Athens Review, Athens, Texas

June 25, 2010

Free guided walking tour of arboretum Saturday

Special to the Review
The Athens Review

Athens — The Henderson County Master Gardeners will offer visitors a free guided walking tour of the East Texas Arboretum on Saturday, June 26 at 9:30 a.m. 

Arboretum Executive Director of the Arboretum Teresa Glasgow said HCMG will lead the tour.  The tour will include the Koi pond, the historical Wofford home,  a variety of gardens, the 1-room schoolhouse, a short trail walk across the suspension bridge and onto the deck overlooking the bog. 

During the walk, Glasgow will highlight some of the new camouflage landscaping, and a stop will be made at the HCMG D.R.E.A.M. Garden where Master Gardner members will be available to answer questions, and serve up some cool refreshments.

The Arboretum was established in 1993 on a 100-acre site of an abandoned truck farm.  With its dry hills, hardwood forest, seasonal bogs and permanent wetlands along Walnut Creek, it offers the perfect environment in which to create an Arboretum.

The recent purchase of additional land adjacent to the original site and U.S. Highway 175 will provide space for the arboretum to continue with its planned long-range development.

Glasgow started early as a volunteer, and became Executive Director in 2004. She will address some of those plans during the walk.

The Arboretum Board donated the plot of land that is now the HCMG D.R.E.A.M. Garden in 2006. The acronym D.R.E.A.M. stands for Demonstrate, Research, Educate, Apply and Maintain.

Using a plan drawn up by landscaper Denise Stratton-Hoch of HCMG, the plot was fenced, a small garden was dug and planted, and the back side of the plot was used as a trial garden for Earth Kind roses.

A stringent list of what to do and what not to do were part of the trial garden’s rules, and no water, no fertilizer, no pest control could be used there.

At the end of the third year of the trial, three surviving roses were left, and the need for a change in the plot was obvious.  Master Gardeners Margaret Dansby and Linda Benton began the work of transforming the plot into the lush cottage garden you see now, using the plants that do well in the East Texas environment.  Many of these plants were dug  from the yards of the Master Gardeners.

In many ways, the HCMG Garden mirrors the Arboretum.  Both are sustained through the ongoing efforts of dedicated volunteers.  All of the gardens face the challenges presented by deer and rabbits, among other  plant eating pests. Hence the need for camouflage landscaping.  Glasgow defines this as “a mixed planting offering up the least appealing salad bar for the deer.”

The Arboretum with its variety of gardens, historical homestead, large pavilion, the 4,000 square-foot Women’s Building, ridges, hiking trails and the HCMG  D.R.E.A.M Garden nestled within it, offer a wonderful place to experience nature in all seasons.

Now is the time, Glasgow says, to come see for yourself what plants really thrive in this East Texas heat.

Put on your walking shoes, grab a sunhat and join the group in the arboretum for a free tour on Saturday.

This is the third in the Summer Series of free workshops offered to the public by the Henderson County Master Gardeners.  The Summer Series is co-sponsored by the East Texas Arboretum and the Trinity Valley Community College Community Services Department.

For information on the entire Summer Series see the MG website at Henderson-co-tx-mg.org or call 903-675-6130.