Make plans to attend both events in March, take advantage of replacement plants

February 18, 2010

by Debbie Krueger,
Victoria County Master Gardener

edited by Charla Borchers Leon,
Victoria County Master Gardener
"Spring Fever" speaker Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms describes this red variegated shrimp plant as 'spectacular, tough, and almost never stops blooming.' Participants will be able to purchase any number of plants that are discussed in her presentation.
Suzanne McLain, owner of Blue House Flower Farm of Yoakum, displays and sells some of her prize flowers at a recent Victoria Farmer's Market. She will demonstrate how to create arrangements from your own garden at the "Spring Fever" symposium.
This year, Victoria County Master Gardeners will present the spring symposium, "Spring Fever." The symposium will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 6.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. Included will be a light brunch, silent auction and goody bags for the first 100 participants, with three presentations.

Plants will also be available for sale from TreeSearch Farms of Houston. All proceeds will benefit the Victoria Educational Gardens.

The symposium will be at the new educational gardens pavilion, 283 Bachelor Drive, next to the Victoria County 4-H Activity Center at Victoria Regional Airport.

We have a great program planned. Who knows? You might just catch the fever.


Owner of the Blue House Flower Farm in Yoakum, Suzanne McLain, will be the first speaker. McLain started her business in 2003 and sells wholesale flowers to high-end markets and grocery stores in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Victoria and many other small towns in the area.

She has about two acres filled with Texas' favorite flowers from which she can bring beauty to any site. She specializes in designing arrangements from her unusual and unique flowers stemming from the great outdoors.

She specializes in any event, but weddings are her true passion. Her floral designs resemble Martha Stewart's techniques. Her program will be "Designing Fresh Cut Spring Flowers."

Heidi Sheesley, owner of Treesearch Farm in Houston is the next speaker. She is a premier provider of perennials, natives and unique and unusual plants for the Gulf Coast Region.

Sheesley is a highly sought-after speaker in the Houston area because of her vast experience, and her talks reflect a genuine enthusiasm and love of nature. She also co-authors a gardening column in the real estate section of the Houston Chronicle.

She has dedicated her business life to growing unusual plants that do well in the Gulf Coast region. Her specialty is native plants, along with hummingbird and butterfly plants.

Sheesley is the professional landscaper's source for anything unique and unusual. Her program, "Selecting Plants with 'WOW' Factor for your Garden," will be interesting, informational and entertaining pertaining to her plants. She will also bring plants from Treesearch Farm for sale during the brunch hour. Some of the plants include the sophora (Yellow Necklace Shrub), abutilon, (Candy Corn), bauhinia, (Climbing Pink Orchid), blue butterfly pea vine, cat whiskers, (purple), firespike, (red), hamelia, (Compact), hibiscus, (Yellow Tree), Mexican flame vine, pomegranate, russelia, (Red Rocket) and salvia (Otahal).

Most of these plants are loved by hummingbirds and butterflies, and all do very well in the Gulf Coast area. If the freeze has damaged some of your plants, this will be an ideal plan for replacement
Symposium speakers Martha and Friench Tarkington, owners of Tarkington's Vineyard in Victoria, stand by the new grape variety they tested for our area in working with Texas AgriLife Extension Service and University of Arkansas. It is officially called "Victoria Red" and is an extremely large table grape that should be available to the public in a couple of years.
Longtime Victoria residents Martha and Friench Tarkington who, although retired, own and manage a thriving vineyard on their property south of town, will be our last speakers. They grow about 500 grape vines, which they prune, irrigate and protect from animals.

Friench will guide you through selecting varieties, planting and caring for your vineyard.

Martha's program, "Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor," will be on making award-winning wine, jelly, and canning and preserving grapes.

Although they do not sell their wines, they enjoy showing their award-winning wines at various Vine Grower's Associations and wine shows in Victoria and San Antonio areas.


To register for "Spring Fever," send your name, address and phone number on a 3-inch by 5-inch card, with a $30 check made out to VCMGA, Post Office Box 1723, Victoria TX 77902 ($35 after March 1). For questions, call the extension office at 361-575-4581.

There is an added bonus to attending this event, aside from the quality and depth of information that will be received. Texas Department of Agriculture private license holders can get one hour of general pesticide credit and Master Gardeners can receive three hours of Master Gardener credit. All proceeds benefit the Victoria Master Gardener Program.

Come out and enjoy the day of fun and education. After all you have learned, you should be home early that day to plant your newly-purchased plants, sit back in a lounge chair with a great glass of wine and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

We are also planning our Spring Plant sale on Saturday, March 20, at the new pavilion. Proceeds from this plant sale will also benefit the Victoria Educational Gardens.

Make plans to attend both of these events in March and take advantage of replacement plants for your now freeze-browned garden.
Saturday, March 6
8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Registration opens at 8 a.m.)
Victoria Educational Gardens Pavilion
283 Bachelor Drive, Victoria Regional Airport
Send $30 registration to: VCMGA, P.O. Box 1723, Victoria, TX 77902
($35 after March 1)


Saturday, March 20
VEG Pavilion


Noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center
2805 N. Navarro St., Victoria
Free to the public
Bring your lunch and drink
"Planting a Spring Garden" - Presented by Victoria County Master Gardener Gerald Bludau
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.