May was a good month for gardening events in San Antonio.  On May 18 the Botanical Garden had guided tours to promote cultivation of Texas native plants.  The tours were advertised in a recent SAWS newsletter included in their monthly billing.  Major renovations have been underway and a trip to the Garden is well worthwhile.  Some of the new areas are family-friendly and include activities for kids.  All types of plants are grown at the Garden, even those we would not want in a home garden.  For example a healthy clump of poison ivy was pointed out by the tour guide with the warning “Leaves of three, leave it be.” 

On May 19, the Green Spaces Alliance organization had a tour of “The Secret Gardens of King William”.  The purpose of the tour was to provide information for South Texas gardeners.  There were 14 neighborhood gardens on exhibit.  Homeowners and docents were at each garden to answer questions and highlight such things as native and adapted plants, water conservation techniques, and low-impact development projects.  Many thanks to the neighbors who opened their gardens for this special event. 

Then on May 26 the annual Festival of Flowers was held at the Austin Highway Event Center.  This was a very convenient location, whereas in years past it was held on Loop 1604.  The San Antonio Water System was a major sponsor.  This was my first time to attend and it was worth the time.  Local nurseries and conservation organizations made presentations about how to have beautiful gardens while conserving water using xeric techniques and plants that use less water.  Garden tools and many types of plants were available for purchase.  

If you are an avid gardener or want to become more involved in gardening, make plans to attend these and similar events.  You could not meet a nicer bunch of people as the ones who sponsor and volunteer to make them possible.

Spring in South Texas is a great time for activities as those mentioned above.  However, we are now in the “dawg days” of summer.  Limit gardening activities to maintaining plants during the cool of the day, preferably with a glass of iced tea in one hand.  Remember to limit the use of water based on SAWS requirements appropriate at the time – we are currently in Stage 2 Water Restrictions.  Potted plants bought in early spring are beginning to show wear and tear and may best be relegated to the compost pile or your green composting bin.  

Garden Note:  A garden commentator told this story about his mother, a long time gardener: “As she got older, new men came into her life - Ben Gay and Arthur Rightus.”