Master gardeners benefit from generosity of local nurseries

December 21, 2006
LAWAINE STUBBLEFIELD - VICTORIA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER EDITED BY CHARLA BORCHERS LEON

EARTHWORKS NURSERY
Excellent source for organic gardening information
Wide variety of edibles from herbs to unusual varieties of fruit trees
Any and all herbs suited to our area
Exotic fruits and a great selection of natives
Large volume of gardening books


FOUR SEASONS GARDEN CENTER
Wide variety of garden gift items
Tools to make garden chores easier
Vast variety of plants, including new hybrids and tropicals
Landscaping design, installation and maintenance service
Indoor plant maintenance and delivery service


RENKEN'S NURSERY, INC.
Large volume of plant material housed on site
Personally selected plants from growers
Unique garden elements like benches, fountains and statues
Landscape materials and supplies
Landscape design, installation, maintenance and delivery service


As the year comes to a close, it's time to reflect on our accomplishments, take inventory of friends who have been with us through the year and give thanks to some who have been so instrumental in our achievements. We as master gardeners are passionate about educating anyone with an inkling of desire about any facet of the gardening world. But we are also passionate about learning all we possibly can about that world we love so much.

Our group of master gardeners has many sources for education. The faculty at Texas A&M University is outstanding in its diversity of professors, and we are blessed to be able to use their wealth of knowledge to further ours.

As our membership of master gardeners grows, so does our own source of education within our membership. We are a very diverse group of gardeners, all with our own select passions of gardening. From vegetable and herb gardening, organics, composting, heirloom gardening, perennials, roses, pond and shade gardening to landscape design to wildlife habitats, we all have favorites and share what we have learned with one another and in our new classes each year.

There is a special group we would like to thank, not only for their contribution to our education process, but also for contributing their time and special talents to further our success as a group. With a combined experience of well over a century of knowledge in the nursery business and many lifetimes of passion for gardening, we thank our local nurserymen for all they do for us year after year.

Mark and Laurie Garretson of Earthworks Nursery, John Fossati of Four Seasons Garden Center and Dina Poland of Renken's Nursery Inc. contribute so much time every year doing education programs for our organization, as well as answering endless questions from individual master gardeners on a daily basis.

In working with these giving people, we have come to deeply appreciate what they do for our community. They are continuously educating through articles in the newspaper, including the new "Ask the Experts" feature in the Home and Garden Section, as well as on radio programs.

They attempt to educate their customers in plant selection, the importance of soil preparation and maintenance, pre- and post-pest solutions and new and improved varieties of plants for our area.

We also want Master Gardener Coordinator and Extension Agent Joe Janak to know how much he is appreciated for his dedication to our program, our educational projects and to us personally. All 109 certified master gardeners and an additional 29 who have just completed the training course thank you, Joe, for all you do.

EARTHWORKS

Earthworks Nursery is an excellent source for organic gardening information with a wide variety of edibles, from herbs to unusual varieties of fruit trees - all of which are tested for our area.

In strolling through the park-like setting you will find any and all herbs suited to our area, and Laurie is a wealth of information for their uses.

Exotic fruits and a great selection of natives are standards at this nursery. Although they have a good size nursery, they only have four employees at present, so you will always find Mark and Laurie there tending to things and always patient with inquiring customers.

FOUR SEASONS

Four Seasons gardening center has a wide variety of anything garden related. Here you can find garden scents to fill your home, accessories to beautify your garden, tools to make those garden chores easier and a huge variety of plants.

With a horticulture degree from Texas A&M University, John is a diverse source of information and educates his employees about their customers' needs. Ellen and Lori have been employed with John a combined 18 years and know the nursery like the backs of their hands.

Four Seasons also provides landscaping design and installation, landscape maintenance as well as indoor plant maintenance and delivery services.

RENKEN'S

Renken's Nursery Inc. is unique in the volume of plant material they are able to house. With a total of 20 employees, they are able to hand-select plants from their growers, provide landscape design, installation, maintenance and delivery services.

Dina's parents, Grace and Dennis, are still very much involved with this business. Dina's husband, Larry, is also a part of their services, often handling special problems at a job site or checking on customers with plant problems. You will find Barbara and Debbie at the nursery every day helping customers with plant selection and gardening solutions.

Last-minute gifts

As our holiday shopping comes to a close and you still have gaps in your gift-giving list, stop in at one of the local nurseries to spend a totally stress-free minute of shopping to find an unusual plant, statuary or water foundation to become a new addition to a spring garden. Or maybe a basket of garden gloves, hand tools, and hand pampering soaps and lotions. A simple wind chime gives song to nature and eases a stressful day for a loved one.

For a beginning gardener, you might pick one of many excellent books for gardening in our area. An organic gardening book with a bag of worm castings, liquid seaweed, and packets of seeds would be a unique gift basket.

Or how about a book of heirloom gardening with a cutting from a favorite plant in your garden? Trees are a popular garden gift this time of year. I've seen some lovely yaupons and hollies full of red berries for holiday décor that can be planted when the holidays are over.

Our local nurseries provide a priceless service, and with every plant they sell, knowledge that they give freely to all of us. It's just plain smart shopping to buy from one of these establishments.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a prosperous New (Gardening) Year!