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News & Photos from Recent GCMN (Native) Plant Propagation Workdays

posted May 8, 2013, 7:25 AM by Lan Shen   [ updated May 8, 2013, 12:12 PM ]
Blurbs below of recent Gulf Coast Master Naturalists Plant Propagation Program (GCMN--PPP) workdays were cut and pasted from the monthly workday announcements. 

GCMN-Plant Propagation Program: We propagate local native plants and wildscape plants to give to school / public / community gardens.  Anyone interested in native plants is invited to join us on our propagation workdays on second Thursdays of the month from 9:00 am to noon at the pavilion next to 6520 Almeda. To join our workdays or get free native plants for your projects or join the GCMN email list, please contact

News from April, 2013 Workday
(photos take a while to upload)

Hi all,
Thanks to all who came last month! Many thanks to Paul Prince, who went to Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire with his truck and picked up the soil donated by NDC to Hermann Park!

We worked at the maintenance facility instead in the pavilion that day because we were transplanting tree seedlings that were many to a 5 gallon pot - into individual 5 gallon pots - way too heavy to be carted back and forth. The seedlings were swamp chestnut oak and shumard oaks from nature discovery center. They need to be watered for a year before being planted next winter. They can be given out now. Anyone wanting them for public or school gardens and any TMN wanting them for their own homes please contact Pat Compton will be taking 4 or 5 seedlings for her property in the country.

In April, GCMN-PPP gave plants to Scott Barnes for George Ranch in Fort Bend County and Edith L. Moore, Houston Audubon Sanctuary near Memorial & the West Belt. We donated:
American germander donated by Kelly Walker, Maximilian sunflower, pink mint (Stachys drummondii), & clasping leaf coneflower from Lan's garden, 8 x 1 gallon Lyre leaf sage, 3 x 1 gallon  Rudbeckia hirta, 4 x 1 gallon rattlesnake master and 6 x gallon Tx coneflower both grown from seed by Paul Prince, 2 x 1 gallon switchgrass from Levy Park, 3 x 1 gallon gulf coast penstemon, 11 x 1 gallon Plains coreopsis

This month we will be potting Virginia wildrye, sedges, American Basketflower grown out by Paul Prince, Indian grass from Sheldon Lake State Park, thanks to John Egan, and gulf muhly, brownseed paspalum and other plants rescued from Bella Terra.

News from March 14, 2013 Workday

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Thanks to all who came last month! We got a lot done, thanks to Sandy Wilson who ran the workday! Thanks also to Pauline Singleton who donated eight Mexican plum seedlings in 2 gallon pots for us. We learned at lunch that Silvia Gederberg, who is in the current class, is a librarian by training and worked at NASA to catalog film and her passion is databases and cataloging things. She will be working with Jackie Smith and together they should put some order to our plant data. Also there was Maya Fletcher-Bai, a high school student, whose school project is Various Prairie Restoration Techniques and has a section at the Savannah for her project. She was there to learn the technique of dividing rescued plants from Sandy.

Thanks in advance to Paul Prince, who will be meeting me on Wednesday morning with his truck at Nature Discovery Center, to transport some fill dirt donated by NDC to Hermann Park.

News from February 14, 2013 Workday

Celeste just arrived back in Houston the day before the workday and made it in the morning to get the keys and get the workday started.  Thanks very much Celeste!  Sandy, who is a much better workday organizer than I am, has agreed to run a few of the workdays this coming year.  A big HURRAY!!!

Instead of Luby's maybe we can get pizza delivered at the pavilion? Anyone for that? Let me know by email, if you are interested.

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On February 14, we propagated Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella), Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria), Lyre-leaf sage (Salvia lyrata) - spring wildflowers, extra seedlings from my mother's flower beds and seedlings dug out of my lawns and cracks in the driveway.    Then we did a much needed job of weeding.  Thank you weeding group: Dawn Asher, Phil & Karen Beekman, Celeste Mead, Millie Morgan, Paul Prince, Nancy Taylor, and Sandy Wilson!!!

Judy Thomas did the other much needed job of planting in the ground, the 6-10 plants that were not planted at the last workday, 10 days prior.  On February 2, volunteers of Project Blazing Star did the annual haying of the prairie and then planted part of the 75 pots of mostly spring blooming plants, but did not get to all of them.  Diane Kerr planted some of the rest and Judy planted the last of them.  Thank you Judy!

This month, thanks to Paul Prince, we will be separating Texas coneflower (among other things), that he grew from seeds that he picked at Nash Prairie last fall.

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Where some of the plants are going:  

  • Sent via Barbara Keller-Willy to Coastal Prairie MN for Needville and Pink Elementary Schools where we have youth outreach programs: 1 x 5 gallon loblolly pine, 2 x 1 gallon gum bumelia, 1 x 3 gallon Cherry laurel
  • Sent to Teri MacArthur for Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center:  1 x 5 gallon loblolly pine, 1 x 1 gallon gum bumelia, 1 x 3 gallon Cherry laurel
  • Donations to Nature Discovery Center:  3 x 1 gallon Pink mint (Stachys drummondii), 11 x 1 gallon Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella); 15 x 4"  Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella), 4 x 1 gallon Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata).  
Thanks to Bruce Evans for donation of 3 cherry laurel trees, two of which have already been placed.

News from January 10, 2013 Workday

Addendum to last month's PPP news (see 1/10/13 Workday Announcement):  Janis Terry (apologies) was the member of the fall 2012 Class, who in December helped divide and plant the grasses rescued from Levy Park along with Celeste Mead, Dawn Asher, Karen and Phil Beekman, Pat Compton, Paul Prince, and Sandy Wilson.

Below are a few photos from the December & January Workdays.  All photos can be viewed at (note, they will be moved to 2012-GCMN and 2013-GCMN folders next month)
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Thanks to Nancy Taylor, who took the photos below of the January 10 Workday and to other January workday participants:  Pat Compton, Celeste Mead, Judy Thomas, Sandy Wilson
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News from December 13, 2013 Workday:  SAVED! Survivors of Levy Park Massacre.

Thanks very much to Millie Morgan for giving us two plastic table cloths and many cut-up mini-blind slat plant labels!!!  They were put to good use at the December workday.

It took a village to save the native grasses that members of the Upper Kirby Community Garden at Levy Park attempted to massacre!  (See background story in my December PPP email announcement.) Many thanks to all members of that village: Jaime Gonzalez, who called to alert us that the grasses were ripped out of their home at Levy Park; Jane Reierson and Kelly Walker, who heroically rescued the grasses and kept them alive until Plant Propagation Day; Paul Prince, who had offered to pick them up at Kelly's house with his truck, but was not able to due to miscommunication; Kelly, who transported all of the grasses with her car to her school; my Toyota Yaris "truck" filled to the brim, which transferred all the grasses to the pavilion.  Once at the pavilion, PPP participants Dawn Asher, Karen and Phil Beekman, Celeste Mead, Pat Compton, Paul Prince, Sandy Wilson, and a member of the fall class, whose name I forgot (1000 apologies!!!) used a saw to divide the clumps of mostly switch grass and other grasses and then planted them into gallon pots.  Sandy and Dawn planted the second largest clump directly into the ground at our pocket prairie, Savannah on the Bayou.  Chris Gray and Diane Kerr volunteered to take the largest, the humongous switchgrass clump, and plant it on Bird Island in McGovern Lake near Whistlestop Prairie.  Chris recently told me that it took him about 45 minutes with a saw to divide the huge and hard woody roots of humongous clump into 4 large pieces to plant, but they are now in the ground. 

I have photos of that day, but my charger for my tablet is in a blue bag that I left in Clear Lake.  I will let you know as soon as I post the photos, especially the one of Sandy standing next to humongous switchgrass clump.

By the way, I was proud that I managed, by myself, to transfer humongous switchgrass clump from the wash tub next to Kelly's car into the back of my Toyota Yaris "truck"!  (Kelly was at work with her kids, when I got to the school.)  When one does not have the brawn, brains will work.  I tipped the wash tub on its side and dragged humongous clump, mud and all, to the back of my car.  Then I tipped an upside down 5 gallon bucket at about a 45 degree angle and rolled humongous clump on top of the bucket and tipped the bucket upright.  So now humongous clump was about a foot off the ground, but still a foot below the level of the bumper my Yaris.  After keeping humongous clump balanced on top of the bucket with one hand while rocking it back and forth, I managed to position it against my bumper.  Finally, I rolled humongous clump upward onto the bumper and into the car.  Success!

Come to the workday tomorrow for fellowship, fun, and participate in another exciting saga, whatever that may be.  

December, 2013 Workday announcement:    help SAVE survivors of Levy Park Massacre
Help is desperately needed to save native grasses massacred by the members of the Upper Kirby Community Garden at Levy Park!  

Recently, the Native Plant Society of Texas - Houston decided to move its demonstration native plant garden out of Levy Park.  Instead, NPSOT-H will join the Gulf Coast Master Naturalist (GCMN) to co-sponsor the GCMN’s native plant garden at the Houston Zoo, where there will be much more foot traffic and visibility and where the zoo horticulturists are very welcoming and helpful.

Plants from Levy Park were not immediately transferred to the zoo because the zoo garden first needed to be treated multiple times with herbicide to remove the exotic invasive torpedo grass, whose extensive underground running roots becomes entangled with other plants where ever it grows.

My mistake was thinking that the members of the Upper Kirby Community Garden at Levy Park would have the common courtesy of notifying us, when they needed us to remove our plants.  Instead, Jaime Gonzalez called to let us know that our plants were completely ripped out of the demonstration bed and the grasses were tossed in a pile by the tool shed.  Fortunately, Jane Reierson and Kelly Walker answered a call to rescue these grasses.  A big thanks to Jane & Kelly! They wrote: 
Jane: The grasses were taken to Kelly's,put in large pots and watered.... Kelly: I have many vintage galvanized tubs so the grasses are in the tubs soaking in water. Jane got quite a few ant bites on her feet while helping load. I had on boots and gloves and missed those, but I got bitten while watering...I will divide and pot them this weekend...I couldn't have gotten this taken care of before dark w/ o JANE'S help....They fill at least 5 LARGE washtubs.

You can help
by coming to the Plant Propagation Workday on Thursday, December 13, when we will divide and pot the plants in 1 gallon pots to be held at the maintenance facility until the Zoo native plant garden is ready for planting. (A light lunch of cold cut, cheese, crackers will be served at the end, so please RSVP.)

Missing: all the forbs. I went a couple of days later and could not find any of our forbs, neither in the compost bin nor in the bare bed. I dug around and rescued 3 clumps of roots - don't know what plant they are.

Also missing or stolen: Sally Hilliard's large metal Texas Star trellis - see photo, toward the back.

NPSOT-H bed at Levy Park on 8/17/12  Native plants were flowering and thriving.

Another bed at Levy Park on the same day.  Annuals were short and mostly dead.

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