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Know the native plants of Central Texas

Monarch butterflies flock around Gregg's mistflowers in Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery’s pollinator garden, which was planted and is maintained by the Highland Lakes Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program. Photo courtesy of Master Gardener Phil R. Wyde

When planning a native landscape to attract wildlife, great resources can be found online and in person in the Highland Lakes.

One such source for what to plant is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s website, which includes a comprehensive list of native plants. Click on the “Native Plants” tab on the center’s homepage and choose “Plant Lists” on the dropdown menu. You’ll find a section for the Texas Ecoregion and Central Texas.

Another good starting point is the Native Plant Society of Texas website. Under the Resources tab on the main page, you’ll see “Plant lists by region” in the dropdown menu. You can also connect to a local chapter of the society through the website.

The Highland Lakes Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist program is always ready to help with information and resources.

To see native plants in action, stop by Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery, 345 Clay Young Road in Hoover’s Valley. The hatchery’s Friends group and local Master Naturalists planted and maintain a pollinator garden at the facility.

Once you have a list of plants, Linda O’Nan, a Master Naturalist and Master Gardener in the Highland Lakes, recommends sticking with dedicated local nurseries when purchasing plants, seeds, and materials. Big-box stores don’t often carry native species, and the ones they do are hybrids, which might not be best for native birds and butterflies.

Dedicated local nurseries such as Backbone Valley Nursery, 4201 FM 1980 in Marble Falls, and Sam’s Nursery & Landscaping, 8369 RR 1431 in Buchanan Dam, have staff knowledgeable in native plants.

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