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Leaders of the Guadalupe County and Lindheimer Chapters of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) announce a new public education and nursery partnership program to encourage the use of native plants. Called NICE: Natives Instead of Common Exotics, the program will educate about the advantages of choosing native plants over exotics. Area retail nurseries are partnering with NPSOT to increase the availability of the recommended native plants. The program begins Sept.1, 2012.

Six nurseries have signed on thus far. Spanning both counties, they are Hill Country Gardens in New Braunfels, South Texas Growers in Bulverde, Canyon Lake Ace Hardware in Canyon Lake, Schultz Nursery in Marion and Maldonado Nursery and Green Gate Nursery in Seguin.

Each quarter, the combined chapters will promote four easy-to-grow native plants and offer free in-nursery seminars, color posters, plant care handouts, and feature presentations for gardening, homeowner and civic groups.

"Many common landscape plants originated in Asia, Africa or Australia," said Monta Zengerle, president of the Guadalupe County NPSOT Chapter, "but we can help preserve our state's rich botanical heritage by planting more natives."

Texas native plants are nice on the wallet, too, says Lindheimer NPSOT president David Wilson. "Native plants require less water and care, so they are economical. People don't realize how many colorful, attractive native plants are available."

The first four plants featured will be the Cedar Elm tree, American Beautyberry, Fall Aster and Gulf Muhly grass.

For more information, call David Wilson, (830) 899-5339.
The Native Plant Society of Texas is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated promoting native plant research, preservation and use through local chapters around the state.