Grow Your Own

Monarchs on frostweed, a native Texas butterfly magnet

Gardening isn't just for old, rich women and their retired husbands anymore. The do-it-yourself trend embraces home gardens with lively gurus in the media who demonstrate how to turn a brownish-green canvas of a yard into something special. And more of you have yards these days, since mortgage loans with single-digit interest rates make home ownership cheaper than apartment rent. With a low- or no-down-payment deal, today's twenty-somethings can buy a modest house and spruce it up by filling the flowerbeds.

According to the horticulture experts at Texas Discovery Gardens in Fair Park, the window for putting in new plants this season is starting to close. When the real heat sets in, the growing gets tough. You've got a couple of weeks to get new plantings established, though, and mulch their tiny brains out to minimize their suffering. TDG can help you with its second annual plant sale on Saturday, this year called The Butterfly Plant Sale.

"The plants offered in this sale are unique," says Tina Dombrowsky, director of horticulture. "All are native and adapted plants, and many are hard to find at retail nurseries. Our plants are homegrown in our greenhouses." Expert staff and knowledgeable volunteers prowl through the plant sale, eager to answer questions and make recommendations for soil type, shade or sun, or offer tips for establishing water-conserving, low-maintenance gardens. TDG is the first certified, public organic garden in Texas. Another plus, Dombrowsky says, is the availability of butterfly- and caterpillar-attracting plants at this sale. "By adding these specific nectar and host plants, gardeners can experience the joy of seeing every stage of the butterfly's life cycle--egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult--in their own yards." And everyone, not just old people, loves that.


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