SAN ANTONIO — The Bexar County Master Gardener association is taking orders for its annual poinsettia sale with proceeds to benefit the Master Gardener Scholarship program, said sale coordinators.
Bexar County Master Gardeners is the volunteer horticulture program of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County.
“For the past four years, Bexar County Master Gardeners has offered two $2,000 scholarships annually to students majoring in horticulture or some aspect of the green industry attending a Texas college or university,” said association president Barbara Lutz. “The annual poinsettia sale and other plant sales throughout the year provide funding for those scholarships.”
Lutz said the association recently named two Texas A&M University students as their 2011-2012 scholarship recipients. The first was Lauren Garcia, a junior with a double major in horticulture and landscape design whose study abroad in Guatemala and Costa Rica helped farmers better manage crop production and introduced Central American youth to the Junior Master Gardener program. The second was Janos Arnosky, an Eagle Scout and licensed pilot with a horticulture major and Spanish minor, who was named ‘Most Outstanding Freshman in Horticulture’ at Texas A&M this spring.
“The support and encouragement of deserving students who plan to become a part of the horticulture landscape in Texas is one of our most rewarding projects,” Lutz said. “These recipients have the talent and commitment to become a vital part of Texas horticulture.”
The poinsettias the Master Gardeners have for sale this year were grown by Peterson Brothers Inc., one of the state’s largest wholesale growers, and are sold to the Bexar County Master Gardeners association at the wholesale price, said David Rodriguez, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent for horticulture in Bexar County.
“These plants are high-quality, florist-grade plants and we sell them at prices lower than or competitive with most retailers,” said Rodriguez, who oversees the county’s Master Gardener program. “The sale involves from 25 to 30 members of our Bexar County Master Gardener volunteer horticulture program and, most importantly, raises money for scholarships.”
Rodriguez said Peterson’s grows about 36,000 poinsettia plants each year for sale to retailers in Texas and elsewhere.
“Poinsettias are the No. 1 seasonal flower and about 90 percent of all poinsettias sold are red, so we’re glad we can offer the plants in not only their most popular color, but also in white, ‘Aggie’ or ‘Prestige’ maroon, and Picasso, which is a red and white variegated flower. We’ll have plenty of them in supply, but we’d like people to get their order in as soon as possible so we can make sure they’re on site for pick-up.”
The plants come in 6½-inch plastic pots with support rings and come in protective sleeves, Rodriguez said. There are also 5-inch red plants available for purchase.
The price for one to four plants is $14 each and $12 each for five or more, and plant colors can be mixed. The 5-inch red poinsettias are $5 each, and colored foil pot covers will be available for $1 each.
“There may be limited quantities of some colors of poinsettia, so we’re asking people to place their orders as soon as possible,” he said.
Rodriguez said plants must be picked up between noon and 3 p.m. Dec. 9 or from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 10 in Suite 208 of the AgriLife Extension office, located in Conroy Square, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr. in northwest San Antonio.
An order form may be obtained there or at the AgriLife Extension website for Bexar County at http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu or the Bexar County Master Gardener website at http://www.bexarcountymastergardeners.org.
“The sale is a great way for Master Gardeners to be involved in something that really helps build excitement and brings out a little of the holiday spirit,” Lutz said.
Rodriguez added that other Master Gardener plant sales, including the annual sale in the Texas Experience pavilion of the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo, also provide funding for the association’s scholarships and the Youth Gardens Program of AgriLife Extension.
“Through our Youth Garden’s Program, AgriLife Extension and volunteers from the Bexar County Master Gardeners association bring horticultural education and the joy of gardening to thousands of young people throughout the county,” Rodriguez said.