Texas Smartscape Plant Sales, featuring Texas native and adapted plants, will be held in 22 cities across North Texas starting April 11.
April 8, 2015
As California braces for new state water restrictions, North Texans know first-hand the dangers of drought. That’s why many DFW residents have already began switching to plants that need less water and many cities are encouraging it.
Last year, Texas SmartScape, a coalition of North Texas agencies whose mission is to educate residents on the benefits of using native and adapted plants, launched its Texas Smartscape Plant Sales in the group’s member cities.
Right, Daylilys are easy to grow, according to the Texas Smartscape website.
The events will be kicking off for the second year on Saturday, April 11, with sales at Home Depots in Dallas, Fort Worth and Frisco from 8 a.m. to noon.
The plant sales will continue through September at a variety of Home Depots across the region as well as Weston Gardens in Fort Worth, Ron’s Organics in Mesquite and Shades of Green in Frisco, says organizer Stephanie Zavala, who is also the city of Fort Worth’s water conservation specialist.
The event was well attended last year and has expanded, Zavala says.
“We increased our number of participating cities from nine last year to 22 this year. Some cities are having multiple events so there will be 29 events spread across 22 cities.”
Left, oxeye daisy.
Zavala says one of the primary goals of the sale is to simply raise awareness and increase engagement with the community about Texas Smartscape plants, which not only require less water but need less fertilizers and pesticides. An increase in the Texas Smartscape website traffic and duration led them to conclude they’d achieved their goal.
And with the 2014 success, she says organizers decided to stick with the same formula since it seemed to work.
“The only thing new is that our program is now officially award winning,” she says.
The overall plant sale program won a Water Conservation award from the Texas section of the American Water Works Association and won a Watermark Award for Communication Excellence from the same organization for an electronic magazine handed out to attendees on flash drives.
The educational component of the fairs was also deemed a success, with plant experts on hand at each location to answer questions.
Right, four-nerve daisy is a Texas native plant.
“Not everyone has time to attend classes or do a lot of web research, so this program allows people to come armed with their questions and get one on one face time with Master Gardeners.”
Zavala also enjoys the opportunity to meet with residents to answer questions and get their feedback.
Overall, the plant sale is all about making people more comfortable stepping outside of the landscape box and discovering there’s more to xeriscaping than just cacti and rocks, says Zavala.
She's learned that one of the reasons many residents don’t use native and adapted plants is the fear of making wholesale changes.
“The beauty of Smartscape is that you can make a plan for your whole yard, but start small with one bed at a time,” she explains. “You can take baby steps and do a little at a time. Even these small changes will begin to make an impact.”
TEXAS SMARTSCAPE PLANT SALES
Texas Smartscape Plant Sales will be held during April through June and September in the following cities: Allen, Arlington, Burleson, Carrollton, Cleburne, Dallas, Denton, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, Keller, Lewisville, Mansfield, Mesquite, North Richland Hills, Plano, Richardson, Southlake, Weatherford.
Rita Cook is an Arlington-based award-winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.