Pollinator garden to support local wildlife
Giving the freshly seeded earth one last sweep with her rake, Marilyn Perz paused and imagined the bluebonnets, Mexican hat, and Indian paintbrush blossoming in the spring. Along with fellow volunteers Wayne Rhoden and Sterlin Barton, she had spent the warm early November afternoon seeding a wildflower mound at the Williamson County landfill. She and several other volunteers would be on watering duty in weeks to come, coaxing the tiny seeds toward germination and, in time, growth.
“This is just the first step toward a pollinator garden that will serve as an ecologically friendly demonstration garden,” explained Marilyn, who is a member of the Williamson County chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) and who played a key role in starting the pollinator garden. “We want to support the native wildlife and pollinators, such as birds, bees, and butterflies, that need native Texas plants to survive and thrive. The garden is in its infancy, but by spring, our wildflower mound will bloom.”
The idea for the pollinator garden was sparked by a similar project at the Travis County landfill. Sterlin Barton, a member of the Good Water Master Naturalists (GWMN) in Williamson County, explained that the landfill makes an ideal location for a pollinator garden, as there is “plenty of room to expand in the future [and] access to a water source to get the plants established. The soil is rich,” he adds, “and receives adequate sunlight to support the blackland prairie we envision.”
Williamson County Waste Management staff used decomposed granite to create a mound—to allow for drainage of excess water—and then prepared the soil with mulch made of composted wood. Once the ground was seeded, volunteers planted salvias, Lindheimer muhly, and Gregg’s mistflower, among others, around the perimeter of the wildflower mound. Collaboratively maintained by the Williamson County chapter of NPSOT, the GWMN, and Williamson County Waste Management, the garden may in the future include a monarch butterfly waystation.
“We hope the garden will attract and support wildlife and be an educational tool as well,” said Kathy Galloway, who serves as president of NPSOT and who helped with the planting. “A pollinator garden provides a diversity of flowers that are attractive to pollinators, and the more pollinators that we have, the better. We also want a garden that school children and adults can visit to learn about caring for native plants.”
Williamson County Landfill
600 Landfill Road
Hutto, TX 78634