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Gardeners' Dirt: Plant sale offers ideas for area gardens

By Beth Ellis - Victoria County Master GardenerEdited by Charla Borchers Leon
March 27, 2014 at midnight
Updated March 26, 2014 at 10:27 p.m.

The donkey ear plant has leaves that resemble the shape of a donkey's ear and sends up a stalk with pink cluster blooms that are known to resemble a chandelier or a group of bells that attract hummingbirds. This kalanchoe plant is a succulent that can go for long periods of time with very little attention other than a casual weekly watering in very dry conditions. Look for this easy plant readily available at the sale.

Spring is here by all indications - and so is the Victoria County Master Gardener spring plant sale. As a reminder from last week's article, it takes place Saturday at the Victoria Educational Gardens Pavilion, located across from the control tower at Victoria Regional Airport.

The sale runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until the plants are gone. Come early to get the best selection. There will be tons of plants to choose from as well as books that no Victoria gardener should be without.

Jewels for the garden

Below are a few more of the many plants that will be for sale. These all do well in Victoria area gardens and they are just the thing to make your flower beds, porches and patios shine.

Donkey ears - The large, spotted leaves of this striking succulent do indeed resemble donkey ears. It is a drought-tolerant plant that can be grown in containers or in the ground. Put it in a location where it will receive sun in the mornings and shade in the afternoons. This plant sends up tall spikes that produce numerous bell-like pink flowers, so it is a great favorite of hummingbirds.

Moon vine - This is a lovely, old-fashioned fragrant vine likely much beloved by your grandmother and mine. The large white blooms open at night, so plant it to grow on a trellis or a fence situated near a porch or a window to more easily enjoy the fragrance on summer evenings. Provide regular water, part shade and fertilizer to get the best showing.

Brugmansia - The lush, peach-colored tropical beauty being offered this year produces huge downward, hanging trumpet-shaped blooms. Brugmansias are perfect for patio containers, but they can also be planted in the ground if provided with good winter protection. Give them partial shade, keep them moist and fertilize regularly to encourage blooms. This plant has toxic qualities, so keep pets and children in mind when planting.

Moses-in-the-boat - Also called oyster plant, this plant can be kept as a houseplant or placed in a flower bed. It can take shade to partial sun and has average water needs. It has upright, sword-shaped leaves that are green on top and purple underneath. The plant forms a low, dense mound about 1 foot in height.

Purple porterweed - This drought-tolerant plant can grow to more than 4 feet in height with distinctive flower spikes appearing at the ends of branches. It is a favorite of butterflies, and it produces flowers all through the warm months. While it may die back in winter, it generally will come back from the roots in spring.

Useful books

In addition to plants, the plant sale also offers several books that have proven their value to area gardeners.

These include the newest edition of "Butterfly Gardening for Texas" by Geyata Ajilvsgi, which is the book to have if you love gardening for butterflies. "The Texas Garden Almanac" by Doug Welsh is also a very useful book because it addresses Texas gardening on a month-by-month basis - a very useful tool for maintaining and successfully executing your garden plans.

Other books that will be offered for sale include "Central Texas Gardening," "Insects of Texas," "Texas Cacti" and several other titles for gardening information. You should also consider the Victoria County Master Gardener Cookbook.

The ever-popular Master Gardener seed ball mixes will also be for sale. The mixes include a butterfly and hummingbird mix, a cut flower mix and a wildflower wheel mix. Seed balls are a fun and easy way to get kids involved in gardening.

See you at the sale

So come on out to the sale Saturday, and stock up on all the plants you can. Come early to get the best selection, and after you've finished purchasing, take a leisurely stroll through the adjoining Victoria Educational Gardens. I feel certain you'll come away with all the ideas and inspiration you need to create your perfect garden this year.

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.



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