Dozens of neighbors filled the activity center of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany on July 15 for our neighborhood meeting. The crowd of longtime residents, recent additions and first-time attendees came for updates about Heights Park and a presentation about native plants.
Heights Park Neighborhood Association President Erika Usie kicked off the meeting by welcoming those in attendance and introducing HPNA Vice President Jeff Davis.
Davis updated neighbors on the progress of adding more sign toppers to all street signs in Heights Park. The City of Richardson recently installed 12 new signs, and Davis said HPNA plans for the remaining 11 signs to be installed in the coming months. He also played a recap video from The Heights of Summer block party — a Heights Park tradition that will return in 2019.
Mallory Duncan, HPNA membership chair, shared plans for a new initiative — a Welcome Committee for new neighbors. With the assistance of the city, members of the committee will welcome new neighbors, provide them with information about HPNA, local businesses and city services, and hand out recycling bags. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Welcome Committee, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duncan also informed neighbors about changes to the Rotary Club flag program. Effective immediately, HPNA will no longer offer flag program registration with HPNA membership payment. Those interested in signing up for flag service may do so at the flag program website.
Usie also introduced the newest member of the HPNA board, Jeff Jackson. Jackson, an integral member of the Greenleaf Gang that coordinated and held this year’s block party, will serve as the new social chair.
Gardening with Native Plants
Guest speaker Janet D. Smith, Dallas County Master Gardener and Master Naturalist, gave an amazing talk about beautiful, drought-tolerant plants that thrive in our part of Texas and are magnets for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. (Download a PDF of her presentation.)
Smith, a resident of White Rock in Dallas, said she credits Carol Feldman of Heights Park for getting her interested in native plants and gardening that require less work than “alien plants” like St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses.
“A native plant is one that was growing here before 1800 with no help from humans,” Smith said. “They are an ancient solution for a modern problem — no fertilizer, no insecticides, no edging, mowing or raking.”
She mentioned that the overall goal isn’t necessarily to have all natives in your yard; instead, a good goal over a period of time is having maybe half native plants plus one in your yard.
“The whole key to gardening is the right plant in the right place,” she said. “Native plants survive in our extreme climate, create a sense of place and provide food for native insects and critters.”