Native Plant week is October 16 – 22, 2016!
So, what is “Texas Native Plant Week?” The State of Texas established the third week in October as Texas Native Plant Week to recognize the role of native plants in conservation and to provide incentive for school’s to teach children about the importance of native plants.
Did you know that almost every state now has a Native Plant Society or somehow recognizes the value of their native plants? Locally, we have the Native Plant Society of Texas, Williamson County Chapter. They meet monthly at the Georgetown Public Library. If you are interested in learning more about native plants, visit their website: www.npsot.org
I love natives, and know that native plants are good to incorporate into your garden. They are tolerant of our climate, they are favored by wildlife like bees, butterflies and birds; they have fewer disease and insect problems, need less fertilization and water and, in my opinion, they are very attractive and easy to care for. I would imagine that many of you are like me, when I am doing some landscaping, I am simply looking for plants that survive and are easy to care for. Right!?! If a plant doesn’t live on it’s own in my yard after about two weeks of watering to establish it, then I probably won’t be buying it or planting it again! It has got to be hardy. (hint: native plants are!)
I bring all this up because fall is a great time to plant native or adapted plants. The cooler temperatures are ideal for getting the plant established and growing before winter arrives. (At least I hear winter IS supposed to come this year!) While the City doesn’t have any program or rebate for removing grass from your yard and installing native plants, you can always do it on your own! Natives provide many benefits, like:
- generally taking less maintenance time than grass (no mowing or edging, less water and fertilizer);
- provide a cooling effect and lower temperatures in your yard due to the plants being living organisms (places with concrete or rock tend to be much hotter);
- helps prevent erosion by having a root system to hold down surrounding soil;
- gives you something beautiful to look at (aka stress relief);
- provides some type of benefit (food source, habitat) to insects or birds; and
- provides oxygen for us to breathe!
Don’t forget the City of Austin’s Grow Green program and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center both offer searchable database of native and adaptive plants. They are amazing resources to help you find the perfect plant for “that spot” in your yard!