Today Ana's taking us on a visit to a park in Austin that's a valuable resource for gardeners wishing to work hand in hand with Mother Nature...
Native plants "give us a sense of where we are in this great land of ours."
-- Lady Bird Johnson
One of the former first lady's legacies is her commitment to sustainability. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, which focuses on educating the public, offers many online resources for people across the country who are interested in going -- and staying -- green by planting native species.
Why go native? According to the center, it will:
- conserve water
- reduce mowing costs
- provide habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife
- protect the soil
- avoid the use of fertilizers and pesticides
Before making new additions to your yard or garden, check the center's extensive Native Plant Database, which has information on thousands of species native to North America. If you're not sure what you're looking for, there's another feature that recommends the best species for your state or region. Send a message to Ask Mr. Smarty Plants and you'll get a personalized response from a staff horticulturalist or botanist.
The site also offers plenty of how-to articles and information on different aspects of conservation, green roofs, and designing and landscaping in ways that reduce your carbon footprint.
[photos courtesy of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center]