“It’s May! It’s May! That gorgeous holiday!” The city of Austin is bursting this May with gardening classes, lots of great family outdoor fun, and National Wildflower Week. Are you ready for Mother’s Day? If you’re scrambling around for last minute gift ideas, check out some classes that might spark a few perfect gift ideas. Whether you consider yourself an amateur or a well-seasoned hobby gardener, there’s plenty to learn this month. Maybe you’d like to have a hand in keeping Austin green and beautiful. Sign up for one of several great volunteer opportunities. The beautiful May days are calling. Let’s get outside!
Classes, Workshops, and Talks
Wastewater Conservation Workshop – Keep Austin Beautiful
Water conservation is an ongoing topic in this part of Texas. During this workshop, you’ll learn how to put attractive landscape features such as terraces and berms to work as water conservation tools. You will also get strategies for using native plants in gardening efforts. The first half of the workshop will take place inside in a classroom setting. This course is appropriate for those who are in charge of large, public areas. Contact Bill Stout for more information.
Saturday, May 2, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Butterflies in the Garden – Zilker Botanical Garden
Are you still wondering what to give your mother for Mother’s Day? Maybe she’d love a butterfly garden. Learn everything you need to know about inviting butterflies to the garden, which plants will catch their attention, and how to encourage them to return. This talk will be given by Kellyn Smith, a Master Garden and lover of butterflies. Attendance is free with paid admission to the park.
Saturday, May 9, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Water Conservation in the Garden – Sustainable Food Center
As summer draws a little closer, you’ve probably noticed that your soil is a little harder to keep moist. With conservation always a hot topic, you may wonder how to provide enough water for your gardens. Participate in this water conservation class from the Get Growing series to learn watering techniques and the best plants for our climate. We’ll talk about drip irrigation, olla pots, wicking beds, and more. Plus, you’ll go home with some drought-tolerant seeds. Registration for this class is capped at 25, so register early!
Wednesday, May 13, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Limited Garden Space? – Alternative Methods of Gardening
There are many people who’d like to establish gardens of their own, but who aren’t sure that they have the space. Attend this class to learn how to use space-saving grow boxes to raise vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The course is part of the Dealing with Drought series and is taught by Master Gardener Pat Mokry and Master Gardener Marian Stasney. There’s more than one way to enjoy your own produce! Save $5 on early registration.
Thursday, May 14, 10:00 – 12:00pm
Faerie Landscaping Workshop – Zilker Botanical Garden
Are you interested in enticing some wee faeries into your yard? Learn to create your own tiny little gardens with live plants and natural materials. You’ll have access to gardeners and horticulture staff as you learn how to set up a miniature garden in your own landscaping. Invite faeries and their tiny friends to your yard. Registration fee and garden kit fee are separate. There are a limited number of kits, so plan to sign up early.
Saturday, May 16, 9:00am – 11:00am
12:00pm – 2:00pm
Homeowner’s Landscape Training – City of Austin Grow Green Team
Prepare yourself for a full day of landscaping education. The 2015 Spring Grow Green Homeowner’s Landscape Training will cover topics such as the diagnosis of plant problems, how to landscape for the conservation of water, the creation of a wildlife habitat in your yard, and more. Presenters include Denise Delaney, Chris Charles, and Meredith Gray. The training is free, but pre-registration is required.
Saturday, May 16, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Community Garden Leadership Training – Sustainable Food Center
Meet up with other gardeners and find out how you can contribute to the local economy by starting a community garden. This leadership training will cover topics such as community organizing, how to find land for a garden, fundraising and community outreach, and the best garden organization plans. You’ll learn that there are many economic, social, and environmental benefits to a neighborhood garden. Interpretation services and childcare will be available as needed. The workshop is free.
Saturday, May 23, 9:00am – 1:00pm
Volunteer Opportunities all Around the Community
Volunteer Gardening – UT Microfarm Workdays
Every Thursday and Saturday in May, you’ll find volunteers helping out in the UT Microfarm. Come on out and join us! You don’t need to have any experience farming and you will learn about organic and sustainable methods of farming. You don’t need to sign up ahead of time and you can come and go as you please. Do come prepared with a water bottle, sun protection, and close-toed shoes. We look forward to seeing you in the gardens.
Thursdays 3:30pm – 6:30pm
Saturdays 9:00am – 12:00pm
Williamson Creek Greenbelt Beautification – Keep Austin Beautiful
Some of the best things about volunteer opportunities are the intangible rewards you receive. As volunteers work side-by-side along the trails of the Williamson Creek Greenbelt, they’ll learn more about native grass and tree planting, the management of invasive species, and how litter impacts the environment. Please dress for outdoor work and bring along a water. We welcome children 13 and under with adult supervision.
Saturday, May 30, 9:00am – 11:00am
Ecological Literacy Volunteer Day – Hornsby Bend Maintenance
If you have ever enjoyed the trails, habitat gardens or kiosks around Hornsby Bend, then this volunteer opportunity is for you. Help us to maintain the public access areas around the Hornsby Bend on the Colorado River. You’ll have the chance to learn more about the ecology of this area and if you come with binoculars, you can enjoy some excellent bird-watching. Plan to bring your own water and a dish to share at the potluck lunch after the work is complete.
Saturday, May 30, 9:00am – 1:00am
Fun Activities for the Whole Family
Children’s Programs – LBJ Wildflower Center
Get the little ones excited about gardening with these fun activities at the LBJ Wildflower Center. All during May, your children can enjoy the Sprouts Preschool program. Children will have the chance to explore the Family Garden, participate in a hands-on activity, nature walk, and play time. Every week has a new program theme. Please dress for the weather and bring a water bottle.
Wednesdays and Fridays, 9:30am – 11:00am
Play Hour: Saturdays, 10am – 11:00am
National Wildflower Week – LBJ Wildflower Center
Pack up the family and plan to spend at least one day this week at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. Walk through the wildflowers, learn how to incorporate wildflowers into an urban setting, and learn more about natural pollinators. There’s something different to enjoy every day.
Spring Blooms Wildflower Walk, Tuesday, May 5, 10:00am – 11:00am
Making More Nature in an Urban Greenbelt, Tuesday, May 5, 6:30pm – 7:30am
History and Blooms, Wednesday, May 6, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Explore Wildflowers of Blunn Creek, Wednesday, May 6, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Parks and Patios for Pollinators, Thursday, May 7, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Insects and the Flowers They Love, Saturday, May 9, 11:00am – 12:00pm
Wildflowers in the Family Garden, Saturday, May 9, 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Wildflower Walk, Sunday, May 10, 10:00am – 11:00am
Wildflowers Revealed, Sunday, May 10, 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Make the Most of April’s Precipitation
Those April showers last month carried in about 2.31 inches of precipitation. Now, the May flowers are in bloom and gardeners are out in earnest. With so many volunteer opportunities and gardening classes available, there’s almost no reason to sit inside. You’ll find that putting in a flower garden can be easier than you thought. Try your hand at attracting butterflies or faeries to the garden. Don’t forget your mom this month! Surprise her with a little something you picked up during National Wildflower Week.