Master Gardener plant sale Saturday

SHAWN WALTON SHAWN WALTON Cameron is a busy place for nature and gardening lovers. Last Saturday the El Camino Real Master Naturalists put on a very successful Nature Fest in Cameron. This Saturday it’s the Little River Basin Master Gardeners (LRBMG) turn.

The seventh annual LRBMG Plant Sale will happen from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Milam County Youth Expo Center, 301 South Houston Street. Each year this event draws many people, as it not only offers a wide selection of plants, but also provides an avenue to solicit free advice from Master Gardeners. If you’re like me, the plant sale is like a smorgasbord for plant lovers. Plus, you get free drinks and cookies.

The plant selection includes both sun and shade plants, hanging baskets, herbs, cactus and vegetables. Many of the choices are selected exclusively for our climate, as the Master Gardeners promote landscaping that includes native plants, as well as naturalized plants, that work well in our extremely hot summers. This summer is threatening to be not only hot, but very dry. It’s important to get your plants in the ground as soon as possible. Even the drought-tolerant types struggle in the hot, dry weather when they haven’t had the chance to become established.

The plant sale always has an extensive selection of roses. They are usually gone by the time noon rolls around. Two of the most popular roses are the Belinda’s Dream and the Knock-out. Both of these roses have earned the “Earth-Kind” label.

The Belinda’s Dream is a five foot by five foot shrub rose that has large, very double pink blossoms grouped into large clusters. This rose blooms from spring until frost. The Knock- Out is a six foot by six foot shrub rose that has those bright, cherry red blooms. It’s a great beginner rose as maintenance is practically non-existent and it is for all intent and purpose disease-free.

Some of you may remember the article I wrote a few weeks back about the Earth-Kind program from Texas Agrilife. Earth-Kind promotes the conservation of water and energy, reduction of fertilizer and pesticide use, and reduction of the amount of yard waste going to landfills. Earth-Kind plants not only help the environment, but are easy maintenance as well.

Roses were the first plants to undergo testing and certification as “Earth-Kind”. The roses underwent eight years of research and testing, and finally four years of field trials throughout Texas to see which ones survived with no fertilizer; had superior pest tolerance; and adapted to a wide range of soil types, and, finally, be extremely heat and drought tolerant. So rest assured that your choice of either the Belinda’s Dream or the Knock- Out is a good one, just make sure to get to the sale early before they are all gone.

The Master Gardeners have been doing “Chats in the Garden” on various topics. The next chat will be at the plant sale from 10-11:30 a.m. and will focus on helping people decide what plants would work best in their gardens. The last three chats in the garden are scheduled as follows:

May 21–in Rockdale at the Butterfly Garden. Find out what plants attract butterflies so you can create your own Butterfly Garden.

June 18–in Cameron at the Triangle Garden near the junior high. Learn about the different types of herbs and what to do with them.

July 16–in Cameron at the Demonstration Garden. Learn about the different turf grasses suited to our area.

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