Archive for December 17th, 2010

Nature: Wildflowers & Other Natives

Friday, December 17th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

Imagine spring in Texas without roadsides awash in colorful wildflowers. Dr. Damon Waitt, senior botanist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, says these native plants don’t just make us smile, they serve us in other important ways as well.

Native plants have natural benefits in the natural benefits in the natural landscape. They provide really important ecosystem services for local wildlife, pollinators. They filter storm water and rainwater, so they provide all these services to the ecosystem, and they can provide similar services in the built landscape, and reduce things like water use, pesticide use and fertilizer use. In addition, they have the aesthetic qualities that we want people to appreciate, so they’re not looking for that next exotic ornamental—that they ‘re more interested in finding that next native plant that looks great and functions perfectly in their environment. There are a lot of people who might look at wildflowers and native plants and say, gosh, how do those fit into my idea of a formal landscape. At the wildflower center, we model different design styles using native plants. That’s something we’re really trying to fight—that concept that if you’re a native plant enthusiast, then your yard must look wild and unkempt. When, in fact, you can use native plants in very high designs and very formal designs if that’s the look you’re going for.

Find plants that are right for you at

That’s our show…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.