Locals Look at Legacy Plaza

Not everyone who has an interest in the Texas Botanical Gardens in downtown Goldthwaite was able to take the tours of last month, but they can look forward to the official grand opening coming in October.

Landscape designer/contractor Tab Ledbetter sat down with The Eagle this week to talk about some of the features of the Gardens tourists can look forward to when Phase I of Legacy Plaza (the Texas Botanical Gardens and Native American Interpretive Center) is completed in October.

Once the Goldthwaite Welcome Center adjacent to the Gardens is finished, rain water will be harvested as it comes from the Welcome Center roof, Ledbetter said, which will in turn be used to irrigate the Gardens and keep the stream topped off. There is currently a groundwater cell being used to fill the storage tank, he added.

Among the native plants that are growing in the gardens is Buffalo Grass, which is unique in that it only grows to about six or seven inches, he said, and doesn’t need to be moved.

“It will never be like a manicured lawn,” Ledbetter said. “It’s meant to be left alone.” When it is finished, they will have laid some 50 pallets of the Buffalo Grass.

There are also Big Blue Stem, Sideoats grama and other grasses. The Gardens also have some food source plants like pecan trees, agarita, and Mexican plum trees, in addition to a mix of wildflowers.

The exhibits at the Gardens are currently still under construction, Ledbetter said, but there will be burned rock middens (cooking mounds), wikiup shelters, and information panels.

The structures also include some 650 tons of local moss boulders from the West end of the county, and about 300 loads of fill material and top soil, he said.

A big attraction among the exhibits will be the rock ampitheater which will be used for the Gardens’ education programs as they get underway in the fall.

The goal of the Gardens, Ledbetter said, will not only be to provide educational programs, but will hopefully be a major hub of eco-tourism in Central Texas.

Republished with permission of the Goldthwaite Eagle. Written by Tammarrah Pledger Eagle Asst. Editor, Photo by Steven Bridges

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