Gardening symposium gets spring started

February 23, 2006
DEBBIE KRUEGER - Victoria County Master Gardener
Spring is just around the corner - and on Saturday, March 4, the Victoria County Master Gardener Association will sponsor a Spring Gardening Symposium to help you get ready for the season.
Due to the unfortunate events caused by the threat of Hurricane Rita, we were forced to cancel the fall symposium. This year we are hoping to make up for it by having a fantastic, "down-to-earth" event that lots of people can attend and enjoy. The symposium will be from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., and the cost will be $30, which includes refreshments, lunch, printed materials, goody bags and door prizes. Registration begins at 8:30. All proceeds will benefit the Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens. The symposium will be at the Victoria County 4-H Activity Center at Victoria Regional Airport.

VCMGA has scheduled some terrific people to come and speak throughout the course of the day. Ernie Edmundson, master gardener and master naturalist from Rockport, will tell us how to properly landscape in this hot, humid area. Ernie has a true love affair with the hardy flora that thrive in our harsh environment. She will highlight these incredible beauties and illustrate how to utilize them in landscapes that are not only attractive, but also provide habitat for birds and butterflies.

Bridey Greeson, American Hermerocallis Society judge and instructor from Victoria will give us her expert advice on how to correctly plant and care for daylilies. Her topic is "Daylilies: not your average yellow flower." She will advise us on the proper care and maintenance of lilies. She has been growing daylilies since 1992 and currently grows more than 300 cultivars in Victoria.

John Fossati, degreed in floriculture from Texas A&M University and owner of Four Seasons Garden Center, will speak on how to keep a colorful yard in our landscaping. He will focus on hardy perennials that can take drought conditions that provide the "biggest bang for the buck" in color. Plant selection, location for design effects, and timing of planting will all be discussed. The mainstay of his business is landscaping, and he truly enjoys teaching other people about plants and their beauty.

David Goris, a retired plant manager from Victoria and an avid gardener for more than 44 years will garner everyone's attention with his gardening skills. His home was on the annual garden tour in 2004 and he is well known in rosarian circles and for his wonderful homegrown roses. He also currently has about 75 plumerias, also known as frangipani or the lei flower, encompassing 50 varieties and is equally as versed in them as he is in roses and his whole garden.

He will talk about what varieties grow best and how he maintains them in his garden, including a cross-pollinated variety in a reddish-pink bloom with a white border. He affectionately calls it "Grandma Joyce" for his wife, Joyce Goris.

All speakers will be available for any questions you may have. Also, master gardeners will receive four hours of Continuing education and anyone who has a TDA pesticide license can receive three hours of CEUs with one hour in general and two hours in IPM.

The Victoria County Master Gardeners also will have several items in our silent auction, plenty of door prizes and a special potted lunch. All proceeds will benefit Victoria Educational Gardens.

We are also planning our spring plant sale for Saturday, April 22, at the Victoria County 4-H Activity Center. Please make note that this sale will be seven weeks after the gardening symposium this year. This is always a real treat to attend. Plants are now being propagated and grown by of our own master gardeners. Proceeds from the plant sale will also benefit the educational gardens.

We hope you will be able to come and enjoy these activities with us, so sign up soon because seating is limited. The deadline to register is March 1, and forms are available at various businesses such as Devereux Gardens of Victoria, Earthworks, Foliage Shoppe, Four Seasons Garden Center, McAdams Florist and Renken's Nursery. Registration forms can also be found at http://community.victoriaadvocate.com/groups/VictoriaCountyMasterGardenerAssociation by clicking on 2006 VCMGA Spring Gardening Symposium. You can also call the Victoria County Extension office at 361-575-4581 for information.

Make time to see what the master gardeners have accomplished at the educational gardens, which are available for educational programs and tours. Plans are currently under way to expand the size of the gardens.

Master Gardener classes are given annually and are planned for Aug. 3-Nov. 30. You may also wish to note that the annual garden tour will be a fall tour this year, scheduled for Oct. 21-22, and will spotlight gardens in the area with interesting and colorful fall landscapes. The Victoria County Extension office can help you with any other information concerning these items.