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Boerne Chapter

Pollinator Garden Assistance and Recognition Program 

The Pollinator Garden Assistance and Recognition Program is a joint project with a network of Texas Master Naturalists and 3 Native Plant Society chapters. The mission of the program is to promote small plot gardens to protect native pollinators and increase the use of native plants. The program’s volunteers educate local homeowners, groups, institutions, and organizations about the importance of native plants and habitat in our unique Hill Country environment. Beginning in 2018,  applications for garden advice have been received from the 10 county area served by this program. Pollinator garden volunteers have assisted Kendall County property owners, who now display the Pollinator Garden Champion sign, signifying a recognized pollinator garden.

 For program information and to request a free volunteer consultation to help plan a pollinator garden or to apply for “Pollinator Champion” garden recognition: https://txmn.org/hillcountry/pgarp/.

Native plant pollinator garden at Boerne Convention and Visitors Center

Members of the Boerne NPSOT chapter, after two years of work to establish a demonstration garden for the PGARP program, finally saw their efforts come to fruition in early April. Members Terry Lashley, Lorraine Popp, Gary Fest, Veronica Hawk, Rheda Boardman, and Rachel Thompson began planting the garden at the Boerne Convention and Visitors Bureau at 282 North Main Street in Boerne on April 7.

NPSOT_Veronica Hawk at Boerne Convention and Visitors Center

NPSOT_Veronica Hawk at Boerne Convention and Visitors Center

In the spring of 2018, the PGARP program was begun by a group of Kerrville Master Naturalist/NPSOT members. They had planted a pollinator garden at the Kerr County Courthouse, and the seed was planted for Boerne to have a similar garden in a visible location downtown. A group from Boerne and Kerrville met with a Boerne city official to ask about a possible location that same spring. In the fall of 2018, the Convention and Visitors Center, which was to be completed the next spring, was mentioned as a possibility. A proposal for the project was submitted to the city in January, 2019. At the same time an application was made for a grant from “Bring Back the Monarchs” to partially fund the project. The proposal was accepted, the grant was awarded, and the plan was to plant the garden in the spring. The site was not ready, so planting was delayed until the fall. Once again, work that was to be done by outside contractors on street and sidewalk improvements was not completed and planting was delayed.

The grant required that planting be completed by October 31. Fortunately, an extension was granted until the spring. The work

NPSOT_Terry Lashley at Boerne Convention and Visitors Center

NPSOT_Terry Lashley at Boerne Convention and Visitors Center

on a wall bordering the planting bed was still not completed by March 1, but the decision was made to prep the bed and let the group proceed around mid March. Then the shut down due to Covid 19 began and the planting was once again delayed. Finally, after promising to follow strict social distancing, we were able to begin planting the garden. We are still adding some plants, and Terry Lashley has been caring for the garden daily, watering those plants that need it until they become established. Members of the garden committee will continue maintenance of the garden on a weekly basis. Plant labels, a hummingbird feeder, a source of water, and nesting areas for native bees will all be added.

Many of the plants for the garden were donated by NPSOT members. Those offering plants were Edward Brogan, Sue Wiedenfeld, Rheda Boardman, Cynthia Brown, Nancy Scoggins, Edward Noack, Crystal McElhenney, Lorraine Popp, Suzanne Young, Gary Fest, Terry Lashley, and Veronica Hawk. The information sign holder was fabricated and donated by Rocky Marshall of Frontier Gear. Cecilia Fuentes and Terry Lashley have created informational signs. Paul Barwick of the City of Boerne and the staff of the Boerne Convention and Visitors Bureau have supported and encouraged this project.

Although it will take time for the garden to mature, there have already been some butterfly and bee visitors! We hope that human visitors to Boerne will learn about our beautiful and unique native plants, and that they, along with our local residents, will be encouraged to create their own pollinator gardens.

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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