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blueberry bush Auer image Mango in container image

Blueberry bushes (photo by Herman Auer) and mango trees (photo by Rudy Altamirano) will be sold at the 2007 Master Gardener’s plant sale on Feb. 3 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The Fruit Tree Seminar will be presented by Heidi Sheesley of TreeSearch Farms from 8 to 9 a.m.

The rare and delicious are featured at Feb. 3 Seminar & Plant Sale

By Alcestis "Cooky" Oberg
Guest columnist
Galveston County Master Gardener

February 1, 2007

Fruit Tree Sale & Seminar

SATURDAY, Feb. 3: Master Gardeners Fruit Tree Sale & Seminar. Carbide Park’s Wayne Johnson Community Center, 4102 FM 519 in La Marque. Seminar at 8:00 a.m. Sale from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Open to the general public. No reservation required.

The photos shown here display an appealing range of fruits but would you guess that all examples shown were locally grown?

Apart from the usual selection of perfect pears, peaches, plums, figs and apples for our area, this year’s Galveston County Master Gardener Fruit Tree Seminar & Sale will also feature a huge assortment of rare tropical fruit trees, not often found at other area nurseries. These include avocados, mangos, star fruit, guava, Barbados cherries, pomegranates and papayas. And if your home-grown tropical fruit salad could use some berries, there will be a large assortment of blueberries, blackberries and grapes available at the sale too.

This once-a-year opportunity to get the perfect fruit trees for Galveston County will happen at the annual Galveston County Master Gardener Fruit Tree Seminar & Sale at the Wayne Johnson Community Center in Carbide Park (4102 FM 519, La Marque) on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Prior to the fruit tree sale from 8 to 9 a.m. in the Wayne Johnson Community Center, Heidi Sheesley of TreeSearch Farms will provide a color-slide presentation on featured fruit trees. Preregistration is not required but seating is limited, so come early.

Proceeds from the plant sale are used to develop and maintain the Horticulture Demonstration Garden located at the Galveston County Extension Office which the public is invited to enjoy and learn from year-round.

Visit the web site below or contact the Galveston County Extension Office for additional information (281-534-3413, ext. 1-2).

Global Warming and New Fruits

Some local horticulturists think that Earth’s current climatic warming trend will allow places like Galveston County to grow more tropical-type fruits and many more citruses than in the cooler decades of the last century. While tropical fruit trees might still have to be protected during cold snaps like the one we experienced in mid-January, there has been a significant scientific effort to breed heartier varieties of tropical and citrus fruits that can withstand some bracing weather.

The three varieties of avocados at the sale—Opal, Wilma and the new "Fantastic"—can probably tolerate temperatures into the 20's when mature, along with most varieties Kumquats and Satsuma oranges. The papaya, Barbie Pink guava, star fruits and the wonderful fragrant allspice trees will certainly require protection.

My allspice tree, for instance, resides in a patio pot and is easily pulled in when freezing temperatures threaten. The leaves make a terrific smoking component to barbecue chicken and a great flavor enhancer to stews and soups. When full grown, the allspice tree produces delicate, white fragrant blossoms in the spring, followed by the famous allspice berries, used worldwide in fine cooking.


While blueberries generally detest our alkaline gumbo soil, they can thrive if people plant them in raised beds full of peat moss. Due to the huge response to the County Extension Office’s recent seminar in blueberry-growing, six varieties, perfect for our temperatures, are offered in this year’s sale: Brightwell, Climax, Premier, Tifblue, Woodard and Sharpblue. The health benefits to memory and disease-fighting are well documented in medical literature, and BLUEBERRIES are sure to be a welcome addition to the Galveston County home garden.


Most Galveston County residents seek out this great annual sale for the great assortment of citrus trees offered which perform well under our growing conditions. The Master Gardeners have corralled the best and most reliable varieties for the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas and have even produced an award-winning book on their care.

Due to the huge demand for these great and hard-to-find citrus trees, this year’s sale will have more citrus trees available for sale than in any previous year. These include the famous Republic of Texas orange, many varieties of cold-hearty satsumas and kumquats, along with a delicious array of mandarins, navel and blood oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits. Even the fascinating ancient Buddha's Hand—used candied by gourmet chefs and as a great visual element by florists—will be available.


Tropic Snow peaches, Tennessee pears, June plums, Sugar Apples and many other perfect varieties of stone fruit can only be purchased at this sale. Also offered are five different pomegranate varieties snapped up last year and five great figs too: the tried and true Celeste, LSU Purple, Banana, and two new varieties — LSU Gold and South Carolina Lemon Fig.

For the truly adventurous, there will also be some jujubes, jambus, strawberry trees, cherries of the Rio Grande and pawpaws. Jujubes are called "Asian dates" because they taste somewhat like a date when eaten as dried fruit. They grow very well in Galveston County.

Though availability of fruit and citrus trees will be good this year, it’s always best to show up early for the widest selection.

Visit the web site below or contact the Galveston County Extension Office for additional information (281-534-3413, ext. 1-2). Proceeds from the plant sale are used to develop and maintain the Horticulture Demonstration Garden located at the Galveston County Extension Office which the public is invited to enjoy and learn from year-round.

Dr. Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County
Extension Office of Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University. Visit his web site at

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