2021 Ellis County Master Gardener Lawn and Garden Expo presented at Chautauqua

By Patty Hullett
For the Daily Light

The Texas Master Gardener program and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services

sponsored an open air event last Saturday, March 27, at the Waxahachie Chautauqua building in Getzendaner Park. The Expo was hosted by the Ellis County Master Gardener Association from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Outside of the building, tents were set up for displaying various plants to be sold to the general public, and free gardening tips were also shared by chapter members.

Plants are for sale at the 21st annual Ellis County Master Gardener Lawn and Garden Expo.
The welcome table was all set up at the 21st annual Ellis County Master Gardener Lawn and Garden Expo at Chautauqua on Saturday.
Tulips and food trucks were on hand for the public's enjoyment at the 21st annual Ellis County Master Gardener Lawn and Garden Expo.

The local gardening group was excited to be back after missing their annual presentation last year (2020) because of COVID-19 restrictions. Although it was a much smaller affair this year than previous ones, Ovilla Master Gardener Tom Graves said “we’re hoping it will be back in its usual venue in 2022 at the local Waxahachie Civic Center – bigger and better than ever.”

Graves has been a Master Gardener for the past five years. The retired lawyer now resides in Ovilla and has 20-plus acres that keeps him busy. He says, “I am extremely interested in gardening because I’m always looking for new ways to use my land for veggies and other plants. In addition, I love the fellowship and camaraderie shared by the Ellis County chapter of gardeners.”

Master Gardener Tom Graves of Ovilla is on hand for festivities on Saturday, March 27, at the 21st annual Ellis County Master Gardener Lawn and Garden Expo.
Customers Philip and Cathy Tompson of Midlothian at the 21st annual Ellis County Master Gardener Lawn and Garden Expo.

The Expo featured two guest speakers: Daniel Cunningham, who spoke on “Edible Landscaping: A Delicious Concept” at 10 a.m.; and Greg Grant, who presented a talk on “Gardening’s Golden Rule – Right plant, right place” (a/k/a “Landscaping 101”) at noon. Both speakers are part of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services.

Grant shares, “Texas is such a huge, expansive state with so much diversity of factors like soil composition, yearly rainfall amounts, and varying temperatures. Successful gardening is always an adventure in the great state of Texas!” The Master Gardener from Tyler relayed his five basic design principles in landscaping (known in short as “B.U.R.D.S.):

Greg Grant of Tyler shares about landscape designs at the 21st annual Ellis County Master Gardener Lawn and Garden Expo.

1) Balance – Think of a balance beam in the middle of each main view of your work area — yard, porch, flower bed, front view of your house, etc. 

2) Unity – Create a certain theme to explain your use of plants, trees, fountains, other lawn accessories, etc. 

3) Repetition – This is the most important aspect of your design principles, as it holds everything together. It is best to repeat colors, shapes, hard elements, plants, etc.

4) Dominance – Rather than be too busy or too cluttered, it is suggested to have one focal point, as you want to frame all obvious views.

5) Scale – The overall scale of your final design should respond and be related to human-size features. For example: the size of your plants should match to the setting.

Another gardener on hand on Saturday was Marj McClung from Glenn Heights. She has taken her favorite hobby to a new height recently by becoming a Master Gardener in 2019. She shares, “I love gardening because of the beauty it brings, the tranquility it gives, and it takes me outside to enjoy the wonderful sunshine. Also, I like to talk to others about my passion and sharing the skills I am learning along my journey.” 

Master Gardener Marj Mcclung of Glenn Heights at the 21st annual Ellis County Master Gardener Lawn and Garden Expo.

For more information about becoming a master gardener or learning about available classes, please contact the Ellis County AgriLife Extension Office at 972-825-5175, or go online at www.ECMGA.com, or email the organization at ellismg@ag.tamu.edu, or follow this group on Facebook or Instagram for upcoming educational opportunities or plant sales.