Demonstration Gardens – A Monarch Waystation

April 2015 update

It's official! (Courtesy of Terri Whaley)
It’s official!
(Courtesy of Terri Whaley)

Minnie Eaton, Judy Caramanica and Terri Whaley posted the new sign and planted more plants.  The monarchs are on the way and a tasty feast will be waiting for them.

Adding 19 more plants.  Lucky monarchs! (Courtesy of Terri Whaley)
Adding 19 more plants. Lucky monarchs!
(Courtesy of Terri Whaley)

 

March 2015 update

On the bright and sunny day of Friday March 6th between a series of erratic freezes, an eclectic group of volunteers took time from their schedules to spread mulch at the UHLNC gardens that are under development.

Mulch was delivered by Phil Wyde and M J Hansen picked up at the Kingsland MUD and Billy Hutson and the Whaleys with two truckloads donated by Premium Landscape Supply Co. in Burnet.

Mulch is delivered to the garden. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Mulch is delivered to the garden area.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

Members of the local Master Gardeners, Native Plant Society of Texas, Master Naturalists, Upper Highland Lakes Nature Center, a new class student from HLMN, two local citizens and two friendly dogs all participated in a group effort to layer some mulch over the already planted and certified Pollinator Way station and some existing topsoil to hold down the weeds and conserve water.

Everyone pitches in! (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Everyone pitches in!
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

The Lilley’s then donated and delivered the material to construct a keyhole garden which we constructed to the first stage of completion. There are three sections to the garden with section one (Pollinator Way station) already completed, certified and growing (some additional plantings will happen as time goes on and plants are donated), station two with the MG demo gardens (keyhole, raised bed and maybe more ideas in the future), and section three for the Antelope Horn milkweed being donated by Balcones NWR.

Setting up the structure for the keyhole garden. (Courtesy Paula Richards)
Setting up the structure for the keyhole garden.
(Courtesy Paula Richards)

Thanks to all for the collective efforts of so many hill country organizations to make ours a better nature center- namely Ray Buchanan, Terri and Bob Whaley, Paula Richards, Alice Rheaume, Billy Hutson, Ed Lilley, MJ Hansen and husband, David Heatley, Mike and Sammye Childers, Lori Greco, Phil Wyde, David Peyton and Bonnie Mikels.


January 2015 update

See the post:  The Butterfly Nursery Takes Shape!


July 2014 update.

Thanks to a terrific partnership with Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, and the Native Plant Society, we are making really great progress with our monarch waystation.  Here’s the “before” picture.

Site of the butterfly waystation.  (Courtesy of Terri Whaley)
Location  for demonstration gardens.  March 2014. 
(Courtesy of Terri Whaley)

Master Gardeners, Terri Whaley, and Ray Buchanan were hard at work at the nature center this week.   They met with Vol Montgomery, corporate sponsor for the nature center and owner of Reveille Peak Ranch, and discussed their vision for the gardens.  The gardens will be a key asset in support of educational programs with school and scout groups such as the ones we hosted this spring.  (Brownies and Elementary Schools)

Discussing the plans (left to right, Minnie Eaton, Ray Buchanan, Terri Whaley and Vol Montgomery) (Courtesy of Paula Richards)

The design will make the demonstration gardens the focal point for the entry to the nature center hill where many of the nature stations will be set up covering topics ranging from archaeology and geology to water catchment, botany and Texas wildlife.  The team looked at the layout, where we will need to shore up the hillside to prevent erosion, and discussed the mix of plants.

Vol’s team (Carlos, Romulo and others) works on the rock edging outlining the garden spaces, and Mike Parker from the nature center roles up his sleeves to help. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)

Vol’s crew worked carefully to place the huge boulders to edge the various garden areas, and will stack rocks to shore up the hillside areas.  The sections closest to the entry will be the deepest, 24+ inches, to give a good base for the native plantings, tapering off to areas to support more shallow rooted plants, ground coverings and wildflowers.  The plan for the demonstration garden area will eventually include a keyhole garden to be built with local school and scout troops.

Time to get down and dirty! Minnie and Terri hard at work. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)

Members from the master gardeners and native plants societies will contribute native plants including collecting milkweed seeds to help establish the butterfly waystation, lace cactus to plant in the rocks of the hillside, and a variety of native grasses and plants.

The plan is to start with a blanket of wildflower seeds, and add wild grasses and native plants to the first third of the garden area, including the plantings for the monarchs.   Working with the water catchment team comprised of George Brugnoli, Jerry Stacy, Phil Wyde, Bob Whaley, Mike Parker, Dick Eaton and others, plans were made for how to pipe the water from the catchment tanks down the hill to where the gardens will be.

Braving the chiggers to plot the path for the pipes (Jerry, George and Mike) (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Braving the chiggers to plot the path for the pipes (Jerry, George and Mike)
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

Vol’s team brought in and spread 3+ loads of good soil within the stone walls.  Ray took soil samples which he will test to determine what amendments will be needed based on the mix of native plants and grasses.

Master Gardener points the way (Ray Buchanan) (Courtesy Paula Richards)
A Master Gardener points the way (Ray Buchanan)
(Courtesy Paula Richards)

By the end of the week, much had been accomplished.  You can tell by the smile on Minnie’s face that the teams have accomplished a lot.  (Check out the cool work boots!)   A very special thanks to Vol and his team for doing the heavy lifting, and to all the volunteers from the Master Gardeners, the Master Naturalists, the Native Plant Society and the Friends of the Nature Center.

Minnie surveys the lay of the land, dirt and rocks, and it all looks good! (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Minnie surveys the lay of the land, dirt and rocks, and it all looks good!
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

A hard day's work.  Plants and water lines coming soon.  (Courtesy of Jerry Stacy)

What made Minnie smile… the results of a hard day’s work.
Plants and water lines coming soon.
(Courtesy of Jerry Stacy)


February 2014

See post:  Planning a Nursery for Monarchs