Landa Community Garden
I moved to Monte Vista in late 2002, but admittedly was not involved in neighborhood activities. I didn’t know a lot of MV residents, as I was working full time for the City Arborist. That changed when, in 2007, I attended the first organizational meeting for the Landa Community Garden (LCG). In 8 years working at the garden I have become acquainted with so many neighbors, and made so many friends whom I likely would never have met. Our association with Green Spaces Alliance and Landa Gardens Conservancy have contributed further in meeting fellow gardeners and volunteers from the neighborhood, local schools and even from the entire city through an online Meetup site. The past two years have seen the development of a valuable partnership with the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT). Volunteers from NPSOT and LCG do the annual thinning-out of the Community Garden beds; that material is potted up for NPSOT’s annual Spring Native Plant Sale. It is a win-win situation.
What excites me most about the Community Garden is the collection of native plants. As president of the local chapter of NPSOT, not surprisingly I have made it my mission at LGC to promote the use of native plants in home landscapes. I consider it a wonderful demonstration garden. The garden is modeled after a Medieval Garden where each bed was themed according to Color, Beauty, Herbs, Culinary, Medicinal and Fragrance. If there was a Texas native plant that could be included in those beds, we used them (and are noted on the labels). As a result, most of the Color and Beauty beds are full of Texas native plants.
But there was extra room! So there is a bed that features Texas native grasses amongst some other native plants. Another area is populated with taller perennials that are less common in landscapes: but no reason they shouldn’t be included! These are the Maximilian Sunflower, Western Ironweed and Frostweed. An area of nectar and food plants for butterflies, birds and insects is found along the back of the garden. Habitat for native insect populations is an important function of native plants in the landscape – the ever-present lizards and birds eat these insects (90% of birds feed insects to their young).
If you would like to include some additional native plants in your own landscape, you may want to check out the Native Plant Society’s Plant Sale on October 10 at Hardberger Park East (Blanco Road entrance). We will have many of the same plants at Landa for sale, go to www.npsot.org/wp/sanantonio