Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

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

TX Bluebonnet wildflower ‘hell’ strip beauty

Remember that we removed 5 agaves along the street and replaced it with a wildflower seed mix? See it here: https://zilkergardens.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/plant-some-wildflowers-theres-still-time/

This year, it’s bluebonnet heaven. Take a look!

photo(13)

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Participate in the Fall Hancock Native Plant Swap – Oct 24, 2015

A big reason to have the swap:
  • a mass quantity of Tropical milkweed seeds donated
  • this morning picking up a large quantity of native Antelope Horn milkweed seeds
The gardeners who attend the swap are the best way to distribute and successfully grow these seeds far and wide.
Location: Mother’s Cafe & Garden
Date: October 24th, time TBD (early).
If you’ve never been, here’s how it works:
  • pot up and label some transplants, cuttings, or bring seeds
  • set them in the appropriate area: Sun, Shade, Part Sun/Shade, or Water
  • look around for plants that you would like or ask one of the experts (they will wear badges)
  • Take as many home as you brought
Many people just hang out the whole time talking about plants, helping others id mystery plants, and generally enjoying their coffee, free doughnut holes, and all things gardening.  Master Gardeners and NWF Habitat Stewards will also be there to assist with plant identification.
Our mission is to make all yards in our neighborhoods more beautiful and easier to maintain, while consuming less water…for free!  
 
Now more than ever, we need to reproduce the plants that do well in our hot Texas summers.  Bring the plants that did well this summer so our yards will have less of the “California Golden” color next summer.
 
Do you have zero plants? Come anyway, we’ll send you home with some.

Zilker Neighborhood comes in as #2 for most new wildlife habitats in 2014!

Great news!

Your Zilker neighborhood has been designated as a “Winner for Wildlife” for the City of Austin Habitat Challenge by

completing the Wildlife Austin requirements and certifying the second most new habitats in 2014.

Thanks to you, the City has been re-certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat!

There will be a City Council Proclamation at 5:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 26th, 2015 in the City Council Chambers, City Hall
301 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701.

Friends and family welcome.

Seeds for Education $500 Grants

WildOnes has a grant competition offering $500 to support the following projects:

Teachers and students across the US are expanding learning opportunities by enhancing their schoolyards with nature trails, butterfly gardens, prairies, woodland wildflower preserves, and similar projects. These projects enrich the learning environment and provide aesthetic and environmental benefits.

By planning, establishing and maintaining such projects, students learn valuable life skills – including patience and teamwork. They can engage parents and the wider community in a project they can point to with pride for years to come.

We offer assistance for all aspects of such projects. Cash grants under $500 are available for plants and seeds, and in-kind donations from Nursery Partners can help stretch these dollars. We can help you locate experts and information specific to your area – anywhere in the US. In the past decade, we’ve supported over a thousand such projects, and we can use this experience to help you.

Applications for awards for next year are due October 15th.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

The link to the full information is: http://www.wildones.org/seeds-for-education/sfe/

Good luck!

TWO Habitat Talks on garden prep, design, & planning – Free 1/10/15

JANUARY 10 (2 Sessions)

(9:30-11am) Winter Garden Maintenance and Prepping the Garden for Spring
Learn how to assess shrubs and small trees for health and beauty and learn how to trim overgrown areas (and what to trim) as necessary to make way for spring blooms.
Instructor: Cathy Nordstrom, Sans Souci Gardens
REGISTER FOR THIS SESSION

(1-4pm) Design and Planning for a Successful Habitat Garden
Learn the basic elements of site assessment and how to transform a traditional “lawn-scape” into a haven for wildlife. If you have one, please bring a copy of the survey of your property to class.
Instructor: Marya Fowler, National Wildlife Federation
REGISTER FOR THIS SESSION

“Habitat Talks” happen at Discovery Hill Outdoor Learning Center located at the Science and Health Resource Center in Austin ISD. Discovery Hill is a National Wildlife Federation premier demonstration habitat that NWF funded and implemented in AISD in 2013.

For more information about the sequence of talks in 2014-2015, go to http://www.nwf.org/South-Central-Region/temp_event_AUS_HabitatTalks.aspx

Agave Flower – Preservation

Agave plant with shootOur last agave along the street, shot up its flower this summer. Early on, my husband and I were betting on how tall it would get. It seemed to be growing a foot every few days. Luckily, it grew up straight and tall and did not grow that high – only about 8-10 feet high. As it neared the end of its life, the flowers spent, I wanted to do something so I could save the agave flower stalk. I googled around and found very, very few ideas. The Master Gardener in Arizona suggested cutting it off and putting it in your garden surrounded by rocks so it could serve as a home for bees. Mr. Smarty Plants from the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center also entertained some similar questions. Mr. Plants indicated that you wouldn’t want to cut the stalk while it is blooming because the whole plant would die all the sooner, and you’d be removing the longevity of the flowers which are food for all sorts of insects. Well, I waited until my agave stalk had flowered and the whole plant was decaying in on itself. I thought burying the cut stalk in the garden Agave stalk cut(surrounded by rocks) could be a cool idea. But we felt we’d need a pretty deep hole. These agave stalks are HEAVY. Instead I decided to cut it and put it in a vase of sorts with rocks. This proved to be somewhat difficult to find the right container. But ultimately I bought a clear glass, large vase from Michael’s (on sale for $15). We cut the stalk off, put it in the jar on a bed of moss (also purchased at Michael’s) and carefully dropped rocks in all around the stalk. We had the rocks extra from other landscaping projects. I chose to put it on our upper balcony. Here’s what it looks like:

Agave PreservedRock containeragave containerThe gardenerRemoving the agave took some heft, but it wasn’t too bad since it was dead.

I planted a Mexican Red Bud tree in its place.

Mexican Red Bud Tree

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Habitat Talk about Birds – Free on 11/8

NOVEMBER 8 – Birds in the Winter Garden

(9:30-11am) Learn how to keep birds happy through the winter, what you might expect to see, and some of the best native plants to sustain birds during the cold months.
Instructor: Ryan Fleming, Wildewoode Landscapes
REGISTER FOR THIS SESSION

“Habitat Talks” happen at Discovery Hill Outdoor Learning Center located at the Science and Health Resource Center in Austin ISD. Discovery Hill is a National Wildlife Federation premier demonstration habitat that NWF funded and implemented in AISD in 2013.

For more information about the sequence of talks in 2014-2015, go to http://www.nwf.org/South-Central-Region/temp_event_AUS_HabitatTalks.aspx

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