Ground-breaking demonstration gardens in Prosper

April 24, 2015

PROSPER – Prosper’s Public Works Department, in conjunction with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Collin County Master Gardener Association, will soon convert the ground underneath the water tower at Craig Street and First Street into a research garden, says Tristan Cisco, the department’s Water Conservation Education Coordinator.

“Over the next few weeks, we will actually be planting two separate gardens under the water tower,” she said. “Both of them will fully utilize the Earth-Kind Landscape Management System which is focused on preserving and protecting the environment.”

The two gardens include a dwarf shrub research garden, the first one in the country, and a demonstration garden that will include a number of different plants and shrubs. The purpose is to conduct long-term research of these plants under conditions that can be found in the Prosper area.

“These gardens will be subject to the same sunlight, wind, temperature and rain conditions as every residence in Prosper,” she said. “The difference will be in the use of the Earth-Kind system to maintain the tower gardens.

The project will be closely monitored by the AgriLife and the Master Gardeners, and their findings will be extremely helpful in water conservation and pesticide elimination.”

The Earth-Kind Landscape Management System emphasizes: environmental stewardship; the elimination of pesticides and fertilizers; reduction of water use and drought survival; recycling of yard waste; lowered maintenance; and the beautification of landscapes.

“The Collin County Master Gardeners will play a major role in planting and maintaining the two gardens, and our staff will be actively assisting,” said Cisco. “The scientists from the Extension Service, assisted by the Master Gardeners, will perform their research and maintain detailed records on how these plants and shrubs perform under these very controlled conditions. We are actually very excited to be part of this important work.”

In addition to the research and demonstration gardens, the three entities have pledged to assist in rehabilitating the Rucker Elementary School garden and using Earth-Kind principles and techniques there as well. Rucker Elementary is across Craig St. from the water tower.

“Helping educate young people on the latest and most efficient ways to grow plants is very gratifying,” she added. “We are facing monumental changes in our water supply and we’re in constant danger of polluting our groundwater with pesticides and fertilizers. Making small changes can make a big difference in the long run.”

Sponsors for the gardens are being solicited to cover the cost of supplies and materials. Appropriate signage and recognition for sponsorships will be available. Interested companies or individuals should contact Tristan Cisco, Prosper Public Works, at (972) 347-9969.

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