This Saturday, you're invited to the big 17th Annual Garden Party at Nelson Water Gardens & Nursery, 1502 Katy-Fort Bend Road. That's just north of Interstate 10 at Exit 742 in Katy.

It's an all-day affair, with the doors opening at 9 a.m., classes throughout the day, and GardenLine on site 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

It's your opportunity to pick up expertise on all things water gardening plus learn about "disappearing" fountains and the unusual landscape plants for which Nelson's has become famous. With disappearing fountains, water is pumped from a hidden reservoir in the ground, up through the fountain, then it seemingly disappears back into the ground.

We will also be giving away a piece of their magnificent pottery. It has yet to be designated, but you can see it for yourself at 11 a.m. Saturday at the KTRH GardenLine table. You don't have to be present to win, but you absolutely must register at our table. We'll draw the winner at 1 p.m.

I think I've been at Nelson's to celebrate the annual garden party for at least 16 if not all 17 years. I have a very vivid memory of the first time I talked with Anita and Rolf Nelson as they ventured into radio advertising. That talk makes me think of the amazing history and transformation at Nelson's over the years. In fact, here's a little history on how Nelson's came to be. It's worth looking over, I assure you.

These days, you see and hear Peter Nelson, Rolf and Anita's oldest child, in much of their television advertising, and it makes me feel a little old and very nostalgic. I remember him as a spry teenager, helping out however he could in the family business. Now, he has become the "innovator" and super-installer/builder of new ponds and disappearing-fountain ideas - just two of the many Nelson trademarks.

I've said this many times, but if there's one thing to take away from this week's post, it's that Rolf, Anita, Peter and the entire family and staff at Nelson's are our local experts for all things water gardening, plus they're nationally and internationally recognized water-garden experts. Since they are in our own backyard, you should take advantage of their knowledge and expertise.

Here's the Saturday class schedule:
10 a.m. - A healthy pond is a happy pond: Demi "Pondman" Fortuna of Atlantic Water Gardens knows what it takes to maintain a clear and healthy pond.
11 a.m. - Butterfly Gardening: Nancy Grieg, butterfly expert and director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, will show you how to attract butterflies to your garden.
12:30 p.m. - Pumps, Waterfalls, Streams and More: Demi Fortuna demonstrates how to efficiently move water in a pond, and at low cost! Bring your pond plans for a one-on-one consultation after the workshop!