For The Answer
By Calvin Finch, PhD, SAWS Conservation Director, and Horticulturist
Week of April 26, 2004
Texas Water Conservation Association this year declared the San Antonio Community the “Outstanding Conservationist of the Year” for its success in finding new water resources, protecting water quality, and for reducing our per capita water use. San Antonio has grown by about 300,000 people since 1990 but is still using approximately the same amount of water.
This success is due to many programs and activities (see SAWS website at saws.org) not the least important of which is an extensive low-water-use gardening education program. If you want to get on the “team” there is lots to choose from over the next few weeks. You have your choice between exhibits, lectures, and even “digging in the dirt” activities.
Next weekend on Saturday, May 1, is the Shavano Park Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden Planting. A number of Gardening Volunteers of South Texas will join me and Shavano Park organizers from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. to plant the new garden in the circle in front of the City Hall (900 Saddletree Court). Bring your tools (labeled with your name) and join in the fun. It will be good exercise and an opportunity to learn which low-water-use plants attract wildlife. Call Barbara Beer at 479-2338 for more information.
On Sunday, May 2, the 8th Annual Garden Jazz Party will be held at the San Antonio Botanical Garden (555 Funston Place). Entry to the Botanical Garden is free of charge, compliments of San Antonio Water System, San Antonio Parks & Recreation, and the San Antonio Botanical Society. The event will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Bob Webster will broadcast his live KTSA gardening show (550 AM) from the event from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. and Dr. Jerry Parsons, Milton Gluecke, and I will broadcast our “Gardening South Texas” (KLUP 930 AM) show from Milbergers from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. You can watch how a live radio show is organized and even ask gardening questions.
The event has several other attractions. Planet Soul will provide the music and the beautiful garden is provided compliments of San Antonio Parks & Recreation and Mother Nature. There will also be stations where you can ask questions about low-water-use gardening. The stations include landscape planning, improving soil, mulching, well-adapted plants, landscape maintenance, efficient turfgrass, and efficient watering. Individuals who visit all the stations have a chance to win a landscape gift certificate to their favorite nursery.
The GVST and Botanical Society will have a selection of low water plants on sale. The first 1500 individuals who attend the Garden Jazz Party will receive a Garden Jazz t-shirt. For those of you collecting the t-shirts, Dana Nichols, Garden Jazz Coordinator for SAWS, reports that the t-shirt this year will say “Blooms and Tunes”.
The next weekend, May 8 and 9, it is time for the Mother’s Day weekend Xeriscape Garden Tour. The tour runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on both days. The winning landscapes of the Xeriscape Contest will be determined this week and they will be featured on the tour. Tune in to KLUP 930 AM “South Texas Gardening” on May 1 from noon until 2 p.m. or on May 2 from 1 until 3 p.m. for the addresses of the tour landscapes or call the Gardening Volunteers of South Texas at 522-9220 for the addresses of the winning neighborhoods. There are usually two winning neighborhoods, one inside Loop 410 and one outside of the loop.
Later in the month on Saturday, May 22, the annual Festival of Flowers event will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Crossroads Convention Center. Admission is $4 for adults and free for kids under 8 years old. There’s a $1 off coupon in your April SAWS bill insert (Water News). For more information call 930-1100 or visit their website at SAFestivalofFlowers.com.
Children can attend all of the other events described but the most fun event for families with children will take place on Saturday, May 15, at the Freeman Coliseum from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. It is WaterFest 2004 Family Day. I will speak on Xeriscape Gardening on the H2O Hero Village Stage from 3:00 until 4:00 p.m. There are a large number of interactive exhibits and fun activities related to water quality and conservation. It is all free, including parking. Mark your calendar and receive more information by calling 704-7447 or by visiting www.saws.org.