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Archive for August, 2017

20170731_094517

Three exotic snail species at Exploration Green: Apple snail (Pomacea spp), Chinese mystery snail (Cipangopaludina chinensis malleata), and Giant ramshorn snail ( Marisa cornuarietis)

Mary Carol Edwards will lead a one-and-a-half-hour tour that focuses on invasive plants and animals at Exploration Green park in Clear Lake City. The tour will be co-led by Jerry Hamby, Texas Master Naturalist and lead volunteer at the Exploration Green tree nursery.

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Here is the Part 2 continuation of our Neighborhood Friendly Landscapes two part series. Here are some additional strategies for fostering communication and education to help avoid confrontation before, during, and after you develop your natural landscape.  As the issues of water quality and habitat loss become more critical, many people are adopting a natural approach to home landscaping. Natural landscapes, also called habitat gardens, consist mainly of native plants. They can take many forms, ranging from wild and unkempt to a more traditional, manicured design.

Here are some additional practices for you to consider implementing:

Create borders or setbacks. Neat edges create the appearance of order, even if it’s ordered chaos. Setback planting—placing trees and flowers behind the sidewalk and out of the right of way— will help keep the plants from hanging over curbs or sidewalks.

Think “plant communities.” Create planting zones by grouping species found in naturally occurring areas such as wetlands, prairies, or shaded forests. The plants in these zones will have similar light and moisture requirements.

For visual impact, plant in masses. Native plants are sometimes less showy than traditional landscape plants. Planting them in large groups offers eye-catching interest. Vary plant selection size, color, and texture. Landscapes are more interesting and visually appealing when plants with varying characteristics are planted together to form a rich tapestry.

Avoid straight lines and hard edges. Curved planting beds enhance the natural look of the landscapes and incorporate good basic landscape design.

Add structural interest. Birdbaths, garden structures, and even sculptures can add a personal signature to your landscape.

Maintain your landscape properly. Allowing the natural landscape to succumb to a “vacant lot” look will not create a climate of understanding or acceptance.

Tolerate differences. Recognize and acknowledge your neighbors’ choices in plant types and landscape approaches.

Use legal means only as a last resort. Although cities and homeowner associations are becoming more sensitive to environmental issues, many still rely on outdated concepts and laws. Antagonistic approaches seldom win support or approval, but promoting a spirit of cooperation and goodwill can help.

For more information visit WaterSmart.tamu.edu.

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