Return of the native plantsman

SUE KOPP Special to The Reporter
Native Plantsman Armand Hufault will give a presentation at the Spring Fling in Hamilton.

Armand Hufault of Killeen captivated us at last year’s Spring Fling with a presentation on salvia greggii, or autumn sage, plants. This year he returns “by popular demand” to the event on March 30 at St. John Lutheran Church Family Life Center, held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., to tell us why he chooses to grow native plants rather than introduced or invasive species.

A founding member and former president of the Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT), Hufault operates his own wholesale native plant nursery. He supplies nurseries with his well grown native plants. He encourages us when we go garden shopping to ask for locally grown natives for best success and sustainability in our gardens.

On behalf of the Hamilton Extension Education Association (HEEA), Hufault will propose labor- and water-saving ideas, and how to help your plants survive a severe drought. On this occasion, he will also have several hardy native plants for sale. Hufault can be reached at ahufault35@yahoo.com to learn what he grows and supplies to nearby nurseries, or to learn more about the NPSOT Spring Symposium on Saturday, March 28 at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.

The Native Plant Society of Texas promotes research, conservation and utilization of native plants and plant habitats in Texas through education, outreach and example, and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization funded by membership dues, individual and corporate contributions and foundation grants, and is run by volunteers. The two chapters nearest to Hamilton are Prairie Rose NPSOT in Glen Rose and Tonkawa NPSOT for Temple/Killeen.

Hufault is one of the four distinguished speakers scheduled to address our audience, along with charming musical entertainment by the St. John preschoolers, a wonderful assortment of 19 vendors, bounteous door prizes, a primo silent auction, and a mouthwatering salad/dessert buffet at 11:45 a.m., all (or any part) offered by HEEA for a modest $8 donation. What a deal! Right? So join us and have a delightful and edifying day.

Meanwhile, our silent auction is growing by leaps and bounds, with items donated by several of our booth vendors, such as Native Plantsman and speaker Hufault, Anita Adams’ Hamilton Floral and Gifts, Judy Knoll’s Beyond the Porch Door, Micca Rogers, Dorothy Waller, Lucinda Flores’ Watkins Products, David Kinsey’s DK Metal Art, and Lisa Wagner with Pampered Chef.

Other auction gifts have been provided by Maria Weaver at The Hamilton Herald-News, Mark & Blanca Sepolio’s Central Perk Bistro, Steve Sanford’s Another Go Round, Colin Melton’s Dig This, Steve & Keri Watson and their Watson’s Ranch & Farm Supply, Omar & Gabby Ramirez of El Jardin Mexican Restaurant, Bert Schrank LP Gas Co., Dee Wagner, Tim Pietzsch, Circle T Crossfire Restaurant, Michael Langford’s BatandBirdBoxes.com, Hamilton Electric Co-Op, Don Haile’s Ranglers Convenience Store, Jeanette Galindo at Extraco Bank and Insurance, West Henry Feed Store, and Lawson Implement Co.

There are also added cash gifts, goods and gift certificates from Doug Baker at First State Bank Central Texas in Hamilton, Richard Neie at Higginbotham Brothers, Dona Kindle of Dona’s Hair & Fashion Salon, Holly May’s Ken’s True Value Hardware, Kent Wenzel and his Wenzel’s Lone Star Meat, Joe Baker at Brookshire Brothers Grocery Store, Jan and David Pattillo’s Jordan’s Pharmacy, Denise Hughes’ Sassy Sauerkraut, and Don Gromatzky and Mike Lovell at Hamilton Banking Center/ Mills County State Bank.

Burlap Rose Antiques & Gifts chipped in, too, and Dan & Kara Chorenziak of The Dutchman’s Hidden Valley, Microbe Inc., Pederson s Natural Farms, Hamilton Quality Meats, City Drug, Kim Hinton at the Hamilton Wellness Center, Angie Ros at The Donut Shop, Armando Torres’ Giovanni’s 2 Italian Restaurant, and Bobby Stephen’s Hamburger Hill, as well as several members of HEEA and the Pottsville Extension Education Club.

The Texas Extension Education Association (TEEA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a catalyst for leadership development of Texas women, and community service activities are the medium for the expression of charitable interests and community enrichment. For more information on our Home and Garden Spring Fling or the TEEA, our HEEA chairperson Mary Lambert can be reached at 254/386-8396 or malambert65@gmail.com.