Gardeners' Dirt: Master gardeners display patriotism at Victoria Educational Gardens
By Brynn Lee - Victoria County Master GardenerEdited by Charla Borchers Leon
May 23, 2013 at 12:23 a.m.
Memorial Day - what a special day set aside for us to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our free and beautiful country, the United States of America.
It is an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, and this year, men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military will be remembered this coming Monday.
Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is observed by Americans visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Whatever the occasion, it - unofficially, at least - marks the beginning of summer.
VEG pays tribute
The Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens at the Victoria Regional Airport is pleased and proud to pay tribute to America and veterans by having designed and continuously maintaining patriotic and military honor gardens.
The mini-patriotic garden, one of nineteen in total, is located just to the side of the rose arbor at the back of the old Officer's Club building. Our goal as Master Gardeners is to plant a variety of flowers and shrubs in this area that bloom in our nation's colors of red, white and blue.
We have added some special garden decor such as a large painted U.S. flag, red trellises with blue pea vine growing - and using our imagination, butterflies which are painted in the themed colors.
Stroll with pride
As you walk along the brick pathway through the arbor, there are benches for you to sit on for reflection in gratitude for being able to live in this free country. This garden is just a small patriotic tribute but can make each of us swell with pride.
As you glance up at the flag of glory, surrounded by the aroma of roses, birds singing, hummingbirds buzzing and Monarch butterflies fluttering by, how can you not smile a grateful and peaceful smile?
Sit for a few minutes and enjoy the flowers with colors that include a red bottle brush shrub, red gerbera daisies, white spider lilies, white impatiens, blue plumbago and blue daze.
Teaching about honor
The Victoria Educational Gardens is all about teaching and learning. We have more than 1,000 school children tour the gardens each year, from kindergarten through middle school - and from various campuses and surrounding communities. It never fails to make me happy when I have asked them questions about "What is patriotism?" and the majority of them know the answer, "Honor and loyalty to our country."
Path of freedom, memory
As you leave the rose arbor and pass the day lilies, you will see another special part of our garden, the Military Honor garden, to your left at the base of the patio. In this area there are hundreds of special brick pavers that area citizens have placed to honor veteran family members or friends.
Each paver is inscribed with the names, dates and branch of service of the brave men and women who have served or are currently serving in all branches of our armed forces. These names are of the people who have made this country the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Pavers have been made available to anyone interested in honoring a veteran on several previous occasions with a set deadline to order them. With each deadline came more interest in securing pavers, so the Master Gardeners are now offering them on a continuing basis.
If you are interested or for more information, go to vcmga.org and click on VCMGA current projects and then 2013 Pavers Project or email firstname.lastname@example.org and a Master Gardener will respond to your inquiry.
Show your colors
Let me urge each of you to take a short drive out to the Victoria Educational Gardens this Memorial Day to pay a small tribute to veterans and salute this great land we call home.
Enjoy all of the gardens while you are there - and remember you have reason to be proud to call yourself an American.
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 email@example.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.