March 23, 2012

by Roy Cook, Victoria County Master Gardener

edited by Charla Borchers Leon,
Victoria County Master Gardener
Gardeners' Dirt
Various kinds of butterflies obtain nectar from the butterfly bush which will be available in several colors at tomorrow's sale.
The annual pink begonia plant can be found in the annual and perennial section at the sale. Notice the blooms peaking out from the lush green foliage. Best grown in partial shade, the begonia can grow to about 12 inches tall.
Look for sweet basil in the herb section. There should be a generous supply of this healthy plant available for planting and future seasoning of dishes in the kitchen.
Tomorrow is the Victoria County Master Gardener spring plant sale at the Victoria Education Garden's Pavilion, located at Victoria Regional Airport, 283 Bachelor Drive. The VEG Pavilion is across from the airport tower next to Victoria Educational Gardens. Be early, as there is a limited number of some plants. Doors open 8 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. or until sold out.

Available from various sources

Since last year's drought, it has been a struggle keeping plants alive, growing and healthy for our faithful customers.

Our plants are grown from seeds, cuttings, by division and other means of propagation. Some plants that we are not allowed to propagate are purchased from reputable growers and nurseries so that we can provide you with both old-time varieties as well as new ones.


We always try to have those plants that we indicate will be at the sale although it always depends on availability. We highlight a few that we know we can count on and do our best on providing the others we mention in our articles.

So last week's article highlighted Queen's Tears Bromeliad, Moses-in-a-Boat or Oyster Plant and Lady-in-a-Boat or Friendship Plant.

Some other plants that will likely be available at this sale include various shrubs, ornamental trees, annuals and perennials and also some tropicals and those that attract butterflies and hummers.

Shrubs - A wide variety of shrubs include Mexican giant cigar plant, small cigar plant, variegated vitex, red Turk's cap, pink Turk's cap, white duranta, purple duranta, Canyon Creek abelia, red oleander and white oleander. Also butterfly bush of various colors, autumn cassia, althea, Little John bottlebrush, primrose jasmine, desperado sage, white Texas sage, star jasmine, variegated privet, pride of Barbados, double red hibiscus, purple leaf vitex and Mexican fire bush will likely be available.

Trees - Ornamental trees for this area will likely include Mexican plum, Mexican persimmon, Bauhinia forficata - (Brazilian orchid tree) and loquat (Japanese plum).

Annuals and Perennials - A select likely group of annuals and perennials include summer love chenille plant, moonshine yarrow, summer pastels yarrow, swan red and white yarrow, Texas gold columbine, lantana (new gold, purple trailing, white trailing, red, white) and new varieties of lantana (fireworks and red spreading). Purple Porter weed, Joseph's coat, two colors angel's trumpet (brugmansia), pink bleeding heart, Alabama sunset coleus, pink begonia, basil plants - three varieties (sweet basil, plenty and Genovese) and catnip also are on the list.

Other Plants - Various other plants include rhoeo discolor, sempervium, ox-blood ginger, jade plant, Carolina aster vine, Mexican bush honeysuckle, sanserveria, bulbine, Dutchman's pipe vine, hot and spicy oregano, society garlic, asparagus fern, foxtail fern, flax lily (green leaf and variegated leaf) purple fountain grass, bi-color iris (Morea), Brazos blackberry, Rosborough blackberry, cast iron plant, century plant, Moses-in-a-boat, donkey ear, Queen's tears bromeliad, red hot poker, sticks of fire, Wrightie acacia, blue iris, Vicks plant, dragon fruit, scented geraniums (apricot, lemon rose, nutmeg, capitatum) and yellow crown of thorns.

Small Plants and Vegetables
- Some other small, but healthy plants, we should have available are Texas star hibiscus red, Texas star hibiscus white, single white datura, double purple/white datura and double yellow datura. These plants were started from seed and are reasonably priced. With the spring gardening season here, stop by for your peppers and tomatoes including California wonder pepper, jalapeno pepper, black pearl ornamental pepper, and tomato varieties homestead-24, beefsteak, German giant, large red cherry, roma, Brandywine, Old German, Abe Lincoln and mortgage lifter. Notice we are featuring tomato varieties that are typically hard to find. If you are interested in butterflies and hummingbirds, we will have numerous plants that attract them. Just ask any Master Gardener working the floor, and he or she will show them to you.

Others you may like to have - If you did not see something in the above listings, come on out and look around, you may be surprised and see plants you might like to have. Some are not listed because Master Gardeners propagate them at home, properly care for them, label them and include growing instructions and bring them to the plant sale. If you have questions or problems, there will be Master Gardeners available to help you out.


All plants offered for sale meet a quality standard set by the Master Gardeners.

Each plant is also checked to make sure it is properly labeled so that the buyer has the information to grow and take care of the plant.

All plants are arranged by type such as annuals, perennials, shrubs, fruit, vegetable, herbs, succulents and so on - to help make it easier for you to shop.

Trays and boxes are provided to you to take your plants home as well as assistance to your vehicle if necessary. And, of course, if you have any ideas on how to improve or make our plant sales better, we welcome the suggestions.

Proceeds from plant sales go to the maintenance and upkeep of the VEG Pavilion and Victoria Educational Gardens. Go to the airport and follow the signs. See you tomorrow at the sale.
Annuals and Perennials
Cacti, Succulents and Euphorbia
Grasses and Groundcovers
Houseplants and Patio Plants
Shrubs and Trees

Butterfly and hummingbird mix, made by Master Gardeners. Just put them where you want, water and watch them grow.

Victoria County Master Gardener Association Favorite Recipes by Victoria County Master Gardeners
Insects Of Texas - A Practical Guide by David H. Kattes
Texas Wildscapes Gardening for Wildlife By Kelly Conrad Bender

When: Monday
Where: Pattie Dodson Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St.
Cost: Free to the public
Time: Noon-1 p.m.
What: Victoria County Master Gardener Charlie Neumeyer will present a program titled "Turf and Other Options for Shady Areas."
Bring your lunch and drink

SPECIAL NOTICE: An additional "Lunch and Learn with the Masters" program has been added on Monday, April 23. Victoria County Master Gardener Gerald Bludau will present a program on wildflowers.
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.