There is something special about a winter garden. There are no colorful flowers blooming to entice your gaze. There are no leaves on the trees to hide what lives and breathes amongst the branches. All the obvious beauty is not around to distract you from the other important components of a living native garden. These two birds nests are easier to spot on a brisk winter morning walk through the gardens. The bird nest pictured on top is carefully resting in a possumhaw holly tree. The other (pictured below) is nestled between the branches of a cedar elm – much harder to see because it is made of tiny cedar elm twigs and leaves – perfectly camouflaged.
Not everything goes dormant in winter months. Here are three native plants that stay green all year long.
Pictured in the top left is a live oak. Unlike most other oak trees, this species is mostly evergreen, only losing its leaves briefly in the spring before new growth appears. In the top right, we see the green, stiff, spine-tipped leaflets of the agarita plant. And lastly, the most common yucca species in the Texas Hill Country – the twist leaf yucca. It is easy to identify by its evergreen, sword-shaped leaves that grow from a central point near the ground.
Are you looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? Bring them by the gardens for a scavenger hunt. Have them really use their imagination as they wander the gardens in search of a leaf shaped like a heart, a perfectly shaped pecan, or a bird’s nest.
*Remember to always be respectful of the gardens. This means DO NOT disturb the living plants, animals, insects living within the fences. Leave everything the way you found it so everyone can enjoy the same beauty in the future.