Permian Basin Master Gardeners
◄Design & Review Team►
The Design & Review Team was formed in the summer of 2004. Its mission is to help maintain the integrity of existing gardens concerning design, maintenance and educational uses and to determine whether the various garden projects continue to comply with the mission of the Permian Basin Master Gardeners. Each project garden is to be reviewed at least every three years. Additionally, with our board’s approval, the team may design and review gardens for worthy non-profit entities and provides information on the installation and maintenance of these gardens.
Non-profit organizations for which the team has designed gardens include the Presidential Museum, the historic White-Pool House, the West Texas Aphasia Center, and Meals on Wheels. These projects have varied widely in scope and scale.
All designs utilize galvanized metal water trough containers 4'long x 2'wide x 2' tall. All are designs for full sun locations, meaning they should receive at least six hours of sun per day to bloom or fruit. Water troughs are available at local farm and ranch supply stores for about $70 each, but if you plan to do several, you should call around to check availability.
Click [Here] for complete information and diagrams for container gardening material and layout projects. This is a 15 page pamphlet in PDF format which you can save to your computer or print out.
◄White – Pool House►
An historic residence in Odessa, the White-Pool House is located at 112 East Murphy. Their board asked us for a design to improve existing but mainly empty flower beds near the main entrance. They requested a simple, xeric design featuring but not limited to native Texas plants. We suggested native sandstone edging, additional lighting, drip irrigation and cypress mulch to improve these beds, as well.
◄George & Barbara Bush Home►
The George and Barbara Bush Home is located behind the Presidential Museum and Leadership Library at 4919 East University in Odessa. The Design and Review Team joined with the museum, the Odessa Board of Realtors, Keep Odessa Beautiful, and the Rotary Club in this project. We provided the design for the house and labor in planting.
We initially submitted two designs to the joint board, one based on the 1948-9 photos of the home at its original site and the other based on more current landscaping trends. We recommended the more current design, because it uses plants better suited to the climate of the area based on scientific study, many years of experience, and improvement in xeriscaping techniques. The board agreed that history is not always the most important consideration, noting that the science-based design would offer them easier care and less cost in the long run.
This project features many Texas native plants, but also includes a hybrid tea rose named for Barbara Bush.
◄Meals on Wheels►
In recent years, the Odessa Meals on Wheels organization has been involved in a long-term fund raising project to fund a new building. Once the beautiful new building was up, they called us for help designing a landscape.
This site was a challenge for a number of reasons. They have limited water available and huge street-side beds. Only a few inches of topsoil have been added onto native (and very hard) caliche. Their board also stressed to us that they wanted to keep costs down, because they wished to focus funds on their primary mission of providing meals.
It didn’t take us long to decide to keep it simple. We suggested native trees and grasses, a few hardy low maintenance perennials, and some rocks. Fortunately, this organization has access to heavy equipment and many volunteers to install the plant materials and rocks we recommended.
For them, we stressed soil amendment and having a watering schedule, since much hand watering with hoses will be done during the establishment period. We also stressed mulch and plastic sheeting to keep weeds to a minimum. They will be beginning their work this fall. We look forward to seeing the result.
◄West Texas Aphasia Center►
Third Place 2006 TMGA Project Award Winner
Located at 3301 Sinclair Avenue in Midland, the West Texas Aphasia Center serves patients suffering aphasia (impairment of speech or language understanding) from various medical conditions. The center approached us to design and help them establish a garden as a therapeutic resource. The resulting garden had to be easy for patients to work in and allow wheelchair access.
A vegetable garden with high raised beds and drip irrigation has suited their needs well. Design & Review Team members built and filled the beds and installed the irrigation for the center, and this summer aphasia center patients harvested their first crops. Center employees tell us they greatly enjoy working in the garden and loved taking home their veggies.
◄PBMG Project Garden Reviews►
Since its inception in 2004, the Design & Review Team has reviewed the Carver Elementary Garden, the Commemorative Air Force Xeriscape Garden, the Odessa Memorial Garden, the Variety Trial Garden at the Commemorative Air Force site, and the Compost Demonstration Garden at the Time Machine Recycling Center. These gardens are each detailed at other locations on this site.
We have developed a method of meeting first with the chairmen at their garden site and asking them what concerns and plans they have for their particular garden. We consider what the purpose of the garden is, keeping in mind Master Gardeners’ primary educational objective. At this first meeting, we also take digital photos of the garden, which we have found to be an invaluable asset. We have often remarked to one another how many things we see in the photos that we didn’t see with our eyes.
Our second meeting includes only D & R Team members. We sit down with our notes, copies of the photos, and a garden design diagram and wrestle with any problems the garden has, trying our best to help the chairmen make the most of what they have. We have found it imperative to offer more than one solution to each problem encountered, simply because the chairmen often have strong opinions and like choices. They don’t really want us to tell them what to do as much as they appreciate suggestions of possibilities.
Once we have listed all our suggestions and prioritized them in what we agree is order of importance, we meet with the chairmen again to present our report. The report generally consists of a layout of the digital photos accompanied by our suggestions under the individual shots. We discuss them and explain what we consider to be the merits of each suggestion.
Project garden chairmen are not bound to our review in any way. We have found that they generally take some of our advice and choose to ignore some. Still, it is a dynamic process, and most chairmen have expressed gratitude for what they see as carefully considered input.