Texas Native Plant Week October 20-26, 2013

Planting native trees, shrubs and flowers helps conserve water, provide wildlife habitat and show your Texas !Native Plants & Our Enviornment

As I look around my yard and community, I become focused on the native plants and how they complement my overall goal of having a sustainable wildlife habitat. I research and note the native plants in my immediate area and take note of the native plants which support the wildlife in other areas in my surroundings. This becomes an adventure for me and I am thankful for the excellent resources within my reach.

My goal is to have a yard that both welcomes nature and is inviting to guests. The requirements for National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Habitat Certification , Texas Parks & Wildlife  sponsored Best of Texas Backyard Habitat Program and Texas Wildscapes Certification and also the University of Kansas sponsored Monarch Waystation  certification share common threads. These include water, food, cover, and a place to raise their young.

These programs also share the following active recommendation:

  • Keep cats indoors as they are known to be destructive to bird populations
  • Monitor nest boxes intended for native birds and remove European starlings and House sparrows.
  • Use black oil sunflower seeds to discourage House sparrows from your feeders
  • Establish a rain garden which will serve as a buffer to filter storm water
  • Xeriscape flower beds with native plants
  • Eliminate chemical use
  • Mulch
  • Compost
  • Reduce lawn areas and increase habitat areas
  • Remove invasive exotics

Our native plants can provide benefits far beyond the scope of our imaginations.  The Monarch Waystations are so necessary in maintaining the dwindling populations of our beautiful monarchs in their migrations. We need to provide our weary travelers with native milkweeds and native nectar plants. Consider certifying your Monarch Waystation through the University of Kansas Monarch Watch program.

Expand your planting of native plants to provide seeds for the various birds thriving only on seeds. Native plants attracting insects provide food for the insectivore feeding habits of birds. Provide water sources not only for birds and wildlife that may venture into your native habitat but for our native butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, and a host of pollinating insects.

Most of all, share your endeavors with children. Let them be fascinated by the world of nature and its importance to the ecosystems in their environments.  The time spent with children exploring nature will last them a lifetime.

Native Plants = Healthy Habitats