The City of Murphy is one of only 13 communities in the state of Texas awarded a grant to develop a demonstration garden and use it to show residents how to successfully landscape their homes with native and adapted plants, says Customer Service Manager Candy McQuiston.
“The grant is part of Native Garden Grants Program from Keep America Beautiful,” she said. “Keep America Beautiful is partnering with Lowe’s and Keep Texas Beautiful in providing support and materials to create and maintain a native plant demonstration garden that allows us to showcase how these plants thrive in the local area.”
The grant includes a $600 gift card to Lowe’s and $500 in maintenance assistance, a variety of gardening materials and additional support from Keep Texas Beautiful. The plants will all be listed in the Ladybird Johnson native plant database.
“We’re in the early stages of the project,” she said. “We already know, however, that the garden will be located at the entrance to the new Murphy Animal Shelter. We’re planning to bring together gardening professionals from the Murphy Lowe’s store, the Murphy Middle School Environmental Club, Boy Scouts and the City’s Parks Department to design and install the garden. We’ll also be looking for community volunteers to be part of the entire process.”
To enhance the learning experience of visitors once the garden is in place, officials will place a marker at each plant base with a QR code, allowing smart phones and mobile devices to access the plant’s characteristics, watering requirements and soil preferences online.
The Murphy Animal Shelter is located at 203 North Murphy Road, behind the Murphy Community Center (MCC) and Murphy Activities Center (MAC).
“In keeping with this theme, we’re also considering placing a rain collection barrel at the garden,” she said. “The intent is to show residents that this is the kind of garden and irrigation system that is best adapted to the local area, especially as we deal with the current water situation.”
Choosing the new Animal Shelter served two purposes. First, there were no specific plans to add landscaping to the project as part of the construction, and second, the close proximity of the Animal Shelter to the MCC and MAC allows for the addition of educational classes on native plants to the class schedules already in place.
“We can hold workshops for garden clubs, opportunities for scouts to earn merit badges, school outings, field trips and other water-saving and plant management programs,” said McQuiston.
Volunteers are now being recruited to assist with the planning and development of the garden. Using volunteers extends the lessons inherent in the garden’s creation to homes and organizations.
“If we get enough interest, we may implement an Adopt-a-Spot program, allowing groups and organizations to care for a specific portion of the garden,” she added.
To learn how individuals and organizations can become part of this program, representatives may contact McQuiston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Customer Service line (972) 468-4100.