Master Gardener plants for sale

 

September 18, 2003

AMY GILNER

Victoria County Master Gardener

 

This Saturday, Sept. 20, plants propagated from seed, plantings or cuttings by Victoria County Master Gardeners will be available for sale at the Victoria County 4-H Activity Center at Victoria Regional Airport. The sale begins at 8 a.m.

 

One plant for sale will be the Duranta erecta, also known as Skyflower. I saw and purchased my first Duranta a couple of years ago in Luling. We had stopped for some barbecue, and there was a plant stand next door.

 

I always have to "just look" - and the Duranta really caught my eye. Its flowers are blue-purple with a lighter color around the edge of the petals. I thought it was just beautiful and brought one home.

 

It does best in full sun, but mine has done well in a pot in sun/part-shade. It needs to be watered regularly and would not be considered drought-tolerant.

 

The Duranta is a vine-like shrub. It is multi-stemmed with branches that droop and trail.

 

I have also seen Durantas in hanging baskets, and they are gorgeous. They produce bright golden berries that the birds love, but they are poisonous to humans. You would not want to plant them near a children's play area.

 

The Duranta is easy to grow and only needs regular thinning and pruning to keep it in good form. It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and would do well with other flowering shrubs such as firebush, butterfly bush and cape honeysuckle.

 

This plant is a fast grower and can be used as a hedge or windbreak, but it is not invasive. It can be grown from seed or with cuttings from semi-hard wood. It can also be propagated by layering in the spring.

 

It is hardy in Zones 9 through 11. While it will die back to the ground after a frost, it will resprout in the spring. Look for this plant and various others this Saturday at the Master Gardener Fall Plant Sale, which I would love to tell you about.

 

 

Victoria County Master Gardeners will offer for sale their own plants, properly cared for and labeled, at the semi-annual plant sale this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Victoria County 4-H Activity Center. The sale will take place inside the Activity Center, which will ensure it goes on despite inclement weather.

 

The Activity Center is located on the grounds of the Victoria Regional Airport, at 259 Bachelor Drive. Once in the airport area, there will be bright yellow signs you can follow to the sale.

 

Proceeds from this sale will be used to continue work on the Victoria Educational Gardens. Past sale proceeds have helped enable the Master Gardeners to complete Phase I of the garden, which is the Children's Garden and the Vegetable Garden.

 

The Children's Garden is a great place to bring your kids so they can learn about gardening. Everything is brightly colored and designed with them in mind.

 

Phases II through VI are now in the planning stages. The 4-H Activity Center is right next to the VEG, so when you come to the plant sale, you can tour the gardens.

 

All plants offered for sale meet a quality level set by the Master Gardeners. Each plant is also checked to make sure it is properly labeled so that the buyer has the information needed to successfully grow each plant.

 

All of the plants at the sale are also arranged by type, such as perennial, native, cactus/succulent, fruit, vegetable, herb and exotics, making it easier for you to shop.

 

Trays and boxes will be provided to you to take your plants home, as well as assistance to your vehicle if needed.

 

The following are just a few of the plants that will be available: Liriope, plumbago, amaranthus tricolor, hibiscus, Duranta, Senna Tree, Coleus, Wedelia, cigar plant, airplane plant, asparagus fern, tunera, Swedish ivy, Datura, shell ginger, daylilies, Esperanza, pride of Barbados, mountain laurel, Brugmansia, Artemesia, Celeste fig, crown of thorns, pencil plant, bromeliads, tomatoes, thyme, cilantro, snapdragons, Vigna Caracalla snail vine.

 

There will also be seeds for sale that the Master Gardeners have collected from plants in their yards.

 

More information was promised on the soil testing campaign in a previous article in this column. For those of you participating in the Texas Cooperative Extension Landscape Soil Testing Campaign, you may pick up instructions, forms and sample bags at participating area Cooperative Extension offices or in Victoria at the Extension Office or the following locations:

 

Dierlam Hay Feed & Ranch Service, Earthworks, Four Seasons Garden Center, Northside Ranch, Pet & Garden Center, The Other Ranch, Feed & Supply Store, Victoria Farm & Ranch Supply and Renken's Nursery.

 

You can drop off your completed Soil Sample Information Form together with your samples at the Master Gardener plant sale any time between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Results of the soil tests will be distributed at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show on Oct. 21 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Victoria Community Center Annex.

 

The final deadline to submit samples is Friday, Oct. 3. If you are unable to be present on Oct. 21 to pick up your soil results in person, they will be mailed to you by the Victoria County Master Gardener Association.

 

Arrive early on Saturday for best selection of quality plants, drop off your soil samples anytime from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and meet Master Gardeners who will be at the sale to answer any gardening questions you might have.

 

Additionally, a list of deer-resistant plants and reference materials will be on hand, including information about how to become a Texas Master Gardener.

 

Come on out and talk "gardening" to your heart's content with people who love to garden.