A BLOOMING SALE
More greens for the money at tax-free plant sale
Apr. 17, 2016
By Helen R. Parks/Victoria County Master Gardener
Edited by Charla Borchers Leon/Victoria County Master Gardener
PHOTO BY KATHY TOERCK/VICTORIA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER
Whopper wax leaf begonia, a newly introduced Texas Superstar, is a highlighted plant at this year's Master Gardener spring plant sale. A larger plant than regular begonias, it boasts oversized dark bronze leaves with silver dollar-sized red blooms. Growing in full sun or shade, but not directly in extreme heat, it can reach 32 inches in height.
PHOTO BY BRYNN LEE/VICTORIA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER
Grown from seed as well as propagated in the greenhouse at Victoria Educational Gardens in preparation for the April 23 spring plant sale, over 2,000 plants are expected to be available for sale. Various succulents, including Crown of thorns, are shown in the forefront with potato vines and various blooming plants on rear tables.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY WIKIMEDIA.COM
Various trees will be available at the upcoming Master Gardener Spring Plant Sale including the loquat which requires full sun and is drought-tolerant. Its white blooms attract bees, butterflies and birds while its small, yellow/orange fruit can be made into jelly.
Next Saturday, April 23 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Victoria Educational Gardens Pavilion at Victoria Regional Airport will attract returning and new gardening patrons from our area who enjoy adding colorful blooms and hardy foliage to their yards and gardens.
More greens for the money
As a nonprofit organization, Victoria County Master Gardener Association (VCMGA) is allowed a tax-free sale each year which means more greens for the money. Plants have been grown, propagated and gathered from wholesale markets to maintain the highest standards for area hardy selections.
Look at what's available
Hanging baskets, bowls, pots, books, seed balls, trees, bulbs, bushes, vines, ground cover, succulents - you name it, we'll have it.
Newest Texas Superstar - Whopper Wax Leaf Begonia
A highlight at the sale this year is the newly-introduced Texas Superstar, the "Whopper" wax leaf begonia. The shocking red-pink, silver dollar-sized flower bushes can grow up to 32 inches tall and grow in full sun or partial shade.
In order to provide young and healthy plants of all varieties being offered, the Master Gardeners have reached out to reputable wholesale nurseries for new introductions and plants of specific interest.
Available plants are "Victoria tuff," grown to meet the Victoria climate zone, according to Leon Macha an independent consultant for Greenleaf Nursery Company in El Campo. In all, plants have been researched and will be offered from five area wholesalers.
If you are looking for accent plants or hedging, lime sizzler firebush featuring green and yellow leaves with sizzling red-orange flowers from spring to fall is an excellent choice. Sunshine privet ligustrum, will provide a gold with orange foliage in a winter landscape. It can be shaped into a topiary or enjoyed in its original shape.
Almond verbena is a large woody shrub with white fragrant spike blooms with gray-green foliage that can be contained in a mixed bed or allowed to grow to 10 or 15 feet tall.
Superbena Royale Chambray are fragrant clusters of purple flowers that bloom all summer. The blooms provide a spilling effect in containers or window boxes.
There will also be a variety of drift roses from which to choose along with two Texas Superstar roses, Grandma's Yellow Rose and Belinda's Dream Rose.
Succulent plants are a favorite for gardens requiring minimal care. They enjoy sunny, dry weather and grow in pots or mixed beds. A succulent bed or container collection can add beauty to a xeriscape landscape or side porch.
Crown of thorns blooms are reddish-pink with yellow centers and have sharp thorns. Bulbine blooms in warm months and attracts bees. They have small yellow/orange spikes and adapt in well-drained beds. Night blooming cereus make beautiful hanging pots but will only bloom one or two nights per year. Look for these and other succulents at the sale.
Choose plants by characteristics/growing needs
How do you choose plants for an existing or new landscape, color, size, soil preference, drainage, sunny or shady plants?
Variegated flax lily have iris-like green and white striped leaves with dainty light blue summer flowers. They do well in partial sun and shade in our area and are a popular choice.
Red-flowering day lilies, such as Ice Carnival, Texas Rangers, Stop Light, and Lee Smith will likely be available at the sale. Tube rose, pine cone ginger, and pride of Barbados can add bright red color to sunny areas.
Purple lantana and Mexican heather can be used to fill in mixed beds, while society garlic and plumbago are taller purple and blue-purple flowering plants to add varying heights.
There will be a variety of trees at the sale, such as the Confederate rose hibiscus. It can be shaped into a tree with bright pink blooms enjoyed in fall weather - or left as a bush. Burr oak trees can provide shade to a sunny yard. The loquat tree requires full sun and is drought-tolerant. The fragrant white flowers attract bees, butterflies and birds. The small orange fruit can be made into jelly.
Come to sale; stay awhile and look around
Grab a cup of coffee and bring a friend to shop the Victoria County Master Gardener tax-free plant sale. The difficult part will be choosing which "Victoria tuff" plants to buy. We'll be ready to provide you with more greens for your money at the sale.
Then browse the beautiful gardens next door at Victoria Educational Gardens and enjoy the butterfly haven along with 19 other mini-gardens. Take some time to smell the roses - Grandma's Yellow and Belinda's Dream, that is.
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or email@example.com.
New variety of traditional wax begonia
• Highlighted at Master Gardener Plant Sale
• Recently designated Texas Superstar plant
• Large dark leaves; taller than regular varieties
• Red blooms with dark, glossy bronze leaves
• Thrive in full sun/shade, but no extreme heat
• Reach 24-36 inches tall; 12-16 inches wide
• More sun produces darker leaves/compact size
• Prefer well-prepared beds with organic matter
• Need good drainage
• 8 a.m.-2 p.m. (or until sold out) Saturday
• Victoria Educational Gardens Pavilion, 333 Bachelor Drive, Victoria Regional Airport