Weekly Express-News Article
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS
Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Events and Good Causes Related to Gardening”
You know it is gardening season when a number of events
on related topics come up on the schedule.
Here are some major events to consider.
On March 1st,
the second annual Wilson County Gardening Day takes place from 9:00 a.m. until
2:00 p.m., on the parking lot on Hwy. 181 and Hwy. 97 in front of the
Floresville ISD Offices and adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce offices. Jerry Parsons, Milton Glueck and I will be
there to do the Gardening South Texas Radio show along with other
attractions. Despite what Dr. Parsons
says about gardening in Wilson County, last year’s event proved
that area gardens grow more than sandburs and gophers! Every adult attendee will receive a
three-inch xeriscape plant and a Landscape Care Guide from SAWS. Every adult will also receive a $5 gift
certificate for the Alternative School Plant Sale that begins March 10th. In addition to Dr. Parsons and me to answer
gardening questions, there will be community and horticultural exhibits of many
kinds and plant sales. The Wilson County
Gardening Day is an educational event designed to improve the attendee’s
gardening success, but it also is an event to recognize and support the
horticultural activities of the Alternative school. Young people from Floresville, Nixon-Smiley,
Poth, Falls City, La Vernia, and Stockdale School Districts who have not had success
in the traditional school setting have the opportunity to pursue their high
school studies built around a horticultural curriculum.
Two weeks after the Wilson County Gardening Day on March
15th, SAWS will sponsor the annual Spring Bloom Giveaway at the
headquarters at 2800 US Hwy., 281 North from 9:00
a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The
event will include exhibits and information booths of many kinds and a free
blooming xeriscape plant will be available for every adult that attends. In 2008, it is hoped that you will be able to
select from salvias, lantanas, and society garlic. The major attraction of this event, however,
are the presentations. I lead off the program at 9:15 a.m. –
10:00 a.m., speaking on “Helpful Hints for Healthy Grass.” Jerry Parsons begins his presentation at 9:30
a.m., on “Texas Superstars.” Paul Cox
speaks at 10:30 a.m., on “Tough Plants for Tough Times and Malcolm Beck speaks
at 11`:30 a.m., on “Ways to Prevent Drought Damage.” Other speakers will also cover the topic of
drought proofing your landscape.
The Mitchell Lake Audubon Birdathon is not until May 3rd,
but the nature of the event requires time for preparation. A Birdathon is like a walkathon or a
bikathon, but instead of seeking pledges per mile walked or rode, the
participants collect pledges per species of bird spotted at the refuge.
In 2007, the team
that included me, Milton Glueck, Jerry Parsons, and Jane Tourney-Davis racked
up 81 birds. The pledges including
Milberger’s pledge to match all other pledges earned the Audubon Center $2,000. All of the participants in 2007 raised a
total of $10,000 that was used towards the youth education and bird habitat
There are several ways you can participate in the 2008
Audubon Birdathon pledge $.25, $1, or $2 per bird to a birding team (Parsons,
Glueck, and I would welcome your pledge) or form your own team. To learn more about the Center and/or your
Birdathon participation, contact Susan Albert at the Audubon Center at (210)628-1639.
The Audubon Center is one-half mile South of
Interstate 410 on Moursund Boulevard. The Center includes 1,200 acres of wildlife
habitat including Mitchell Lake and seven ponds. White pelicans, roseate spoonbills,
black-necked stills, and other shorebirds are the main attraction, but
vermillion flycatchers, scissor-tailed fly catchers, shrikes, and many other
species are also common. A total of over
300 bird species have been observed on the Center. The hours are 8:00 a.m.
to 4:00 p.m., on Saturday and Sundays. Call (210)
628-1639 for access on weekdays.
In addition to the bird watching, Mitchell Lake has one of the best
native plant gardens in our area. Patty
Leslie Pasteur, Charles Bartlett, and others did a great job planning the
garden to show off the potential of native plants in a landscape.