Inspired by Nature: Mandell Park Prairie Garden
Planting in a Post-Wild World
The Upper Texas Coast was once covered in a prairie landscape of grasses and wildflowers. Beneficial insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians all thrived in this diverse and complex system. Over 99% of our prairie habitat no longer remains, and places like the Mandell Park Prairie Garden connect us to what existed here in Houston many years ago.
The Prairie Garden highlights plants and seeds collected from our local area. Some may consider it radical that the garden does not use mulch, but relies instead on native ground cover to control undesirable weeds. In fact, maintenance itself is inspired by nature--small adjustments, such as trimming, are made after careful observations of the plants' habits and needs. The garden changes by the year, by the season, by the day, and by the hour. Honoring the garden as a work in progress is a key part of its joy and success.
Have you ever seen the classic picture of an Elephant standing in front of a group of trees? The caption asks, what do you see? Most people obviously reply, Elephant! Even if the trees are ancient and glorious, it is hard for people to see plants when a mammal is in view. It brings up the point that our plants have evolved millions of years, yet rarely get their much-deserved respect for their essential role in a healthy eco-system. This Garden is designed to combat Plant Blindness!