Gardening symposium and plant sale 'fall' into place


September 9, 2004


Victoria County Master Gardener


Want expert horticultural info? Do you savor spending a Saturday with friends, food and fellowship while gathering facts about gardening? How about multiple chances to win door prizes? Do you enjoy bidding on and winning unique gifts? Is buying an assortment of plants, trees and shrubs at rock-bottom prices appealing to you?


If you answered "yes" to any or all of the above, the Victoria County Master Gardener Association and Texas Cooperative Extension's Fall Symposium and Plant Sale is just the event for you. Carefully planned by Victoria Master Gardeners, knowledgeable speakers, attractive auction items and properly cared-for plants have "fallen into place" for both the upcoming symposium and sale, which will be at the Officer's Club, 333 Bachelor Drive, on the Victoria Regional Airport property.


Mark Saturday, Sept. 18, on your calendar, or better yet phone 361-575-4581 to request information to register for this year's event. The $30 symposium entrance fee covers the cost of multiple speakers, morning refreshments, a tasty lunch from Toscana Artisan Bakery and Bistro plus multiple chances to win exciting door prizes. Bidding on a wide variety of silent auction items will be ongoing until the symposium's close. Master Gardener attendees will receive four continuing education credit hours for the full day of training.


Expert speakers scheduled for this year's symposium promise to be exciting, entertaining and educational. Wayne Rhoden will address the topic of "Native Plants for Urban and Suburban Areas." Rhoden has served in many leadership capacities for the Fort Bend Master Gardener Association and is vice president of the Texas Master Gardener Association. He is a member of the Native Plant Society and is a certified Texas master naturalist.


A mid-morning break will include door prize drawings and a tour of Victoria Educational Gardens (VEG) located adjacent to the Officer's Club. A project of Victoria County Master Gardener Association, VEG is a showcase garden consisting of a children's garden, vegetable garden, greenhouse, composting area and more.


Next on the agenda is Cathy Slaughter, who will share her expertise on "Herbs." With her husband, she is co-owner of Gabriel Valley Farms, a wholesale nursery specializing in growing herbs, perennials, natives, heirloom vegetables and annuals for the Central Texas area. She is a member of the Austin Herb Society and the Texas Herb Growers and Marketers Association.


Following Slaughter, a "Cooking with Herbs Demonstration" will be conducted by Toscana Artisan Bakery and Bistro chefs. With extensive culinary training, Toscana's chefs have received acclaim from clients who have savored their varied and exquisite restaurant fare. Symposium attendees will have a chance to experience Toscana's cuisine, offered for lunch after the cooking demonstration.


The audience will be enlightened on lawn care by Roger Havlak in the early afternoon when he addresses the topic, "Why Is My Lawn Turning Yellow?" Havlak has served as county extension agent-agriculture, and extension assistant-turfgrass. He recently completed his master's degree in agronomy-turfgrass science and now serves as an extension program specialist-turfgrass and water management for the Central Texas region.


The day's closing topic will be "Roses for Victoria," presented by Victoria's resident rose expert, Dave Goris. The Goris gardens, featured in the 2004 Annual Garden Tour, offered tour-goers an opportunity to see a splendid array of roses and to ask questions of Goris, a true rosarian. He will again share his rose know-how as the last featured symposium speaker.


The always-exciting silent auction will close at the end of the day. Auction items include a variety of plants, garden art and wreaths, and a smorgasbord of desirables including a "Copy Cat" chair, flower appliqué blouse, garden photographs by Victoria Master Gardener associate photographer Henry Hartman, a Country Garden photo frame and many more varied treasures.



Some of the door prizes to be awarded throughout the symposium include gift certificates from Jason's Deli, Town and Country Gifts, Uncle Mutt's Barbecue and Hasting's. Gifts from Ruthi's, McAdams Floral, Cricket & Co. and others will please the winners.


Having earned a top-flight reputation for an unbelievable assortment of greenery sold at very reasonable prices, the Master Gardener Plant Sale has become a popular happening for Victoria area gardeners. Opening an hour before the symposium's first scheduled speaker, the sale, which is open to the public, offers infinite opportunities to purchase flowers and foliage. Symposium attendees can browse and buy throughout the day. Plants, trees, shrubs, tropicals, herbs and flowers - in all sizes and varieties - will be available for sale until 5 p.m.


All proceeds from the symposium and plant sale will benefit the Victoria Educational Gardens, located at the Officer's Club of Victoria Regional Airport and adjacent to the 4-H Activity Center. Victoria Educational Gardens provides educational information in a panorama of colorful plantings and is free to the public. Additionally, people interested in obtaining credits for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide licenses can get three hours at this symposium, including one in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and two in general.


For additional information or to register by the Sept. 15 deadline for the Gardening Symposium, phone the Victoria Texas Cooperative Extension office at 361-575-4581. Symposium brochures and registration forms also may be picked up at area nurseries, the Victoria Chamber of Commerce or the Extension Office, 528 Waco Circle Drive at Victoria Regional Airport.