By Peggy d’Hemecourt, Fort Bend County Master Gardener
Community volunteers and Fort Bend County Master Gardeners created an Earth-Kind landscape at the park adjacent to Richmond City Hall on November 15th. The installation occurred on Keep Richmond Beautiful National Planting Day and celebrated the value of restoring ecological balance and creating greener, more beautiful communities.
Earth-Kind landscaping, developed by Texas A&M AgriLife Ex-tension Service, uses research-proven techniques to create a horticultural system based on real-world effectiveness and environ-mental responsibility. Earth-Kind landscaping encourages water conservation, energy conservation, reduction of fertilizer and pesticide use, and reduction of yard waste entering landfills.
Community volunteers and Fort Bend County Master Gardeners transformed the gardens in the park by first removing all of the plant material. Finished compost was added to the planting areas to improve soil fertility, structure, moisture retention, and drainage. Spray head irrigation was converted to drip irrigation which will reduce irrigation water evaporation and runoff and will prevent plant disease and damage by keeping irrigation water off of the plant foliage. New plants were selected based on their heat, drought, and pest tolerance and on their soil and fertility requirements. All are native or well-adapted plants that will not only be attractive but also thrive with little maintenance. Native organic mulch was added to retain soil moisture and discourage weeds. The mulch will also serve as continuous source of organic matter and nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
Richmond Mayor Evalyn Moore said, “One of the biggest challenges in a growing community is to learn how to leverage limited resources. The Historic Richmond Association, coupled with its Keep Richmond Beautiful affiliate, has really contributed to bringing many of our community groups together to focus our efforts on beautifying one of our City’s landmarks, the City Hall Park. This collaboration between the City, HRA, KRB, Fort Bend County Master Gardeners, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and our many private partners was a wondrous sight. What a way to get the holiday season started!”
Earth-Kind landscaping principles are easy to adopt in any land-scape. Learn more by taking the Earth-Kind Challenge by visiting http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind.