The Saturday all Plant People Have Been Waiting For!

May 19, 2007 Article

by David Rodriguez


This year’s 10th annual Festival of Flowers takes place Saturday, May 26, at Alzafar Shrine, 901 N. Loop 1604 West. Presented by San Antonio Water System (SAWS), the all-gardening event features seminars, demonstrations, plant and supply vendors, a roundtable discussion with organic experts and the annual City-Wide Plant Exchange.

Featured seminars include Mark Peterson of SAWS speaking on “Healthy Lawns -Against All Odds.” Dr. Calvin Finch, in his travels to birding destinations around the world, has listed 1,067 different species of birds. He will share what he’s learned about the relationship between plants and birds with “A Birdwatcher’s Guide to Gardening.”

Bill Adams, author of the Lone Star Gardener’s Book of Lists and six other books on gardening and landscaping, will show you how to create a “Texas Kitchen Garden.” Learn the techniques of “Easy and Elegant Floral Designs” with designer Mike Pedraza, owner of Floral Elegance. Fruit and nut specialist, Dr. Larry Stein of Texas Cooperative Extension-Uvalde, will explain the art and science of growing grapes for fruit or as a decorative ornamental during the seminar “Tuscany to Texas-Growing Grapes the South Texas Way.”

The Organic Roundtable, sponsored by, is an opportunity to participate in an open discussion with a panel of leading organic experts; including author and syndicated radio host Howard Garrett; radio host Bob Webster; The Natural Gardener; John Dromgoole; radio and TV host Bruce Deuley; and, Stuart Franke, president of Medina Agriculture Products.

The “Ask the Expert” booth is hosted by Dr. Jerry Parsons, radio host and horticulture specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension Service. Throughout the day, guest experts (LIKE MYSELF) from 3:00-5:00 PM on general and specialty horticulture topics will be available to answer questions one-on-one. The booth is sponsored by Milberger’s

Jerry Parsons will also be bringing some of his rare and, only available at Festival of Flowers, plants which are being evaluated for Texas SuperStar status. Examples are:
the ‘Daily Beauty Bush Morning Glory,’ available as transplant, (visit, and the VERY HARD TO FIND, beautiful hardy landscape rose ‘Grandma’s Yellow’. (

Each year, hundreds of area gardeners bring wagons of plants to swap at the annual City-Wide Plant Exchange, sponsored by Gardening Volunteers of South Texas. Plants can be traded more than once during the day. Organizers ask that plants be in one gallon containers or smaller and in good, healthy condition. Aloe vera and prickly pear are not accepted.
Most of the local gardening clubs and plant societies will have booths selling specialty plants in the Indoor Gardening Mall, along with commercial nurseries and organic product suppliers. Additional shopping is available outside in the GO TEXAN Farmers Market. Wagons and small carts are permitted. A plant and package check-room is also available.

The Bexar County Master Gardeners, who are the volunteer trained support group of Extension Horticulture and Texas Cooperative Extension, will have the new exclusive heat loving Fantasia ‘Strawberry Sizzle’ and ‘Violet’ Geraniums for sale as well as the Best of Texas Landscape Guide Second Edition.

A Texas Wine Tasting has been added to this year’s list of special attractions, along with demonstrations on rain barrels and rainwater harvesting presented by the Bexar County Master Gardeners and irrigation specialists from Texas A&M University.

The invitational Floral Design Challenge is sponsored by San Antonio Garden Center’s Floral Design School under the direction of Mike Pedraza of Floral Elegance. Each competitor will create an arrangement at the event, using the same group of flowers and foliage, but adding their own creative interpretation.

Other events at the Festival include herb-cooking demonstrations and live radio broadcasts. Don’t forget to stop by the 4-H Vegetable Judging Section to see the many locally grown vegetables from these hard working young gardeners. Pick up a free xeriscape plant, compliments of SAWS, and a free commemorative poster, while supplies last. SAWS San Antonio Landscape Care Guide and Seasonal Irrigation Program kits will also be available.


Festival hours are 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and children under 10 are free. Parking is free on site. For more information, including Plant Exchange guidelines and a $1 off coupon, visit or call (210) 930-1100.

What: 10th Annual Festival of Flowers, presented by San Antonio Water System

When: Saturday May 26, 2007 9am-5pm

Where: Alzafar Shrine Hall (901 N. Loop 1604 between Stone Oak Parkway and Blanco Road)

Cost: $5 adults, children under 10 free. “Free parking”

More Info: (210) 930-1100 or

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 Hotline@ at (210) 467-6575, email questions to, or visit our County Extension website at

Special Note: Listen “Live” with David Rodriguez every Saturday morning between 8:00-11:00 a.m. on WOAI 1200 AM, Gardening Show. Feel free to call in at 737-1200 or 1-800-383-9624.

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