'Nature's Beauty Beyond the Gate:'
Annual garden tour begins May 16
All Photos by Henry Hartman/Creative Images
The open doors of the Patillo garden gate draw you into the natural beauty beyond them where there is an expansive and beautifully designed garden, pool and cooking area.
May 07, 2009

By Sara Meyer, Victoria County Master Gardener

Edited by Charla Borchers Leon, Victoria County Master Gardener
It's back - and think of it as 'Yardcation 2009.'

Instead of traveling hundreds of miles on a vacation to check out new ideas for outdoor living and plants that might be adaptable to this region, travel through Victoria to view six yards on this year's garden tour, coordinated by Victoria County Master Gardener Association and Texas AgriLife Extension.

VCMGA members working with me and my co-chairs, Pat Plowman and Sandy Knief, are excited after the last very successful tour in 2006 to resume this year's educational and equally enticing garden tour on the weekend of May 16 and 17.

Gardens filled with wonderful relaxation and entertaining areas, plants adapted to this region, tropical plants, and water features whether swimming pools, koi ponds or waterfalls will be on the tour.

This garden tour titled, "Nature's Beauty Beyond the Gate" is presented by the Victoria Advocate and co-sponsored by KAVU Channel 25.

Look For Citrus, Palms and More

Each garden, maintained by its owners, provides tour goers with ideas for relaxation and enjoyment in their own gardens. In addition visitors will gain information on plants adaptable to this area and climate whether citrus, palms, perennial or annual plants.

In several gardens, the owners planted vegetables and herbs for their own use. The gardens are of various sizes, reflecting the owners' interest in cultivating an environment of beauty and color, with tried-and-true plants, as well as new plants from the experimental labs, including one to be released this spring as a Texas Superstar.

Garden Structures For Relaxation, Entertaining

At each location, the garden is an extension of the home with unique arbors and patios, outdoor kitchen areas, calming water features or enjoyable swimming pools surrounded by majestic palms, citrus trees, fragrant tropicals and colorful perennial and annual plants. The gardens on this year's tour include those of Dr. Kurtis and Debbie Krueger, 104 Creekridge Drive; Kenneth and Suzann Herricks, 206 Ridge View; Jim and Marguerite DeBolt, 207 E. Nottingham St.; Frank and Delores Smith, 5702 Chippendale Lane; Dennis and Louise Patillo, 802 W. Power St.; and Ted and Lisa Bowen, 502 N. Craig St.

The expansive Krueger garden covers more than an acre and has separate, stand-alone relaxation and entertaining areas. There are several seating areas, a pool and other water features, with a mix of flora and fauna, and an array of very colorful perennials and annuals abundantly planted throughout the garden. The highlighted plant sale will take place on the front circular drive on Saturday.

A Master Gardener masterpiece, the Herricks' garden draws visitors into it with significant color, skilled simplicity, and calmness in greenery and specially-shaped plantings. A covered family area, significant swing and raised bed with an interesting arbor are examples of comforting ambiance to the personally-designed and maintained garden.

The Bowen garden in downtown Victoria boasts bold foliage and plantings of various palms and other tropicals. Must-sees are a large, blooming white bird of paradise, a huge jatropha plant and separate quaint vegetable and herb gardens used for consumption. The pool-side cabana invites visitors into the garden, as does the cozy seating area that invites you on the porch and exterior perimeter of the home.

A wildscape of unusual plants awaits you at the Smith garden. New and different plants depicting worldly destinations, encourage the imagination of what's blooming when. There are examples of healthy, oversized, dominant plants, and newly-planted foliage, along with a cozy, raised-bed vegetable garden.

The Patillo garden is filled with both structures and pockets of plantings for various effects around a pool with a classic Mediterranean ambiance. There are seating and cooking areas, curved beds with two sets of steps that allow access to the front porch and a quaint path that leads to a small, covered porch over the back door of this historic home. You can all but live in this comfortable outdoor garden of spacious design.

The DeBolt residence showcases an unexpected backyard, informal garden with 10 varieties each of palms and roses; a citrus grove with five varieties; an arbor and more. The elevated deck and personalized work bench structures are all built by the homeowner with highly-personalized detail. The seating areas truly welcome you to a relaxed atmosphere around a lovely pool setting.

Tour Features Highlighted Plants

Victoria County Master Gardeners researched the plants in each garden and designated more than 40 plants to be featured as highlighted plants and more than 50 plants of interest for visitors. These plants grow well in the Coastal Bend region, with several of the plants receiving the designation of Texas Superstar by Texas A&M University.

On Saturday, these highlighted plants will be available for purchase at the Krueger home from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Chaired by Jerome Janak, proceeds from the sale will benefit the construction of the educational pavilion near the Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens located on Bachelor Drive, adjacent to the airport. Visitors will receive an educational brochure with information on each of the highlighted plants on the tour, its care and photograph.

Look for more details in next week's article on noted garden structures, along with various plants that are adapted for this area and climate that will be featured at these garden tour sites including artichokes, xeriscape plants and citrus such as kumquats, Meyer lemons and Satsumas.
The homeowner-built raised deck seating area provides relaxed comfort and ambiance in the DeBolt's backyard informal garden.
A relaxed seating area in the expansive Krueger garden welcomes you to enjoy the ambiance and color around you.

May 16 - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
May 17 -11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The event will be held rain or shine.

Devereux Gardens, 1313 N. Navarro St.
Earthworks Nursery, 102 E. Airline Road
Four Seasons Garden Center, 1209 E. Salem Road
Texas AgriLife Extension Office, 442 Foster Field Drive.
Admission is $15 per person for all six gardens; $5 per single garden per person.

Presented by Victoria Advocate
Co-Sponsored by KAVU Channel 25
Devereux Gardens
Four Seasons Garden Center
Gulf Coast Floral
National Bugmobiles, Inc.
Renken's Nursery
Shannon Bradley Pools of Victoria

Monday, May 11
Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria
Noon-1 p.m.


Bring your lunch and drink

Glen and Kathy Chilek will speak on Rainwater Harvesting

Presented by Victoria County Master Gardener Association
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.
Need more info about
VCMGA 2009 Annual Garden Tour?

See Garden Locations, Information about Highlighted Plant Sale, ETC.
Call Texas AgriLife Extension/Victoria County@361-575-4581