Plant Ambassador

I have shopped at Raintree Nursery (they are a mail order, specialty fruit nursery) for about 16 years now. Some of my favorite fruiting plants have come from them. So, when they put a call out this year for expert growers, with ten years (or more) of experience in their area, I threw my hat in the ring.

I was chosen to represent Texas. I am in one of two stand alone states, and if you’ve ever heard the ad for Texas tourism: “It’s like a whole other country” then you may know why. Our growing region is not like any other southern region. We’re humid from the Gulf of Mexico but most of Texas (outside the Gulf area and some north eastern areas) doesn’t see a lot of rain.

We are as far south as much of Florida, but without the moisture and we freeze frequently. We’re hot like New Mexico but generally our urban/suburban areas are not located in full on deserts, and we definitely don’t experience much “dry heat” and desert conditions until you get out west.

North Texas freezes yearly and sometimes you’ll even get a decent snow in the DFW area, which is closer to the Texas/Oklahoma border. The very southern parts of Texas can skip long heavy freezes for a decade or more. The cycle in the Rio Grande Valley (the border of Texas and Mexico) of infrequent but severe freezes can wipe out the region’s large scale citrus growers.

In San Antonio, we have the most rain in March and the least in August (when the temperatures are soaring.) In the middle of our summers we can stay over 100° F well after midnight. In the middle of our winters we’ll have a short freeze, starting around the holidays and then 70-80 degree days peppered with cooler weather. (Which makes our chill hours very low down here.) Then we’ll get more short freezes and more 80 degree days. We’re just an odd duck in so far as our growing conditions.

So I represent a very unique grow zone. I think part of why I was picked (out of the nearly 300 people that applied) is because I have lived all over this state. My particular experience in San Antonio is on a quarter acre, suburban lot that is split between garden, orchard, play areas and grass. I kind of represent the bulk of who buys from Raintree down here.

My main job is answering regional questions (which all get a bit at the end suggesting extension offices and Texas A&M horticulture information.) Raintree also offers longer horticultural consultations. So if you’re just starting out, and have a million questions: that may be a better fit for you, because they can take the time to walk you through your options.

I am enjoying the job. Responding to growers is why I started this blog 10 years ago.

Raintree is a reliable grower and I recommend checking them out if you are interested in growing fruiting trees or bushes. And, if you are inside the Texas borders: look me up on their website. I’m listed under the Texas Plant Ambassador (I’m at the bottom of the page) and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about Raintree’s available fruits and Texas growing conditions:

My raised beds last year.

If you are interested in growing fruit and you are outside of Texas, there is a fantastic group of people working as Plant Ambassadors for Raintree who specialize in your area. The link above will take you to them.

This has really been fun so far. I couldn’t have picked a better online nursery to work with!

Go get your hands dirty, and I’ll meet you in the garden this spring!


One thought on “Plant Ambassador

  1. That is awesome! I am somewhat familiar with RainTree Nursery, and purchased a few of my fruit trees and apple rootstock from them years ago. At the time, they had a good selection of elderberries, although they could not be sent to California.

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