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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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Learn about natural techniques for cleansing and conserving stormwater for humans and wildlife, at any scale–backyard to campus to region. Our bayous and bays are greatly impacted by the quality of the stormwater flowing into them, and now is a great time to start improving it with practices we can implement at home, at our workplaces, or beyond. The workshop is open to everyone. There is no cost to attend but registration is required by 6/20. Lunch is included with registration.

Registration for the workshop and more information is here.

A copy of the flyer is available: GIFT Workshop flyer-Victoria_final Please share.




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Mulch is a material spread on top of the ground to benefit soil and plant health, and make landscape maintenance easier. Wood chips, leaves, grass clippings, wood shavings, and compost all make good mulches.

Mulching Benefits:

  • Prevents soil compaction and erosion
  • Suppresses weeds
  • Captures and retains soil moisture
  • Protects roots from the sun’s heat
  • Protects plant crowns from winter cold
  • Protects and stimulates microbial activity in the soil
  • Adds nutrients to the soil as they break down (more…)

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Other than planting native plants and eliminating the use of fertilizers and pesticides you can also install a rainwater harvesting system and plant a rain garden.  (more…)

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