Announcing Texas Native Plant Week for 2013





 By Cindy Stone, 2013 Chair for Texas Native Plant Week

The history of Texas Native Plant Week begins with the vision of Faye Tessnow and Barbara Anderson, both members of the Highland Lakes Chapter leading the effort to push the proclamation to the Texas legislature. The vision emphasized the role of native plants in conservation efforts and to be used as incentive for the Texas education system to teach school children about the importance of native plants. Faye Tessnow would send me the following information explaining the steps for Texas Native Plant Week to become a reality.

“The original idea came from Faye Tessnow and Barbara Anderson of Lago Vista, Texas.  It originally began as discussion for a “day” to be set aside where we could have greater emphasis on our goals and implementing our educational outreach. We began this idea by contacting the office of our district representative, Donna Howard at the capitol.  Her staff was very helpful in writing up the proposition. It was then taken in committee and put on a schedule for a hearing.  We were invited to come down for the hearing and speak.

Barbara spoke first and I spoke second.  I shortened my talk because of the issues and proclamation presented before us involved getting nurseries to downplay the sale of “invasives.”  This did not pass. But the speakers had emphasized the importance of native plants.

I had read Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy’s book, “Bringing Nature Home”. So, I primarily told about an experiment in the book by Aron Flanders in South Texas. Aron Flanders and his coworkers compared bird communities in duplicate plots of land consisting of approximately 494 acres.

The study demonstrated a comparison between native plants and forbs on one parcel of land and the other, which was dominated by two invasives that were imported in the 1940’s. The invasive species were Eragrostis lehmanniana, Lehmann lovegrass and Cenchrus ciliaris, Buffelgrass. The Flanders study proved that the grassland plant community with alien plants restricted the insect and bird communities. The comparison between the two plots of land showed 60% more abundance of arthropods and insectivorous birds with the native plants and forbs versus the 35%, which had the introduction of the lovegrass and buffelgrass.  “I think that it impressed the committee”.

“The proposition went through all the committees and was passed unanimously!   We were thrilled at that.  The bill, H.B. 1739, was signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 19, 2009.  The original proclamation signed by Governor Perry was presented to the NPSOT state office. A few months later, I was honored at an Austin City meeting. Mayor Leffingwell gave me a certificate to honor the occasion”.

“The greatest honor came to our Highland Lakes Chapter when the 2009 State Symposium presented us with the historical quilt. We were also named “Chapter of the Year”. This award is based on outstanding work done to promote the use of native plants and cooperation with communities to educate them”.

 FayeTessnow_2 Photograph by Bill Hopkins

Faye Tessnow receiving Chapter of the Year award for Highland Lakes Chapter.

Faye Tessnow & Sue Kersey_2       Faye Tessnow and Sue Kersey presenting the State award and quilt to the Highland     Lakes Chapter on November 9, 2009.

“My vision is that greater emphasis will be placed upon the use of native plants because of our drought conditions.  This limits the use of water in the landscape.  I also want to help maintain our wonderful butterflies in their cycle and other pollinators which are so important in our area”.

Thank you, Faye Tessnow, Lago Vista, Texas July 27, 2013

On behalf of those recognizing the importance and impact of native plants, we thank you and Barbara.

The Native Plant Society of Texas is partnering with other organizations to plan Texas Native Plant Week, educating citizens scorched by drought and seeking alternative landscaping practices. October 20-26, 2013 has been designated Texas Native Plant Week. Our activities will celebrate the rewards and benefit of planting with natives.

Communities throughout Texas will offer wildflower walks, tours of local native plant gardens, talks by experts about native plants, and chapter meetings of the Native Plant Society of Texas. As planning progresses for the week, information can be found at the Texas Native Plant Week website:

            Watch the site for more information on events for native plants.

The Native Plant Society of Texas has teamed with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin, City of Austin Grow Green programs, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and National Wildlife Federation, Central Texas Gardener, and San Antonio Botanical Gardens, and many others in promoting native plants.


Contact information:

Cindy Stone

Chairman: 2013 Texas Native Plant Week Committee


Posted in Press Releases, Texas Native Plant Week 2013 | Tagged

Native Plant Week logos

Texas Native Plant Week is only a month away!

Our website is chock full of wonderful and exciting events and resources that the whole family can enjoy while learning about native plants and how important they are to us.

Now the talented graphics people at the City of Austin have generously created two new logos for us. Anyone can download them using the links below and use them on newsletters, websites, press releases and other material to help promote Texas Native Plant Week. Just right click on one of the images below to download it.

Please help us get the word out about Texas Native Plant Week.

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Press release July 24, 2012

Press Release
For Immediate Release
July 24, 2012

Point of Contact: Anna Strong, Chairperson – Texas Native Plant Week, 314-517-2334

Native Plant Society Announces Texas Native Plant Week, October 14 – 20, 2012

What makes you think of home? For some, it might be the relentless trill of summer cicadas. For others, “home” may be the grasses and trees of their youth: St. Augustine grass or Bradford pear trees may come to mind. But a Texan is more likely to think of Texas bluebonnets or Indian paintbrush as “home.” And for good reason: those species, unlike the imported St. Augustine, provide homes for painted lady butterfly eggs and food for ruby-throated hummingbirds. Plants, insects, birds, they’re all natives. Together they co-exist and create our unique sense of place, the landscape we call “home.”

To promote the importance of our state’s special sense of place, the Texas Legislature has designated October 14-20 as Native Plant Week. Local communities throughout Texas are planning events for the public to foster the use of native plants in the landscape. Wildflower walks, tours of native plant gardens, educational talks given by professional botanists and biologists, and other events will be among those offered by local communities to the public. The events are designed to appeal to a diverse audience — botanists, gardeners, biologists, naturalists. As the week of October 14-20 approaches, check out the NPSOT website at for events in your community. Meanwhile excellent information about natives is currently available on the site. Look for tips about invasive species, an inventory of Texas native plants, where to buy native wildflowers, and more.

The Native Plant Society of Texas is partnering with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the National Wildlife Federation to make October’s Native Plant Week an educational and enjoyable experience. Mark your calendars and partner up!

Native Plant Society of Texas is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote research, conservation and utilization of native plants and plant habitats of Texas through education, outreach and example. For additional information, visit

Posted in Press Releases

Texas Native Plant Week Walk & Talk

October 11, 2011

With Texas in what is predicted to be an extended drought, Texas Native Plant Week Oct. 16-22 provides a great time to celebrate plants adapted to the state’s weather extremes.

The awareness week slogan is “Proud Texans Plant Texas Natives.” It is sponsored by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin, the National Wildlife Federation and Texas Parks and Wildlife. Among the week’s statewide activities during the fall planting season are educational talks, garden tours and other opportunities to get outdoors to learn more about native plants.

To celebrate wildflowers and other native plants during the awareness week, Dallas visitors to the State Fair Oct. 15 and Oct. 16 can speak with master naturalists about a garden they developed on site. A night hike will be held Saturday, Oct. 15 at McKinney’s Heard Natural Science Museum. Visitors to Estero Llano Grande State Park in Hidalgo can take a nature tour on an electric tram Sunday afternoon, Oct. 16. And Austin residents can learn about native plant propagation at a Native Plant Society meeting at Wild Basin the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 18, and gain free entry to hear the Wildflower Center’s horticulture director talk about native plants Thursday evening, Oct. 20, after a tour of the gardens.

More details about these activities, expert talks and lists of reliable native plants to use in yards are among the offerings in the “Urban Events and Native Info” section of the Web site for Texas Native Plant Week, developed by the National Wildlife Federation:

The site also lists suppliers of native plants and seeds, articles and other topics and information, including how to identify a plant as an aggressive, non-native one that competes with native plants for resources.

Native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, vines and grasses are often hardier than non-native plants since they are adapted to the soils and conditions of Texas. Native plants also are better able to provide food and shelter to beneficial wildlife such as songbirds and butterflies. Yet they typically require less water, chemicals and labor to maintain. Moreover, native plants provide the state’s regional landscapes with their unique identities.

Texas Native Plant Week began in 2009 as a partnership of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the City of Austin, the office of state Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), and the Native Plant Society of Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and National Wildlife Federation joined the partnership in 2010.

# # #

The communications office of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin provides media with timely, accurate information about the Wildflower Center. For more information or photos beyond those on the newsroom site, please contact:

Media Manager
Barbra Rodriguez

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Gov. Perry Recommends Wildscaping

In the September 2011 issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, Governor Rick Perry discusses the benefits of wildscaping:

“As we enjoy this land, we must remember our role as caretakers and stewards of Texas and preserve its beauty for generations to come. One way to economically meet this obligation is wildscaping, a landscaping technique that both preserves and celebrates our natural heritage.

Wildscaping incorporates plants indigenous to Texas into our landscaping designs, creating habitats for native birds, butterflies, honeybees and other wildlife, while reducing the amount of water necessary to maintain them, compared to a more traditional garden populated by non-native plants. The average Texas family can save 30 to 80 percent on water bills just by landscaping with plants that flourish in our climate.”

Take the first step towards your own wildscaping project by celebrating Texas Native Plant week from October 16-22. Use our Statewide Resources page to identify native plants and find the right suppliers. You can also use our Activities guide for other fun ideas.

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Ode to the Prickly Pear Cactus

Delmar Cain of the Native Plant Society of Texas writes a great blog about the State Plant of Texas, the prickly pear. Nominated in 1995 as the state plant, the prickly pear is actually a cactus family with many species. Delmar gives a nod to various species while describing the benefits of this ‘prickly’ family. Natural threats are also described.

Read the blog Prickly pear cactus, our state plant

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Video: Newcomers Appreciate Texas Native Plants & Fall Planting Tips

As always, the Central Texas Gardener produced another great episode showcasing a beautiful native garden at the home of Bobbie Tsukahara and Gill Starkey. “I had no idea how rich the flora of Texas is, and the fact that if you plant wisely you can have something blooming most of the year,” states Gill.

Tom Spencer’s interviews Sean Watson of the Ladybird Wildflower Center about drought-tolerant native plants to plant this fall.

Full episode guide >>

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When Plants Attack — 2 great videos on invasives

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has produced a brilliant video, “When Plants Attack,” on the battle against invasive plants in Texas. Mixing in segments of classic horror movies, the video interviews experts and volunteers around the state about the damage various species can do to an ecosystem.

Tom Spencer of Central Texas Gardener interviews Kelly Bender from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in this informative native gardening segment. Kelly offers wildlife friendly alternatives to invasive plants. She and Tom Spencer explore how invasives like nandina, ligustrum, chinaberry, and Chinese tallow swallow up native diversity. Instead, she offers drought-tough alternatives for beautiful gardens will reward you with backyard beneficial wildlife.

Happy watching!

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Rio Reforestation, Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine

Volunteers use hardy native plants to replenish the Rio Grande Valley.

By Eileen Mattei

When the Rio Grande Valley became a booming agricultural wonderland 100 years ago, approximately 95 percent of the native brush was cleared for farms. Current efforts to expand native brushland coincide with the construction of new houses and malls on the one-time farmland. Full article >>

Posted in Featured Projects

This Winter Give a Bird a Berry, National Wildlife Federation

Excerpt: The best winter-fruiting plants for wildlife are native trees and shrubs. “Many of them produce prodigious fruit,” says Whelan. Natives are also easy to care for once they are established. Dozens–even hundreds–of varieties are available. Try cultivating some of the following plants in your garden. Nurseries and native plant societies can help you select the species best suited to your part of the country. Full article >>

Posted in Featured Native Plants