9 Natives Challenge

STEP 1: Take the 9 Natives Challenge:

Coastal Prairie Partnership, Katy Prairie Conservancy, and NPAT - Houston Chapter would like to welcome you to the 9 Natives Challenge. The 9 Natives Challenge is designed to get folks thinking about and designing simple prairie gardens composed of just nine species of coastal prairie natives.

Contestants are asked to download the Official 9 Natives Spreadsheet below. The spreadsheet contains 52 natives species that are potential candidates for a 9 natives garden. Contestants are asked to research the fifty species and to winnow their list down to just 9 Natives - using a maximum of four species of grasses.

Contestants will use their 9 Natives to sketch a simple garden design using the Official 9 Natives Design Template below. The goal is to create a simple garden that will meet the following criteria:

  • Will provide visual appeal year-round
  • Will be adapted for an average moisture condition and full sun
  • Will be highly beneficial to wildlife
  • Will be comprised of species that are readily available as easy-to-germinate seed or through the nursery trade
  • Will have a high chance of persistence (not composed of species that will quickly faded away)
  • Will be compatible in urban and/or suburban settings (i.e. - can't get too tall)

Contestants species list/design will be judged on how well their concept meets the criteria above.

What will you need to compete in this challenge?

  1. Microsoft Excel or online spreadsheet (e.g. Google Docs)
  2. Color pencils or crayons
  3. Envelope + Stamps
  4. Research Time

STEP 2: Download and complete these materials

Contestants are asked to delete all species on their spreadsheet except for the 9 Natives that they have selected in designing their garden. Contestants must completely fill out blank information on their spreadsheet for each of the 9 Natives before submitting their list (including any wildlife food value-see LBJ Wildflower Center link below). Contestants should feel free to print out the Design Template and hand draw a bird's eye view of their garden design (see template for details and example)

STEP 3: Submit your challenge materials

  • Please submit your (1) Printed and completed spreadsheet for the 9 Natives that you have chosen and (2) completed Official 9 Natives Design Template  to Coastal Prairie Partnership, Attn: 9 Natives, P.O. Box 540342, Houston, TX 77254-0342
  • Submission deadline: May 16, 2013 at 5 pm (note: deadline extended!)

STEP 4: Learn who won and get involved in helping us test designs

  • Winners will be selected by a group of native plant experts and landscape designers and the winners will be announced at the May 22nd Native Prairies Association of Texas - Houston Chapter meeting.
  • The top two winning designs will be planted at a local school or public park to test those designs. We will need volunteer help with planting and monitoring the wining designs.

Good online references

See the species

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Prairie Directory
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A comprehensive guide to the tallgrass sites of North America.

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