Hidden Garden in Downtown Bryan: Another blog in a series to reveal some lesser known gardens in our area

The A&M Garden Club has a long history of community service in the Bryan/College Station Community, with many gardens in public areas the club has helped with over the years. Another garden many may not be aware of is located at the Carnegie Library in downtown Bryan, 111 South Main Street. Look for Xeriscape friendly plants including Turkscap, Malvaviscus arborerus var. drummondii, which blooms throughout the summer, attracting hummingbirds with red flowers. Some rose bushes and crepe myrtles also remain of the original plantings at the Carnegie Garden that A&M Garden Club contributed to. A large granite marker at the site lists A&M Garden Club as a contributor to this garden. Carnegie Gardenturkscap

Any other club members have details to share about when this garden was established in 1995? or know about other hidden public gardens in the area our club helped make happen?

Next time you are in downtown Bryan, consider visiting this small, out of the way garden to enhance your exploration of the area and knowledge of A&M Garden Club history.

Plant America for Butterflies and Pollinators

monarch on duranta

Late summer in Texas is a little like the middle of winter when temperatures outside keep gardeners indoors more. Both are good times for planning new things for the garden, just like the middle of winter is when it is too cold to linger outside for many, depending on where you live. Garden plans with flowering plants to help benefit pollinators, butterflies and bees and moths and others, is rewarding when pollinators are seen enjoying the fruits of our labor. Helping out our ecosystem and in many cases, our food crops, in the process is a bonus we all benefit from. The thrill of seeing a new type of bee or butterfly visiting flowers in the garden is unmatched. There are so many more types of bees around than just honey bees, it is amazing to see them thriving. Seeing monarch butterflies visiting flowers in the garden during their migrations is magic and can be a great way to introduce children to gardening in ways that will stick with them through life.

Tips for butterfly/pollinator gardening from my Mom:

-include a flat light colored rock for warming up on cool mornings. Butterflies move faster as they warm up

–include a dish of wet soil containing some manure which some butterflies, especially males, like to sip from for minerals.

Hiking trips in National Parks on trails where horses also go confirms this tip as butterflies are almost always spotted on piles of horse manure in the middle of the trail, as well as a few birds.

-include some over ripe fruit, like bananas, for those butterflies that like that rather than nectar. Hackberry butterflies really like those rotten bananas that do not make it into homemade banana bread.

-use organic, pesticide-free, gardening methods. Really important to follow this one to prevent harm to our pollinators. Read retail plant labels carefully or ask where you shop for plants to make sure plants are butterfly safe and pesticide free. Plant milkweed by starting from seed, especially for some of the harder to find varieties, or by using pesticide free plants from retailers

-plant large groupings of the same type of flowers together to make them easier to find. Sure, butterflies can “smell” plants from a long way away, but they waste less energy fluttering around when there are large groupings of flowers. It is more magical when there are many butterflies fluttering around, which happens when many nectar flowers are blooming in a large planting area. Large plantings also make it easier to share some when the plants are a host plant for caterpillars, as there will be enough for all to enjoy. Bees also tend to gather together around large plantings of the same type of nectar flower.

-consider planting native plants which are easier to care for and mesh well with the rest of the ecosystem

-sunny locations are best for butterfly friendly plants

-plant to have flowers available year round. Early emerging Spring butterflies will appreciate having more to choose from than dandelions coming up in unwanted places in yards.

-install a mason bee house

Happy Gardening! Got additional tips to share? Sign in and leave a comment.


A&M Garden Club Table at Butterfly Event takes Flight

Our A&M Garden Club educational display on July 22, 2018 at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History Butterfly release event was well attended. Butterflies abounded. We had a great turn out of members signed up to help with the booth and many others stopped by to enjoy the festivities. We gave away a whole bunch of plants butterflies like, as well as seeds, fun butterfly paper art projects, and information. Members attending had a great time.

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Library Displays Celebrating National Garden Week


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National Garden Week is June 3-9, 2018 and A&M Garden Club has teamed up with our local libraries to promote gardening with displays encouraging library visitors to check out books with a garden theme. Adults and children can find garden and environment related books to enjoy as part of their summer reading. Remember, libraries are air-conditioned and are a great way to escape the heat or rain during our Texas summer. Thank you goes out to the A&M Garden Club members who did a great job on our 2018 library displays!

Bells are Ringing

No, not royal wedding bells you may have guessed after this past Sunday’s events across the ocean, but Bells of Ireland, Molucella laevis, also known as shell flower. Inspired by one of Suzanne’s blog posts to start a new flower bed, I revived a flower bed by the front curb that had gone to grass and instead planted lots of seeds from here and there. This particular flower bed is across the street from one of our neighborhood mailbox clusters, so am hoping it will bring delight to neighbors as they collect their mail and inspire them to plant some flowers also, as well as provide a way-station for pollinators. Already spotted a green bee this morning stopping in for breakfast. Was delightfully wrong about Bells of Ireland, as thought they would not grow. Placed behind zinnias that started blooming early, the Bells of Ireland are expected to keep ringing and getting taller and the plan is to let them dry out and maybe use them in a flower arrangement, who knows? And to think they were almost mistaken as a weed and pulled out early on in their growth.

Have heard fresh Bells of Ireland can be a bit tricky to use in flower arrangements because they will bend towards the light, which can be an issue if you placed the flowers in an arrangement early just so and what you think is perfection and it is a few hours before the judges see it. Reminded me of tulips that keep growing in all directions when put in arrangements. Such errant behavior by flowers in arrangements may just improve it and make it more noteworthy.

Anyone know what the pink flower below is? I think the seeds were in an envelope labeled tall, red, and long lasting before being planted in the same flower bed as the Bells of Ireland. It is neither red, or tall, being about 6 inches tall.

Is the bug a friendly wasp? It was quite small, around 0.5 inches.

What do you have growing pretty in your yard?