The Saturday All PLANT PEOPLE Have Been Waiting For! 2006

San Antonio Express News
Gardening, ETC.
Sunday, May 7, 2006

By David Rodriguez

If you are really interested in growing the BEST plants for our area of Texas, this coming Saturday, May 13, will be the day you have been waiting for. Since Viva Botanica was cancelled, The Festival of Flowers (FOF) is THE premiere plant meeting of the year.

The Festival of Flowers (FOF) will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. after a horticultural information-packed day at the spacious Alzafar Shrine Temple at 901 North Loop 1604 (between Stone Oak Parkway and Blanco). The adult admission is $5, children under 10 are free, and there is free parking. If you feel that the price is prohibitive, you can get $1 off coupons in this month’s SAWS billing insert, the May Milberger’s PLANTanswers newsletter at: and on the FOF website:

The $5 entry fee will be a bargain for what you will receive inside! There will be educational seminars for everyone whether you are organically inclined or not. The morning seminars will be presented by Drs. Jerry Parsons and Larry Stein talking about the “15 Best Plants for San Antonio Landscapes” and “Fruit and Nut Trees for Home Landscapes.” Charles Bartlett will be talking about “Gingers and Tropicals that Survive and Thrive in South Texas.” The great thing about these talks is that most of the plants talked about in these presentations will be for sale in the plant booths at the show. You not only have the great opportunity to learn about the plants, but to purchase them, and at the most reasonable price in Texas.

Changsha Tangerine

Some of the plants talked about by these professionals will ONLY BE AVAILABLE at this show. A good example is the Changsha Tangerine described at: (The images on this website were taken at Malcolm Beck’s farm, and this is his favorite citrus.) Changsha is the most cold-tolerant tangerine in Texas, and is ONLY AVAILABLE at this show-no nursery stocks the Changsha at this time.

Jerry Parsons will be bringing some of his rare and only-available-at-FOF plantswhich are being evaluated for Texas SuperStar status. Examples are the ‘Daily Beauty Bush MorningGlory’ available as seed and transplant. (

Angel Trumpet - Datura

Also included while they last, are 1) beautiful, dwarf, white, double Angel Trumpet plants which are deer resistant. ( and 2) this year’s Texas SuperStar salvia named ‘Henry Duelberg’ which is also deer resistant. ( Texas native salvias were used to breed this new variety, which is appropriate because Paul Cox and Janis Merritt will be speaking on “Creating Landscapes with Texas Native Plants.”

Henry Duelberg Salvia

All photos: TAMU &

Organic gardening topics will rule the afternoon, and be presented by the best purveyors of the organic philosophy in Texas. Bob Webster will host an organic roundtable which begins at 2:30 p.m.

Bob will also broadcast his KTSA-AM (AM550) Gardening show earlier that morning. Beginning at noon, Jerry Parsons, Milton Glueck and I will be broadcasting the Milberger Garden Show on KLUP-AM (AM930).

There will be an “Ask the Expert” booth where I will be available to answer your questions in person. There will be a tree “Planting and Pruning Demonstrations” with Mark Peterson of the Texas Forest Service.

Gardening Volunteers of South Texas will sponsor the 8th Annual City-Wide Plant Exchange, and you can see the guidelines for trading plants and seeds on the Festival of Flowers website ( Last year, more than 1,000 plants traded between the exchange hours of 9am-3pm. At the Bexar County Master Gardener booth, you can register to win a private, behind the scenes tour of the San Antonio Botanical Garden, after having lunch with us at the Garden’s Carriage House Restaurant.

There are many more fun activities planned, and in addition to a free package checkroom and carry-out service, you can also bring wagons or small carts for all those wonderful purchases.

Don’t forget that Sunday May 14 is Mother’s Day. This Saturday’s Festival of Flowers would be an excellent treat for your mother or that special woman in your life who really enjoys plants and gardening. Bring her by!

How about another family event including the kids? Now in its 3rd year, WaterFest 2006 Family Day kicks off on Saturday, May 13th from 8:30 am to 9:00 pm at the Alamodome.

This year, five themed learning zones will welcome guests of all ages to explore the many wonders of water. The Learning Lab features over fifty different community and corporate- sponsored booths inside the air-conditioned Alamodome.

In our H2O HeroVillage’ you will enjoy a number of educational games and attractions including “Bucket’s Bungee Pull,” “H2O Quest,” and “Fishing for Pollution.” A beautiful garden and hands-on art activities await your visit to the Water Experience. The surprises in the Water Works are sure to send you away wetter than when you came. This year, WaterFest Family
Day welcomes Alex Garcia’s Weatherquest, a zone dedicated to teaching you about everything from tornadoes to hail.

Rounding out the day’s excitement are over twenty scheduled shows,demonstrations and educational experiences on three stages. Laugh and learn at the same time as nationally famous ventriloquist Nacho Estrada and Maclovio present “Respect….Recycle, Reuse, Reduce.” Clap along with Lee Towell and the crew from the locally based PBS show CAT PAWS and hear amazing weather stories from the local meteorologist and television personality, Alex Garcia. So grab the kids and join us at WaterFest 2006 Family Day, the wettest and wildest day of the year!

Extension Needs Your Help
Local horticulturists are still trying to verify why there are many lawns slowly greening with lots of dead spots of grass immediately next to fully greened lawns of the same grass type. The first thing you can do is to find an obviously-greener-lawn next to a slowly greening lawn with brown sections of grass. We need the grass types to be the same, i.e., brown Bermuda next to green Bermuda; brown St. Augustine next to green St. Augustine, etc.

The examples don’t have to be in your yard or even in your neighborhood, but we do need an address. Visit the homeowner with the green lawn and ask them if they watered this winter. If they say they did water this winter, we need to know how they knew to water. If you have a digital camera and can document your findings, please send images to: with your name and full address. We will post the best images in the Winter Drought series giving you full credit if desired. If you are coming to Festival of Flowers, stop by the “Ask the Expert” Booth, and simply give the address of the damaged lawn. For your efforts we will send you a package of Daily Beauty Dwarf Bush Morning Glory seed. Call 467-6575 for more information or visit look for the April 9 in the Articles index.

Remember, Learn and Have Fun!

David Rodriguez is the County Extension Agent-Horticulture for Bexar County. He represents Texas Cooperative Extension with the Texas A&M University System. For any landscape or gardening information, call the Bexar County Master Gardeners AHotline@ at (210) 467-6575, email questions to, or visit our County Extension website at


Comments are closed.