Docent Training led by Peckerwood Garden Founder John Fairey

Please join us and train as a tour guide/docent for Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation. The three-session program will be held February 21, February 28, and March 7: training begins at 11 am.

These training sessions will be 1.5 to 2 hours each, covering a section of the garden each day. Focused training is available if you have special garden areas you are interested in. John Fairey will be your instructor for all three classes. Documents will be provided for review and questions are welcomed.

RSVP to Bethany Jordan or by phone at 979-826-3232. Please provide details on your particular garden/plant interests as well as availability for tours after training. If heavy rain is forecast, training will be moved out one week later from the original scheduled date.

Limited space available, additional sessions will be scheduled at a later date if filled.

Active Volunteers receive a 20% discount on plant purchases.

Beschorneria septentrionalis

In March of 1991, Martin Grantham, horticulturist in charge of the Mezo-American Garden at the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley; Eduardo Estrata Castillon, student at the College of Forestry Science at the State University of Nuevo Leon, Linares, Mexico; and Carl Schoenfeld of Yucca Do Nursery, accompanied me on a botanizing expedition to northeastern Mexico to observe Magnolia tamaulipana at its northern location in the Sierra Madre Oriental, approximately seventy miles north of Ciudad Victoria. It was much to our surprise and delight that while driving through a pine oak forest, we first saw the Beschorneria in flower. It had bright red and green cylindrical bell-shaped blooms held on glossy scarlet four-foot-tall stalks that were exceptionally exotic. The stalks emanated from a base of dark green, strap-like, evergreen foliage. Although this agave-relative had been identified and named in literature in 1987, it represented a rare find to be shared with the world of horticulture.

Two plants were collected: one was planted at Peckerwood Garden and has thrived under shaded conditions with some moisture; the other was sent to the Botanical Garden at Berkley for testing and hybridization. In August of the same year, I returned to the same site to collect seeds that were shared with the late Dr. J. C. Raulston (North Carolina State University Arboretum) and Yucca Do Nursery. These plants have proven cold hardy to -4°F, flowered healthy blooms, and produced viable seeds. In the mid 1990’s Martin Grantham made crosses between B. septentrionalis and B. yuccoides, and many of these sturdy hybrids are being tested at Peckerwood Garden. Their foliage is rich green, washed with silver frosting. We have not experienced a typical winter “blue norther” for several years; therefore we can not report on cold hardiness. In early May, 2000, three of these plants that are being tested in a sunny location flowered. The blossoms were showy and very similar to the B. yuccoides parent.

— John G. Fairey