Ask any hummingbird to name its favorite nectar flowers, and it will undoubtedly list the salvia gregii, commonly called autumn sage, among them. Ask any fan of native Central Texas plants to name a favorite speaker on the topic, and no doubt Texas native plants man Armand Hufault’s name will be high on the list.

Hufault, who calls Jarrell home, and Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas his affiliation, will be the first featured speaker to address the Spring Fling audience Monday, March 31 at St. John Lutheran Church in Hamilton on the topic, “Salvia Greggiifor Gardens and Hummingbirds.”

With 50 plus years of gardening experience spread across regions of the northeastern United States, California and Central Texas, he will cover origins and distribution of these popular plants, as well as plant care, maintenance, cultivation and more. His background also consists of landscape design and installation of water-wise gardens and a history as a wholesale grower and retail garden center business owner.

Not only has Hufault served as a lecturer and docent at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, he has also introduced new Texas native plants to the retail trade. Furthermore, he established the Native Plant Society Georgetown, Marble Falls and Wichita Falls Chapters and the Texas Master Gardener program of Travis County.

As a special treat, Hufault will bring 4-inch pots of Texas native plants to the fundraising event, selling them for $2 each. Most will be from the salvia greggii family, such as SGCardinal Velvet-salvia greggii X, a selection from Armand Hufault’s velvet series-Sports from original Red Velvet plant; SGCompact Magenta-Salvia Greggii, low growing and violet-tinted pink; SGJarrell Pink- Salvia greggii, an orange tinted pink selection; SGJarrell Wine-Salvia Greggii,a wine merlot shade, selection; SGRaspberry Dark-salvia greggii, whose flowers have ruffles, and are the color of dark raspberry stain on white cloth; SGRuby Velvet-salvia greggii X, color of the Ruby gem, a selection from velvet series-Sports from original Red Velvet plant; and SGPink Preference- Salvia greggii, with very aromatic foliage, now very rare in the retail trade.

Other perennials will feature Artemesia ludoiviciana, a silver foliage plant, which forms a nice, drought tolerant, spreading colony; Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus), Burnet County, Texas; Orange Mallow (Shaeralcea ambigua) with silver foliage and orange flowers; Agave spp; Austin Silver (salvia frinacea)-Williamson.Austin Counties, Texas, a pure white with mealy silver-grey calyxes; Calylophus drummondii, yellow with black eye; Calylophus drummondii, yellow with black stigma; and Gregg’s Mistflower, a blue, butterfly magnet.

Hufault plans to donate a percentage of the proceeds to the Hamilton Extension Education Council, sponsoring non-profit organization of the Spring Fling.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for registration and shopping in the silent auction room as well as with the 18 vendors around the church community room/gymnasium.

The program starts at 9:30 a.m.

The St. John Lutheran Preschool children will regale us with musical delights at 10:45, and Irene Sandell reviews her latest historical novel, "The House on Swiss Avenue," at11:15. A lunch of large salads and desserts runs from 11:45 to 1:00 p.m.

Locally written and acted play “Don’t Mess with Texas Women”promises to convey another colorful look at our state’s history at 1 p.m., and Holly Browning with the Historic Waco Foundation wraps up the informative presentations with “Don’t Put Grandpa in a Shoebox” at 2 p.m.

Anyone unable to attend for the entire day is welcome to show up for parts of it or at least for lunch (only $8 for any part thereof), knowing that many 4-H children, under the umbrella of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, stand to benefit from the funds raised.

To talk more about Spring Fling, contact organizers at malambert65@gmail.com or (254) 386-8396 or jerriecage@gmail.com or (254) 372-3165.