What happens when you have a Native Plant Society member who has internalized the mission of the Society and she is confronted with a public space that is in desperate need of landscaping help? A Monarch Waystation of course!
On July 6th my husband Ray and I decided to get busy and start up our “swimming for exercise” in the summer. We formed this habit at the Tarrant County College South indoor pool over the last several semesters and the lifeguard there told us about the Forest Park pool where the lanes were twice as long as the indoor pool. On our first day at the Forest Park pool, I chit-chatted with the police officer who was standing near-by as I waited for Ray to emerge from the locker room. “Gosh” I said, “That area is way in need of some help! It could benefit from just a few plants.” “Oh” says he, “The pool director is right in there. Please talk about this with him.” And I did.
Mr. Alex Ritzhaupt was so excited to have someone with an idea who was willing to help him out. “Yes, the plaque area needs help and come have a look at this area and see if you have any ideas about it. I have some funds to spend on the landscaping.” Well, of course I was very confident that I could come up with an overall plan for the entire area he wanted landscaped – the plaque area, another spot off the side of the walkway, and an approximately 20 by 50 foot area with dappled shade and hot moving sun spots. Native plants will save the day!
It was all I could think about while swimming the 100 meters laps. That evening I sent out a plea for help to the my local chapter board. My confidence was waning. Yay! Dawn Hancock could meet me there in one days time. We met, we planned, we measured, we photographed, we wrote down our thoughts. I got too much sun exposure and felt ill for two days. The hazards of outdoor gardening caught up with me. Only days before I had been stung by a yellow jacket on my lip and had to take steroids. Folks, just an FYI here, steroids and the hot sun do not mix well sometimes.
After percolating the idea over for a few more days I sat down and developed a ten page proposal with a landscape design, photographs of the areas, plant lists, plant descriptions with photographs and maintenance, hardscape list including an educational sign for the public, funding possibilities and references. Wow! Its a work of art in my humble opinion. The Native Landscaping Certification Program classes (I’ve taken levels 1-3) gave me the skills to create a proposal that is truly worthy of becoming a reality. Thank you NLCP people!
Its Monday, July 18. Everything is in the proposal and ready for a meeting with higher-ups this coming Wednesday, except for vendor pricing. Those should be received in time for inclusion. The proposal has been sent to several groups and I have received promises of donations of plants and hardscaping. People are so amazing. The meeting with the head supervisors is just two weeks to the date that Ray and decided to go out and swim.
So, my friends, speak up! Be ready to volunteer some time and make some effort because there are opportunities around us everyday to further the mission of the Native Plant Society of Texas. Every time we have gone to swim, (2.5 miles of swimming so far) the lifeguards, the policemen and the desk people want to hear the plans. They are happy and friendly and hopeful to see a beautiful landscape take root before their eyes.
The mission is good. People are waiting for the knowledge and encouragement. Speak up and be happy.
August 1. The meeting went well and they loved the proposal! Now the details of plant purchasing and labor for installation are being worked out. This might be the first Monarch Waystation installed in Fort Worth since Mayor Betsy Price signed the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge last spring. Its all wonderful! I can’t wait to show y’all the finished landscaping.