YARD OF THE MONTH
October’s Yard of the Month Award goes to two of the hardest-working gardeners in our neighborhood! Learning what grows best in our South Texas weather by the trial-and-error method, Kristen and Greg Raaberg have planted and groomed what was once an abandoned, uncultivated vacant lot at 714 Morning Hill into an attractive, low maintenance setting for the new home they built here in 2016. Over the last few years, the homeowners have selected and “auditioned” a number of native grasses, shrubs and trees to complement the site. Encircling their curved driveway, the front bed is centered by a huge heritage live oak that shades several Mexican fantail palms, native sage bushes, lantanas and plumbago plants. An esperanza, crepe myrtle and desert willow add emphasis. The front of the home is bordered by pink and purple Mexican petunias, Knockout roses, mountain laurels, Mexican feather grass, sage and several Sago palms. A young magnolia tree and white oak add symmetry to either side. Their methods seem to have worked out!
Having hand-picked Hidden Forest as the residential community in which they wanted to raise their three children, this couple set out to beautify the landscape at school as well as home. In 2017, working with the Hidden Forest Elementary School PTA, Kristen and Greg spearheaded a project to rebuild the schoolyard garden. Beginning with cleaning up and tilling the plot and battling the ground squirrels for territory, the volunteers have developed the site into a vegetable and flower garden that yields tomatoes, bush beans, okra, cucumbers and herbs—all from seeds! They work to balance flowering pollinator plants with edible herbs and veggies to encourage a better crop. Schoolroom classes now visit the garden for science projects and are learning about cross-pollination and other agricultural methods, such as releasing ladybugs and other beneficial insects.
The Fall garden is now underway with root vegetables already in the ground! All Hidden Forest parents, grandparents and neighbors are invited to join in the planning and maintaining of this school and community garden. On the first Saturday of every month at 9:00 am, gardeners gather at the garden and will be planting herbs and green vegetables this month. All are welcome, and those who participate will be the beneficiaries of the harvest. Thus far, the harvest has been bountiful!! Our thanks to the Raabergs for all their hard work!