Robie Ritchie, Horticulturist, M.Ag

robie@sibleynaturecenter.org



“The vision of the Sibley Youth & Family Garden is to engage youth and adults in the natural habitats of our region through horticultural education and interaction with nature.”  

Our Committee Members 

  • Alison Peeler, Chair & Board Member
  • Jim Alsup, Board Member
  • Mary Jane Brown, President Master Naturalist, Vice President Master Gardener
  • Linda Groves, Master Naturalist
  • Shaun McCoshum, MS Botany, PhD Zoology
  • Irene Perry, MS Plant Physiology
  • Susie Yarbrough, President Master Gardener

 

2021 Family Garden Class

  • Our first classes for the semester running into October were preceded with a bit of rain that brought out the tarantula, scorpion, variegated fritillary butterflies, hummers and other critters. 
  • These bright and joyful families are taking on their own section of the garden this year.  
  • We took a look at the moisture content for individual plants along with the sweet and sour of soil - or the pH.  
  • We added an interesting plant to our garden called the rabbitbrush.

  • Our second classes are off to a great start this week.  Some of the plants are struggling with the recent triple digit temperature.  So we talked about ways to help them out.
  • Many of these participants really know their insects.  The tiny yellow aphids on the milkweed attract the lady bug which in turn pollinates our plants.  It is great fun to learn how things in your garden work so well together.
  • The families have certainly taken ownership of there gardens and are working together to get a lot done
  • Some things will take over in the garden if you let them and frogfruit is no exception.  Pulling vines can be very therapeutic with an immediate gratification.  Many times we find the garden teaches us patience - or at least tries.
  • We have swallowtail and gulf fritillary caterpillars.  The young people really showed their talents by finding eggs and keeping an eye out for the butterflies.
  • We learned to identify plants from the mallow family like rock rose and okra.  And of course, there was some harvesting of beautiful red tomatoes.
  • While trying to keep up with what plant attracts which butterfly we also gathered around to talk about a bit of passionflower legend.  

We are a Monarch Waystation!   

"Native Milkweed Species for South Central Region - antelope horn milkweed, green antelope horn milkweed, zizotes milkweed...Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to mountains in central Mexico where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. The monarch migration is truly one of the world's greatest natural wonders yet it is threatened by habitat loss at overwintering grounds in Mexico and throughout breeding areas in the United States and Canada."

Want to learn more go to https://monarchwatch.org/waystations/

Art to the Science 

Families in the Garden

  • Flame Acanthaceae - Flame Acanthus, Ruiellia
  • Aizoaceae – Hardy Ice Plant
  • Amaryllidaceae – Daffodil, Red Lion Amaryllis
  • Apiaceae - Parsley, Dill, Fennel, Celery
  • Apocynaceae - (Milkweed) Zizotes, Antelope horns, Ice Ballet, Talayote
  • Asparagaceae - Hyacinthus, Nolina, Breaklight, Hesperaloe
  • Asteraceae - Aster, Common Sunflower, Maximillian Sunflower, Gregg’s Mistflower, Coreopsis, Chocolate Daisies, Golden Yarrow, Huisache Daisy, Broomweed, Thistle, Damianita, Horseweed, Purple Coneflower, Mexican Hat, Indian Blanketflower, Dandelion, Marsh Fleabane, Camphor Daisy, Paperflower, Black-eyed Susan, Four-nerve Daisy, Cowpen Daisy, Wedelia Trilobata, Zinnia Grandiflora, Mexican Mint Marigold, Shasta Daisy, Brazilian Zinnia, Lettuce, 
  • Begoniaceae – Esperanza, Crossvine Tangerine Beauty, Gold Cape Honeysuckle, Bubba Desert Willow
  • Brassicaceae - Tansymustard, Peppergrass, Bladder-pod, Cabbage, Collard Greens, Broccoli
  • Caprifoliaceae- Coralberry
  • Cactaceae - Claret Cup Cactus , Eagle Claw Cactus  
  • Crassulaceae - Mustead Red Stonecrop
  • Cucurbitaceae - Pumpkin, Cucumber 
  • Cupressaceae – Mint Julep Juniper
  • Ebenaceae – Texas Persimmon 
  • Eriaceae - Pink Jewel Azalea, Red Tiara Azalea
  • Euphorbiaceae – Gopher Plant
  • Fabaceae – Beans, Mesquite, Texas Redbud, Texas Mountain Laurel, Texas Kidneywood, Red & Yellow Pride of Barbados, Yellow Senna, Goldenball Lead Tree, Retama, 
  • Iridaceae – African Iris
  • Lamiaceae - Mexican Purple Sage, Vitex Trees, Tropical Red Scarlet Salvia, Rosemary, Basil, Texas Betony, Lavender, Blackberry, Russian Sage, Peppermint, Chocolate Mint, Sage
  • Liliaceae – Onion, Tulip
  • Lythraceae – Crepe Myrtle
  • Malvaceae - Okra, Texas Rockrose, Texas Star Hybiscus, Turks Cap, Rose of Sharon
  • Moraceae – Brown Turkey Fig
  • Myopoaceae – Texas Heavenly Cloud Sage
  • Myrtaceae – Woodlanders Hardy Bottlebrush
  • Nyctaginacea- Devil’s Bouquet
  • Oleaceae - Arbequina Olive, Lilac Bush
  • Onagraceae - Pink Guara
  • Passifloriaceae - Purple Passionflower
  • Poaceae - Pine Muhly, Big Muhly, Hairy Grama, Blonde Ambition, Buffalo, Broomsedge Bluestem, Feather, Giant Cane, Windmill, Witch Grass, Indian, Eastern Gamagrass, Love Sandgrass,
  • Ranunculaceae - Sweet Autumn Clematis
  • Rosaceae – Mexican Plum
  • Rubiaceae – Button Bush
  • Rutaceae - Mexican Lime Bush
  • Solanaceae - Silver Leaf Nightshade, Cayennne Pepper, Potato, Tomato
  • Sapinadaceae - Western Soapberry
  • Tropaeolaceae - Nasturtium
  • Ulmaceae - Lace Bark Elm, Hackberry
  • Verbenaceae - Golden and Texas Lantanas, Texas Frog-fruit, Beauty-berry, Bee Brush, White Trailing Lantana

Search for Native Plants

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Explore Plants database 

https://www.wildflower.org/plants-main

Texas Native Shrubs Database 

https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/nativeshrubs/indexscientific.htm

Plants Database 

www.plants.usda