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Native Plants for Wildlife

air date: October 10, 2014

Celebrate Texas Native Plant Week with Cathy Downs from the Native Plant Society of Texas.  Get her drought defiant picks to support wildlife all year long and why it matters. On tour, Jenny and David Stocker combine drought, pollinator plants, and beautiful outdoor living. Daphne illustrates how viewer Kim Bruch dries and preserves native plants for her elementary school students. Find out how to grow Plant of the Week native purple skullcap (Scutellaria wrightii). In the vegetable garden, John Dromgoole shows how to divide nursery Swiss chard transplants for abundant kitchen harvests.

Question of the Week

How can I preserve my flowers for indoor display?

Thanks to Kim Bruch who shares how to laminate dried garden flowers for display, bookmarks and picture albums! Kim is student teaching middle school science this fall and made her collection for her future classroom. She says, “I’m excited to share my collections with students.”

First: dry your flowers. If you don’t have a plant press, use the tried and true method of wrapping your plants in newspaper and tucking them into a heavy book for several weeks.

To laminate, Kim uses Swingline GBC letter size self-adhesive laminating sheets (item # 3747307). Here’s how she does it.

1.       Peel the backing off one sheet with sticky side up

2.       Gently arrange flowers

3.       Once flowers are arranged and leaves are in a position that is appealing, gentle press into sheet.

4.       Begin to lift backing off a second sheet and align bottoms together.  Takes a little practice.  I wouldn’t try on your best specimens.  Maybe try with some  grass from the yard.

5.       Once the pieces are aligned, lay the top sheet down onto the bottom and continue to peel the top sheet while sticking to bottom sheet.

6.       Work out any air bubbles. I use a small needle to help.  The tiny holes are not visible and create a cleaner looking final product.

7.       Trim to fit into album or binder of choice. Insert into a frame or even cut into bookmarks.

Watch more Question of the Week videos on YouTube →

Plant of the Week

Purple Skullcap

Purple Skullcap

Scutellaria wrightii

This tidy little native perennial is a great choice for Central Texas gardens.  Its evergreen mounding form only gets 6 to 10 inches tall, so it looks right at home as a filler, tucked into small bare spots in well-drained garden beds. It’s a good nectar plant, covered with light blue to violet flowers from March all the way through to July. Full sun is best, but it can take bright shade. And purple skullcap is a very low water use plant, which is great, as long as your soil isn’t too heavy. It can take a little extra moisture, but will struggle if the roots are kept wet for long periods of time. There are many native skullcaps, along with pink skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens), native to Mexico. Deer resistant: minimal.

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