Looking back to go forward
By Myra Sue Schulze - Victoria County Master GardenerEdited by Charla Borchers Leon
Dec. 28, 2017 at 10:16 p.m.
Updated Dec. 29, 2017 at 6 a.m.
Wow. What an honor. I have been elected president of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association for 2018. Now what do I do?
The past: Following my dad
Before going forward into next year, I need to look back a bit. It's maybe a natural fit for me.
My dad was an avid gardener for as far back as I can remember. In the springtime, Daddy had me and my two older brothers tilling the garden plot.
Weeding, fertilizing and watering to ready the dirt (at least that's what we called it when I was a kid) for vegetable planting.
Dad also took a great interest in different kinds of trees. His favorites were peach and pecan.
We always had the obvious chore of picking the fruit. Now I preferred pecans over peaches.
Why you ask? Well, the nasty old worms in the peaches, of course. At certain times of the year, peaches have worms that bore into them and create damaged and ugly looking peaches.
After each harvest season was completed, Mom and I would do the cooking and canning.
This was not near as much fun as being outside - and I was glad when it was done. Then everyone could enjoy as much as they wanted when they wanted.
Dad also relished his time in the flower beds planting roses. Now, I did not inherit my dad's green thumb, but my big sister did. That's another story.
Dad always kept a well-manicured lawn. I was taught how to use the push mower and the riding mower as well.
When I was much younger I remember Daddy using a different kind of push mower. You know the kind with long horizontal blades that went forward when you pushed it, and there was no fuel tank to fill or remembering to check the oil? It was truly a man-powered mower.
Then: Influenced by other master gardeners
Throughout the years, I have attended Holy Family Church in Victoria. Every spring, there is an annual fundraiser, which includes a plant sale booth. That is something I've grown to enjoy.
While working, I met two special people, Olivia Blanchard and Cliff Knezek. As luck would have it, they were both master gardeners. They have explained a lot about gardening to me throughout the years and have encouraged me to consider signing up for the training class.
In 2010, I called the AgriLife Extension Office for an application. I couldn't wait to fill it out and promptly did so - and back in the mail it went.
The class started in August, and we graduated in December with a Christmas party and awards dinner.
Now: Into my journey
OMG. It has been seven years since I began this journey. I can't begin to tell you how much knowledge and experience I have gained in all areas of this program, while meeting many wonderful people to work with from all walks of life.
This program is about education and service. Education is a great gift we share with our communities, schools, families and friends through efforts of more than 125 volunteers in community service and in maintaining and improving the Victoria Educational Gardens.
If you need a tranquil location for a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the holidays, consider bringing your family and friends to the gardens at Victoria Regional Airport. It is open from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.
The gardens surrounding the Officer's Club incurred a great deal of damage from Harvey as did most of the airport and county properties, but our volunteers have managed to clean up and complete many of the repairs.
The future: What it brings
This spring, the Texas Master Gardener program will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. Locally, the Victoria County Master Gardener program will have been around for 20 years.
Our 2018 state conference will be at Texas A&M University in College Station.
We are excited that the following spring, we are hosting the 2019 Texas State Master Gardener Conference in Victoria. There will be up to 600 master gardeners from throughout Texas in Victoria attending educational programs and contributing to the Victoria economy with a two- to three-day stay.
We have our work cut out for us this coming year and next - and will be working very hard checking and planning to make sure we get it just right.
The conference promises to be a highlight for the Victoria County Master Gardener Association year and, hopefully, for those who plan to attend. We look forward to this next year that will transition us into welcoming master gardeners statewide in 2019.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.