A master gardener and owner of a new local nursery in Converse wants to plant the seed of prioritizing native plants not just in our minds but in the habits of local gardeners. Donald Gerber said his love for plants came from his mother, who showed him how to plant native with seeds. “We would stop at the nursery on Main Street, and I would go home with a pocket full of seeds,” Gerber, the owner of Pollinatives, said.
He says planting native will save both money and time. “After the snow a couple of years ago, the heat that is setting a record for a number of days over 100 degrees, if you plant native plants, these plants are adapted to our area,” Gerber said. “They are used to our climate, they are used to our soil, they are used to our rainfall.”
When the California transplant went to buy South Texas native plants for his own backyard, he said he saw a problem. “I got rid of all my grass at home, and I went shopping for native plants, and it was difficult to find,” Gerber said. It’s why for the past two years, Gerber has been working on opening an all-native to South Texas plant nursery. He has either grown the plants from seed himself, or they were grown by other local native plant enthusiasts.
More importantly, he said his main goal is to raise awareness about the importance of planting native for our pollinators. “You are feeding those bugs, those bugs are necessary to start the food chain, the bugs feed the birds, lizards and frogs, and anything else,” Gerber said. “Without those native plants, then all the rest of that native ecosystem suffers.”
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