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Native Plant Society of Texas Boerne Chapter

The Home of Operation NICE!™

Natives Instead of Common Exotics
NEWSLETTER January 2008

Volume 8 Number 2
Monthly Meeting

February 5, 2007

Cibolo Nature Center at 140 City Park Road, Boerne TX
Presentation: "Monarchs Ask: What's A Garden?" will be presented by Boerne Chapter member Kip Kiphart. Kip's interest in native plants is hereditary; he got it from his son Tim. Active involvement with the Native Plant Society of Texas, the Texas Master Naturalists and the Monarch Larval Monitoring Project have shaped Kip's perspective on land stewardship.
"Monarchs Ask: What Is A Garden?" presents an eclectic approach to sustainable sub-urban/"sub-rural" gardening utilizing basic ecological principles. The presentation explores value judgments on gardening and wildlife, and encourages gardening for a purpose. Kip and June's butterfly - hummingbird garden is on the Cibolo Nature Center - Boerne NPSOT Tour of Yards.
Join us and become infected with Kip’s enthusiasm and love of these amazing and special critters. Socializing starts at 6:30 and the meeting at 7:00.
President’s Message
This month I have a little bit of news to share about a variety of topics. Last Saturday I went to the NPSOT state board meeting in Fredericksburg and came away with several interesting items. Mike and Jennifer McBride have found that it requires more time than they have to run the state office. Therefore, Jane Crone has taken on the role of establishing a Volunteer Corps to help out. Because Boerne is close, she would like to know if there are any members of our chapter who could donate some time. Information about the organizational meeting is below if you are interested in helping.
As you know, Bill and Kathy Ward are sharing the new state office of Vice-President of Education, and they are hard at work. At Saturday’s meeting Kathy handed out proposed guidelines for selecting recipients of special awards to be given by the State NPSOT organization at the Exxon Mobil Texas State Science Fair in April. This type of award was suggested by the Boerne Chapter, and was approved by the State NPSOT in July 2007. On Saturday, the board voted to give a $100 award plus a certificate for both a high school and a middle school science fair project if appropriate projects are entered. The amount of $100, a significant amount of money; hopefully will encourage science-fair participants to engage in native-plant-related projects. Kathy also gave out information on how the statewide chapters could arrange to give regional science-fair awards. In addition, she presented a proposed list of books which will be posted on the NPSOT website. A condensed version of the list will be included in the information packets for new members.
Bill introduced guidelines for awarding research grants to graduate students to encourage research related to the NPSOT mission. There is a significant amount of money earmarked for these grants; however, currently there is no mechanism for advertising the scholarships or for determining who would receive the awards. Guidelines are still being developed and discussed. There also was a proposal to award smaller scholarships to undergraduate students.
Mike McBride stated a desire to improve NPSOT’s website to present a better public face to internet users other than NPSOT’s own members. The board approved creation of a steering committee and funds to hire a professional to design a more appealing website. We hope this will happen in the coming months.
Here’s some exciting local news. Ann Cain, a member of the Boerne NPSOT chapter, has graciously agreed to chair the Mostly Native Plant Sale for the CNC. The plant sale is definitely coming up soon and there is much work to be done. So please mark April 5 on your calendar and let’s all support both Ann and Betty Dunn, who is in charge of our chapter’s plant sale booth.
I hope to see you at the February 5 meeting, when the always-animated and entertaining Kip Kiphart will present a talk entitled “Monarchs Ask: What is a Garden?” I know it will be interesting.
See you then,

A Sad Note

We send our condolences to the family and friends of Kate Hillhouse, who passed away on January 3, 2008. Kate was the NPSOT president for 1992-1993. She also made the Chapter of the Year Quilt that year, which the Boerne Chapter was able to display. She will be missed by many.
Chapter Activities
NICE!Plant of the Month

Blanco Crabapple

(Malus ioensis var. texana)
Malus ioensis (synonym Pyrus ioensis var. texana) is also commonly known as Texas crabapple and Prairie crabapple. It is a large shrub or small deciduous, wide spreading, multi-branched tree 12-15 ft high. Blanco crabapple is native to three counties in the Texas Hill Country (Blanco, Kendall, and Kerr) and is generally found near stream banks and heads of canyons in well drained locations. It blooms in April with fragrant pink and white flowers. The fruit, which matures in the fall, is small and bitter, but makes great jelly, preserves, cider and vinegar.
Plant Blanco crabapple trees in full sun for maximum bloom and fruit. This tree will grow in alkaline, drier soils ranging from sandy to clay, but it must be well-drained to prevent cotton root rot and other root diseases. Blanco crabapple is xeric and needs little to a moderate amount of water once established. The bark is smooth ranging in color from reddish brown to gray on young trees and develops fissures and deep ridges on older trees. Crabapple trees are considered “deer candy” so they must be caged until growth is well above browse height.
Bigtooth Maples for Boerne


By Suzanne Young
The January 2008 issue of the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine has an article about the bigtooth maples, which mentions the Bigtooth Maples for Boerne project and tells where to purchase these trees. Read the article In Search of Bigtooth by Rob Mccorkle at
In the past two years we have given away 240 bigtooth maple trees, cages and bags of mulch and provided our new tree owners with mentors who are available to answer any questions. We plan to give away many more bigtooths in the next eight years. We will approach more businesses along Boerne's main entrance corridors, especially I-10 and Business 87, to adopt the trees as a way to help guide folks into Boerne. We encourage our members to gather support for the program from the businesses along 1-10 and Main Street. A new flyer is being designed to promote Boerne's fall foliage.
Because of our success in promoting the bigtooth maple, we have essentially depleted the growers’ supplies of the 7 to 14 foot maple trees. This year, we will purchase primarily smaller but many more trees. Consequently, we will need more mentors to help ensure the survival of these newly planted trees. There are many rewards in mentoring new tree owners including introducing our organization to new people, making new friends in town, informing the public about our native trees, explaining the proper way to plant native trees and the common mistakes made when planting native trees. Training will be provided for those interested in mentoring. Please contact me if you are interested in mentoring our new maple tree owners. An added benefit of being a mentor is that this project has been approved by the Alamo Area Master Naturalists for advanced training and volunteer hours.

Suzanne Young


Saturday Workday

Please join us for a workday at CNC, Saturday, February 9th from 9:00-12:00 PM. We will continue with pruning winter freeze damage, caging against deer damage, planting a few additional things, applying fertilizer, and general clean up. Bring gloves, wire cutters, shovels, and clippers. Water will be available. Hope to see you there!


Bits and Pieces

More on Carroll Abbott

By Bill Ward
As usual when I give a talk, I forgot a couple of things I meant to say.
One thing is on rumors about the big-rock memorial to Carroll Abbott on a little dirt road off Lemos Street in Kerrville. The rumor was that the rock was left in the weedy, brushy area on the south side of the Guadalupe River instead of being moved up to the Riverside Nature Center or to some other more-visible place was because Mrs. Abbott hated the memorial. Supposedly, his name was misspelled on the bronze plaque. Truth: the name is spelled correctly and Pat Abbott did not hate the memorial, but the date of birth is off by a year and ten days and needs to be changed. What I forgot to mention: the rest of the truth is that the stone was placed in that seemingly inappropriate place because that was the site where he lived and ran his seed company.
Another thing worth mentioning is that Abbott’s Texas Wildflower Newsletter was effectively the NPSOT newsletter during the first several years of our society. The regular contributors to the Texas Wildflower Newsletter, Benny Simpson, Lynn Lowery, Jill Nokes, and Carroll Abbott were the main agents for bringing native plants to the Texas nursery trade and to home landscaping. They

were the grandparents of our NICE! program.

The meeting was well attended, very enjoyable and lots of books were sold. For those who were unable to be at the meeting to buy one Carroll Abbott's booklets, they are now for sale in the Cibolo Nature Center bookstore.
Chapter Members Demonstrate Community Caring

The Hill Country Family Services thanked the NPSOT Chapter for the generous food donation by those who attended the December holiday dinner. Our donation helped Family Services provide food for 519 individuals. We may have started a wonderful new chapter service to the community. Thank you!

Alamo Area Master Naturalists Approve Chapter Activities

The Alamo Area Master Naturalists have approved the following four Boerne Chapter activities in 2008 for advanced training or volunteer service hours:

  • Monthly meetings when there is a speaker

  • Outdoor Family Fair – April 12, 2008

  • Tour of Yards – September 27, 2008

  • Bigtooth Maples for Boerne Project.

Volunteer Corps for NPSOT State Office

There will be an organizational meeting of the Volunteer Corps for the State NPSOT office in Fredericksburg on Tuesday February 5 at 11 a.m. Lunch will be served, so please RSVP to Jane Crone at by February 2, or call (830) 990-9823. This activity has been approved for Master Naturalists. If you cannot make it to the meeting but want to help, contact Jane.

Be Plantwise

Have you heard of the Gardensmart Plantwise program? It’s a partnership of several organizations whose purpose is to reduce the use of invasive plants in urban landscapes. The following page on the LBJ Wildflower Center’s website gives guidelines and a list of native plants homeowners can use in place of exotic invasive plants. Visit and select Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants. This will be especially useful if you are writing NICE! care sheets.

On My Mind

By Bill Ward
Recently I received a solicitation from the Arbor Day Foundation ─ 2008 Drive. Under my name printed in bold on the outside of the big envelope was the enticement “To kick off our 2008 tree planting drive, we’d like to send you 10 beautiful flowering trees ─ selected especially for Boerne … absolutely free!” Well, I never fall for the “absolutely free” thing, but I was curious to see what was selected especially for Boerne. If truly selected for the Boerne area, this would be an admirable practice on the part of the Arbor Day Foundation.
Inside I found out that for the $10 membership fee, I would get two each of “impressive varieties, each guaranteed to grow and flourish in Boerne.” These flowering trees are redbud (Eastern, I’m sure), white-flowering dogwoods, flowering crabapple, Washington hawthorn, and goldenraintree. Of course none of these is native to the Hill Country, but probably all will grow here. Eastern redbud and flowering dogwood are doing okay in some parts of Boerne now. Flowering crabapple is probably some Oriental species, not Blanco crabapple, and our native hawthorn is not Washington hawthorn. But none of these four is invasive, as far as I’ve heard. If they happened to live, they wouldn’t harm the ecosystem.
The one that alarmed me is goldenraintree, because I believe that is an invasive exotic. I found one along Cibolo Creek on Cibolo Nature Center property.
Oh, I see the deadline for signing up to get my impressive trees is just passed. How could I have let that opportunity go by? It was easy, I assure you!
Bill Ward
Happenings – the Calendar


NPSOT Events

February 5 (Tuesday) 7 PM. Chapter meeting at the CNC auditorium. Kip Kiphart will present "Monarchs Ask: What's A Garden?" Come at 6:30 to socialize; meeting starts at 7:00.

February 9 (Saturday) 9 AM – 12 noon. Demonstration Garden workday at the CNC.
CNC Events

February 9 (Saturday) 9 AM – 12 noon Rainwater Harvest Workshop presented by John Kight, engineer and rainwater catchment owner. Learn about design and materials of the system that supplies all of the household and landscape water needs for John’s home. Cost is $20/ person and $30/couple for CNC members and $30/person and $40/couple for non-members. Meet at the CNC parking lot to carpool to the Kight residence. Pre-registration is required. Call the CNC at 830-249-4616 or E-mail to register.

February 23 (Saturday) 9 AM – 12 noon Habitat for Birds: Part I Attracting Birds to Your Yard with Dick Park, local birder and land manager. Learn how to attract and enjoy nesting, migrating and wintering birds on your Hill Country land – regardless of size. Meet at the CNC parking lot to carpool to the Old Daley Ranch. Cost is $15/ person and $25/couple for CNC members and $20/person for non-members.

Regional Events

February 23 (Saturday) 8 AM – 5 PM Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center Native Plant Spring Symposium, co-hosted with the Native Plant Society of Texas, will review habitat preservation, plant conservation and invasive species management programs in Texas. More information at .Registration for the symposium is $65 before January 31 and $75 after then.

NPSOT Events

March 4 (Tuesday) 7 PM. Chapter meeting at the CNC auditorium. Jackie Poole and Jason Singhurst, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department botanists, will discuss rare plants of Texas and have available for purchase the recently published book with the same title"Rare Plants of Texas" by J.M. Poole, W.R. Carr, D.M. Price, and J.R. Singhurst. Come at 6:30 to socialize, meeting starts at 7:00.
CNC Events

March 15 (Saturday) 9 AM – 12 noon Habitat for Birds: Part II Managing for Game Birds and Song Birds Rufus Stephens, Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist will present habitat needs for Hill Country birds and lead an outside exploration of habitat types and the food and cover they provide. Location is CNC auditorium and park. Pre-registration required. Cost is $15/ person and $25/couple for CNC members and $20/person for non-members.

March 29 (Saturday) 9 AM – 12:30 PM. Natural Landscape Design Workshop. Judit Green, Texas Parks and Wildlife urban biologist will present landscaping with native and adaptive plants, maintenance and “deer” in the garden followed by a visit to a residential landscape that uses drought-tolerant plants and a water feature. Location is CNC auditorium and private garden off-site. Pre-registration required. Cost is $15/ person and $25/couple for CNC members and $20/person for non-members.
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