Profits from plant sales help maintain gardens

March 18, 2010

by Mary McCurdy,
Victoria County Master Gardener

edited by Charla Borchers Leon,
Victoria County Master Gardener
Plant sale patrons come early for the best selection of several thousand plants. Last fall's sale topped all records in attendance and proceeds.
Red firespike, above, and Mexican flame vine, right, are featured plants available at the sale from Treesearch Farms in Houston. Both provide color to the landscape when in bloom and do well in our area. The firespike is a tropical-looking perennial that prefers shade and attracts hummingbirds. The Mexican flame vine is a showy vine that thrives in sun and attracts butterflies.
This Saturday is the day of the Victoria County Master Gardener 2010 Spring Plant Sale. This will be the first plant sale in the brand new Victoria Educational Gardens pavilion, adjacent to the educational gardens.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

This momentous change in location started some of the Master Gardeners thinking back to early plant sales. Helen Boatman, Charla Borchers Leon, and Pat Plowman were part of the Class of 1998, which refers to the year they took the Master Gardener training course.

They recalled that the first plant sale took place in 2001 at Victoria Mall. All of the plants were member grown.

The group held classes each Thursday before the event to paint pots, which were sold along with garden art items.

They also made and sold hyperlufa troughs.

Ed Gregurek, Class of 1997, remembered mixing cement with perlite and peat moss to make the troughs lighter than solid cement troughs.

Helen said she still has hers outside and it has held up very well.

Pat thought about a vase of tropicana roses that she brought to the sale purely for decoration, but when a customer wanted them, of course they were sold.

Charla said the members were in hopes of succeeding with the sale and were thrilled with profits of about $2,800 that was used to help start VEG.

Later plant sales made use of the 4-H Activity Center after its opening in 2002 and the VEG greenhouse after its completion.

Pat recalled a plant sale which was to be held in the 4-H classroom and in a tent, which was set up outside. A blue norther blew in and down went the tent. It was quite a mess, but the crowd was still great that day.

Our crowds continue to be fantastic with people waiting in line to get into the sale at 8 a.m.

Master Gardeners are so thankful for the supporters in Victoria County and the surrounding area.

Last summer, as the chairmen planned for the 2009 fall plant sale, there was much concern about the weather. Would anyone want to come and buy more plants when they could barely keep what they had alive?

That summer, as most people remember, was most unkind in terms of heat and drought.

Shortly before the sale, the area began to receive beneficial rains. With spirits renewed, our faithful supporters turned out in droves, making that sale the most successful ever with record profits for our gardens.


This spring, as we look forward to the sale in our new pavilion, we are hoping to top last fall.

We still have debt incurred by the new pavilion. This air-conditioned building, complete with restroom facilities, will enhance our capabilities of hosting not only plant sales, but also seminars, symposiums, tours for children and adults, as well as other educational activities hosted by Victoria County Master Gardeners.

The primary purpose of the organization is to educate the public about horticulture as part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Last year, more than 1,300 children and adults toured the gardens with Master Gardeners serving as tour guides. Countless others came on their own to check out the gardens.

There is no charge for entering the gardens either individually or with a tour.

VEG is open from dawn to dusk daily.

Profits from our plant sales help Master Gardeners maintain the gardens for you, the public.


There will be a wide variety of plants grown and brought to the sale by Master Gardeners who have tenderly cared for them over this long, hard winter.

It's always fun to see what the masters bring.

The greenhouse crew has also been busy propagating plants for the sale. They have a nice selection of mountain laurels. If you have ever smelled this native plant's fragrant purple bloom, you'll never forget it.

Also coming from the greenhouse is the Tua-Tua, a tropical plant with beautifully colored foliage.

There is also a good supply of chocolate plant, which is an annual that likes sun or partial shade.

The redbird cactus is a succulent that prefers partial sun. The variegated green and white leaves with red tips make a striking contrast with green plants in a flower bed.

Another plant coming from the greenhouse is plumeria (Frangipani). The fragrant flowers from this plant are used in Hawaii to make leis.

There will also be a selection of pride of Barbados, red crown of thorns, esperanza, yellow candlestick, coleus in a variety of colors, as well as rue that Nancy Kramer wrote about in her article last week.

Our chairmen have also been busy ordering and purchasing special featured plants for this sale. Nancy wrote about four of them in last week's article - sun spice ginger, ligularia, ribbon bush and red variegated shrimp plant. There will be a good variety of other purchased plants, including cutleaf jatropha, variegated flax lilies, red firespike, Mexican flame vine, and forest frost prairie phlox.

Vendors will be at the sale selling garden related items. Please support them as they give their time to help make our sales more enjoyable and profitable.

Master Gardeners will also sell cut flower mix seedballs made by the members.


Come out this Saturday, and make this our biggest and best sale ever. We are counting on the public who has been so supportive in the past to come again. We need profits to maintain the high standards in the Victoria Educational Gardens that our visitors have come to expect.

We also need to complete our pavilion project, which is the final phase of the gardens.

Master Gardeners love being here for you, so we ask you to come shop with us. We look forward to seeing you bright and early Saturday morning
Master Gardeners donate their own cared-for plants as well as plants propagated in the greenhouse. This chocolate plant, an annual that likes sun or partial shade and produces small purple blooms in late summer to early fall, will be available in good supply from the greenhouse.
Lavender, ribbon-shaped flowers cover the perennial ribbon bush from fall through winter. Tubular blooms that stand erect above the bush make a great attractor for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds searching for nectar. This Treesearch plant will likely go quickly at the sale.
WHEN:  Saturday, March 20
TIME:  8 a.m. until 2 p.m. (or sold out)
WHERE:  VEG Pavilion adjacent to Victoria Educational Gardeners
               283 Bachelor Drive, at Victoria Regional Airport

Who would not want to honor a member of the military, family or friend in a permanent way? Consider placing a paver at Victoria Educational Gardens.

In the original phase of the project, more than 400 pavers were purchased and placed. The project is available to the public once again with an anticipated deadline of March 31.

Military Pavers
4 inch by 8 inch - $25
(Sold at cost)

Placement of pavers for several family generations in the military may be placed together in an area of the Military Honor Garden.

Family and Friends Pavers
4 inch by 8 inch - $50
8 inch by 8 inch - $100
12 inch by 12 inch - $150
Pavers preferred in a certain location in or near a particular mini garden will be accommodated, if possible.
Forms will be available to purchase a paver at the plant sale.


Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St.
Noon - 1 p.m.
Bring your lunch and drink
"Propagation of Plants," by Victoria County Master Gardener Roy Cook
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