Friday, December 30, 2011

A Star in their Crown

Yes, there will be another star in their crown for each of the enthusiastic garden helpers this morning for our monthly work party.  It was a hazy cool morning and turned into a beautiful day as we trimmed, raked, and dug.  The garden is ready "for bed" as soon as we can get some mulch. 

Many thanks to our volunteers:
The Walker Family Four, and  Georgine, Joan, Cathy, and Janet.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Come and Help - Dec 30., 9:00am

Another good day for the scheduled garden work day today. ( Dec 9th).   As always, thanks to Joan and Kathy for showing up with us.  We fixed two sections of broken fence and did a good deal of pruning and trimming... And... as can be seen from these Before and After pictures

Most of the garden looked like the first two pictures here.  (Actually, these are two of the areas that STILL need to be done).

The garden is holding well and still looks very nice when maintained.  More "maintainers" taking an initiative more frequently would be a big help.
Come give us a hand on Friday, Dec. 30 at 9:00

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dec 9 Workday and See the Newsletter

Our next Matzke Butterfly Garden Work Day will be Friday, December 9th, at 8:30 a.m.  This glorious weather allows the monarchs to continue their life cycle. Drop by the garden and have a look.

Looks like we will have cool weather on the 9th.   The Monarchs are out and about when the day warms up, but not nearly the usual number.The garden is looking pretty good and will need only minor trimming and pruning.  Chuck will be doing fence repairs as we have two panels broken where they attach, and one that was on the ground yesterday when he checked. 

We will need clippers, gloves, trowels,  knee pads, or garden stool.  

The Houston Federation of Garden Clubs has a wonderful newsletter with good information and great pictures.  They featured our Children's Program Butterfly Program in their 16 page December issue, beginning on page 6 or 7.  It includes nice pictures of our garden and several of the children’s programs.  The link to it may be found by clicking HERE 

We are thankful for your support and help this past year and look forward to 2012

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November Work Day is the 10th at 8:30 a.m.

We have four flats of Pansies to plant which won't that long.  Always some dead heading to do.  I hope you can join us.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Planning the Stone"

This afternoon, Carol Bennett, ABCS Board President,  the stone mason, and Martin Heemer, ABCS Board Member, met to plan the location and setting of the stone monument Martin is donating to Matzke Park.  It will commerate the work of the original Association for Better Community Schools (ABCS) group that 17 years ago began work to save what is now Matzke Park from being a strip mall when the school district put the 20 acres up for sale.  ABCS has since been a major supporter of the building of the Butterfly Garden as well as the playground for special needs children.  The monument will be erected in the next month and located in the grassy area just north of the park office.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Oct 28th Work Day

Welcome Fall! Cool weather at last.  Here are 2 Monarchs sleeping through our scheduled Work Session at the garden this morning at 8:30 AM.  Of course the 55 degree temperature may have had something to do with their torpor.  We got roses trimmed and a lot of weeds pulled.  Thank you Joan, Janet, Cathy C and Chuck for all your hard work as usual.   We enjoyed some hot plum tea and cookies in addition to our exercise.  How about others of you ?    Come join us Nov 10th at 8:30 AM for our next work day and the planting of 4 flats of fall flowers.  You can do no wrong and need no special gardening skills.  Yes we have stand up work that does not require you to be bending or on your knees.  

Sylvia McMillan has completed painting our Children's Program Monarch Photo Cut Out Board.  It is beautiful. Thank you Sylvia, a wonderful and creative job.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Work Day Friday October 27 at 8:30 a.m.

The Garden has lots of butterflies!  Georgeine says the garden is looking very good but does need weeding and pruning.    You will need clippers, hedge clippers, the roses will need some trimming.  We will cut out the dead rose bushes.  Hopefully we can complete our trimming until the December Work Day.
There is a 30% of rain in the forecast for tomorrow morning, if it is pouring rain,  then we should move the work day to Monday, October, 31 8:30 a.m.
The old glorious knobby oak tree has died and has been cut down.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Work Day for October

Work Day for the Butterfly Garden will be Friday October 28th.  More details as we get closer to the 28th.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fence,Trees,and Plants

Well, it took a few days and lots of sweat, but we finally got the fence repairs finished, the vines pulled/dug out, and the roses fertilized. They should be able to breath and grow much better now.  Carol also got all the rocks re-aligned and weed free.  (these three pictures were taken on Friday, Sept 22.)

Sad, sad, sad.  The park has lost a number of the big pine trees due to the drought.  And now, it looks like some of the wonderful, very old, oaks are giving up the ghost.  The park staff have been watering the trees all summer but Mother Nature can't be replaced with a garden hose for things of this size.  Our big trees by the garden gazebo still look ok, thankfully.

                                                      The garden is looking very healthy, given the weird summer.   We have a lot of very large Butterfly Weed plants, but have seen no caterpillars.   Usually we are having to buy new Butterfly weed throughout the summer just to replace what the caterpillars eat.  Not so this year.  Many are shoulder height as you can see here. We did see one Monarch while working on the roses, however, so that is a good sign. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Garden Fence Update

A big Happy Birthday today to Carol Bennett. She continues to be the major vision and energy behind this garden.

Here is a "during" and "after" set of pictures with respect to my repair of the fence on 17 Sep.  I didn't think to take a "before" shot. (but for that,  check the Aug 1 post "Natures Revenge" in the blog archives on the upper right of the blog)    These two sections were completely broken off and only being held up by the overgrowth of roses on both sides.  Although I had to do a lot of pruning to get at the fence sections, much of it was dead anyway.

There is one more section that is broken off on just one end. But it will have to wait for now as it is covered with roses and most are healthy.  There are also 4 or 5 broken pickets throughout I still need to patch/replace.   That, too, will wait until cooler weather.  

Overall, the fence is holding up well.  The roses have kept the kids off for the most part.  The soccer balls and kids do get to the pickets once in awhile.  The breaking of the whole 8 foot sections is mainly due to the fact that the 4 brackets that hold up each section are made of the same vinyl (pvc-like)  material.  The sun weakens them and the weight of the plant growth/kids breaks them off.  They are somewhat difficult to replace.

However... in researching Lowes on-line, I see that everyone else in the US has been having the same problems with the poor brackets and Lowes now sells aluminum ones as replacements.  I'll get some of these for the future.  I am particularly glad we originally went with the more expensive option and put 4x4 posts inside the main uprights when we were installing the fence in May of 2007.  Can you believe it has been more than 4 years?  There has been no problem with the posts and they are still solid; well set in cement. We can thank our Pct #4 park staff for their fine help with that.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sept Work Day results

Cool weather, no smoke and Joan, Georgeine, Cathy C and Maudie came out to help clear out plants and weeds.  Thank you ladies.  Tomorrow Modesto will come and help Chuck and I clear up the rose vines and get the fence fixed. 
"The purpose of life is to discover your gift.  The meaning of life is to give you gift a way." from How Many People Does It Take to Make a Difference? by D. Zadra and K. takes people like our garden helpers.

Monday, September 5, 2011

September Weed Smackdown Sept 9 at 8 am

Want to win the war on weeds and dead heads at Matzke Park Butterfly Garden? Join in this battle ( now that the mornings are cooler) on Friday Sept 9th at 8 a.m.  You will need pruners and work gloves.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Organized Weed Clean-UP Aug 12 8-9 AM

Summer time, and the living is easy (?) ...
Weeds are a leaping, and the flowers are high !
The heat's oppressive, and the drought is depressing, ...
but we gota get out.... and try!

This will be short session of managing the weeds and dead heading. Bring your sunscreen, water, gloves, hat, and cool clothes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Latest from Monarch Watch

This is from (a very long) email we just got (Aug 2) from the Monarch Watch organization. A lot of info and links in the message. As you may remember, the Butterfly Garden is a registered Monarch Way-station.

Don't forget to check the Archives to the right on the blog page, for the items you may have missed if you don't frequently check in with us.


Greetings Monarch Watchers!

The fall monarch migration is almost upon us! This is just a quick update to let you know what's been going on at Monarch Watch and what is coming up as we prepare for our 20th fall season! :-)

Monarch Population Update
A lot has happened since Monarch Watch was created in 1992. We've seen the overwintering population in Mexico increase each year from 1994 to 1996, only to crash inexplicably in 1997. We have seen ups and downs in overwintering numbers - but mostly downs since 2003. In fact, the population has been below the long-term average for the last seven years. The downward trend is now statistically significant (Brower, et al. 2011) and it is clear that we have entered a new era of monarch numbers.

The great migrations of the 90s are a thing of the past. In the future, we can expect overwintering populations in Mexico of 2-6 hectares. The main reason for the decline is loss of habitat. Monarch habitat has been reduced by at least 140 million acres in the last 10 years - about a fifth of the total breeding area available to monarchs has been lost. At least 100 million acres of habitat has been lost due to the adoption of herbicide resistant corn and soybeans.

So, where does this leave us and what does this mean for tagging?

We can expect a low year for monarchs, perhaps not as low as 2009 (1.92 hectares) or 2004 (2.19 hectares) but close to these numbers. The migration should be particularly low in the New England area and the numbers at Cape May will be low as well. The central region (Ontario, MI, OH, IN, IL) will see a modest migration and could produce more monarchs than the area defined by the eastern Dakotas, MN, WI, and IA. Even though the population will be down from historical highs, there will still be plenty of monarchs to tag.

Please visit our blog ( for a more detailed account of the current monarch population and updates as the season progresses.

2011 Season Tagging Kits
Our tags for the 2011 Monarch Watch Tagging Kits arrived recently and we sent out the first batch of kits on Friday. Those of you that ordered between January 1st and June 30th of this year should receive your tags within the next few days.

If you haven't ordered your tagging kits yet, there is still plenty of time before the migration begins - but the tags are going fast. If you would like to participate in monarch tagging this fall, please place your order for tags as soon as possible so that you don't miss out.

If you would like to participate in the 2011 monarch tagging season this fall, be sure to order your tags soon! As many of you know, we have a limited number of tags created each year and we usually run out before the end of the migration season. Tags are available on a first-come first-serve basis and we will begin shipping kits out by the 1st of August - ahead of the migration in your area (to determine approximate timing please see

Monarch Tagging Kits are available via the Monarch Watch Shop at

Remember, each purchase helps support Monarch Watch - thank you for your interest and support!

Chip in for Monarch Watch!
Monarch Watch is turning 20 and needs your help! If you are in a position to offer financial support to Monarch Watch (or if you know someone who might be), please consider making a fully tax-deductible donation of any amount during our 2011 "Chip in for Monarch Watch" fundraising campaign.

It is no secret that Monarch Watch founder and director Chip Taylor is passionate about monarchs and Monarch Watch - he is genuinely concerned about the future of the monarch migration and that of our program as well. In honor of Chip we officially launched in 2009 the now annual "Chip in for Monarch Watch" fundraising campaign - a chance for Monarch Watchers, colleagues, friends, and family across the planet to show their support for Chip and the Monarch Watch program he brought to life two decades ago.

Last year's campaign was a huge success, raising $23,000 via nearly 500 donors - wow!

We encourage you to spend a little time reading through previous donor comments - the connections that are facilitated by monarchs and Monarch Watch are truly extraordinary.

Complete campaign details at:

Thank you for your continued support!

Monarch Rearing Kits
As many of you know, sending out Monarch Rearing Kits is a big part of our program. The fall is our busiest season and we send out thousands of caterpillars each week to addresses all over the U.S. (east of the Rocky Mountains). We have lots of kits on the shipping calendar, but there is still time to place an order. Available shipping weeks appear on the product page linked below.

Our Monarch Rearing Kit contains fourteen to sixteen first to third instar monarch larvae (caterpillars) and rearing instructions. The larvae arrive in small cups and must be transferred to milkweed plants or leaves to feed. Please make sure you have fresh milkweed available before your caterpillars arrive. Each caterpillar generally needs 18 inches of milkweed to pupate. Pupation will occur in about 10 days and adults will emerge 10-14 days after pupation.

Monarch Rearing Kits are available via the Monarch Watch Shop:

Festival of Butterflies
August 5-7 & 12-14 (Friday-Sunday over two weekends)
Powell Gardens, Kingsville, MO

Monarch Watch will once again be on hand at the Festival of Butterflies at Powell Gardens (our 10th year!) to answer any questions you have about monarchs or any of our education, conservation, or research projects. We'll be bringing lots of show and tell so you'll be able to get up close and personal with monarchs (all life stages) and many other butterflies and moths :-) It's fun for the whole family!

The festival runs August 5-7 & 12-14 - complete details are available at

Check out lots of photos from last year's festival at - we'll post plenty during this year's festival as well!


Powell Gardens is about 30 miles east of Kansas City on U.S. Highway 50.

Monarch Watch Fall Open House
Saturday, 10 September 2011 - 8a to 3p
Monarch Watch, Lawrence, KS (will be broadcast online as well)

Join us at our Fall Open House at Foley Hall (KU West Campus) on Saturday, September 10th to celebrate the arrival of migrating monarchs coming from the north. This free event is designed to please children and adults alike.

At the Open House you can learn about creating Monarch Waystations and see the magnificent butterfly and pollinator garden created and maintained by Margarete Johnson and the Douglas County Master Gardeners. Weather permitting, you will see an abundance of butterflies and numerous other small but important pollinators. On a good day over 20 species of butterflies visit the garden. The Biohouse, adjacent to the garden, will be filled with monarchs and other species. The Biohouse and garden contain numerous butterfly flowers. Bring your cameras. It is well worth a visit.

As usual, we will provide refreshments, lots of show & tell (including a honey bee observation hive and some "Oh, my!" insects you may have never seen before), tours of our gardens and lab space, hands-on activities, games, videos, monarch tagging demonstrations, iChat videoconferencing, and, of course, lots of monarch caterpillars, pupae, and butterflies!

We also plan to have a limited number of Monarch pupae (to emerge as a butterfly at home or at school) that will be given to each child in attendance, while supply lasts.

If you can't be there, be sure to visit us online at the address below to see what we're doing - we plan on having at least a couple of webcams broadcasting the day's events.

Photos, live broadcasts, and other details at:

Monarch Tagging Event
Saturday, 17 September 2011 - 7:30-11:30a
Baker Wetlands, Lawrence, KS (will be broadcast online as well)

Once again, Monarch Watch and Jayhawk Audubon Society are sponsoring Monarch butterfly tagging for the public at the Baker University Wetlands. The wetlands are located along 31st Street between Haskell and Louisiana. There is no charge to participants and no experience is necessary - so bring yourself, your kids (all ages), your friends, and your neighbors! If you have a net, bring that too, though Monarch Watch and JAS will provide the tags, nets, and instructions in how to net and tag monarchs. In 2001, 325 participants tagged nearly 3000 of the estimated 20,000 Monarchs present, and at least 85 of those tagged were recovered at the winter roost sites in Mexico! You can view all of these recoveries tagged at these events by searching for Lawrence-tagged monarchs in our searchable recovery database.

Every year, tens to hundreds of thousands of Monarchs stop on their way south to refuel on the nectar from the ocean of yellow Bidens flowers at the wetlands, a fantastic site in its own right. We will have check-in and information tables just inside the boardwalk entrance to the wetlands so you can arrive and leave whenever you please. The monarchs are usually roosting or clustering (sometimes in spectacular concentrations!) until around 8:30a. As it warms up, they begin foraging on the Bidens flowers around the boardwalk.

Photos, live broadcasts, and other details at:

Our Amazon Earnings
As you may already know, you can help support Monarch Watch with each purchase at and (Amazon's specialized Shoe and Handbag store). Monarch Watch earns a small referral fee equal to 4-15% of the item total when you use the links available on our site to visit these online stores.

In the second quarter of 2011 (April-June), 436 items were ordered in support of Monarch Watch, earning our program $628.96!

Details are available at

A complete list of items is available for those that are curious to see what folks are buying to support Monarch Watch. Note: No personal information is tied to purchases; that is, we do not know who purchased the items, only that the items were purchased via the link(s) from our site and therefore in support of our program.

Monarch Watch Facebook Page
We now have more than 6,100 Facebook users that "Like" our page and keep tabs on what's happening at Monarch Watch via

This has become a great way for us to quickly publish photos, videos, and news items - and also to hear from other Monarch Watchers around the globe that choose to share their experiences.

We realize that some of you have never used Facebook or even have any desire to - but don't worry, you do not need to create a Facebook account to view our page. It is publicly available to anyone that wants to stop by and see what is going on - a Facebook account is only required if you want to post a comment, photo, etc. yourself or automatically receive notifications of new content being posted on our page.

Check it out!

Contacting Monarch Watch
As you might imagine, fall is a very busy time for us here at Monarch Watch. Not only are we sending out 200,000 tags and tens of thousands of caterpillars, we have several public events on the calendar and field requests from blogs, newspapers, magazines, radio, tv, film crews, and other media. We seem to be quite popular this time of year! :-)

Given our limited staff, this means that something's gotta give and if you've ever tried to call or email us in August or September you know what that is. If you do contact us during this period, rest assured that you will receive a response from us eventually, it just may not be in a timely manner. Fear not, though - there are other ways to get the information you need:

Monarch Watch main site:


Monarch Watch Blog:

Community Forums:

Monarch Watch Shop (for any questions about orders of tagging kits, rearing kits, etc.): and

About This Monarch Watch List

Monarch Watch ( is a nonprofit educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular fall migration.

We rely on private contributions to support the program and we need your help! Please consider making a tax-deductible donation. Complete details are available at or you can simply call 800-444-4201 (KU Endowment Association) for more information about giving to Monarch Watch.

If you have any questions about this email or any of our programs please feel free to contact us anytime.

Thank you for your continued interest and support!

Monarch Watch

You are receiving this mail because you subscribed to the Monarch Watch list via or - if you would rather not receive these periodic email updates from Monarch Watch please visit

This e-mail may be reproduced, printed, or otherwise redistributed as long as it is provided in full and without any modification. Requests to do otherwise must be approved in writing by Monarch Watch.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Nature's Revenge

For those of you who haven't visited lately, here's what we get for being away from the Butterfly Garden for 3 weeks. Roses and everything else choked with weedy vines... wild grape and morning glory. This is bad as they shade, smother, and take the water. They have to be pulled out from the base by hand and then stripped out of the rose branches.
Really nasty work, especially with fire ants and on one of our typical Houston summer mornings.

It seems not many of the joggers, walkers, plant pilferers, and other passers by, are "forgetting" to stop and pull many out. But other than this, the garden looks surprisingly healthy, all things considered. The almost total lack of butterflies must be due to the winter cold and the ongoing drought. The next Garden Work Day is scheduled for Aug 12 and will be badly needed. You can double click these pictures to enlarge if you choose.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We Have Been Away

After a 17 day trip through Alaska and Vancouver British Columbia, we came back to a Butterfly Garden that is overgrown and thick with weed vines. So hot work is before us, as is multiple loads of laundry. The famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC were wonderful as these few pictures illustrate. We saw no butterflies there, however.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Please Renew Your Kroger Support

The Kroger neighbor program provides support for our garden based upon the usage of your Kroger card. No cost to you. Gas credits are not impacted. Once a year, beginning now, have checkout scan the bar code or enter our charity # 1 00000 82607, and then have them scan your Kroger card. Then, every time you use your Kroger card we get a small percentage of what Kroger sets aside for charities in TX and LA. The program starts again each July 1 and requires only the once-a-year sign up.

Randalls has a similar program which also supports our garden. Provide the Service Desk with our Charity # 1969. These programs provide modest funds to enable us to renew the plants in the garden and to accomplish needed maintenance.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Oak Tree Borer at Matzke Park

Oak Tree Borer
Note borer results on one of C. Sizer's memorial trees.  The borer is a result of the drought and lack of water.  Hoping this tree will survive with spraying.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What a phenomenal turnout this morning to work in the garden!

What a phenomenal turnout this morning to work in the garden!  My thanks to your dedication and support during the summer and drought.  This morning Georgeine F., Cathy C., Jean R., Joan F., Lucy S., Judy R., Kathy S., Tim W., Aaron W., Carrie R., Jocelyn R., Joanna R. and Chuck B. came to trim, plant and put down mulch.  The garden looks great, I hope you have a chance to visit.
Mark your calendar for August on the second Friday for the next work day.  Have a terrific summer.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Garden Work Day June 10 8 - 10 am

Even with the heat and no rain, the garden is looking very good.  We are slowing losing the Knock Out Roses along the fence line.  There will lots of dead heading and planting the remaining milk weed plants in the large berm.  You will need gloves, trowels, pruners or scissors.  Thanks for every one's continued support.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Catherine the Caterpillar and work day updates

  Judy, Joan, Judy R and Cathy C helped to trim the roses,weed and plant flowers on our work day.  The garden is looking beautiful.
  Eighty five children participated in the Norchester Garden Club's presentation of "Catherine the Caterpillar" story and make a butterfly this past week.  Thank you to the Chronicle for the announcing our Club presentation with twenty five children and 9 adults enjoy the day and the story.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Work Day May 13 8-10am and Monarch Presentation May 14 starting at 11 am

An early morning work day at the park is slated for Friday May 13th from 8-10.  We will be trimming the much needed rose bushes and some light weeding.  Bring long sleeves or long sleeved gloves and pruners.  The garden is really looking very nice

SATURDAY MAY 14TH beginning at 11, 11:30 am and 12 pm Catherine the Caterpillar's story will be told to the children.  Come enjoy the garden and all that has been accomplished for a small garden club or just to say hello.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Monarch Watch Spring Open House

The Monarch Watch organization is headquartered in Lawrence, KS. Check out the info on their open house being held this weekend. Interesting information and lots of pictures. Scroll down to the Photo Slide Show. Click Here

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Consistent Scheduled Work Day at the Garden

After polling the work crew, we have determined that on the 2nd Friday of each month will be designated as Work Day At Matzke Park.  Please join us from 8-10 am to say hello, learn about plants, ask questions or to help out for whatever time you can spare.  Check the blog to see if the event has been cancelled.  Dates are:  May 13, June 10, July 8, Aug 12, Sept 9 and Oct 14.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Videos: Chrysalis Forming & Hatching

Two new short videos from Christine and her husband.
This one is of a chrysalis forming.... click here
And this one is of the hatching.. click here

Many thanks

Milkweed is Growing

I have transplanted 95 milkweed plants from Maime's yard and it has been a successful week for them.  I have been feeding them root stimulator and when stable will harden them outside.  Please stop by the garden and enjoy all the new plantings.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Empty Chlorine (for swimming pool) buckets needed

These buckets are great for collecting debris when gardening at the garden.  I am in need of empty buckets for our gardeners.   If you have any please email me at and I will tell you where to leave them.  Thank you

Friday, April 15, 2011

Indigo Bunting spotted at the House

I have 24 milkweed that have survived transplanting from Maime's yard to my greenhouse.  I will keep these under light row cover to get them healthly and ready for the garden.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Work Day Results and Students with Special Needs

Thank you Cathy C and Joan F for your weeding and planting lantanas, zinnas and pentas today.  Six new caterpillars arrived on the milkweed that was planted.  Fifteen special needs Students from Bleyl Junior High and Cy Fair came to visit the garden with their teachers.  They learned about Monarch's host plants, enjoyed the caterpillars.  They also took home some native mum plants and yarrow.  They have Painted Lady Caterpillars at their  and will release them in the garden as butterflies.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Short YouTube Videos

"Friend of the Garden" Christine's husband has been making short videos in their back yard. Here is one of monarch caterpillars enjoying their only food... milkweed leaves. Click Here

And this one shows the new hatch of praying mantis on their basketball hoop. Click Here

Thanks Christine 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tools for Gardening

My favorite gardening glove is the "Atlas Glove", with a tough nitrile coating and breathable nylon liner and it is washable.  It allows the flexiblity and protection for basic gardening. For gardening in the rose beds I have tested many and recommend the Bionic Rose Gauntlet glove. These gloves do a good job protecting your hands and arms from rose thorns.  One weeding tool that is easy to use between plants is a all steel Japanese Hoe with a 4 1/2" blade.  I would like to hear about what is your favorite gardening tool!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Work Day at the Garden April 14 @ 9:30 am

We will be getting the garden ship shape for the children's programs occuring in May.  The roses are bursting with buds.  A couple of monarch caterpillars have been busy on the milkweed.  We have a few replacement plants: Cooper Canyon Daisy, Cardinal, Milkweeds, purple verbena, passion vine, crepe myrtle, cocks cone and zinna seeds to plant and a couple of annual flower flats.  Weeding, dead heading to be done.  I have found the best dead head tool for flowers is the Fiskars Garden Multi-Snip with sheath as it is easy on the hand.  Hope to see you there, if not to enjoy the garden but to meet your gardening friends.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Christine adds Monarch Larvae to the Garden

Thank you Christine from Lakewood Forest Subdivision for adding Monarch Larvae to the Garden. (Some of her friends from last fall are pictured below.

 Plants I am looking for are Big Red Sage and Engleman Daisy to add to the garden.  If you have some needing new homes, please let me know.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

This facility is near Austin and is a must see for their interesting exhibits and the beautiful wildflowers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mercer March Mart Buys

Check out Mercer's March Mart. New plants purchased for the garden include Ruby Frost Coreopsis, large, deep ruby flowers are fringed with a collar of frosty white. Always in search of new plants to try and this year will plant the Cardinal Flower which blooms May-Oct and Copper Canyon Daisy with it's yellow daisy-like blooms. Most of the 80 butterfly weeds planted last year are regrowing but I purchased 18 more of the Asclepias Curassavica. Our garden is 2500 square ft or 277 sq yards. A recommended 2-10 plants of milkweed and nectar plants per sq. yd. is recommended by Monarch Watch.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring Cleaning

March 7th. The garden has come through the winter in pretty good shape. The Gaura, milkweed, lantana, dianthus and even a pink verbena is blooming. Planted were Mamie's petunias and bluebonnets. The rose were all trimed. Thank you Joan and Cathy for your work.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Before & After Workday Jan 15

This is what a little help can do. Before and after on Jan 15 workday with help for REI,Scouts, and the Garden Club. Thank you to the 75 people who showed up. We expect a much more modest turnout for the session on March 7. 9:30 AM

Saturday, February 26, 2011

March 7 Garden Work Day Planned

We will have a work day on Monday, March 7th at 9:30 a.m. at the Matzke Park Butterfly Garden. The roses need to be cut back 1/3 and pruned. Crepe myrtles need to be trimmed. Bluebonnets and petunias need to be planted. Some soil will need to be moved for fill-in and we have some grass seed to plant. Please bring gloves and clippers. As always, come if and when you came. The garden appreciates your support

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Friends of the Garden Handout

Here is a link to a new handout developed to encourage people of any experience to become a "Friend of the Garden" volunteer. Just click here to open it up. You can view it in full screen size, print it out, or download the file if you choose. This also tells how you can easily help the garden by signing up with the Kroger and/or Randalls "Neighbor" programs.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Garden is Waiting for Spring

We stopped by this afternoon to check on how the garden held up to our very cold Feb.  Things are still looking very good following our workday with 75 REI, Scouts, and Norchester Garden Club volunteers last month.  The pansies are doing just fine, but the roses were hit hard.  We will be scheduling a work day soon to trim them back.

History of Matzke Park

This 20-acre green space has been a vital part of the community since the early 1960s. Its transformation into a park is an example of what can happen when public officials, local businesses, and private citizens work together for the good of the community.
When the owner of the property, the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District (CFISD), put it up for sale in 1994, area residents joined together to establish the Association for Better Community Schools (ABCS), a nonprofit organization devoted to saving the land as a community park. ABCS’s first action was to contact the area’s Harris County commissioner, Jerry Eversole, who worked diligently with ABCS to secure a plan that would keep the property as a recreational space.
Commissioner Eversole committed $2 million to purchase the land from CFISD in 1999 and $200,000 in matching funds to assist ABCS with the development costs. A $100,000 donation to ABCS from Compaq Computer in 1997 helped the organization raise more than $300,000 toward the park’s development, which includes the Butterfly Garden and the Be An Angel barrier-free playground.
A monument is being erected here to give recognition to the area residents whose volunteer time and donations assisted Harris County Precinct 4 in creating this community park. Special gratitude and thanks go to Tracy Torma, ABCS president, and the ABCS Board of Directors: Carol Bennett, Margaret Buchanan, Joan Fitzgerald, Susan Greenwade, Maura Hanlon, Martin Heemer, Paul Herman, and Kathy Reagle. Their vision and hard work preserved this park for generations to enjoy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

History of Garden Development

Thoughts and plans for this garden began in 1995 when an organization, The Association for Better Community Schools (ABCS), was formed to save the undeveloped property at the corner of Jones Rd. and Grant Rd. from becoming a strip mall. This 20 acres of mostly vacant field has a number of very old pine and oak trees. Over a number of years ABCS raised funds and worked with Harris County to purchase it from the Cy-Fair school district. The field was used for soccer with minimal maintenance until park development began in June of 2006 with a parking lot and restrooms.

In 2000, Norchester Garden Club led a fundraiser to provide seed money, and initial plans were developed for a Butterfly Garden at the southwest end of the area.. An auction was held and $1750 was raised. (Garden Development then went on hold until 2007 when Precinct 4 installed water lines for us.)

In September 2006, Carol Bennett became Project Leader for the garden project and at that time drew up the garden plan seen here. She worked with Precinct 4 and Mercer Arboretum to complete plans for a Butterfly Garden and Learning Center. The initial two beds grew into three more raised beds. Fencing, benches and a gazebo were also added.

The garden is a result of many individuals and businesses donating money, materials, and labor. We received a generous gift for 2/3 of the cost of the gazebo, with ABCS making up the remaining third. The gazebo provides much needed shade, weather protection and a wonderful view of the garden. Our sign honors those contributing $500 or more towards the garden. It was constructed with the help of the Precinct 4 Parks Department. Invested in this project, as of December 2010, is $47,336 which came from grants, in-kind donations, gift cards and cash from community individuals and businesses. It does not include the donated labor required to refresh and maintain it.

The garden has been accepted as a Monarch Waystation. We are number 1905 on the international and national register. Waystation certification has requirements that include sun exposure, drainage and soil types, shelter and density of planting, (shelter for all life stages), number of milkweed plants and nectar plants with sustainable management practices. Bleyl Junior High has a Monarch Butterfly Program for its students and release tagged Monarchs. Matzke Elementary School, just to the south, has brought their kindergarten and 2nd grade students to observe the butterflies. On nice days, teachers bring their students to enjoy the garden. We also have local people raising monarchs for release here.

Goals for the Garden:

  • Create a beautiful respite for walkers, joggers and students
  • Create a garden designed to attract and nurture Monarch Butterflies
  • Provide a learning opportunity for the community and students
  • Involve the surrounding community in building and maintaining it