Smith County Horticulturist
The Smith County Master Gardeners' Fall Garden Conference, “Bulbs and More,”may be just the ticket to help you get out of the summer doldrums and take advantage our fall planting season.
The event, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 13 at Harvey Convention Center, will start with a presentation by Dave Whitinger, creator of the Dave's Garden web site (now owned by a California software company), and currently runs the web site allthingsplants.com.
He is also a Cherokee County Master Gardener, and a farmer. He will talk about the value of fall planting, and present a discussion on the care of bulbs and related plants.
There will be time at the end of his talk to ask questions.
Following Whitinger will be Master Gardener Merlin Eck who will give a whirlwind visual tour of the bulbs and plants that will be for sale starting at 11:30 a.m. following the conference.
There will also be a Master Gardener education table where you can pick up educational publications and ask your gardening questions to knowledgeable local gardeners.
The doors for this free event open for registration at 8 a.m., the program begins at 9 and the sale starts at 11:30 a.m. and goes to 1:30 p.m.
Here's a look at a few of the plants and items offered for sale.
Satsuma Orange – this small citrus tree (grows 5 x 5 feet) has the great combination of being the highest quality of the most cold hardy types citrus tree we can grow in Texas.
Texas AgriLife researchers and Extension horticulturists have been screening many varieties for best qualityfruit and best cold hardiness.
Satsuma's are sweet, have few seeds, and a thin, loose skin making them easy to peal.
Plus, the fragrant white blooms in spring will perfume your patio on this evergreen shrub.
Redbuds are wonderful native plants, providing very early rosy-red color in spring before the leaves come out. The cultivar 'Traveller' adds its unique and stylish cascading, weeping branches, making it a great candidate for a prime focal point in your landscape.
Attractive in winter with its weeping architectural form, early spring bloom, and attractive glossy dark green leaves during the growing season, makes the 'Traveller' redbud a must-have. It too is in limited quantities.
Vitex is another small tree that has been designated as a Texas Superstar, and it too will be available for sale. Attractive purple spikes in early summer draw butterflies and bees to this multi-trunk, small, heat, drought and pest tolerant tree.
Of course, the fall Master Gardener plant sale is famous for its great selection of hardy bulbs. These are varieties that are proven performers for our region, coming back to faithfully rebloom year after year.
On the list are many different types of narcissus and jonquils, hardy orchids (Bletilla), crinum lilies, Byzantine gladiolus, oxblood lilies, rain lilies, Dutch iris and more.
Master Gardeners crafted the following quality items: windchimes, butterfly puddlers, decorated chair planters, hand-painted glass flower plates (you have to see them to appreciate their uniqueness), very cool dragonflies made from knives, birdhouses, wine bottle planters, pot holders (for hanging on a fence), unique rain gauges, and more.
Don't miss this opportunity to get some of the best gardening education and the ability to purchase hard-to-find plants and ornaments.
Keith Hansen is Smith County Horticulturist with the AgriLife Extension Service. His web page is EastTexasGardening.tamu.edu