My name is Linda Kennedy. I grew up in Grand Ledge, Michigan. I was not very interested in gardening when I was young but was surrounded by it. Both my parents and grandparents had flower and vegetable gardens. I did love the beautiful flowers, their shapes and colors, but we kids, as part of our weekly chores, had to pull weeds from the vegetable gardens, which is probably why I didn’t really like gardening so much back then. I moved to Dallas in the early ’80s and started my own flower gardens. I realized quickly that plants that did well in Michigan didn’t necessarily fare well here in Texas, so I often relied on botanical gardens, nature preserves, local gardening groups, and neighbor’s gardens to understand what would work well in my area. My main objective now is to grow native plants that not only look beautiful but are beneficial to the ecosystem.
These pictures were all taken at Twelve Hills Nature Center. Once a twenty-acre tract with apartments that, over time, had become derelict and dangerous, the neighborhood rallied to have them torn down. After many years of negotiations between the community and city, five acres of land was secured as a green space with the idea that it would be an environmental teaching area for local area school children (there are two elementary schools within walking distance) and adults alike. Their goal was to renaturalize the land as it was before the apartments were built in the ’50s.
Now, thanks to so many volunteers and private donors, Twelve Hills is a place for children and adults to learn about native grasses, wildflowers, and wildlife.
Twelve Hills is about a mile from my house, so I visit it often. I not only use it to learn what plants survive and are beneficial to our area but also to relax and enjoy the beauty it offers. It’s a little slice of heaven right here in the city.
Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ (Zones 7–10 or as an annual)
Penstemon digitalis (Zones 3–8)
Borage (Borago officinalis, annual) is both beautiful and edible.
Showy evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa, Zones 4–9). This native plant is beautiful and very easy to grow, but it can spread aggressively, so it is not a good choice for small gardens.
Wine cups (Callirhoe involucata, Zones 4–9)
A beautiful informal meadow of wildflowers.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–9)
More wine cups in bloom.
The flowers of the red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora, Zones 5–9)
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
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