I learned a thing or two from working on this episode on Native Plants and Certified Wildlife Habitats. One, I really like Austin, Texas, and two, never try to fit that much information into one show ever again.
I have always been a huge fan of native plants for their beauty and tenacity. With my schedule I can’t afford plants I have to pamper so natives fill an important role in my garden. I could devote several episodes to their benefits but for now this one will have to do.
Fortunately, we did our homework and found a great resource and talented expert guest hosts at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Don’t let their name fool you. Although they have wildflower in their name, in addition to that specialty, they’re one of the leading national resources for native and invasive plants as well. And with so much to talk about, I knew we were in trouble when this episode was being split to include native plants for the home environment too. Although there was much to see, one of the displays I enjoyed seeing most was their demonstration of landscape design styles using native plants; from the informal brushy look all the way to a formal garden setting. It was a great eye-opener I’m sure for many who only think of native plants as looking rather wild and unattractive.
The second part of this episode included a tour to an area Certified Wildlife Habitat. Here again, we found a passionate couple in Dale and Pat Bulla. They live on the outskirts of Austin in a home that was literally carved out of the woods. They didn’t even allow any single piece of equipment onto their property unless absolutely necessary to construct their home. Keeping the terrain and surroundings in as a natural state as possible was priority one.
If ever there were ever a couple passionate about wildlife and native plants, it was Dale and Pat. Everything about their setting and home environment was considered to take advantage of preserving and maintaining the rich biodiversity that surrounded them.
As retired educators, they’re passion for teaching others about related matters keeps them in high demand with their community as advocates for native plants and wildlife. We could have spent several days in each location during our short visit to Austin. But after having made some great new friends and enjoying warm hospitality and some incredible Mexican food, I think there’s a sequel to this Austin story sometime soon.