Here are a few of the North Garland High School Key Club Members who worked beside Loving Garland Green Members during our monthly garden cleanup effort.  There were other students from this group as well.  It usually works well to partner with other nonprofit when seeking labor for projects.  We assist the Key Club on many of their project and they assist us on our projects as well.  If you want enthusiasm and positive energy, there is nothing that fits the bill quite like a youth group.

This past Saturday (March 26, 2016) was a great day down at the garden.  As usual, the lessons I learned were many, but perhaps the most outstanding lesson was that a few people who care can make a real difference.  We had sixteen people who showed up to assist in tidying up the garden. The total man-hours I would estimate to be at about 48 hours--within a three-hour time period. It would have taken one person six 8-hour workdays to accomplish what we did.

People who participate do make a difference. In fact, people participating are more often than not the determining factor in the success or failure of any organization or human endeavor.

This past Saturday  was not without its learning experience.  Jane Stroud, biologist and also officer of our board, found the larvae of a lady bug and showed it to the students, explaining what it is.  Turns out that Jane had written a paper on the topic.  There are always lessons to be learned in the garden.  It's a wonderful place.

Jane Stroud - Secretary Loving Garland Green

Another lesson I learned follows along the lines of "if Muhammad won't come to the mountain, bring the mountain to Muhammad" -- or perhaps if you don't succeed on the first try, then approach from a different angle:  We had prepared a 20 minute presentation on pollinators for children ages 4 to 14 and the young at heart.  No one showed up for that presentation.  But we won't let those efforts go to waste.  We will offer these presentations at schools here in the Garland ISD and we will also offer it once again for our April last Saturday-of-the-month garden clean up.  


First Monarch Sighting at the Garland Community Garden--No, wait a minute!  That's Anita Opel Loving Garland Green's Treasurer.



Saturday March 26

4022 Naaman School Road (at the Brand and Naaman School traffic light)

11 AM to noon (and beyond if you want to work in the garden) 

The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) is a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America. It will move millions of individuals, kids and families outdoors and make a connection between pollinators and the healthy food people eat. 

The National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN) is an unprecedented collaboration of national, regional, and local gardening clubs. Its founding private nonprofit and garden industry members were convened in Fall 2014, to propose efforts to help restore critical pollinator populations in support of the President’s Executive Strategy to “Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.”

NPGN collectively represents approximately 800,000 gardeners, 10,000 schoolyard gardens and bring a baseline of a 250,000 registered pollinator gardens nationwide from across its five main founding organizations.

The focus of the NPGN is: to inspire individuals and community groups, institutions and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat through sustainable gardening practices, habitat conservation and provide these groups the tools to be successful.


Loving Garland Green supports all efforts aimed at creating pollinator habitat nationwide.  The monarch butterfly, an iconic species whose populations have declined by 90% in the last 20 years, is an indicator of the habitat decline and stress all pollinators are facing.  Quality monarch habitat also helps other pollinators.

As you may know, our mayor, Doug Athas, has signed the Mayors' Monarch Pledge.  Loving Garland Green is actively supporting our mayor in his efforts to call citizens' attention, not only to the plight of the Monarch butterflies, but to that of all pollinators.  More than 90% of all plants need a pollinator to distribute pollen.  Our native pollinators are in serious decline  At least 185 species of pollinators are considered threatened or extinct by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) atn at least 2 bat and 13 bird species listed as endangered in the United State are pollinators.  It is often repeated in the literature that at least 1/3 of all the food we eat is due to the work of pollinators.



Actually there are several things you can do.  Here are a few suggestions:

1.  Come to the Garland Community Garden tomorrow.

The last Saturday of the month is our regular scheduled workday in the garden.  Members gather at 10 AM and work until 2PM.  Don't worry, we can work and talk at the same time.  You won't be conscripted, however; any volunteer labor is gratefully accepted.

We have decided to add something special to these end-of-the-month workdays.  GARDEN EVENTS FOR KIDS!

These educational events will last from 11AM to noon and will feature garden topics.  Tomorrow we will be talking to the kiddos about pollinators. In addition to creating their own "pollinator on a stick", they will learn about the importance of pollinators and the relationship of pollinators to the food that appears on their table.  In addition to the craft activity, we will also give the young people a handout on pollinators, a description of the Mayors' Monarch Pledge, and a free seed packet of Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed).  The seed is already cold-stratified and is ready to be soaked overnight and planted.

2.  Give the gift of a native plant.  Bring a Texas Native Plant to the Garland Community Garden tomorrow.  We will install it in the pollinator habitat we are building.  If you donate a perennial, it may live longer than you do.  It's also a great way to remember someone you love.

We are just beginning to build our pollinator habitat at the garden and we need some more native plants.  If you don't know where to find native plants, one of the best places to obtain them is Garland is at Rohdes Nursery.  Roaches in downtown Garland and Covington's in Rowlett are two other good spots for native plants.    For those who live in the Dallas and Richardson area, try Bruce Miller on Beltline; Gecko Hardware in Dallas; and North Haven gardens.  NURSERIES THAT SPECIALIZE IN NATIVE PLANTS.

Don't worry it it turns out there are too many plants to install in the garden, there are plenty of local schools in our community that we are helping to establish pollinator habitats.  No native plant will be turned away.

3.  Donate to the Loving Garland Green Pollinator Fund.

 The monies donated to this fund will be used to support our monthly educational activities for children.  These events are scheduled to be held the last Saturday of each month (weather permitting) in the garden.  In April we hope to feature a program where the students will observe butterfly eggs and caterpillars in addition to creating a life-cycle booklet.


4.  Create your own pollinator habitat in your yard.

Come to the Garland Community Garden tomorrow on Saturday March 26, 2016 and we will point you in the right direction.




 Below is a photo of some pollinators on a stick that members of Loving Garland Green made last night.  As the kiddos listen to a presentation on pollinators, they will be able to color and decorate replicas of these valuable insects.  We have a blue swallowtail, a Monarch, a bumblebee, and a butterfly that is left up to the imagination--always an interesting proposition.


Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) seedling in my flower bed -- transplanted March 8; germinated Feb 28; seed planted February 14.  Seed came from White Rock Lake area.  Seed soaked overnight in Garland water.  Seed was not cold-stratified.  (Photo taken March 20, 2016)

If you are talking about events, then spring in Garland Texas is in like a lion!

Yesterday Loving Garland Green ushered in the season of hope and new beginnings with our annual, and highly successful, yard sale.  The first week of spring continues with a burst of spring-related events:



6:30 to 7:30
Garland Downtown Public Library -625 Austin Street

Learn how to successfully propagate plants!

Dr. Tom Wilten, Master Gardener is the featured speaker

Loving Garland Green will also be giving away free native milkweed seeds and information regarding the Mayor's Monarch Pledge





Children get the chance to hunt for colorful candy and toy filled eggs.  Bounce around in a jump house, go through the obstacle course, and load up on recreation activity information.  This event is held the Thursday before Easter at Central Park.

Thursday, March 24, 2016
6 p.m.

Granger Recreation Center 
Central Park
1310 W. Ave. F
(from one of the many patterns that attendees will be able to choose to paint and construct their own "Pollinator on a Stick")
for kiddos ages 4 to 14 
11AM to Noon
Garland Community Garden
4022 Naaman School Road

Learn about the importance of pollinators and milkweed.  Kiddos will get free information sheets and a free packet of native milkweed seeds.  There will also be a take-home craft activity and everyone will go home with their own artistic creation of a pollinator.


Max, one of the North Garland High School Key Club Members--With the enthusiasm and positive energy of these students, we don't have to worry about the future.

This week is packed with all kinds of excitement and activities for members of Loving Garland Green!

On Wednesday we met a group of about 15 student from the North Garland High School Key Club for a weed pulling event and to assess the butterfly garden installed last October with a joint effort of Loving Garland Green members and they Key Club students.

As usual, we had lots of fun with great upbeat students.  It's such a pleasure to spend time with them.  They are all so nice and conscientious and so genuine.  I'm quite sure I was not nearly as nice as an adolescent.
I'm happy to report the garden has survived the winter and most of the plants we installed last fall are thriving.  From 70 plants that we installed, 45 are thriving.  As for the 25 that didn't make it,  I'll have to check my notes, but some of them may have been annuals that we stuck in for nectar plants.  One of the ones that did survive, I didn't think would make it. It's already blooming.   I'll have to look it up in my notes to ascertain the name.  It is from South Africa (We'll probably remove it to be purists with our native plants.)  The only reason it is there is we grabbed it last fall when Covington nursery had an "all  you can load in your truck for $50" sale.  
I can't say enough good things for Salvia greggi  (Autumn Sage).  It grows and blooms from February up to the first hard freeze in November.  In fact, just about all varieties of Salvia do very well.  The kiddos at North Garland High School also have some nice Blue Salvia plants that look very healthy.
On Wednesday we also planted about 15 Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed) seeds.  These seeds were taken from the White Rock Lake area and I did cold-stratify them 40 days prior but did not soak them in water prior to planting.
Each of the 15 students received a packet of Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) seeds, a one-page handout explaining the Mayor's Monarch Pledge, and a three page USDA Plant information sheet for Asclepias syriaca.  It's very interesting to learn of all the many commercial applications for the milkweed.  This information sheet is also available on the Loving Garland Green website.
We are looking forward to the installation of the butterfly garden at Watson Technology Center here in Garland.  That's coming up soon.  This one will be a hugelkulter/straw bale build.

Track the Monarchs' Journey North in 2016

 The first adult Monarch Butterfly was already sighted in Portland Texas on March 18, 2016.

Monarch Butterfly Migration Map





HELP LOVING GARLAND GREEN'S EFFORTS TO BUILD SCHOOLYARD BUTTERFLY HABITATS AND BRING BACK THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY FROM THE FRINGES OF EXTINCTION.  We have at least five pickup truck loads of goodies.  You are certain to find at least one item that will please you.  Those who purchase at least $10 worth of goods, will receive a packet of 10 Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) Seeds along with an explanation of the Mayor's Monarch Pledge.

We hope to see you at 321 Pebblecreek on Saturday.




Join Loving Garland Green for our monthly speakers meeting.  The topic for Monday (March 21) will be plant propagation.  Dr. Tom Wilten, a Dallas County Master Gardener will be our guest speaker.

Downtown Garland Public Library - 625 Austin Street - 6:30 to 7:30




Be prepared for a shock if you purchase milkweed seeds!

I ordered 1,500 milkweed seeds from Native American Seed .  I have ordered seeds from this company before; however, I ordered in much smaller quantities (seed packets with 10 seeds that cost $3 on average).  This time I ordered a Dpak of seeds (1,500) that cost $29.00. With the shipping cost and state tax, the total was $44.67.


$44.67 for this!

I was expecting a package of seeds that weighed close 8 ounces if not more.   Instead, when it came I was shocked.  The entire package weighed 2 ounces.  The container for the seeds was even smaller.  It was six inches by two inches.  Frankly, I felt ripped off once again by false advertising—but in our new society of “buyer beware”, where the consumer is held responsible for not being able to see through the subterfuge of advertiser, I shrugged it off to just another instance of my not paying close attention to the tricksters.


A Demonstration of  Patience and Determination

Charlie, however, still has some fight left in him over this issue of not getting what was advertised.  The outside of the packet promised 1,500 Common Milkweed seed.  He counted them—separating them into piles of 100 seeds. At the end of his exercise Charlie had counted about 2,000 milkweed seeds.  It was a good thing because we put each 100 count into a small envelope and then put the 20 envelopes into a Ziploc bag and put in the refrigerator.  They will be much more manageable in these quantities for distribution in our community.

I also took ten out and put them in a jar of water to soak.  I will plant them tomorrow.  I know that all the "experts" tell us that milkweed seed must be cold stratified (put in fridge for at least 30 days) prior to planting in the spring.  However I have 32 milkweed seedlings that were not cold stratified but were soaked for a little over 24 hours prior to planting.

Note:  The ideal time to plant milkweed seed is in the late fall.  When you do it this way you can just sow directly in the soil without having to go through the process of cold stratification.  However, milkweed seed is reported to have notoriously low germination rates in the wild.


Not All Milkweed Seed Is Created Equal

You are likely to have the greatest success with seeds taken from milkweed grown in the area where you live.  I was fortunate to obtain some seeds that came from the White Rock Lake area—only a few miles from where I live.  That is another reason why I ordered from Native American Seed. Although not local, at least they are located in Junction Texas.  Many of the specialty native seeds purchased in stores and nurseries around here come from Botanical Interests—a company located in Broomfield Colorado, hardly local.

Also I’ve found the shapes and sizes of Milkweed seeds vary according to the variety of milkweed.  If you would like to see a list of all the native milkweed plants in Texas, visit our Loving Garland Green website.  We have a complete list of all 36 varieties.


The seed on the left is Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed).  The seed on the right is Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed).  The Common Milkweed seed is also similar in shape and size to the Showy Milkweed seed (Asclepias Speciosa).




Getting the Garland Community Garden Ready for Milkweed and Other Loving Garland Green Upcoming Events

On Saturday, March 5, we installed a brick border and a few plants in what will be known as the Pollinator Heaven plot down at the garden.  In the foreground you can see blue mist flower and some Salvia greggi.  You can’t see the tiny seedlings of the Asclepias viridis in the photo, but they are there.  I’ll be curious to see how/if they survived our recent rain.  So far the ones I planted in my yard are holding up to the rain.

  • HUGE YARD SALE - Saturday March 19 - 10 AM to 3PM - 321 Pebble Creek Drive - Garland, Texas 75040 - This promises to be one of our largest sales ever.  One of our member has obtained a donation of a storage unit.  In addition we also have many more special items such as a bicycle and a sound system.  

  • MONTHLY GUEST SPEAKER EVENT -- Plant Propagation.  Monday, March 21- 6:30 to 7:30 PM -  Downtown Garland Library - Just in time for spring!  Learn how to propagate plants.  Tim Wilten, Master Gardener will be the speaker.

  • POLLINATOR MANIA - Saturday March 26-- an event for young people ages four to fourteen.  The kiddos will learn about pollinators and the important role they play in our food chain.  There will be a craft exercise associated with this event.  Each participant will get a free packet of Common Milkweed seed.  Time:  11AM to Noon.  This event also coincides with our last Saturday of the month garden workday.  The children will have the opportunity to chat with Loving Garland Green members about the various plots and plants at the garden.

  • PLANT SALE APRIL 9 - 11AM to 3PM--We already have 30 Turk's Cap bushes and are hoping to have many more Texas natives at this sale.