION OF THE VICTORIA ADVOCATE  SEE LINK...
Story by Jessica Rodrigo/
Fall Gardens in bloom
Victoria Master Gardeners hos tour to showcase native plants, area designs
About every other year, select gardeners in the Victoria area will open their backyards to amateur and novice gardeners alike to share ideas for design and tips for keeping plants healthy in this South Texas climate.

Debbie Krueger has been a part of the Victoria County Master Gardeners Association since 2004 and this is her first time to serve as the chairwoman for the garden tour. As this year's chairwoman, Krueger and a committee of volunteers are in charge of selecting gardens that guests would benefit from seeing, choosing the right dates for the two-day tour and making sure the corresponding plant sale is ready for business.

"The tour is a nice little getaway for the community to enjoy and see other people's homes and backyards," she said.

Krueger had a chance to tell The Magazine of the Golden Crescent what guests can expect on the 2012 Victoria Garden Tour.

Are there any common themes in the gardens included in the tour?

We try to choose three to four highlighted plants that grow well in the area. So each garden will have a few of the plants, but each will have a different selection of the plants.

What sets the gardens apart from other gardens in the area?

The uniqueness of it, how they laid out their plans and designs. It's something that shows an interest to other people. They're all different. A couple of them have a pool, there's one house downtown that has some southern charm to it. It's just the uniqueness and how they've designed it that we think people would have an interest to come look at it.

How many homes are in the Victoria Garden Tours?

Six. We tried to keep them close. With gas prices, we felt like people would get a better response if we kept them close. Three are in the Springwood subdivision and two are in the College Park area and one is near the park on Vine Street. So they are all fairly close.

The plant sale will be at the Hiller House, and that's really close to the house on Vine Street. It will be Saturday only and is going to have about 18 to 24 kinds of plants for sale.

Do guests have to visit every garden on the tour?

You can go to all of them or you can go to one. The price is still $15. If I buy a ticket, I am going to go to all of them.

Can people take notes on the tour?

Sure. In the back of our brochure we're going to have a page for notes. But people can bring a camera and take notes to remember anything. The brochure will have pictures of the highlighted plants to help them remember what they look like.

What will the plant sale have available for guests on the tour?

Our highlighted plant sale is going to be at the Hiller House on Vine Street. It will have the highlighted plants from the tour for sale to the public.

What will the money from the tour go toward?

The money raised will go toward maintaining the Victoria Educational Garden at the airport, buying plants and other materials, as well as pay for educational programs.

What's the No. 1 mistake you see amateur gardeners do?

Probably not planting the plants where they are supposed to be. You really need to look at where the plant grows best. Does it grow best in the shade or in the sun? If you plant something that is a shade-loving plant in the sun, it's not going to handle it like it would if you plant it in the shade. I think that is the biggest thing, finding the best placement for the plant. We try to encourage people to read the little-bitty label on there. Research them. And nowadays, with the Internet, it's just the click of a button away.

Is gardening something that people of all ages can participate in? How can amateurs get started?

Of course. I think it's very therapeutic, it's good exercise and it lets you go outside. Anybody can do it, and in fact we encourage people to go to the airport facility and we have high-raised beds for people with wheelchairs to work on, places where kids can go and work. It's for everybody. I can't wait until my grandbabies, too, can get out there in that dirt.

Hwy 290 Pink Buttons (Rouletii)
Mrs. B.R. Cant Rose
Improved Meyer Lemon
Mexican Bush Sage
Kangaroo Fern
Coral Carpet Sedum
Hawaiian Sunset Vine
Angel Wing Jasmine
Lady Finger Palm
Pink Skullcap
Purple Crinum
Blackfoot Daisy
Dragon's Blood Sedum
Makinoi Ogon Sedum
Coral Reef Sedum
Variegated Vitex
Mexican Mint Marigold
Japanese Aralia (Fatsia)
Mirror-leaf viburnum
Rangoon Creeper
Chocolate Chip Ajuga
Tricolor Stromanthe
'Twist of Lime' Abelia
Cora' Vinca

WHEN: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 20 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 21
WHERE: Six homes throughout Victoria and the highlighted plant sale at the Hiller House is Saturday only.
PRICE: $15
TICKETS: Available at Earthworks, Devereux Gardens on North Navarro Street and the Texas AgriLife Extension Office.
Debbie Krueger is the chairwoman for the 2012 Victoria Garden Tour, hosted by the Victoria County Master Gardeners Association. She is sitting next to a rangoon creeper, a highlighted plant on the tour, the Victoria Educational Garden.

"This is the Life," 218 Ridge View, Springwood subdivision

  "All Things Great and Small," 112 Park View, Springwood subdivision

"A Room Unto Itself," 114 Summit View, Springwood Subdivision

"There's No Place Like Home," 107 E. Buena Vista, College Park Subdivision

"The Secret Garden," 405 N. Roseland Avenue, Hillcrest Addition

"A Southern Tradition," 401 E. Warren St., College Park Subdivision