IT’S PLANT SALE TIME
Plants, seed balls back at Master Gardeners’ annual event

March 19, 2009

By Alyse Quintanilla, Victoria County Master Gardener

Edited by Charla Borchers Leon, Victoria County Master Gardener


Looking for an opportunity to select sun-loving plants for the upcoming spring and summer months?

How about selecting from 2,000 plants marked at reasonable prices?

Or getting clay seed balls filled with annual or perennial seeds that can be put in your garden and released with rain or applied water?  Victoria County Master Gardeners are providing you with both opportunities this weekend.

Come to the Spring Plant Sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Victoria County 4-H Activity Center.  Come early for best selections.

HOW TO FIND US

The plant sale will be at the Victoria County 4-H Activity Center, 259 Bachelor Drive, at the Victoria Regional Airport near the control tower.  It is off U. S. Highway 59 N. from Victoria.  Signs will be posted on the side of the highway to guide you to the sale.

2000 PLANTS

Master Gardeners have been working hard since the plant sale last fall to restock the greenhouses.  Many of the plants were propagated from specimens growing in Victoria Educational Gardens, and Master Gardeners have also donated plants they grew at home.  The result was a greenhouse full of healthy plants.

Although a few plants must be kept until the fall sale, most have grown enough to be available this weekend.

Stroll through Victoria Educational Gardens to find ideas for that special place in the garden.  There are many delightful settings for the for the different sections of the garden.

FEATURE PLANTS – TROPICALS


We are featuring coleus and datura at this plant sale.  Both tropical plants will be available in several varieties and colors.

• Coleus – There are more than 1,100 varieties of coleus.  A member of the mint family, this sun and shade lover is easy to grow in the Victoria area and will add color and texture to your garden or patio.

To add dimension to your flower bed, group several coleus together.  Use the brightest-colored specimens as zingers in your garden.

Most plants grow from six inches to 18 inches in height, making them ideal for the center row of a three-row garden.

Once you see the coleus assortment, you will appreciate the variations in the shape and color of the foliage.

To maintain the rich colors and health of your coleus, nip all flower buds as soon as they appear. 

Some varieties require more sun to bring out the vivid colors of the leaves.  You can experiment with their locations before planting them in the ground.

These disease-resistant plants can be potted and kept in your home near a sunny location.

Coleus are considered an annual in this area, although they can last more than one season.  Cuttings can be taken before the first freeze and then propagated indoors.  They root easily.

Plant coleus in the spring after all danger of frost is gone.  When necessary apply a 2-1-1 ratio slow-release fertilizer.

• Datura – Datura inoxia originated in Central and South America. 

Today, this sun-loving plant grows in a large region of the United States, Canada, Africa, India, Europe, Asia and several islands.  It is considered an annual, but will survive a winter in the Victoria area if protected from frost or a freeze is expected.

Datura is easily grown in a container and can be moved inside when weather conditions worsen.

The size of a plant can range from 1 ½  to 7 feet tall.  The 4-inch flowers bloom for a day or two.

When a flower falls off, a small disc remains at the base.  This disc is the developing fruit that will grow sharp spines, hence the nickname, thorn apple.  The fruit contains 350-500 seeds.  These seeds spread if the fruit is allowed to ripen on the plant.

Allow datura plant to bloom, remove most of discs after flowers fade.

To keep a datura plant healthy, allow it to bloom and remove most of the discs after the flowers fade.  Fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer, but avoid organic fertilizers.

All parts of the datura plant are poisonous.  The results is that datura has been used through the centuries as a medicinal and hallucinogenic drug by many cultures.  This plant is not suitable for households with small children.

SEED BALLS ARE BACK


Seed balls are made by mixing clay and seeds together and shaping them into marble-size balls.  Drop the seed balls where you wish in your garden and wait for rain or add water to release the seeds.

This year, Master Gardeners have prepared annual and perennial seed balls.

In the annual category, we have a zinnia mix that produces red and white blooms.

The perennial category includes coreopsis, hollyhock, and yarrow.  A specialty spring/summer mix has purple coneflowers and asters.

Our specialty summer mix contains portulaca, Drummon phlox, and evening primrose.

VENDOR, INFORMATION TABLES

Vendors will be selling various items for your gardening and landscaping needs.  And as usual, we will have an information table where Master Gardeners will answer any questions you may have about gardening.  Friendly volunteers will help you carry your plants to your vehicle.

LUNCH AND LEARN WITH THE MASTERS
*Presented by Victoria County Master Gardener Association
*Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria
*Monday
*Noon-1 p.m.
"Budding and Grafting Ornamentals," by James Rother
*Free
*Bring your lunch and drink