GLEN ROSE – Somervell County’s Community Horticulture Education Series (CHES) held its regular monthly meeting May 9 at the Somervell County Citizens Center and was highlighted by a discussion of Interactive Gardens and demonstration of a garden loom.

During the meeting, Pat Kriener, an employee of Big Bear Native American Museum in Cleburne, delivered a one-hour talk to the group in attendance on the topic of interactive gardens.

“Interactive gardens utilize features that allow visitor participation in garden activities,” explained Lori Whitworth, president of the Prairie Rose Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. “Participation greatly enhances visitor enjoyment.”

There are numerous approaches available to make a garden interactive. A few of the options discussed included a garden gate, bell, hopscotch walkway, destination pathways, textured pathways, a planting area with trowels & plants, a watering can, a hand lever water pump, aromatic plantings, engaging signage and harvestable plants – such as pepper plants or berries.

A few of the engaging signage examples included placing, "Listen to me rustle" next to tall grasses; "Pick Me," by pepper plants; "Smell Me," beside aromatic plants; "Water Me," close to ferns; "Touch Me," next to sedums; or even "Taste Me," above herbs.

Kriener concluded the meeting with a presentation of a garden loom.

“Pat brought a cleverly constructed portable loom made from a chair ladder back held upright inside of a gravel filled, oval, metal bucket, Whitworth described. “Red yarn was stretched from the top rung to the bottom rung of the chair back. She then demonstrated how to weave varied plants and ribbons in and out of the yarn strands.

“The experience was aromatic, tactile, auditory and visual,” Whitworth added after she noted that several of those in attendance participated in the tutorial.

CHES meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Somervell County Citizen Center. The meetings are free, open to the public and are co-sponsored by the Somervell County Master Gardener's Association and the Prairie Rose Chapter of Native Plant Society of Texas.

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

(254) 897-2282