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Fruit Orchard & Garden Tour May 19

By Dr. William M. Johnson, Galveston County Extension Agent - Horticulture

May 15, 2007

Gardening -  Earth-Kind Roses Image

A Fruit Orchard and Garden Tour will be conducted from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon on Saturday, May 19, 2007. This year’s tour sites contain a wide variety of commonly grown fruit as well as vegetables and display beds of a variety of low maintenance roses known as Earth-Kind.

Photo credit: Dr. William M. Johnson


The Extension Fruit & Pecan Committee, Texas Master Gardeners and the Galveston County Extension Office will sponsor a Fruit Orchard and Garden Tour on Saturday, May 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The program is open to the public and free-of-charge.

Two fruit orchards are on this year’s tour route. Each location will be open during the 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon time period. You will have the option of touring either or both sites.

This year’s tour sites contain a wide variety of fruit trees ranging from a peach orchard (Fruits ’n Such Orchard located at 6309 Avenue U - Bowerman Drive in Dickinson) and the Master Gardeners Demonstration Orchard (located in Carbide Park in La Marque). Citrus, figs, apples and other fruit trees can be seen also.

Both sites also contain a wide variety of vegetables ranging from cucumbers to watermelon. Vegetables are grown in raised beds at Carbide Park whereas the vegetables are grown in the ground at Fruits ’n Such Orchard. Both sites also contain herb gardens and the Fruits ’n Such Orchard site offers a pick-your-own blackberries.

If you have an interest in roses, be sure to visit the display beds of Earth-Kind roses located at the Carbide Park site. Roses have had a centuries-long reputation of being the most neurotic members of the plant world. Homeowners love their magnificent blooms and fragrance. Consequently, they spend much money buying fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides to sustain their roses, and much time pruning, deadheading, and watering them to keep them blooming. Roses that qualify for the Earth-Kind designation are low-maintenance and perform very well under a variety of growing conditions.

Several Extension volunteers will be available at both sites to answer questions including Sam Powers who is widely known for his expertise on fruit trees. Sam has prepared a publication entitled "Our Edible Landscape" which will be available to visitors at both tour sites. His publication is a compilation of hands-on experiences and useful tips for growing a variety of fruit trees in our growing area.

The following excerpt from "Our Edible Landscape" provides an excellent overview of what you can expect: "To start with, I do not consider this an orchard. It is my idea of landscaping that some people might consider as having gotten out of hand. When I started, a plant had to meet two criteria: it had to be edible and practically maintenance-free. If a plant can’t survive on its own, it could die and I would try something else. The soil is heavy black clay (gumbo) that is usually too wet or too dry to work. When it is wet, it sticks to your feet like molasses, and when it is dry it is like a rock. The only plants here that are not planted in gumbo are the roses in raised beds, the blueberries in a raised bed, and the grapes in fill sand . . . "

To obtain a map with directions to the tour sites, visit the Galveston County Extension Office located at 5115 Highway 3 in Dickinson (281-534-3413, ext. 1-2). A printable copy of the tour map is available on the Internet at the website address provided at the end of this column. In the event of severe weather occurring on the day of the tour, we will not be able to provide a substitute "rain date."

Area homeowners who grow–or plan to grow–fruit trees and/or vegetables will find the tour to be of considerable benefit.

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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