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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org