For The Answer
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Conservation Director, and Horticulturist
Week of May 16, 2005
Potty-O Gardening Contest
Ten thousand San Antonians per year are taking advantage of the offers from SAWS to provide a free low-flow toilet to its customers to replace pre-1992 water-wasting toilets. The old toilets can be discarded at the following sites: 1) SAWS N.W. Conservation Site, 6798 Culebra Rd., 2) SAWS Eastside Service Center, 3930 E. Houston and 3) Hughes Supply at 4510 Rittiman Rd. Another option is to recycle the commode as a garden. The theme of the Festival of Flowers this year is Gardening San Antonio Style, and with tongue in cheek, the event features a Potty-O Gardening Contest.
Gardeners are encouraged to remove the hardware and bolts from their old toilet so that the tank and bowl can be filled with potting soil. Separated in that way, that can be transported for display at the Festival of Flowers where the tank will be placed back on the bowl. To open the field to more gardeners, the contest will accept entries of any kind of discarded recycled item that can be transported to the event by the gardener.
Plant your commode or other junk garden, take a digital picture of the creation and submit it to www.plantanswers.com. Regular pictures can be mailed or dropped off at Milberger’s Nursery located at 3920 N. Loop 1604 (Bulverde and 1604). The Festival of Flowers event is on May 28, 2005, at the Alzafar Shrine Temple at 1604 between Stone Oak and Blanco Rd. The pictures need to be submitted by May 23rd.
The best submittals (up to 12) will be exhibited at the Festival. The first, second and third place winners will receive a $100, $75 and $50 gift certificate respectively from SAWS for use at their favorite nursery. Milberger’s will provide a $25 gift certificate to all of the other winners invited to display their garden. Milton Glueck of KLUP Gardening South Texas, the “brains” behind the Potty-O Gardening Contest says that he expects a number of celebrity gardeners also to decorate commodes for the event.
When asked about qualified judges, Milton proudly announced that the “King of Junk Gardening”, Felder Rushing from Mississippi would be a featured speaker at the event and lead the judging team. Horticulturist Rushing is a renowned gardening speaker and author of many books including: Alabama & Mississippi Gardeners Guide, Can’t Miss Container Gardening, Gardening Southern Style, Passalong Plants, Scarecrows: Making Harvest Figures and Other Yard Folks.
For those of you that are not excited about Potty-O Gardening, the Festival of Flowers has a lot of other things to offer. Howard Garrett, organic gardening proponent from Dallas, Texas, will join Felder Rushing as a featured speaker. Howard has a gardening show on the radio in Dallas and is the author of several books on organic gardening, including A Texas Bug Book, which he co-authored with local organic guru Malcolm Beck.
Bob Webster (KTSA radio and Shades of Green Nursery) will moderate a panel on organic gardening as part of the program and I will moderate the landscaping options panel. We will emphasize low water use landscaping consistent with the theme of Gardening San Antonio Style.
If you have never been to the Festival of Flowers, it is an event that deals strictly with horticultural topics. There will be exhibits of landscape options and many booths where plants and gardening supplies are sold, but do not expect to see hot tubs, combination windows, or knife sets!
Jerry Parsons (KLUP Radio and Texas Cooperative Extension) and his Garden Volunteers of South Texas team will have the new Mexican lilac (vitex) and other of their experimental plants for sale. The Bexar County Master Gardeners, San Antonio Botanical Garden also are prominent contributors. One of the most popular features of Festival of Flowers is the plant exchange. It allows you to trade your excess containerized plants for credits, which can be used for other plants brought to the exchange. To review the rules of the Plant exchange, find more information on the Potty-O Gardening contest, or learn more about Festival of Flowers in general, visit the website www.gardeningvolunteers.org. I am working on my potty garden and hope you are too.
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