Plant Network

Unfinished designs and an out-of-town conference aren’t a good idea.

I’m at the APGA Native Plants Symposium in Austin, which also coincides with South by Southwest, which would also be enjoyable to take in – music, tech or film included. But the array of like-minded, bright people I’ve interacted with is more worth it than words describe.

leaving the desert, a moisture-laden sky rapidly developed

A major climate division lies at that location, running from just west of south, then northward into the great plains; it divides the dry and high Chihuahuan Desert to the west, and the lower and more humid country to the east and south. The Pecos River is near that change.

green, freshly-washed Austin…temporary irrigation at a mini-mart
stop #1 – scout plants for the annual UTEP sale
dealing with paperwork, we missed many areas including this…Yucca treculeana in bloom, oaks in boxes
conference stop #1 – residence…Dasylirion texanum, Nolina lindheimeriana, Muhlenbergia lindheimeri…Ferdinand Lindheimer got around
Environmental Survey Consulting did the design and implementation here…David Mahler R explaining the project, partner Judy Walther L in jean jacket
broad view towards front, then more intimate spaces
conference stop #2 – Wild Basin Preserve, to see the natural context of Hill Country native plants
natural, sub-humid prairie and woodland within a booming city…Nolina texana on rocky ground in front
conference stop #3 – Wildflower Center reception, executive director Susan Rieff welcoming all

This is quite a great, small conference group, too. I’ve not attended a conference like this, so I’m figuring it out and soaking it in.

a balmy, moist evening on the front terrace, live oaks and other natives starring in the show

Something I’m not used to seeing in less sophisticated places than Austin – natives are actually key in everything at this series of gardens, not marginalized.

Same with the residence we visited prior; exceptional.

It is beyond amazing, and one would be well-served taking people here you’re trying to convince to see for themselves, even clients, if you are able.

even all-native table settings

5 Replies to “Plant Network”

  1. Ah yes, I forgot about the conference and am glad to hear it was good. The Environmental Survey Consulting folks really get the ecology of central Texas. They do amazing work.

    Good and I always wish I could stay longer, but then I see the desert sun driving back… ESC gets it…yet all these years in Austin, and David Mahler still has a strong NJ accent!


  2. Growing up in Texas, childhood coinciding with Lady Bird’s initial efforts. How lucky has that been? Why? Expectations. Wildflowers, nature… did mold me. XOT

    Sounds like an influential time and mindset shift, and visiting that area is a happy confluence of all that molded you, and me more recently.


  3. Looks like an informative and inspiring weekend! I love Lady Bird’s Wildflower Center!

    Yes, and I can only hope other places with botanic gardens focusing on natives will take cues for their areas from here. Not copy it, but see how they pulled it off, used hardscape and plants, the unapologetic focus on native plants, etc.


  4. It has been a very green spring. I’m heading to the Wildflower Center in a few weeks, should be fun. Your conference looks like a good one. I’ve seen the residential landscape you feature and it is a great mix of hardscape and native plants.

    That it has over here; I need to compare this year or two to averages, to see what’s up, though some folks and I were laughing at calling Austin remotely semi-arid when it gets 2x the rain of other places that are. The WF Center was the perfect place to host their 1st symposium on native plants…no place like it I’ve been, at least.


  5. Um, wait a second DC, are you calling Austin a “less sophisticated” place, then? Hmmm? Are ya? : )

    Glad to hear the conference was well attended and happy for all who are hosting tours of their spaces that we got early rains (juuuust enough) to support a good showing.

    I just got back from a couple of hours east of Austin where folks are complaining the incessant spring rains are making for construction delays. What I was noticing more were the non-native plants showing up around construction sites – aggressive plants apparently brought in (and spread) by truck tires. For folks who don’t know what is (or as importantly is NOT) native, these plants are hop-scotching their way into new areas in alarming numbers. What is it about people – we are always bringing bad players along with us, plant wise…

    No, less sophisticated *than* Austin in native plants – I rewrote that better, without naming the more unsophisticated places :-)

    Very true what you’re saying, truck and other tires really do move things around that needn’t be present. I heard an invasive plant is a plant where you don’t want it…trouble is, to get people to want what’s native – natural and great – about where they are. Why I left my last place! It’s a shame, isn’t it?


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