Sherman - Representatives of internationally acclaimed Collin County Master Gardeners Association were in Sherman, Texas Tuesday, September 10 for a fascinating discussion about the organization's research and demonstration gardens at Myers Park in McKinney.
This was Collin County Master Gardeners Association's first lecture after receiving the International Master Gardener Search for Excellence Award for Research Gardens at the September 2013 International Master Gardener’s Conference in Seattle, Washington.
The primary focus of the discussion was the Earth-Kind® Perennial Research Garden.
Another important reason for the visit was to begin networking with nearby Master Gardeners groups in order to promote all events sponsored by Master Gardeners and to share resources.
Earth-Kind® Perennial Research Garden at Myers Park gets watered once a year and no fertilizers or pesticides are used. The goal is to document which plants can best tolerate the hot, dry climate in North Texas.
The ongoing drought has added to the stress plants normally undergo this time of year.
"We depend on Mother Nature to help us out, and we all know how that is going," remarked Bruce Batman.
The perennial research garden is supervised by Collin County Master Gardeners Association's dynamic duo of Batman and Robin Lankford.
In addition to the once-a-year watering, research garden protocol dictates that plants are not to be deadheaded and very limited trimming is allowed only when a thriving plant engulfs a neighboring plant.
"If you want to see how plants grow when you mistreat them, come see us," joked Jim Ewoldsen, Collin County Master Gardeners Association President.
Want to know which plants have performed best in this experiment? A partial list includes Flame Acanthus, Fall Aster, Butterfly Bush Nanho Blue, Orange Zest, Wheeler's Sotol, Gregg's Mistflower, Whirling Butterflies, Red Yucca, Yellow Flowered Yucca, New Gold Lantana, Pink Turk's Cap, Blackfoot Daisy, Catmint, Augusta Duelberg Sage, Henry Duelberg Sage, Mystic Spires Salvia, Lavendar Cotton, Flowering Senna, Esperanza, Germander, Zexmenia and Twist Leaf Yucca.
At Myers Park, you can also see the Kordes Rose Research Garden (19 varieties), a Crepe Myrtle Research Garden (25 varieties) and a demonstration vegetable garden, all projects of Collin County Master Gardeners Association, and there are plans in the works to add a shade garden, a partial-shade garden and an herb garden.
At times, Collin County Master Gardeners are assisted by the local adult probation department. The organization's biggest boost came when Lovejoy ISD's middle school, Sloan Creek, selected Myers Park gardens as a community-service project.
"It was the best help we have ever had," stated Batman. "We would love to have them again."
So, with summer coming to a scorching end with little hope for significant rain in the days ahead, when would be the best time to visit the gardens at Myers Park?
Circle October 5 on your calendar, recommends Ewoldsen. That is the day of Collin County Master Gardeners Association's Bulb & Perennial Mart at Myers Park. Cooler weather and autumn rains are almost certain to rejuvenate research gardens by then.
Start planning to attend the Spring Garden Show, hosted by Collin County Master Gardeners, at Myers Park. Approximately 7,000-8,000 people attend this event to jumpstart gardens with reasonably priced selections from local greenhouses, as well as tour the research gardens at Myers Park.
For more information about Collin County Masters Gardeners, please visit www.ccmgatx.org
Other Collin County Master Gardeners Association events
Join Collin County Master Gardeners 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. September 18, 2013 for a tour of perennial research gardens at Myers Park in McKinney
Earth Kind Water Conservation Conference 8:45 a.m. September 18, 2013 at Myers Park in McKinney
CCMGA Bulb & Perennial Mart October 5, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at Myers Park in McKinney
Plant Propogation by Cuttings - 8:30 a.m. September 21, 2013 at Myers Park in McKinney
Texas Wildflowers, Legends & More 11:00 a.m. September 21 at Melissa PUblic Library
Landscape Design School September 23 at Christ United Methodist Church in College Station