Friday, October 29, 2010

Schroeder Park at Golden Age Home, Lockhart

Schroeder Park
When David and I were students at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, we met a lovely couple, Mr. and Mrs. B.  They hired David to design and implement a perennial border because they learned he had completed the Professional Gardener Training Program at Longwood Gardens.  Over time, they sort-of adopted him, and me, into their family.  Many afternoons I spent sipping mint tea with them in the sunroom and gazing out onto the profusion of blooms dancing in the last moments of the day's rays of sunshine.  I wore a straw hat that had been their daughter's, and did so with honor.  I never met her but she was apparently an always willing helper in the garden. 

Years went by, and we remained in contact with the B family.  We became acquainted with their son and daughter-in-law, and their first grandchild.  Then the second grandchild was born.  One is in high school now -- where has the time gone, really?  Mr. B passed away not long after we married.  When we announced our engagement he had said, "It's about time you marry that girl."  He was quite a character, and by all accounts a real stickler about keeping a neat appearance.

A few more years passed and the B family asked us to develop a one-acre native plant garden for a retirement home in Lockhart.  While we were completing the first round of installation in early spring 2005, then-director of Golden Age Home told a story about meeting David many years ago.  Mr. B had raved about David and his plant knowledge.  Apparently, he spoke about David often and she was really looking forward to meeting him.  One day she dropped off some paperwork at Mr. & Mrs. B's home and David answered the door.  She said she was shocked and probably stammered a was this man covered in soil and mulch...and LONG HAIR!  This could not be the same plant genius Mr. B had told her about...We all had a good laugh remembering Mr. B's frequent pleas for David to "get a haircut" and to "marry that girl."  There have been other phases and frequent volunteer workdays since then.  We check on the progress several times per year.  And always we stop at Smitty's, our favorite barbecue joint in the Barbecue Capital of Texas.

Lockhart is located in the southernmost area of the Blackland Prairie.  Grasses and perennials are the foundation of the Schroeder Park garden.  A few small trees which are found along the edge of prairielands are also included.  This vibrant and verdant color wheel garden requires minimal maintenance and watering; no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides; attracts plentiful species of butterflies and birds; and truly celebrates a small but vital portion of Texas' natural beauty.

This project is meaningful to us for many reasons.  It supports our mission to restore Texas.  It is a living memorial to our friendships with three generations of the B family.  And it brings us intimately close to the best barbecue, and authentic ambience, in Texas.

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