St. Julian's Crossing--a wildlife habitat

First Impressions

This front yard is awash in colors and textures, all neatly arranged in curvilinear beds. Insects buzz from plant to plant, happy to feast on the nectar and pollen of diverse blooms.

When a drought took out many of the plants in her garden, Lauren used the opportunity to replace the lost plants with wildlife-supporting species. The garden is an ongoing work in progress, made possible by passion and an undeniable love of observing and learning. About 80% of the plants are Texas natives, with careful consideration given to those native to our eco-region--and a hope one day to have nearly all the garden's plants come from it.


If You Build It

A healthy garden is a living system. Lauren has documented 39 species of butterflies, around 30 species of bees, 20 species of hoverflies, and around 25 species of wasps. This is all in a traditionally-sized front yard! Plants support insects, and insects support birds. This living landscape provides hours of enjoyment, but even more importantly, provides a haven for beneficial insects and wildlife.


But How Does It LOOK?

Lauren has discovered a few principles that keep her garden looking its best throughout the seasons. Neighbors value the great beauty and connection to nature that she offers her community.

  1. Have clean edges and borders.
  2. Use mounds of particular species of plants.
  3. Communicate and be a good neighbor. Consider a sign in your yard that encourages people to recognize the value of a wildscape.

Birds Observed

Eastern Screech Owl

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

American Robin

American Redstart

Red-winged Blackbird

Prothonotary Warbler

Northern Mockingbird

House Sparrow

European Starling

Northern Cardinal

Cedar Waxwing

Carolina Wren

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Grackle Sp.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

White-winged Dove

Blue Jay

Common Nighthawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Carolina Chickadee


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Lovely front view. Note the different garden beds.

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Taking a tour through the coneflowers

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A water feature provides structure and is an essential habitat element. This one has rocks so that insects can climb out if needed.

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This thick, lush blanket of frogfruit attracts wonderful insects. As a ground cover, frogfruit keeps undesirable weeds away.

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Texas Coneflower is native to our eco-region and a sunny garden delight. The log with holes provides a home for insects.

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This sign lets neighbors share in the joys of the garden and appreciate its complexity.

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Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars excite adults and children.