Now that we’re in the midst of summer and the temperatures are soaring, Austin area residents are seeking some relief from the heat. Gardens and landscaping features might also be feeling the heat. Do you know how to cool off and keep your plants moist? Take a look at some of this month’s classes, activities, and volunteer opportunities. Topics range from including waterscapes in your own landscaping to the effects of a green infrastructure on urban ecology. This month’s activities include fun for families and educational opportunities for professionals. This summer is full speed ahead; don’t get left behind!
Hot Summers Call for Cool Water
Springs, Streams, and Pond Ecology – Grow Green
When it’s hot out, nothing seems quite as inviting as the quiet ripple on bodies of water. Join the Austin Public Library and Texas Parks and Wildlife at the LBJ Wildflower Center for a night focused on water, the endangered Houston toad, and backyard bass. Pick up your tickets to this Nature Night early to ensure admittance to the Auditorium. Remember that kids 12 and younger can take home a free gift from the Gift Store. Plan to attend other Nature Nights throughout the month.
Thursday, July 9, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Pond Basics – The Big, Bad, and Beautiful – Zilker Botanical Garden
If you have ever dreamed of incorporating a pond in your home landscape, this class is the one for you. You’ll learn the steps you need to take in order to build your pond and we’ll provide you with the very best tips for success. The class will be led by Jeannie Farrier, pond expert and Austin Pond Society Board Member. This seminar is free with your park entrance fee, so enjoy everything Zilker Botanical Garden has to offer before settling in for this learning experience.
Saturday, July 18, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Classes for Your Gardening Goals
Seed Saving for the Vegetable Gardener – Natural Gardener
Saving seeds and breeding plants are time-honored traditions. You can enjoy many benefits when you know how to gather seeds from the plants and vegetables in your garden. Learn how saving seeds from your own vegetable garden helps you save money, preserve genetic diversity, and develop plants that can thrive in your garden site. Join Linda Wall, a local expert, for this free class that will be held outdoors. Please plan to arrive early and bring your own chair.
Saturday, July 11, 9:00am – 10:00am
Free Composting Class–City of Austin
Your garden can thrive during even the hottest months of summer. Discover how to put your lawn clippings and food scraps to work. When you compost these leftovers, your garden can soak up the rich nutrients. Learn to how to put recycling to work in your yard. This free composting class is part of the City’s Home Composting Rebate Program. You may qualify for a rebate on a home composting system. Inquire for more information. Register today!
Saturday, July 11, 9:30am – 10:30am
Starting Seeds Indoors – Natural Gardener
Stick around after the seed saving class to glean tips about starting your vegetable seeds indoors. You’ll learn about appropriate timing, lighting, and heat conditions. Start now to prepare for your fall garden. Linda Wall presents this class which will be held outside under an open air canopy. Bring your own chair and arrive early to guarantee a spot.
Saturday, July 11, 10:30am – 11:30am
The Bigger Landscaping Picture
Volunteer Orientation – Sustainable Food Center
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Sustainable Food Center. During the month of July, many of our classes and activities are closed. This gives us the chance to train and retrain those individuals who are willing and prepared to help us keep our programs running throughout the rest of the year. If you are interested in learning more about sustainable gardening and would like to enjoy the rewarding experience of volunteering, please plan to attend our Volunteer Orientation. An administrative fee and background check will be part of the orientation.
Tuesday, July 7, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
South Central Waterfront Talkabout #5 – SCW Initiative
Participate in the fifth Talkabout in the South Central Waterfront Series to learn more about designing urban landscapes. This Talkabout will focus on using the landscape to enrich urban development. Scott Cataffa is a nationally recognized landscaping professional. He will present examples of the benefits of a green infrastructure and share information about urban ecology, sustainability, civic life, and economic development.
Wednesday, July 8, 6:30pm
Harnessing Fire – Grow Green
During this Nature Night activity, we will be discussing prescribed burns and how they can benefit the landscape. Join the Austin Fire Department – Wildfire Division, the Nature conservancy, Texas Forest Service, and many others as we explore the benefits and dangers of fires used in landscaping. Come prepared with your questions. Contact the LBJ Wildflower Center for more information about Nature Nights. Plan to attend early and enjoy activities for every member of the family.
Thursday, July 16, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Native Landscape Maintenance 101 – Natural Gardener
You’ve probably already heard about the benefits of landscaping with native plants. These plants require fewer pesticides and less water. Learn how to nurture native plants in your landscape to show off the beauty of our area and to enjoy a thriving landscape while limiting your use of outdoor watering. This free class is led by Colleen Dieter of Red Wheelbarrow. Please remember that the class is held outside and bring your own chair.
Saturday, July 18, 9:00am – 10:00am
Site Preparation & Installation: Webinar – EDG Professional Webinar Series
Maintenance for Sustainable Landscapes
The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Professional Webinar Series continues this month with two classes. The first focuses on site preparation and installation. The discussion will cover topics such as compost testing and soil protection strategies. The course will also dip into irrigation schedules and site hygiene. The second July class will focus on maintenance for sustainable landscapes including topics such as mowing frequency, monitoring plant health, and treatment for problematic species. Please plan to log in and join us for these educational discussions.
Thursday, July 9, 10:00am – 11:00am
Thursday, July 23, 10:00am – 11:00am
Water Conservation – 2015 Landscape Professionals Training
Landscape professionals might enjoy this month’s training on Water Conservation. Learn more about Earth-wise landscaping practices while mingling with experts. Strengthen your skills and knowledge so that you can provide better services to your commercial and residential customers. Register with the City of Austin – Watershed Protection Department.
Tuesday, July 21, 9:00am – 4:00pm
Williamson Creek Beautification – City of Austin
Volunteers are needed to maintain the trails along the Battle Bend Boulevard walkway. Light work might include native grass seeding, planting of trees, picking up litter, and/or managing invasive species (aka weeding). Volunteers should come dressed appropriately and plan to carry personal water. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by adults at all times. Learn more about our unique environment as you mingle with professionals and volunteers. Thanks for your help and we’ll see you there!
Saturday, July 25, 9:00am – 11:00am
The Month of July Is Looking Green
Austin’s total amount of precipitation in the month of June was 8.14 inches, a few inches higher than the norm. The heavy rain caused flash flooding throughout the community. With July at the doorstep, water conservation is an important topic. This month’s classes and opportunities cover topics such as water features, gathering seeds from your garden, and professional landscaping. Let’s work together to keep Austin beautiful and protect our unique landscape.