TYLER An upcoming gardening conference will do more than offer speakers about Texas tough plants and antique daffodils.
“We’ll have a bulb and plant sale following the conference where gardeners can find thousands of bulbs of many varieties not often found in local nurseries,” said Keith Hansen, Texas Cooperative Extension horticulture agent in Smith County.
The annual Fall Gardening Conference and Plant Expo will be held Sept. 8 at the Tyler Rose Garden Center in Tyler.
The two featured speakers won’t be the usual local fare either, Hansen said.
The first speaker, Steven L. Chamblee, is the chief horticulturist for Chandor Gardens in Weatherford. He also serves as a consulting editor for Neil Sperry’s Gardens magazine. Chamblee’s topic, “Texas Tough Plants,” will focus on heat- and drought- tolerant plants adapted to East Texas.
“Two things I’m sure of,” Chamblee said. “I get older every year, and it gets hot every Texas summer. It only makes sense to plant gardens that will settle comfortably and require less maintenance as they age. Otherwise, you just set yourself up for endless drudgery in the heat.”
Chamblee said he created a new program tuned to Smith and the surrounding counties for the conference. For example, though many nature resource minded gardeners may use low-water plants, but not know how to present them.
“It’s time to rethink many plants, particularly structural plants like yuccas, agaves, and cacti,” Chamblee said. “Why in the world anyone would surround these plants with large limestone gravel is simply beyond me. Lay down a smooth, low groundcover around them like silver ponyfoot or woolly stemodia and you get an amazing, surrealistic effect that’s also low maintenance. Of course, the real bonus is that it’s the eco-smart thing to do.”
The other featured speaker will be Keith Kridler, a cultivator of antique and modern daffodils.
“His speciality is antique daffodils that are no longer grown, and his collection includes more than 900 named varieties,” Hansen said.
Kridler is the chairman of the Historic Daffodil Committee, and he serves on the board of directors of the American Daffodil Society. His presentation will tell how to select, plant and care for daffodil bulbs, Hansen said.
The conference is sponsored by the Smith County Master Gardeners, an Extension-trained volunteer program. Admission is free and open to the public.
The doors to the center will open at 7:30 a.m. for registration. The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. and last until 11:30 a.m.
The plant and bulb sale will be held across the street from the Rose Garden Center at the Harvey Convention Center and will last until 3 p.m.
A list in PDF format of the bulbs and plants that will be for sale can be found at the conference Web site: http://easttexasgardening.tamu.edu/programs/programs.html . Click on “list of bulbs and other plants for sale.”
“During the exposition local Master Gardeners will staff a help desk and show to properly plant bulbs and plant bare-root roses,” Hansen said.