50th Harlingen Flower Show set for March 23-24

March 13, 2019

HARLINGEN — The Harlingen Flower Show will mark its 50th year of blooms and blossoms this month with a special focus on bringing edible and native plants to backyards.

This year’s show will be held March 23-24 from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days at the Harlingen Cultural Arts Center next to the Harlingen Public Library.

Exceptional horticulture specimens will be on display and will be judged. Exhibit categories include Wild Native Blooms, Floral Designs and Artistic Crafts. Houseplants and native plants will be available for purchase and garden-related items will be included in a raffle.

PowerPoint presentations will be delivered at 2 p.m. each day. On Saturday, Christina Mild will present “Edible Native Plants.” On Sunday, Frank Wiseman will present “Landscaping with Natives to Attract Wildlife.”

Both Wiseman and Mild are native plant specialists and Texas Master Naturalists. Lecture seating is limited and available on a first-come basis.

“ My focus is not that you should go out and collect these in the wild because these are things animals depend on,” Mild said of the native edibles. “But you can grow them in your yard, and I’m encouraging small children to pick something and eat it on their own.”

“ Barbados cherry is one, and brush holly is another,” she added. “Texas persimmon, which has a lovely black fruit, is very tasty.”

Wiseman will deliver a lecture on how to transform a yard into something more amenable to native plant species. Mild said such changes need not be made overnight, but can be gradually introduced over several years.

“ Frank has formed his yard from one that had many, many bird feeders and bird baths, which took a lot of time and expense for him to keep stocked,” Mild said. “He gradually over the years transformed that into small beds and every year he would put in a few more small beds replacing his turf grass. Over time he transformed his backyard plants to primarily native.”

Mild said she and other Texas Master Naturalists will be taking cuttings of native plants to display at the flower show to give those who are interested a better idea of a plant’s appearance.

“ For each of those plants, they’ll have information about it,” she said. “We will have a cornucopia with some of the things that we’ve been seeing and people can learn about what they are and if they want to grow them in their own yards. Plenty of them will be for sale.”

Admission to the flower show is free, although organizers say they will gladly take donations.