As the days get a little bit warmer, it’s time to start thinking about seeds and preparing the garden beds. This month’s educational activities include classes on landscaping in drought conditions, protecting natural pollinators, and raised bed gardening. Other activities in the community include the Urban Riparian Symposium and plenty of volunteer opportunities.
Gardening, Landscaping, and Conservation Education
All About Roses– Zilker Botanical Garden
If you’ve always wanted to add roses to your landscaping, but have worried about their care, you’ll want to attend this class. Master Gardener, Cher Groody, has 30 years of experience and she’s ready to share her insights with you. Learn how to properly select rose varieties, prepare your garden for roses, and provide nurturing care for beautiful blooms. She will also cover subjects like pruning, pest control, and proper fertilization. This class is appropriate for those who are brand new to the world of roses and experienced gardeners who want to know more.
Saturday, February 7, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Deep Roots: Raised Bed Construction – Sustainable Food Center
Under the guidance of a Teaching Garden Coordinator, workshop participants will learn to build a few different types of raised beds. Did you know that raised beds provide good drainage and reduce the number of weeds among the veggies? They are also an effective means of preventing soil erosion. When you attend this class, youwill learn how to care for raised gardens, which materials are best for construction, and how to incorporate items that you already have at home for the bed borders. Our community classes focus on basic gardening skills, beautifying our community, and growing food for the table.
Saturday, February 7, 10:00am – 12:30pm
Combat Drought With Proper Landscaping – Dealing With Drought series
Do you ever feel frustrated as you watch the plants in your garden with and dry up as they succumb to the drought-like conditions of Central Texas? Learn how to incorporate basic landscaping principles into your landscape design and how to choose those plants that are appropriate for our climate. Carolyn Williams is a Master Gardener with more than 40 years of gardening experience in the area. She will teach you how to choose native and adapted plants that are tough enough to thrive while looking great in your overall landscape design.
Thursday, February 12, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Seed Saving Basics – Sustainable Food Center
Our seed-saving workshop is geared toward beginners, but may be of interest to those with who’ve already been developing and storing seeds.The class time will be spent on topics such as the development of resilient seed stock. As part of the course, you’ll learn methods of seed-saving that preserve plant diversity, how to promote seeds that thrive in our climate, and which seeds are easiest to save. Share ideas and tips that have worked for gardeners in the Austin area. You will also meet other gardening enthusiasts interested in seed swapping. Come find out how you can promote sustainability at home and in the community.
Thursday, February 12, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Texas Pollinator PowWow Part Two – Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Eight speakers and dozens of exhibitors will come together to deliver information about supporting natural pollinators and safeguarding their habitats. Bees, butterflies, and even small animals carry pollen from one flower to another. These busy helpers are sometimes put at risk. In fact, bee populations are dwindling around the world. If you’d like to get involved in finding solutions, plan to attend this PowWow. Resources and networking opportunities will be shared between natural resource management professionals and volunteers. This event is geared toward professionals, volunteers, and interested members of the community.
Saturday, February 28, 8:00am – 5:30pm
Free Composting Class – Home Composting Rebate Program
Why not learn how to compost from the master – Mother Earth! Composting is the most natural way to recycle. Find out how you can convert your lawn clippings and food scraps into nutrient rich soil, great for your lawn or your garden beds. This free class is part of the Home Composting Rebate Program in Austin. Qualified participants can apply for rebates through this program.
The Natural Gardener Saturday, February 7, 10:00am – 11:00am
Mueller Park Sunday, February 8, 10:30am – 11:30am
SFC Farmer’s Market – Sunset Valley Saturday, February 21, 9:30am – 10:30am
Educational Opportunities for Professionals
Urban Riparian Symposium – Texas Water Resources Institute
The areas between the waterways of Austin and the land around them have special needs. This symposium is geared toward natural resource professionals who create policies and those who plan and manage streams. Workshops, presentations, and discussions will be hosted by professionals including Kevin M. Anderson Ph.D. with the Austin Water Center for Environmental Research, Dr. Peter MN. Groffman of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and Matt Hollon who is the Environmental & Conservation Program Manager for the City of Austin.
Wednesday, February 11th through Friday, February 13th
Upcoming Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities
Re-Seeding With WQPL Biologists – Austin Water
Work with WQPL biologists to re-seed areas that have been treated with prescribed fire. Volunteers will help to collect and then distribute native grass seed. Re-seeding is often used to control the growth of unwanted and invasive plant species and also to prevent soil erosion. If you’re looking for a way to make a difference in the community, join us for this project that will have a big impact on areas treated by fire.Please bring refillable water bottles and dress for the weather.
Saturday, February 21, 2:00pm to 5:30pm
Local Beautification and Restoration Events – Keep Austin Beautiful
There are several opportunities for individuals, groups, and families to give back to the Austin community. If you haven’t participated in one of these events yet, now is the time to jump in. There are volunteer opportunities for those of all abilities, whether you’d like to provide light trail maintenance or help us transform a landfill into a nature preserve. Many volunteers enjoy learning about the world around them and may participate in fun, related activities before or during their work.
Workday at Blunn Creek Nature Preserve Saturday, February 7, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Clean Lady Bird Lake Saturday, February 14, 9:00am – 11:00am
Ecology Action Back to the Land Workday Saturday, February 21, 10:00am – 1:00pm
Williamson Creek Greenbelt Beautification Saturday, February 28, 9:00am – 11:00am
Ecological Literacy Volunteer Day Saturday, February 28, 9:00am – 1:00pm
Seedling Planting in Austin’s Watersheds – Ready, Set, Plant!
The partnership between the City of Austin Urban Forestry Division, the Watershed Protection Division, and TreeFolks continues its work to restore native tree and shrub diversity. By planting hardy saplings along the creeks of Austin, volunteers help to lessen water runoff in city waterways and improve water quality. Volunteers learn as they go; topics such as the sites’ histories, the importance of environmental stewardship, and riparian planting are covered along the way.
Crestmont Green Space: Wednesday, February 4, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Zilker Disc Golf: Wednesday, February 11, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Buttermilk Park: Saturday, February 14, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Northstar Greenbelt: Saturday, February 21, 2015, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Act Now to Ensure the Success of Home Gardening
December may have seen barely over an inch of precipitation, but January rainfall looks much better with 2.24 inches of rain. With a little more rainfall heading our way, it’s time to start planning your landscape, prepping the gardens, choosing seeds for the plants you hope to have around your yard, and strengthening your composting skills. When everything has been said and done close to home, gather your friends and strike out into the community where educational and volunteer opportunities will let you rub elbows with some of the most talented gardeners in the area. Let’s get our hands dirty!