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The Work of Eagles

native plant garden

Every Boy Scout is told to “be prepared” and to “do a good turn daily,” but some scouts take their commitment to new heights. Two Eagle Scouts earned this status by spending over 250 hours each on improvement projects this past year at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, as a part of recent improvements to the site.

The Center boasts at least 500 volunteers who provided over 28,000 volunteer hours last year alone. Matt Lopez, Troop 395 and Grayson Henry, Troop 555 did their part to add to the tally by providing 631 hours of their projects, including new fencing, irrigation, plantings and soil amendment.

Lopez, who just graduated from Bowie High School, installed a cedar post fence and two cedar gates along the edge of the Homeowner Inspiration Gardens. The rustic and decorative fencing also helps keep deer out of the gardens, which had been a problem for horticultural staff. Lopez’s handiwork stretches more than 100 feet and took about 350 hours to complete. The final touch-up finished on Jan. 31.

“When I first started looking around for projects, I looked at a lot of parks and various other places,” Lopez said. “After looking into the project further, I thought it was too good to be true.  I got the chance to improve a place important not only to my neighborhood or my state, but to my entire nation.”

Henry turned a previously unused space in a children’s area into a useable garden. He created a perimeter bed for plants along a fence and five raised beds. He also laid down weed fabric, amended the soil in the beds and spread crushed granite. Now known as the Little House Teaching Garden, the space includes its own irrigation systems and will be used to teach children about gardening. The project took him 273 hours and was completed on June 5. Additionally, Henry raised $500 in donations for future developments.

aluminum bed Demonstration Gardens

“These projects provide a great deal of man power for the Center,” said ground maintenance supervisor Phillip Schulze, who oversaw them. "I'm pleased with the way both projects turned out, they are excellent additions and a great help.”

Director of horticulture Andrea DeLong-Amaya recently designed new beds at the entrance to the theme gardens. The design uses galvanized steel stock tanks to provide clean geometry and reflect the ranching style architecture of some Center buildings. The beds display some plants not seen here before, such as copper iris (Iris fulva), whiteleaf mountain mint (Pycnanthemum albescens) and cardinal catchfly (Silene laciniata). Schulze, volunteers and staff installed the beds.

“It’s a different way to garden, and we hope people look at it and say ‘I never thought about that,’ said senior horticulturist Julie Krosley, who helped develop the project.

© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center