The History Center uses exhibits, both on-site and on-line, to showcase some of our vast collections of documents and photographs.
Native Plants at The History Center
The History Center’s mission to collect, preserve, and make available the history of our region is not limited to the records and photos kept in our climate controlled vault or displayed in our exhibit spaces – it also includes our gardens of native plants. The History Center believes that just as an area’s material history grounds it in the past, its native vegetation gives both the past and the present a context, anchoring it with a sense of place. Visitors to The History Center can welcome spring with the red buds, admire the full springtime glory of the native wisteria blooms, get relief from the late summer browns with the vibrant cardinal flowers, marvel at the pink-hued gulf muhly in the fall, and find some cheer in the American beauty berry bush’s purple pops of color on dreary winter days.
The native plants used in The History Center’s gardens also serve another purpose. From the beginning, the gardens were designed to both beautify the property and provide a place for native plants to show off. History Center visitors see beautiful gardens filled with native plants that are incorporated into a modern, controlled landscape and it is hoped, they will begin to add native plants to their own gardens. The Center’s gardens allow visitors to get to know these interesting and beautiful plants, see them in a landscaped environment and observe their relatively easy care.
Native plants offer benefits to commercial and residential landscapes beyond their historical and aesthetic properties. Gardens filled with native plants are also much better stewards of money, time, and land than the genetically engineered and foreign plants used in most landscaping. Because these plants are adapted to the local environment, they are more able to survive the fluctuations in the native climate, requiring less water in the hot summers, less care to maintain their attractiveness, fewer pesticides to counter predators, and generally do not require drastic changes to the soil to thrive. Due to the nature of landscaping within a residential or commercial setting, native gardens do still need tending, but once established do not need as much attention as their non-native counterparts. In short, they belong to the area, and so will survive in the area as they have always done.
Click through the exhibit for photos and specific information on The History Center’s native plants. Additionally, click the hyper-link on each plant's Latin name to be directed to that plant's entry in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's Native Plant Database.