'WHAT'S HOT FOR YOUR GARDEN'?
Find out at the Gardening Symposium on Saturday

July 12, 2007
BY LIZ ANDRES - VICTORIA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER
EDITED BY CHARLA BORCHERS LEON

Do you want to do some gardening whether we have rain, heat or shine?

You don't have to outsmart the weather forecasters this Saturday. Even the extended forecast in the faithful ol' Farmers' Almanac calls for partly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-90s.

But should that be wrong, the date and time are right for a reprieve from the recent rain and muggy heat.

COME GARDEN IN THE COOL

Saturday, the Victoria County Master Gardeners are having their annual Gardening Symposium at the 4-H Activity Center located at 259 Bachelor Drive in the Victoria Regional Airport complex. If you are tired of being cooped up at home, come learn "What's Hot for Your Garden" in a dry, air-conditioned facility along with refreshments and lunch. Activities begin at 8:30 a.m. with coffee - and come to a close at 2:30 p.m.

HOW TO REGISTER

Registration forms are distributed around town at garden centers, nurseries, various businesses and the Extension Office at 442 Foster Field Drive at the airport - or you may find one on the Web at www.vcmga.org/2007Symposium.html. Download and print the form, then call the County Extension office at 361-575-4581 to reserve your spot.

The cost of the symposium is $30, now payable at the door, which includes the meal at noon and refreshments throughout the day. Deadline for registration is today although you may wish to call and see if you can register at the door.

Your Choice

This year's event is the fifth in a series, but the first to be held in the summer - in response to feedback from those of you who teach or have seasonal jobs that would allow you to attend an educational opportunity on a Saturday in the summer.

For those of you who will be gone on vacation, we apologize in advance and recommend that you consider the upcoming fall master gardener training classes starting in August or look towards the next symposium sometime in 2008.

Like the season, the topics were decided by you, your friends and neighbors. Ponds and water gardening is a popular topic for folk in Victoria, and we are very excited to offer a leading expert in the field of aquascapes for this portion of th program.
Aquascape expert

Steve Parker from Alpine Aquascapes in Katy will lead off the morning events with "Designing and Building a Water Garden." Steve and his company, along with two other businesses, provided professional expertise to local master gardeners and helped build the 15,000-gallon water garden in the expansion project of Victoria Educational Gardens (VEG). This new area was opened to the pubic on June 10.

Steve and his company also recently participated as one of the certified aquascape contractors in designing and constructing a water garden at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center in Florida. You will not only hear from a leading expert in the field, but will have time after lunch to tour the gardens and see first hand what was installed in the former swimming pool of Foster Field Officer's Club.

There will be master gardeners available to answer your questions or point you in the right direction for your answers.

Look for the ladies and gentlemen with the green and white nametags and/or wearing VEG T-shirts or visors.


Other hot topics

Other topics requested by you include "Container Gardening for your Patio and Yard" and "Gardening for Butterflies and Hummers" by Helen Boatman and Linda Valdez respectively, both Victoria County Master Gardeners and Mid-Coast Chapter Texas Master Naturalists.
PHOTOS: HENRY HARTMAN/CREATIVE IMAGES
Steve Parker and his business, Alpine Aquascapes of Katy, helped the master gardeners design and construct the new water garden at Victoria Educational Gardens. Parker will lead off the program with "Designing and Building a Water Garden."
"Attracting and Managing Wildlife in Your Garden" will be presented by Victoria County Extension Agent Joe Janak.

Another featured speaker is Laurie Garretson, herb grower and owner of Earthworks Nursery who will discuss "Herbs for Your Patio." Laurie is also the author of "Gardening with Laurie" in the Victoria Advocate alongside this column.

These speakers come from varied backgrounds and training experiences that will make our day together informative and fun.

For those interested in CEU credits, the symposium offers four hours for master gardener re-certification and two hours of TDA pesticide credit, one in general and one in integrated pest management.
Learn how containers of various sizes, shapes and materials provide for plants of interesting design on your patio or in your yard at this Saturday's Master Gardener Summer Symposium.
As always, there will be a chance get answers to your questions. There will be a silent auction, goody bags and door prizes. And, Maria Sobczak, president of the Victoria County Master Gardeners, will give you an overview of the upcoming master gardener training beginning in August at the 4-H Activity Center.

The objective of Victoria County Master Gardener Association is to increase the knowledge of gardening to its members and the general public. VCMGA continues to provide and share gardening knowledge through projects like symposiums and biannual plant sales, educational tours and the expansion project at VEG, the Annual Garden Tour with highlighted plant guide material, a water conservation project and participation at community events like the South Texas Farm & Ranch Show.

The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas Cooperative Extension-Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, Texas 77901; or
vcmga@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.