Victoria County Master Gardeners' president looks forward to new year

January 07, 2010
by Roy Cook
Victoria County Master Gardener

edited by Charla Borchers Leon
Victoria County Master Gardener

Editors note:
Newly-elected President Roy Cook trained in the Master Gardener program in 2004 after having been in the nursery and landscape maintenance profession for many years in Victoria. He has helped provide tours to school children in Victoria Educational Gardens annually since then. He has chaired various plant sales, written frequently for this column and has been chairman or vice chairman of the Master Gardener green house committee for the last three years. Cook volunteered more than 800 recorded hours in the community last year.
Roy Cook is very knowledgeable about work in the greenhouse and helped train the 2009 fall class about propagating plants for upcoming plant sales.
Writing on behalf of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association - and as its new president, I would like to say that we hope our readers and their families and loved ones had a very safe and enjoyable holiday season.

VCMGA is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit educational association of Texas AgriLife Extension

Service. Its objective is to increase the knowledge of gardening to its members and the general public, and to support and assist Extension by providing the community with information on good gardening practices through news articles, clinics, presentations at garden clubs, schools and other community groups and by telephone contacts.

When I became a VCMGA member, I felt it was a great honor and privilege to be in an organization with such friendly, talented and knowledgeable people as this organization has on its roster.
To become president of an organization that has won 33 state awards since 1998 and accomplished all that it has, is something I've never dreamed of or imagined.

I humbly accept the position and will do everything I can to keep the association running as smoothly as it has in the past. To help me do this, the members have elected a great slate of officers for 2010.

Before we take a look at 2010, let's look at some of the accomplishments in 2009.

Looking Back on 2009

The Master Gardeners take exceptional pride in their spring and fall plant sales, because all plants are grown or selected by Master Gardeners for the best quality available.

Both plant sales in 2009 were a great success, and they get bigger and better every year.

Once again, Helen Boatman and her committee did a fabulous job with the Lunch and Learn with the Masters program. As noted in last week's article, it is open and free to the public at the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center, beginning the second Monday of January from noon to 1 p.m.

Keep an eye on this section of the Advocate for upcoming programs and dates to be offered in 2010.

The Victoria County Master Gardeners have written articles on gardening or related topics for this column since 2003, and continue to do so every Thursday in this same section.

More than 85 writers have taken part since it began with Charla Borchers Leon as the editor. The column is now into its seventh year of publication. The Master Gardeners who write these articles do a lot of research, and add their own knowledge and experience to bring this educational information to the public.

The annual garden tour and plant sale held in May and the Earth-Kind rose symposium in October, both very informative and educational, were successful and enjoyed by all that attended.

The South Texas Farm and Ranch Show is an event that the Victoria County Master Gardeners have been asked to participate in since 2002 and are glad to do so. A lot of other projects were taken on and completed this past year. Some are still ongoing.

Hats off to all the Master Gardeners who gave presentations and talks at various schools, garden clubs and other events. All tolled, in 2009 our volunteers have donated 15,499 hours reaching 4,518 people at educational events. Well done.

Looking Forward: 2010

Completion of Pavilion Project - One of the biggest events that will take place this year is the final phase of the Victoria Educational Gardens expansion project. Construction on the pavilion was started back in the fall, and is expected to be completed early this year.

Two very good articles with pictures written by gardens expansion chairperson Pat Plowman, and published on
Sept. 25, 2008, and Dec. 17, 2009, respectively can be accessed by logging on to and clicking on Current  Projects or Gardeners' Dirt.

In fact, all past MG articles can be read
there.  By reviewing the two articles you can find out all about the pavilion and its intended uses.

Guided VEG Tours - Guided Victoria Educational Gardens tours are available this year and can be arranged by calling the extension office, 361-575-4581, where you will be given information on how to reserve a date. The gardens are open free of charge to the public from dawn to dusk 24/7.

Plant Sales and Garden Tour - The 2010 spring plant sale is scheduled for March 20, and will be bigger and better than ever. The Annual Garden Tour has been changed to the Victoria Garden Tour, because it now will be held every 18 months instead of annually.

That way, it will rotate from fall to spring with plenty of time for preparation and planning.

The Garden Tour for this year is scheduled for Oct. 16-17. Mark your calendar. You don't want to miss it.

Lunch and Learn with the Masters - Lunch and Learn with the Masters will resume Jan. 11, at the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center, 2808 N. Navarro St.

A very good schedule is being offered this year and is free to the public. A lot of other events and projects are on the agenda for this year. Keep reading the Advocate every Thursday, this section, for notification of events.

Fall Training Class - If you have a love for gardening and would like to share or gain knowledge of gardening with others, and are willing to do volunteer hours, you might want to think about joining the Victoria County Master Gardener Association.

A new training class will start in August. Call the Victoria County AgriLife Extension Office for more information at 361-575-4581. Don't wait, classes are limited in size and they fill up fast.

Many thanks to the people who make this organization what it is. To my fellow Master Gardeners, I am very proud and honored to be your president. I will do my best to serve you and the public in 2010.

SECRETARY: Barbara Buethe
TREASURER: Alton Meyer
2009-10 STATE DIRECTOR: Maria Sobczak
2010-11 STATE DIRECTOR: James Denman
2009-10 ALTERNATE STATE DIRECTOR:  Kay Dillingham
2010-11 ALTERNATE STATE DIRECTOR:  Barbara Hennig

Lunch and Learn with the Masters - Jan. 11, "Proper Planting of Trees, Shrubs and Ornamentals," presented by Victoria County Extension Agent Joe Janak.

Spring Plant Sale - March 20

Victoria Garden Tour - Oct. 16-17
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, or comment on this column at