Garden club to host guest speaker at Phelan Mansion

Garden club to host guest speaker at Phelan Mansion

Bart Brechter, curator of Bayou Bend Gardens in Houston, will be the guest speaker at the upcoming Magnolia Garden Club “Bounties of Black Gold” Flower Show. His topic will be organic gardening, a technique he has used to transform Bayou Bend Gardens into “the state’s only formal organic public garden.” His work with the River Oaks Garden Club has helped to maintain the integrity of Bayou Bend Gardens as Ms. Ima Hogg, its creator, intended. The drought during this past year presented special challenges to the 14 heavily wooded acres and the eight formal gardens.

A native Houstonian, Brechter has been back in Houston since 1991 when he returned from Pine Mountain, Ga., where he had been manager at Callaway Gardens. As a strong believer in his organic program, he has discovered that not only is it successful at Bayou Bend, but organic gardening has saved almost 50 percent on irrigation costs.Brechter met the club last spring in the East Garden of the Phelan Mansion to discuss the possibilities of reclaiming an old garden (original to the house from the early 1920s) and restoring it in an historical manner. As conversations continued, the Magnolia Garden Club members began to understand Brechter’s message of the importance of organics in the lawn and garden. This is especially true in a hospital landscape.

Brechter is returning to the Phelan Mansion on Tuesday, March 20, to share his message and explain the components to being a successful organic gardener. The public is invited at no charge to the 3 p.m. lecture. The mansion is adjacent to Christus Hospital-St. Elizabeth in Beaumont. Rear parking from the North Street entrance is encouraged.

The lecture is a highlight of the Conservation Exhibit/Education Program in the “Bounties of Black Gold” Flower Show presented by the Magnolia Garden Club. The Flower Show will be open to the public on Tuesday, March 20, from 1-4 p.m. and on Wednesday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the house. The East Garden will be open for self-tours.

Joette is an avid gardener and prides  herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400 or fax her at (409) 832-6222. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.