February 6, 2020
Invasive Species Dilemma
There’s something empowering about picking a little vase of flowers and foliage from your own garden. So, when a few of my Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’ stems flopped over last weekend, I snipped them and filled in with wayward silver germander stems.
Although not native, they don’t run rampant.
But Chinese tallow tree, beloved for its fall color, is an aggressive bully listed on the Texas invasive plant list. Although many died in Austin’s extreme cold of 1989, you’ll still spot a few around town.
In fact, beekeepers value their flowers. A friend who had her honey analyzed was surprised to discover that tallow nectar was one of the top ingredients. And she doesn’t even have tallow trees!
This week, find out why Chinese tallow tree was imported as a perceived game-changing resource. Author Matt Turner joins John Hart Asher to explore how introduced animals (like sparrows!) and plants impact us now for good and bad.
They touch on just a few species from Matt’s very thoughtful book with Robin Doughty, Unnatural Texas? The Invasive Species Dilemma. It’s an important read to understand the current dilemma and remind us that today’s solutions effect the future.
Also, I highly recommend Matt’s Remarkable Plants of Texas: Uncommon Accounts of Our Common Natives for little-known facts behind familiar plants, including their historical, medicinal, and cultural significance.
Daphne explores this this beach ball-sized papery nest—home to hundreds of flying insects—that Mark Harris found atop one of his trees in San Antonio. Is this a concern?
Entomologist Wizzie Brown from Travis County Extension tells us that these are Mexican honey wasps. They’re not aggressive and usually ignore human activity. They’re also beneficial pollinators and can feed on harmful insects. You’ll most often notice the nests when deciduous trees lose their leaves.
Writer and Texas Master Naturalist Sheryl Smith-Rodgers documented the relocation of one beneficial colony to her habitat garden. Read her Window on a Texas Wildscape story to learn more about Mexican honey wasps and why she was thrilled to get them!
Looking for plant lists, Master Gardener info, and other resources to get you growing this year? Check out Travis County Horticultural Extension.
Watch Daphne now!
So, let’s head to the kitchen! Lake Austin Spa Flora and Fauna Manager Molly Pikarsky joins her budding-chef son Max to toss up a quick, colorful and very tasty salad from fresh-plucked harvests.
You can add protein from salmon or chicken, too.
11-year-old Max whipped up a balsamic vinegar reduction for yummy bites even without added oil.
Even if your ingredients come from the store, get their recipes to pop a little punch into your winter salads.
On tour: “I’m an artist at heart, so I’m always creating,” says Jennifer Edwards.
See how she turned a dowdy yard into an adventure with repurposed finds, small yard food forest, and wildlife habitat while redirecting rainwater runoff from her house.
And thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda