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Victoria County Master Gardener's tour explores 7 gardens (w/video)

By JR Ortega
April 23, 2014 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated April 23, 2014 at 11:24 p.m.

Jan Jacob, 65, speaks about the various plants in her garden at her home in Victoria. They not only have a lot of flowers but also  art and other plants that make up the entire backyard.

Every day is an escape for Jan and Bobby Jacob.

The couple lounges in their backyard, cradled by a garden 30 years in the making.

Their garden - in the Country Club area of Victoria - is more than just plants, landscaping and flowers; it's a sanctum for their memories.

Irises nearly in full bloom speckle the greenery with a vibrant purple and are the same cuttings from Jan Jacob's grandmother's garden.

"I have stuff that reminds us of family," she said, adding that the drift roses remind her husband of his mother's rose garden and the geraniums in the backyard remind her of her mother's green thumb.

The Jacobs' home is one of seven gardens on the Victoria County Master Gardener Association's garden tour Saturday and Sunday.

This is the couple's first year on the tour, although both have been spectators on the tour in the past.

Now their outdoor oasis will be seen by Crossroads residents.

The garden, which takes up the perimeter and side backyard of the home, was no easy task.

It's all about trial and error, the two said.

"We wanted to plant something to hide the fence," Jan Jacob said, laughing at how the idea started when they first built the home.

The couple's first home on Goliad Highway was not fenced in, so living with a fence was difficult, she added.

Jan Jacob said she imagined the garden becoming as big as it is now, but it has changed a lot over the years, especially in the past five years.

South Texas winters have been rough, especially a winter three years ago when back-to-back overnight freezes killed several of her plants and flowers.

"After that freeze, we drove all over town to see what wouldn't freeze," she said.

Seeing other gardens, they began to change their garden to include plantings that could survive freezes, such as magnolias and Japanese blueberries.

She still has one plant, a variegated ginger, one of her favorites, that is prone to freezing. She has to make sure to cover it when the winter turns bitter cold.

"It has to not freeze for three years for it to bloom," she said. "If it freezes, then it's like you're back at year one."

The backyard came full circle several years ago when the couple had an outdoor kitchen built. This now serves as a centerpiece, bringing together the entire landscape.

The garden helps bring together their love for gardening and birds. The garden is often visited by hummingbirds, and most recently, some summer tanagers.

"This time of the year is the best time of the year to do something in the outdoor kitchen," Bobby Jacob said. "Neighbors and friends like to come over, and they like to see the birds and the yards. It's just a fun place to be."



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