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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Local gardeners to grow funds through plant sale


Members of the Hays County Master Gardeners take plant inventory at Jacob’s Well Greenhouse in 2021.

With top-notch knowledge of vegetable and herb gardening, plant nutrition, lawn care and more, the Hays County Master Gardeners are ready to spread their knowledge and help others bloom at their annual Fall Plant and Tree Sale from Oct. 3-12.
Founded in 2013, the Hays County Master Gardeners began hosting the Fall Plant and Tree Sale to raise funds to run their horticultural education programs sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The organization held two smaller sales in the fall and spring before 2019, but the members wanted one sale that everyone could commit to. They also knew that October was the best time to purchase plants as it allows plants to develop good root growth.
Connie Wierman, the project lead for the Fall Plant and Tree Sale and the past president of the Hays County Master Gardeners, was certified as a master gardener in 2016 and wants to spread all the information she can about gardening, especially in rough weather conditions that places like Texas endure.
“We have such brutal weather and tough soil to work in,” Wierman said. “So with all the extreme conditions, if we can educate folks and spread more information of good practices for our area, people will be more successful and more comfortable with gardening.”
The Fall Plant and Tree Sale will benefit the organization’s education efforts by expanding one of the gardens, specifically funding for more raised beds for vegetable gardening in Jacob’s Well Greenhouse and Gardens in Wimberly, Texas.
The classes offered mainly take place in demonstration gardens located across the county such as Dripping Springs Ranch Park, Kyle Library and the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center. These gardens are used to show how different plants could look in one’s own backyard along with what soil the plant could work with, whether it’s limestone, caliche or other types of soil that may be hard to plant in.
The plants sold are grown by about 40 of the organization’s members, except for the trees bought through a wholesale garden. Planning for the sale begins in February, so members can plan what plants they want to offer and have enough time to go through a trial-and-error process to see which plants will have the best luck for the sale.
Melissa Tyree, a member of the Hays County Master Gardeners since 2019, volunteered for the sale in 2019 and looks forward to participating in the sale again.
“The energy is great, and the trees are amazing,” Tyree said. “I helped unload the trees in 2019 and was just very impressed with the high quality. Other than the trees, the plants are all grown for the most part by the master gardeners, so they’re all grown locally, and they’re adapted to our climate because they’ve grown here and not shipped in from somewhere else.”
Part of the Fall Plant and Tree Sale process is reaching out to vendors in Kyle and Dripping Springs, places the sale has previously been held. The decision to have the sales at those two locations is to bring the convenience of having a sale at the north and south ends of Hays County.
Planning gets more intense as the event nears due to some plants not making it to September, especially because of weather conditions. Right before the event on Sept. 23 and 24the Hays County Master Gardeners plan to have a plant donation drop-off open to its members.
The Hays County Master Gardeners have exceeded its goals in past plant sales, which have brought profits of around $4,500. Even during the pandemic, a new online shopping option allowed the organization to raise more funds than it thought it would. When classes held at the organization had to be cut short and held virtually, Wierman said it allowed them to think of a better plan for the sale.
We started up our classes online, but in doing so, it gave us the confidence that we could probably do the plant sale as well,” Wierman said. “When we started the sale, I was just floored at how much people were willing to spend sitting on their couch. Of course, I’ve been doing the same thing, but it worked out well and we’ve kept what works well along with the in-person sale which we really look forward to.”
Josh Shuster, a Hays County Master Gardeners member who is part of the Fall Plant and Tree Sale team, said the organization builds a great sense of community through volunteer service and guidance on enhancing the environment.
Shuster is looking forward to the reaction and satisfaction that he hopes to receive from shoppers when they purchase the plants.
“I’m excited to get the plants in people’s hands,” Shuster said. “It’s always fun to see their faces because it’s like giving someone a gift. The shoppers walk off with big plans to do something with what they get, and now they’re able to do it. You’re just glad to be a part of that process.”
The Fall Plant and Tree Sale will be offered both online and in person this year. The online shop will run from Oct. 3-11 with the option to pick up the plants at either the Kyle Public Library or the Dripping Springs Farmers Market. The in-person sale will be held at both locations, with the Kyle sale being held on Oct. 8 and the Dripping Springs sale on Oct. 12.
For those that are interested in going to the sale but don’t know where to start or what to look for, Wierman advises to keep it simple and not be afraid to ask questions at the sale.
“You really need to start out with tried-and-true plants that are going to grow no matter what happens, like lantana, which will grow even despite your efforts to kill it,” Wierman said. “Also, the folks that will be working the sale are our master gardeners, so if you have any issues or want more information on a particular topic, we’re going to have a whole field of people to talk to, and someone will always know.”
To learn more about the Hays County Master Gardeners, visit https://www.hayscountymastergardeners.org/.

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  • Hays County Master Gardener members inspect plant donations for the Fall Plant and Tree Sale in 2021.

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