Photo Credit: Pat Plowman/Victoria County Master Gardener
The planned site for the pavilion is on the land to the west side of the Victoria Educational Gardens on Bachelor Drive near the control tower at Victoria Regional Airport.
Multipurpose pavilion planned for
Victoria Educational Gardens

September 25, 2008

By Pat Plowman - Victoria County Master Gardener

Edited by Charla Borchers Leon, Victoria County Master Gardener
Do you remember in the movie “A Field of Dreams” – if you build it, they will come?

I know that was baseball and a cornfield, but it reminds me of what happened with the Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens.

We started with an empty field of weeds that surrounded the old Foster Field Officers’ Club and turned it into a wonderful garden both educational and enjoyable.

The Victoria Educational Gardens are an asset to Victoria and have been made possible through your generosity and support. And now we aim to complete VEG with the construction of a multipurpose pavilion planned for 2009.


A major purpose of the garden project was to create an environment to attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects so that we could then educate the community on the connection between these creatures and their importance in nature.

Since opening the first phase in May 2003, we are continually attracting more and more visitors each year.


The children’s garden provides visitors a look at the sensory, native, birding and butterfly areas – and especially for the smaller folks – an array of plants representing the alphabet and rainbow circle.

Our vegetable garden is designed to show which vegetables should be grown each season, along with various types of raised beds, including those for the physically challenged. The storage area, greenhouse and compost area complete the first phase.

A new feature in this garden is an analemmatic sundial, which uses the sun and your body to cast a shadow to tell the time of the day.

Our visitors who signed the first guest book had these comments: “Wonderful; Gave us lots of ideas; Thanks for helping with my biology project; Very informative; and a great place for my kids – very beautiful.”


The next four phases, completed in June 2007, doubled the size of our project. The expansion features a large water garden, multiple mini-gardens and the rainwater harvesting system. This consists of two 3,000 gallon tanks to collect rainwater from the roof of the Officers Club, which in turn is used to water the patio containers and the daylily garden.
The turf grass demonstration displays 11 different varieties of Bermuda, zoysia, St. Augustine and buffalo grasses. The EarthKind Rose demonstration is part of a statewide project to test certain roses for their resilience with minimal care.
A labyrinth, teahouse gazebo and other garden structures complete this addition.


Since the expansion, comments from visitors in the current VEG guest book range from “Incredible garden. The best ever. Such a beautiful place to retreat; Absolutely gorgeous; Awesome; Calm and relaxing; and Best kept secret in Victoria.”

These comments have come from visitors from as far away as Canada, California, Arizona, New Jersey, as well as many cities in Texas.

The State Master Gardener Association has also recognized VEG with several awards for the best educational project and program in Texas.


This spring, more than 1,000 school children toured the gardens. As part of the tours, children learn about different aspects of the garden depending on what they are being taught at school.

Sometimes we emphasize butterflies and their lifecycles, insects – good and bad, what plants need to grow, the structure of a plant and various other topics.

Along with the tour, an activity is also included – planting seeds, building bugs from egg cartons to show their body parts, using paper rolls to show the emerging butterfly from the chrysalis, or making crazy hats out of newspaper showing what plants need to grow.

Our activities are coordinated with projects from the Junior Master Gardener program.
Photo Credit: Pat Plowman/Victoria County Master Gardener
Ground site preparations began with the removal of an unusable cement slab to make way for a new slab and structure to be built to code.
Photo Credit: VCMG Pat Plowman
The 6,000 sq. ft. pavilion equipped with large roll up doors, ceiling fans, tables and chairs as well as restrooms will be available for rental to the public for picnics, BBQs and other functions with the proceeds being used for VEG maintenance.

The larger point of this article – we have outgrown our patio and big birdhouse classroom that hosts these activities.

Our sixth and final phase of VEG, a large wheelchair-accessible metal pavilion with restrooms, storage area and a workroom for Master Gardeners – will be erected between the existing vegetable garden and the 4-H Activity Center on Bachelor Drive at the Victoria Regional Airport.

The pavilion will be a versatile facility utilized for Master Gardener plant sales, hands-on gardening workshops and the activities for school children.

Additionally, Texas AgriLife Extension Service–Victoria County and the 4-H program will use the pavilion for various educational projects and events, including educating youth while complementing the existing and adjoining 4-H Activity Center, which was also built primarily through individual and business donations.

To continue our water conservation program, we will install a rainwater harvesting system to collect the rainwater from the roof and use it for the plants in the greenhouse and vegetable garden.

The pavilion, which will be equipped with large, roll-up doors, ceiling fans and tables and chairs, will be available to the public for rental for picnics, barbecues and other functions. The proceeds will be used for maintaining VEG.


Over the last couple of years, the Master Gardeners have been hard at work with plant sales, symposiums and garden tours to raise funds for this final phase. It has been several years since our last campaign for securing funding for VEG – and we intend to make this effort our last at reaching out to Victoria and the surrounding communities. It is for Victoria – still free of charge – so we hope you might consider a donation. The pavilion is estimated to cost $250,000.

All donors will be recognized on a permanent setting within the pavilion.

Help us complete our “Field of Dreams.” When we build it – you can come and enjoy our garden even more.
    Donor levels

Live Oak, $5,000
     Southern Magnolia,
     Silver Maple,
Butterfly, $250

Help complete our dream !!

     Make donations payable to: VCMGA Pavilion, P.O. Box 1723, Victoria, TX 77902
The Gardeners’ Dirt is edited by Charla Borchers Leon and 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, TX 77901; or, or comment on this column at