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Fredericksburg Chapter

April 23, “Get Real” Garden Design with Native Plants: View on YouTube

Paula Stone for the Fredericksburg Chapter of Native Plant Society of Texas

                                                           View on YouTube

Find out how to make your landscape maintenance easier by choosing the right layout, the right style and the best plants for your area at the next meeting of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT), Fredericksburg Chapter on April 23 from 6:30-8 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Halle.

Paula Stone sitting at her design table with plans and books.

Over the last 15 years, Stone has tried various plants and gardening techniques to deal with the caliche soil, lack of rainfall, excessive heat, and occasional ice storm that are common to Gillespie County. Her presentation will take that all into account as she describes what’s needed in an easy-to-maintain native landscape. Stone hopes that people new to gardening in the Hill Country will benefit from the many tips she will be sharing.

“I’ll show you practical ways to build gardens that will enhance your property and be less work as time goes by,” noted Stone. “I once heard someone say that, ‘The gardening should get easier as the gardener gets older.’”

Stone is a three-term past president of the NPSOT Fredericksburg Chapter, and has been gardening in Fredericksburg since purchasing her property in 2009. Stone bought and restored a historic stone home on the edge of Fredericksburg and took the property from being so derelict that the realtor wouldn’t go inside to being on the 2012 Historic Home Tour. The 10 acres surrounding the house were in equally horrific condition, having been an exotic game farm/puppy mill that had “every conceivable weed that will grow in the hill country” says Stone. She recently built a dome home on the property and is designing the landscape that will surround it.

The chapter holds its monthly meetings on the 4th Tuesday of the month at St. Joseph’s Halle (212 W. San Antonio St., Fredericksburg). There is a social time at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend in person and via online streaming (www.youtube.com/@fredericksburgtexasnativeg4884). More information is online at Facebook (@fbgtxnpsot), Instagram @npsot_fredericksburg_chapter, and https://npsot.org/chapters/fredericksburg/. Meetings are open to the public.

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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