NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Weeks after the Lanana Creek flooded its banks and covered the ground at the Stephen F. Austin State University gardens with water, flowers are blooming and filling the property with vibrant color once again.
SFA Gardens official Facebook page shared a post on May 19 of what appeared to be a slow stream flowing through the middle of the garden, most of which could be blamed on the heavy rain that flooded the Lanana Creek over its banks.
“The water in the Lanana Creek comes up slowly and goes down slowly, so the roots tend to be enough in the ground that the plants don’t go anywhere,” said Dawn Stover, research associate with SFA Gardens.
Fortunately, the nature of flooding in the area works in favor of the plants. Because floodwaters don’t to stick around for days, the soil doesn’t often get over-saturated, which means the roots often go unbothered.
In fact, Stover believes heavy rain and moderate flooding every few months has been beneficial to the area.
“The gardens wouldn’t be here if we weren’t in a flood plain,” Stover explained. “We’ve just sort of the deal with the issue over the years. We’re just grateful to be in a space to grow in. Floods are part of the picture.”
Stover wears several hats at SFA; she also helps grow and maintain trial plants in the landscape. The gardens have become something of a test area for trial plants because East Texas is a uniquely-qualified area due to the heat and humidity.
Although many varieties of flowers have already shown their ability to grow in East Texas - several variations of hydrangeas, glossy abelias, and roses - but new and improved breeding selections are often tested to see which perform the best.
There are several plants who do not tolerate such conditions, and it’s part of Stover’s job to find which ones.
“Jokingly, I say that my job is to kill plants, and ones that I don’t kill are the winners in our trials,” Stover said.
SFA Gardens will present the results of its trials to the horticulture industry. SFA Gardens will host its 5th annual Wild about Woodies: Industry Day for nursery and landscape professionals, as well as master gardeners and anyone else who may be interested.
Wild about Woodies: Industry Day will be held Friday, June 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at SFA’s Pineywoods Native Plant Center.