Does this beautiful spring weather make you want to rush out and purchase new plants for your garden? I sure have the fever; in fact today I planted a few bluebonnet plants given to me by a fellow gardener who has a backyard full of them! Keeping up with all of the wildlife gardens at our GCBO sanctuary is a lot of work and we could not do it alone. Our volunteers and I have the best success with plants that are grown locally and are shared with us from friends. Locally grown plants are adapted to our poor clay soils, brutal summer heat, and boom or bust rainfall. Thought we are not purists here, we are picky about what plants go into the gardens. Native shrubs like hawthorns, dogwoods, Mexican plum, yaupon and deciduous hollies, and Texas lantana are preferred by our resident and migratory birds so we pretty much stick with those woody types. For the butterfly and hummingbird gardens we use the tried and true perennials like milkweed, hamelia, yellowbells, and just about any type of salvia. Our hummingbirds also like flowering vines that include coral honeysuckle, Mexican flame vine, and trumpet creeper. Finding a source for native and locally grown plants for your wildlife gardens takes a little more time than just running to the local big box lawn and garden center, but if your do a bit of searching you will be rewarded with both a beautiful garden and an interesting parade of birds through your yard. If you see a beautiful garden in your neighborhood filled with butterflies, why not try making friend with that neighbor and share starter plants or seeds with each other? We also have two wonderful gardening resources in our community, the Brazoria County Master Gardeners and the Lake Jackson Garden Club. Both groups grow their own local plants and offer them at spring plant sales. The Master Gardeners plant sale will be held at the Brazoria County Fairgrounds in Angleton on March 23, and the Garden Club sale will be at the Lake Jackson Civic Center on April 20th (as part of the City’s Envirofest). Warning! Get to each sale early for the best selection. Native plants go quickly.
By: Cecilia Riley