Surviving the Winter Freeze at Prosper Gardens
The Prosper Demonstration and Research Gardens, located at Rucker Elementary School and the nearby water tower at Craig and First Street, recovered nicely from the winter freeze with only nominal damage.
We encountered minimal losses of plants, although we did have to cut back several woody shrubs (e.g. Texas sage) and let new growth take over from the roots. Surprisingly, we lost none of our Indian Hawthorns while nearly all of that plant variety died throughout the town of Prosper.
We attribute our good fortune not to luck but to good gardening practices – specifically, the use of Earth-Kind® principles. Our beds have all been amended with compost, which substantially improves the quality of the Houston black clay soil native to Collin County. Furthermore, we always maintain three or more inches of hardwood mulch to control weeds, retain moisture, provide nutrients to plants during decomposition, and, as was critical last winter, establish an insulation layer from temperature extremes. These simple but important practices no doubt contributed substantially to the survivability of our gardens.
The Prosper Gardens are comprised of four separate gardens. At Rucker, we have six raised beds for vegetables along with a demonstration garden containing over 70 varieties of shrubs, perennials and native plants. We do our own composting and rain harvesting at that location. Two additional gardens are located just a half block away at the water tower. A research garden that was initiated in 2015 surrounds the tower and contains dwarf shrubs and ornamental grasses. The research project has concluded, and that garden is now a community demonstration garden. The final garden is a small demonstration bed located next to Craig Street that contains many of the same plant varieties as the research garden.
A team of Collin County Master Gardeners maintains these gardens year around. Master Gardeners along with community volunteers work every Thursday morning from 8-10 a.m., and we invite you to join us to contribute to the beauty of the town and improve your gardening knowledge.
To learn more about Prosper Gardens, please visit: https://ccmgatx.org/our-gardens/prosper-gardens/
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