Los Fresnos News

Grow Native

Emilio Flores
Los Fresnos News

Los Fresnos, Texas — On Thursday, August 18th, two master gardeners shared their passion along with much insight on growing your own garden! Norma Cruz, a Cameron County Master gardener along with Janet Schofield also a Master gardener are both volunteers for our local Nature Park here in Los Fresnos.
Norma led the presentation by first bringing up the topic of Local Environmental Conditions and how it can affect our plants. She provided a website to keep individuals up-to-date on drought conditions.

Currently, with the recent rains, we are actually in better conditions the National Weather Service in Brownsville put out a statement saying with the recent tropical disturbance has actually brought the much-needed rains to our area; leaving only a few portions in the far upper Valley in drought conditions.
Norma Cruz shares that growing plants isn’t as difficult as you might think. She says stresses the solution is to grow native plants. She says, “These are plants that have evolved in a specific area and have been growing there naturally for hundreds of years.” Adapting to the local climate, rainfall patterns, and temperatures. She also shares that our native plants tend to grow deeper roots as well.

The benefits
Native plants will need less maintenance, saving money, and providing native habitat. Native Plants Feed and House Native Pollinators! Incorporating more native plants into our area helps to reinstate our commercially influenced environment back to its natural roots.
Cruz mentions that a few years ago we had a vortex freeze, “It kinda wiped us all out, but what remained?” She says, “All the Native Plants.”

How do you get started?
Cruz encourages the community to reach out to local nursery professionals, listed below are just a few to start with:
Heeps LRGV Native Plant Nursery – 1714 S. Palm Court Dr. Harlingen, Texas 78552 || Ph: 956-457-6834
Grimsell Seed Co. – 213 W Monroe Ave, Harlingen, TX, United States, Texas || Ph: 956-423-0370
Waugh’s Nursery – 5012 N. Jackson Rd., Pharr, TX, United States, Texas || Ph: 956-686-5591
River Oaks Nursery – 31037 Gamble Rd, San Benito, TX 78586 || Ph: 956-399-4078

In the presentation, she also mentions many different websites to visit like agrilifeextension.tamu.edu you can also contact the Texas Master Gardeners at the Cameron County Extension office for advice/help, and there are tons of youtube videos that can help. Cruz says one that she loves is a Youtube channel called Central Texas Gardeners; Growing a Greener World.

Some native plants she mentioned include:
Vitex, Texas Lilac
Turk’s Cap
Gregg’s Mistflower
Blue and Red Salvia
Frog fruit
Scorpion Tale
Trumpet Vine

Norma Cruz says “So Remember… Start small, assess the sun conditions, create a native plant wish list, time planting with the best season, use local native plant nurseries, and do your research.”

Cruz ended the presentation with a quote by Doug Tallamy, saying,

“Because life is fueled by the energy captured from the sun by plants, it will be the plants that we use in our gardens that determine what nature will be like 10, 20, and 50 years from now.”