Pines and Prairies Chapter

Sam Houston Elementary Pollinator Garden

This garden is a joint project by Pines and Prairies Chapter, NPSOT; Heartwood Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist); and Coushatti Trace Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Carolyn Worsham, a member of all three chapters, initiated the project per the suggestion of Ms. Paula Nicolini, principal of Sam Houston Elementary. Initial funding was provided by a $100 grant from Pines and Prairies.

Seven raised beds were in place on the school patio; however, they had not been tended in years. The first challenge was removing the visible weeds. Layers of cardboard were added to suppress the weed growth, the soil was amended, and mulch was added to each bed before the planting began. The first plantings of Gulf Coast Penstemon (Penstemon tenuis) and Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea) were made in early March. Other additions included Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepius tuberosa), Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora), Texas Verbena (Verbena halei), Bearded Beggarticks (Bidens aristosa), Texas Star Hisbiscus (Hibiscus coccineus), and Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare).

Thanks to the work of Darla Oakman, Bill and Carolyn Worsham, Gail McConnell, Patti Thompson, and Jessica Maugh who prepared the beds, planted, watered, and weeded, the garden thrived through the dry summer of 2022.

Future plans include posting plant signs, offering an instructional component, and securing the support of faculty and students for garden maintenance.