Fredericksburg Chapter

Past Chapter Presentations

Welcome to a record of the presentations made to our chapter.  Presenting  our history and philosophy is a growing process. Each link will take you to the overview of that speaker.

Beginning with the October, 2021 presentation, the link will take you directly to the YouTube video of  that  presentation if one is available. Otherwise there is a note of who spoke and handout links if available.

2024 Chapter Presentations

06/25/2024: Gardening to Attract Wildlife. Butterflies on your flowers. Birdsong dancing in the air. If you enjoy having wildlife in your garden, Deborah Simmons, President of NPOST Fredericksburg Chapter, gives advice about the creation of a garden oasis  graced by the presence of wildlife.

05/28/2024: Native Plants That Help Soak Up the Rain. “Rain gardens and native plant landscapes have different growing habits and care needs than traditional plants and lawns, and it’s important to plant the right natives so they’ll thrive and require less work.” Shannon Brown, founder of Ecosystem Regeneration Artisans (ERA) Landscapes. 

04/23/2024  “Get Real” Garden Design with Native Plants: “I’ll show you practical ways to build gardens that will enhance your property and be less work as time goes by,” noted Paula Stone, gardener extraordinaire and past president of the chapter. “I once heard someone say that, ‘The gardening should get easier as the gardener gets older.’”
03/26/2024: Invasive Non-Native Plants and How to Get Rid of Them    Cheryl Hamilton shares her extensive knowledge about non-native, invasive plants and how to eradicate them. View on the Fredericksburg Texas Native Gardening  YouTube channel.

02/27/2024: “Native Seed Selection and Planting Tips” George Cates, land management consultant for Native American Seed, joined us  February 27 to explore the native plants, grasses and ecosystem of the Edwards Plateau.  He spreads a realistic challenge to new land stewards to restore the viable native habitat across Texas. By selective observation we tie into the geography and microclimate of our own property to understand what will thrive.

01/23/2024   Where is the Understory?  Robert Edmonson, Texas A&M Forest Service biologist,  discusses what happened to the native understory vegetation in the Texas Hill Country. He shows which plants are missing and most suitable for reintroduction into home landscapes.

2023 Chapter Presentations

Enchanted Rock ~ 02.28.2023

Eighteen miles north of Fredericksburg the tip of a pink granite batholith, – 1.1 billion years old – rises above the much younger limestone layers of the Edwards Plateau.Enchanted Rock

Read More »

10.24.2023  Explore the Fredericksburg Nature Center  with Lonnie Childs. There is no Zoom recording of this presentation. This is a partial recording from a cell phone, but still a valuable introduction.

09.26.2023  Peggy Sechrist shares key soil health principles that have been emerging in the field of soil science for the last 10 years. What’s Happening to Our Cycle? ”This is an ideal subject for our drought stricken region.”

08.20.2023   Creating Woodland Habitat in Small Spaces  presented by Deborah Simmons. “We are most successful when we plant native plants in the micro-habitats for which they are adapted – in groupings similar to what Nature arranges on her own.” To make the space inviting to creatures, the vegetation must be sufficiently thick that you cannot see through it. A 12’x12’ square is about as small as you can successfully go; so a small yard is sufficient to mimic a rich woodland habitat.

07.25.2023  Deedy Wright,founding member of NPSOT New Braunfels and past President of the San Antonio Chapter, shWoman standing outdoors, smiling at cameraares her wealth of knowledge about hill country native plants. Xeriscaping Your Yard

06.27.2023  Dawn Davies, Night Sky Program Manager for Hill Country Alliance, speaks about the importance of night sky preservation. On the Edge of Night.

  05.23.2023   Robert Edmonson, How to plant and care for trees.

04.27.2023   Paula Stone offers a practical discussion of: plans, tools, clothing, weeds, garden prep, planting, plants, and maintenance. Recording not available.

03.28.2023 Plant whisperers Kathy Lewis and Kathy Saucier speak about growing and propagating native plants. Both are members of Fredericksburg NPSOT. slide show and notes available

02.28.2023  Enchanted Rock. See post above.

1.24.2023  Diana Wilson,  focuses on the Fibonacci sequence. – a mathematical pattern that occurs throughout nature – including native plants.


2022 Chapter Presentations

10.25.2022   Rare & Endangered Plants  by Michael Eason,  Associate Director of Conservation and Collections, San Antonio Botanical Garden. Endangered plants of the Chihuahua  Desert were highlighted. A great presentation that is unavailable due to bad sound recording 

 09.27.2022      Edible & Medicinal Plants with Kim Ort

Chili Petin


08.23.2022   Craig Hensley , Using INaturalist for Science, Learning and Fun, too. Learn how to use iNaturalist to explore and identify the world around us.


07.26.2022     Robert Edmonson,  Texas A&M Forest Service Biologist , returned to talk about his favorite subject:Trees. ‘What is Going On with My Trees?’ Unfortunately there is no video of this presentation. Instead, he spoke extensively from 35 years experience to describe how trees grow and what challenges they face in today’s climate. Information providing growing conditions for trees native to Gillespie County are located here.


06.28.2022    Dinah Zike”s STEAM Garden, Native Plants, and Recycling: Oh, My ! introduces us to her Comfort TX garden and the educational philosophy of STEAM. “Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Science.  Technical difficulties. No video available.


Taylor Collins of ROAM Ranch near Fredericksburg, introduces a vision of building and operating a multi species regenerative ecosystem in which soil building practices are integrated into every aspect of land management in this month’s topic: Restoring Functional Ecosystems with Regenerative Agriculture”.     05.24.2022


Sue Blackwell, our speaker for April, is particularly fascinated with pollination and the intricacy of the social structure in a honeybee colony. She speaks on  the importance of honeybees in our environment. 04.26.2022


Karen Taylor, led the presentation and discussion of  “Going Green – Refusing Plastics”. Plastics area present part our Hill Country air and soil.  The hand out  Going Green includes the pertinent, practical and local resources to encourage us to “refuse” bringing plastics home in the first place.  03. 2022


Water is Life. Rainwater harvesting and watershed stewardship, the focus of the February 22 presentation, has been the essence of Billy Kniffen‘s 31 years  as a Texas AgriLife Extension Service Water Resource Specialist.  Practical experience was gained on his own home in Menard, Texas. 02.22.2022


Sustainable Soil    brought to life by David Vaughn, ISA certified arborist. Soil is more than sand, silt, and clay with some small amount of organic matter.” 01.25.2022


2021 Chapter Presentations

The COVID19 pandemic disruption continued through March of 2021. But life is returning.

Daniel Oppenheimer & Elizabeth McGreevy: in a dual presentation Daniel and Elizabeth address the drama of the Ashe Juniper: Hill Country Cedars, History, Myths and Upland StewardshipElizabeth McGreevy is author of Wanted: Mountain Cedars, Dead and Alive. 11.23.2021


Beth McMahon, the Horticulture County Extension Agent for Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service for Gillespie Country, leads us through  Propagating and Seed Collecting from Native Plants    10.26.2021


Using I-Naturalist,  Sheryl Smith-Rodgers explores and identifies the tiny things in her surroundings as well as the obvious. From Trash to Treasure follows the rescue of an unidentified native plant in a construction zone to the ultimate discovery that it  was an unknown plant that now has a name: Edwards Plateau crestrib morning glory (Ipomoea edwardsensis) 09.28.2021


Sharon Hixon,  a member of both the Kerrville and Fredericksburg chapters of NPSOT,  has been observing, absorbing, and sharing the native ecosystem since 2008. She describes herself as a generalist,  we could call her a mentor.  Sharon’s topic, Flowering Trees and Shrubs  for the Texas Hill Country, leads all of us into the planning stages for autumn’s cooler planting season. 08.24.2021


Rufus  Stephens, a Certified Wildlife Biologist and Coauthor of Attracting Birds in the Texas Hill Country: a Guide to Land Stewardship, addresses land management with a special emphasis on birds . 07.27.2021


Shannon Brown, founded  Ecosystem Regeneration Artisans to create a team that focuses on earth care and people care. Native plants provide wildlife habitat for pollinators and birds within her gardens and often involve mechanisms to harvest rainwater, capturing it into the soil before it runs off, becomes polluted, and contributes to flooding. 06.22.2021   Bio & video link.


Hillside Stewardship Zoom meeting with Daniel Oppenheimer, Land Program Manager for the Hill Country Alliance: A key component is to stop erosion. One method – the media luna, a semi-circular construction that cut across the drainage field to slow the water sufficiently to allow the water to soak into the soil.  Hillside Stewardship Part 1

Hillside Stewardship Part 2B  05.25.2021 


Katherine Tanner of Hat & Heart Farm is the “heart” of a Fredericksburg farm that believes in organic, sustainable farming practices that build the  soil  for the future. With that topic in mind, Katherine is our speaker for our first chapter Zoom meeting. Although this Zoom meeting was publicized, it was not taped. 04.27.2021


2020 Chapter Presentations

Beginning in March, 2020 through the end of the year, the Fredericksburg chapter of the Native Plant Society has not had an in-person meeting. You can get a sense of the movement of the chapter through the board meeting minutes. Instead our president, Paula Stone, instituted a weekly newsletter and created garden videos from the top area gardeners to keep us all together and working toward our common love of the environment. The weekly newsletters can be accessed here.

Jeopardy question for $1000: the shrubs, subshrubs and grasses under trees. Answer?

Robert Edmonson, Biologist IV with Texas A&M Forest Service, describes the understory and its importance. 2020.2.24 FBG  Chapter Meeting

The Story of Wild Seed Farms: A Leader in the Restoration of Native Wildflowers . John R. Thomas, is our opening speaker for 2020 season of the Fredericksburg chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas  1.28.2020 Fbg Chapter Meeting


2019 Chapter Presentations

Madrone Lore and More: How to Plant a Madrone Tree. Join  David Winningham through an eight-year long journey of learning how to cultivate Madrones. These hardy beautiful trees are members of a large madrone family, but only the  Ericaceae Arbutus xalapensisis, is the beautiful native to the Texas Hill Country and Trans-Pecos.10.22.2019 Chapter meeting  


Butterflies NOT named “Monarch” The Hill Country’s Other Scale-Winged Wonders   Join Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s “Texas Nature Trackers” Biologist, Craig Hensley, for an introduction to the rich diversity of butterflies that call the Texas Hill Country home.  9.24.19 Chapter Meeting


iNaturalist. An introduction to the citizen scientist website by Kelly Bender Simon, Texas Parks and Wildlife  8.27.19 FBG CHAPTER MEETING


Seed Balls: Hands-on party beginning with ice cream sundaes and then making seed balls with Zenobia 


Texas Bumble Bees . . .What’s the Buzz?    Dr. Jessica Beckham introduces us to our Lone Star bees; those that co-evolved with special adaptations to pollinate our own Texas native plants.  06.25.2019 Chapter Meeting.


“Rainscaping – The Next Generation of WaterWise Landscaping”    Shannon Brown designs native plant gardens and landscapes that not only conserve water during dry spells, but mitigate flooding during downpours. 05.28.19 Chapter Meeting 


“18 Years of Native Plant Gardening  Kathy Lyles condenses gardening advice from the experiments of the last 18 years observing and working with native plants. Read some of her tips in the minutes. 04.23.2019 FBG Chapter Meeting


 “What is Real Land Stewardship?”  Steve Nelle is one of Texas’ foremost experts in range and riparian conservation.  03.26.19 Chapter Meeting Minutes.03.26.19 CHAPTER MEETING


“How to Drought Proof Texas”  Pete VanDyke demonstrates  methods to capture rainfall and eliminate erosion.  02.26.19 Chapter Meeting    


“Seasons at Selah: The legacy of Bamberger Ranch Preserve.”  David Bamberger , photographer David K. Langford  and long friend Andrew Sansom introduce us to Selah and discuss the Preserve’s significance to conservation and what it means for Texas. 01.22.2019 FBG chapter meeting

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason