Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

Commentary by a National Wildlife Steward who helps Zilker neighbors establish native plant gardens

Monthly Archives: March 2014

Rain garden workshop 4/5/2014

Here’s a great opportunity to learn how to build a rain garden. It’s a great system to collect run-off rain and slowly drain into the ground while being absorbed by native plants and grasses that like “wet feet” (i.e., they don’t mind be in sloggy water for a day or two at a time.) If you can’t make the workshop, be sure to click on the links for the Austin Grow Green website that has more information available there for free!

Learn how to build a rain garden at your home, school, or community garden! A rain garden is a low area that absorbs and filters rain water runoff that comes from roofs, sidewalks, and driveways. Rain runs off the hard surfaces, collects in the shallow depression, and slowly soaks into the soil.
Rain gardens are planted with colorful native plants and grasses, and, where the water collected is free of contaminated run-off, food-producing plants can be used, as well! Join the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department and the Sustainable Food Center for an interactive, outdoor, hands-on introduction to rain gardens at the J.P.’s Peace, Love and Happiness Foundation Teaching Garden at Sustainable Food Center.
Registration: $35 at http://sustainablefood.nonprofitsoapbox.com/calendar/event/241
Learn more about rain gardens: www.austintexas.gov/raingardens , more gardening tips at www.growgreen.org
Date: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon
Location: Sustainable Food Center, 2921 E 17th St, Building C, Austin, TX 78702

“The Evil of the Outdoor Cat”

Take a quick read of this interesting article, The Evil of the Outdoor Cat, by Richard Conniff, an author who writes about wildlife for Smithsonian, National Geographic and other magazines. I was startled by how much wildlife outdoor cats are eliminating from this planet. The author tells his story of “Lucky,” his outdoor cat (prior to his demise one unlucky night). He has chosen to never have another outdoor cat again.

Using deliberately conservative assumptions, federal researchers recently estimated that free-ranging cats killed about 2.4 billion birds annually in the Lower 48 states, a substantial bite out of the total bird population. Outdoor cats also kill about 12.3 billion small mammals a year — not just the proverbial rats and mice but also chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels — and about 650 million reptiles and amphibians. In some cases, they are pushing endangered species toward extinction.

I really love hearing the birds in the morning. Do you?

Native Plant Swap 5/3/14

Another great event is coming in about a month: PLANT SWAP! This is hosted up in the Hyde Park neighborhood but all are welcome. Start potting up some of your natives to exchange for others. See you there!

CONFIRMED DATE for 2014 Spring swap: Saturday, May 3rd
Location: Mother’s Cafe and Garden Parking Lot; 4215 Duval St, Austin, TX 78751
Time: Around dawn until 9:30am

Attached is a picture of a small sampling of plants that I have so far for the swap: Fall Aster, American Elderberry, Mexican Feathergrass, Skullcap, Cowpen Daisy, LOTS of milkweed to be given away to swap participants (will send pics of milkweed seedlings later).

Spread the word…the more people that know about it, the more great plants to choose from!
Hancock resident
NWF Habitat Steward
Picture of native plants in pots on rack

Natives potted up

Hummingbird talk

I received this notice for a talk, which sounds like it will be amazing. Great to get back into your garden!

Here Come the Hummingbirds!

Sun, 03/30/2014 – 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Texans enjoy a wealth of hummingbirds and Austin is no exception. With a little care, people in Austin can provide a safe, welcoming home for these avian wonders that will result in a natural spectacle that can be enjoyed year round. Come and learn how to attract and support these beautiful creatures with native landscaping and habitat protection.

Mark Klym is coordinator of the Texas Hummingbird Roundup and Texas Wildscapes programs at Texas Parks and Wildlife. He grew up just across the international border in Canada where he developed a love for the outdoors – spending time fishing, birding and hiking. His special interest in hummingbirds developed early, when he found a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird exploring the plants in his grandfather’s greenhouse.

Mark received baccalaureate degrees in Biological Science and in Fisheries &Wildlife Management from Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie, MI. He followed the hummingbirds to Texas in 1999 to work with Texas Parks and Wildlife. He is coauthor “Hummingbirds of Texas” by Texas A&M Press, editor of the Eye on Nature and Texas Hummer Newsletters and author or editor of several booklets and publications from TPWD.


First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, Pubic Affairs Forum, Green Sanctuary Committee

Contact Information

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin

4700 Grover

Austin, TX 78756

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