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The original item was published from 10/20/2014 1:11:00 PM to 10/20/2014 1:12:28 PM.

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Posted on: October 20, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Native plant garden seeking volunteers

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Volunteers are being sought to assist in creating the native plant garden that will grace the entryway of the new Murphy Animal Shelter. The garden is one of only 13 awarded a state grant across Texas for this purpose, says Candy McQuiston, Manager of Customer Service.

“We’re developing and nurturing this native plant garden as a demonstration project,” she said. “One of our principal aims is to show residents how to successfully landscape their homes with native and adapted plants.”

The planting process, which includes minimal soil preparation, some minor digging and placing plants in specific clusters, will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1. The Animal Shelter is located at 203 North Murphy Road, behind the Murphy Activity Center and Murphy Community Center. Entry into the area may be limited, requiring volunteers to park in the Wal-Mart lot and walk to the shelter.

“We anticipate concluding around 2 p.m.,” she added. “To help keep volunteer workers productive, we will have water, soft drinks, hot dogs and chips. Volunteers should dress appropriately with closed-toe working shoes or tennis shoes and gloves.”

A grant from the Native Garden Grants Program from Keep America Beautiful allowed the City to partner with Lowe’s in providing support and materials to create and maintain the native plant demonstration garden. The grant included a $600 gift card to Lowe’s and $500 in maintenance assistance, a variety of gardening materials and additional support from Keep Texas Beautiful.
“Part of the demonstration is the planning, of course, but also that plants native to the area or successfully adapted to the area can thrive with little water and maintenance,” she said. “The plants will all be listed in the Ladybird Johnson native plant database.”

In addition to the professional Parks personnel on the City staff, gardening professionals from the Murphy Lowe’s store, the Murphy Middle School Environmental Club and some Boy Scouts will be on hand to assist in the installation of the garden.

“But, really, we want community volunteers to be part of the process and take ownership of the garden,” she said. A rain-collection barrel is also planned for the site, further demonstrating how residents can enhance their gardens.

To enrich the learning experience of visitors once the garden is in place, a marker will be placed 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.

To learn how individuals and organizations can become part of this program, representatives may contact McQuiston at cmquiston@murphytx.org, call the Customer Service line (972) 468-4100.

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