Wildflower is published quarterly by the Wildflower Center. Its content is national in scope with articles about the conservation and use of native plants as well as news from the Wildflower Center. A subscription is provided to Wildflower Center members as a benefit of membership.
Letter from the Editor - Summer 2014
An Outside Chance
IN MAY, THE WILDFLOWER CENTER opened the Luci and Ian Family Garden to give children and families opportunities to connect with the natural world in an environment that encourages unstructured play. If you are of my generation or those that came before, you may not relate to structured play enough to know why unstructured play is so valuable. If you parent or grandparent children today whose schedules are coordinated by smartphone, you’ll likely relate.
We dedicate a lot of this issue of Wildflower to telling the story of what inspired the family garden and to describing its design and making. “Free Spirit,” beginning on page 12, describes the new play space and what it means to the Wildflower Center. The garden provides a permanent venue for responding to a lack of unstructed nature play opportunities and gives us a chance to serve more children through our formal education programs.
As our staff worked their hearts out getting the garden designed, built and planted for its opening in early May, we asked them to share their own nature memories. Staff who grew up in the 1950s through the 1990s do so in “Natural Inspiration,” starting on page 5, and tell how those early experiences influenced their interest in working on behalf of the environment.
In time for summer, the rest of the issue gives seasonspecific advice about gardening and appreciating native plants and natural areas. “Get a Move On,” by nationally known garden writer and photogapher Karen Bussolini, begins on page 20 and covers how to create dynamic gardens with plants that move or seem to move. In summer, when many plants are not in bloom, attributes such as texture and leaf pattern that imply movement are an integral part of garden design.
Another garden how-to is “High and Dry” on page 26 – just in time for thinking about what plants to try that will beat the summer heat. We asked Austin garden designer and blogger Renee Studebaker to share her favorites with us after seeing how many of you who responded to our spring reader survey want more information on drought-tolerant plants. (Thank you to the almost 500 of you who responded to the survey!)
Short columns such as “Give Invasives the Boot” (page 29)
and “Summer Love” (page 31) get you through summer whether
you’re hiking or checking off your summer garden to-do list.
Somewhere along the way, something inspired you to want to garden, hike, or advocate for natural spaces or native plants. It could have been exploring the woods near your home, hearing something that inspired you on one of the early Earth Days, or being taken to camp or hike as a kid. Whatever it was, appreciate it. Today, those memories aren’t as easily made for children. But at the Wildflower Center, thousands more children and families are being offered similar chances to learn to love nature.
– CHRISTINA KOSTA PROCOPIOU