The New Turf Grasses

I just read an article about new turf grasses which are being developed at Texas A&M along with the native grasses which are being cultivated at Native American Seed.  This is all in response to our increasing water awareness.   http://greensourcedfw.org/articles/turf-talk-experts-say-north-texas-lawns-need-change

About four years ago, my world view was changed when I heard a lecture as part of the Master Naturalist Certification through Texas A&M Agri-life.  The lecture was about the future of water here in the Metroplex.I went home and began experimenting with native plants and perennials in my typical  yard of bermuda grass.

I had no idea about what would grow in our clay soil, so I read the labels on plants at the nurseries, supported plant sales at the Heard Museum, the Boy Scouts, and as a fund-raiser for the local high school baseball team.  I watched for areas that were in full sun, (most of my yard at that time), and starting sticking plants in the ground.

Amazingly, many of them survived, although many did not.  I began buying the plants at the end of the season, for half price, because I figured if they were still alive, they were the strong ones!  Many of those plants did survive and flourish, and I ended up with a yard full of flowering native plants and perennials.

100_5793

Biennial Dianthus

100_5794

Mexican Sage

100_5797

Lavender 5th year

100_5816

Umbrella Plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the increasing years of drought, my yard still flourished, even without watering throughout the summer while we were out of town.  When we moved recently, I let other knowledgeable gardeners know so that my plants could move to other appreciative homeowners.

It has been a wonderful experience to get to know native plants, many of which are beautiful herbs, and to see the results on our water bill.  It has never gone up, we still used less than the minimum 10,000 gallons per month, even after watching rates increase over a seventeen year residency in our location.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife has a page with a list of plants suitable for inclusion as native plants and perennials.  You may even like to help cultivate your yard into a friendly place for beneficial insects and birds.  Here is a link for information about creating a Texas Wildscape.  http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/wildscapes/wildscape_certification.phtml

I hope others can have as much enjoyment in self-education and in creating a beautiful and healthy environment in their yards as I have while discovering a completely new way to live in suburbia.

© 2014 Kathryn Hardage   kackymuse@gmail.com

 

My “Go To” Book

Today, I finished reading Natural Capitalism, my “go to” book for when I need to feel good about the world.  It was published in 1997, and already by then, many industries all over the world, including in the US, had been taking responsible steps with respect to the environment and its limited resources.

The concluding chapter describes the redesign of the Brazilian city, Curitiba, according to architectural requirements, that the city serve everyone, rather than by specific engineering departments.  It sounds so exciting, to have transportation which meets the needs of both rich and poor, and a central city area of several blocks open for 24 hours each day, seven days a week, to keep a “lively” atmosphere downtown.  The mayor, an architect himself, was very popular for every term he served.

This chapter shows how all the efforts from the previous chapters can be combined for a thriving modern industrial city with pleasant places to live.

 (http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Capitalism-Creating-Industrial-Revolution/dp/0316353000)

 

© 2014 Kathryn Hardage