October 8, 2022 · Filed Under Events and News 
The landscape at 3834 Bryce Avenue is just two years old, so it’s still in a state of becoming, but the bees and butterflies have already discovered it.

When Amanda Esparza and her husband Brendan Lavy moved into 3834 Bryce Ave. in June 2020, the paint had barely dried on their newly built townhome. The couple moved from Edinburg, Texas with their three young sons without ever seeing their new home in person. “It was at the height of the pandemic, I had a newborn and it was a nine-hour drive to Fort Worth,” explains Amanda.

Along with the original house at 3834 Bryce, the surrounding landscape was totally scraped and replaced with Bermuda grass and builder-grade shrubs. A certified Master Naturalist, Amanda wasted no time removing much of the new sod and shrubbery, starting over to create a drought tolerant landscape with native and adaptive plants that attract pollinators.

Front and center is a Trident maple tree. Behind it is a smaller Texas persimmon tree. A row of possumhaw hollies line the side fence. A Mexican plum tree stands outside the front door. Besides these trees, many of the plants have been grown from seeds that Amanda buys online from Native American Seed and Prairie Moon Nursery. Eco Blossom Nursery is her go-to native plant nursery. Her raised bed plants are grown from seeds acquired from Johnny’s, Archie’s, and even Central Market. She harvested giant coneflower seeds from droppings she found on the ground in the Botanic Garden parking lot.

Amanda has moved numerous times to different cities with her husband who is an assistant professor at TCU’s Department of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences whose focus is on sustainable urban systems. At every stop, Amanda has built a raised bed garden for herbs, vegetables and flowers she can cut and bring indoors. This year’s raised bed includes zinnias and marigolds, with plans for kale, broccoli, anemones and violas.

In the front of the raised bed is Walker’s Low catmint and a Belinda’s Dream rose bush, a gift from Brendan’s mother in honor of Amanda going back to graduate school to get a second master’s degree, this time in landscape architecture.

Between the sidewalk and the side street are sideoats grama, the official grass of the State of Texas, mixed in with little bluestem and showy primrose. At the back of the property near the driveway is native goldenrod that Amanda included because it’s considered a keystone species. “It’s a host plant for many animals,” she says. “I saw a praying mantis on it before it even started blooming this year. I’m still waiting for the lizards to show up.”

Gregg’s mistflower, purple skull cap, black-eyed Susans, monardas, echinaceas, gaura, bluebonnets, Texas sage, scarlet sage, fall obedient plant, inland sea oats, turk’s cap, blue curls and three kinds of milkweed and much more are spread throughout the landscape. A single yucca transplanted from Amanda’s Rio Grande Valley home is thriving. Another successful transplant is the silver ponyfoot from Amanda’s parents’ Austin garden.

Amanda and her whole family delight in watching bees and butterflies swarm their plants. Future plans include removing more of the Bermuda grass to provide even more fodder for the birds, bees and other anthropods.

As AHNA’s October Yard of the Month, Amanda and Brendan received a $25 gift certificate to Archie’s Gardenland, courtesy of Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association, and a free year’s membership in AHNA.

If you’d like to nominate a yard, even your own, please send the address to president@arlingtonheightsna.com.




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