Cypress Bayou at Martin Dies Jr. State Park
I was born on the West side of Houston in 1968. I grew up running barefoot on the hot asphalt around my neighborhood along Buffalo Bayou. A group of us often went into the bayou to play, look for turtles and alligator gars and dig in the mud. I had a wonderful first grade teacher at Ashford Elementary School, Mr. Turner. Mr. Turner would take the class out in the surrounding fields and into the bayou. He used some pieces of wood in the flowing water to show us how locks work. He taught us the names of the wildflowers – pink evening primrose, winecup, Indian paintbrush. I look back on that time as my earliest gardening memory. It wasn’t growing food, it was learning to know and love the plants around me, the plants that make Texas a special place.
Pink Evening Primrose
Big Bend National Park, TX
Most of my childhood and early adult vacations were camping in Texas. We would tube on the Frio river, go fishing on the jetties in Galveston or spend spring break in Big Bend National Park. In recent years, I have had an interest in traveling outside the US – to Mexico, Guatemala, Greece, Italy and France. I’m grateful to have seen those amazing places. Covid put a stop to that kind of travel, and slowed life down.
Small Camper for Texas Pandemic Travel Adventures!
In 2020, I purchased a small camper to travel safely during the pandemic. My husband and I returned to a way of travel that reminded me of my childhood, appreciating all that Texas has to offer. We kayaked 17 miles of the South Llano River and saw beautiful pink swamp milkweed blooming along the banks being visited by many bees and butterflies. We went to Inks Lake and hiked in the state park where we found a patch of heart leaf skullcap blooming at the base of a huge boulder. We went to Fort Davis State Park where native yellowbells were in bloom. Beautiful clump grasses and black dalea covered the hillsides. We spent a wet Thanksgiving at Enchanted Rock Natural Area and found wavy scaly cloak fern in the shade of granite overhangs. Slowing down and returning to simple adventures closer to home has been the blessing in the middle of the hardship of the pandemic.
The plants native to Texas continue to be a focus of our designs. They are willing to grow in our harsh climate. They provide forage for our wildlife. And they let us know where we are in the world that is unlike anywhere else.
Heart Leaf Skullcap at Boulder Base in Inks Lake, TX
Hooded or Marsh Skullcap
Pink Swamp Milkweed
Native Yellowbells in Fort Davis State Park, TX
Wavy Scaly Cloak Fern Under Granite Overhangs in Enchanted Rock Natural Area, TX
Enchanted Rock, TX