Celebrate at Victoria Educational Gardens
Several weddings have taken place in the Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens. The pathway over the pond and to the gazebo provides a perfect entrance to the ornate gazebo large enough to accommodate a ceremony and equipped with a fan and sound system. Consider this site for a wedding this coming year. Call Victoria County Extension Service at 361-575-4581 for rental information.
Below: Educational tours for youth bring several thousand students to Victoria Educational Gardens annually. In the near future, the tours will include use of the newly completed air-conditioned pavilion facility equipped with tables and chairs as well as restrooms. Shown here is Master Gardener Vivian Mozisek (in white shirt) with teachers Lulu Gonzales, Kim Silva and students from the Our Lady of Victory summer program. Students include Jackson Boothe, left, Hayden Garcia, Amy Ohrt, Luis Ramos, Kyler Ohrt, and back row, from left, Anna Paula Llompart, Julia Weaver, Rhiana Reyes and Megan Miori.
VEG offers perfect venue for outdoor events

December 24, 2009

by Maria Sobczak, Victoria County Master Gardener

edited by Charla Borchers Leon, Victoria County Master Gardener
This Christmas Eve morning reminds me of the celebration that will take place across the land later today, tonight and tomorrow with the opening of packages by those who are on Santa's list.

And while the act of giving and receiving gifts is on our minds, let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas.

As I think about this time, I am also reminded of other events that are celebrated in our lifetimes. "Celebrate good times. Come on!" So goes the tune in the musical greeting card I recently gave to my grandson.

As soon as he heard the words, he began dancing around with his arms in the air and continued the song for me.

The holidays certainly bring much excitement, but each of us also observes birthdays, whether we want to acknowledge them or not; weddings and anniversaries, our own or those of others; graduations from kindergarten to college and beyond, and so many more. Considering that, I'm only touching the tip of the iceberg in the expansive world of celebrations.

When, where and how?

Celebrations can be simple or elaborate. They might go on at home or elsewhere, as it may depend on the number of attendees and who is being honored.

Whether you are planning a private event, such as a wedding, small or large, a birthday, an anniversary, a graduation gathering, or perhaps taking on the enormous task of hosting a public event, the amount of its success might be all about where it is held. Thus the purpose of this article will be to suggest just the spot.

Location, location, location

How well we all know how important location can be. The Victoria Educational Gardens can offer an amazing environment that will live in the memories of all that partake.

The many events which have already been held there will attest to the draw that it has for those who have seen the gardens and were able to envision their celebration among the beauty of the flowers, the greenery and the wonderful Koi fish pond, which features a beautiful waterfall surrounded by tropical plants and sitting areas.

Types of celebrations

In addition to the various educational tours of the gardens for children and adult groups, there have been significant celebration events held there, as well.

When the expansion of the gardens was finished in June 2007, completing the sixth phase of the original plan for gardens, the Victoria County master gardeners proposed hosting an open house inviting all residents of Victoria and the surrounding communities to share in their joy.

It was quite an occasion. Every branch of the armed services was represented by the American Legion Color Guard, dignitaries of local, county and state legislative branches were present, as well as administrative personnel from Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

In addition, despite the sweltering heat of the day, hundreds of the area's populace came to view the magnificence of the addition and to look over the Military Garden with pavers honoring family members, living and deceased, who served in the military.

Since then, weddings have been held in those gardens, to the delight of family and friends. The gazebo, with its beautiful blue roof, has a fan and outlets for use for a sound system, enabling the minister, bride and groom to be shaded, cooled and heard during the entire ceremony. The pathway to the gazebo provides a lovely entryway and the outer paths and surrounding turfgrass allow just the right view of the bride and her bridal party. Therefore, it is quite the perfect venue for an outdoor celebration.

Anniversaries are wonderful times to spend with family. By using the patio adjacent to the Officers' Club, a potluck dinner or professional catering could accommodate the feeding of the crowd, allowing those celebrating to enjoy the out of doors in many different areas of the garden.

Graduation celebrations bring folks of all ages and types together and the gardens provide the ability for them to have space to mingle without the noise of a confined building to interfere with conversations. Once again, the patio could be the place where everyone has a chance to enjoy music and dancing.

Birthdays, especially those milestones that we must all pass, can be more fun outdoors.

Decorations can be used to provide ambience or not at all, because nature will supply it free to the taker, just as long as the takers leave it there for the next birthday child to enjoy, too.

More than the gardens are available

The gardens surround the Officers' Club at the old Foster Field base at Victoria Regional Airport. The club house has been available for years as a site for meetings, gatherings and celebrations of all kinds.

In the past couple of years, Victoria County has renovated the building, and it is particularly nice now for a special event.

What's more, the gardens that surround it make for an even larger and more lovely setting for a special celebration.

As you may have read last week, the Victoria County master gardeners have been and are still raising money to build the pavilion on the west side adjoining garden areas.

The structure is set to be completed in early spring, making it another way to utilize the gardens for celebrations or meetings with larger attendance than can be accommodated in any of the other facilities there.

So, as you gather with family and friends during these Christmas holidays and New Year's activities, begin planning for those special occasions coming up this year.

If you have any very special moments that would call for special celebrating, be sure to keep in mind the gorgeous surroundings of the Victoria Educational Gardens for just that reason.

Call the Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Victoria County office at 361-575-4581 for further information.
The renovated Officers' Club at Victoria Regional Airport was the location for the recent Master Gardener Appreciation and Awards event. With new arrangements starting in January, the leasing of the Officers Club will also include access to Victoria Educational Gardens that encircle the club building. For rental information, contact Victoria Regional Airport at 361-578-2704.

Garden Club tours/meetings
School tours
Company business meetings
Birthday celebrations
Family and class reunions
Patriotic events
Seasonal parties

For VEG/Pavilion
Victoria County Extension Service, 361-575-4581
For Officers' Club/VEG
Victoria Regional Airport, 361-578-2704

Interested in a year-end donation to support the completion of the pavilion project?

Go to vcmga.org, click on Projects, and then Donation .pdf for a form or call Victoria County Extension Service at 361-575-4581 for donation information.

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