As weather warms, Master Gardeners’ plant sale beckons

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HARLINGEN — As winter’s grip weakens, many Valley residents turn eyes to their neglected yards at the first blush of spring.

The Cameron County Master Gardeners and Texas A&M AgriLife are partnering to address those urges as they prepare their grounds for the bi-annual plant sale April 13 at the Cameron County Annex in San Benito.

“ We’re going to have several flowering landscape plants, we’re also going to focus on butterfly plants, natives, and we’ll actually have a few of the tropicals as well,” said Jennifer Herrera, AgriLife extension agent in Cameron County. “We’ll have a little bit of everything.”

Many of the plants available for sale are natives which come from cuttings from the gardens of Texas Master Gardeners.

“ There’s a growing trend especially I would say for butterfly plants, like trying to feed the monarchs on their journey as they pass through from Mexico north,” Herrera added.

Any profits derived from the sale are plowed back into local programs.

“ All proceeds go back to supporting the community educational programs that we have and also to our education garden,” she added.

There will be children’s activities during the sale which will run from 9 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m.

Herrera said attendees are encouraged to bring their own wagons to cart off any plants they purchase because the wagon supply at the sale will be limited.

“ We also have several vendors, seven confirmed, at the moment,” Herrera said. “They’ll have garden implements and garden tools, garden furniture and garden-related items.”

For $50, gardeners can call to reserve a rain barrel, a utilitarian item the Texas Master Gardeners recommend as an environmentally friendly way to preserve our limited Valley rainfall.

“ The Master Gardeners are encouraging the harvesting of rainwater so we will have a few rain barrels for sale,” she said. “We’ll also have our rain barrels on display.”

Also attending will be Dr. Olufemi Alabi, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension plant pathologist specialist, and AgriLife’s Danielle Sekula, an entomologist. Both are available from 9 a.m. until noon to identify and give advice on plant parasites and diseases.

AgriLife officials recommend bringing a clipping from a sick plant or any captured insects in sealed plastic bags to prevent spreading disease or insects to healthy plants.