Gateway to the Hill Country: Imagine it in blue

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

George Cates of Native American Seed in Junction, left, identifies seeds of the Lady Bird Johnson Legacy Wildflower Mix as members of Citizens for Scenic Texas Highways (CSTH) gather to see Phase II of their Gateway to the Hill Country and Highland Lakes Beautification Project get underway Saturday, Sept. 9. They are, from left, Bradlee Mills of Mills Services in Kingsland, Linda Baker of Horseshoe Bay, Shannon Heep of Marble Falls and Soc Gonzales of Sandy Harbor.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

With Mother Nature on their side, Citizens for Scenic Texas Highways (CSTH) will see the intersection of US 281 and Texas 71 in technicolor come spring.

Bluebonnet seeds mixed with those a variety of other native Texas wildflowers were planted in Phase II of their Gateway to the Hill Country and Highland Lakes Beautification Project on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Phase I was the trimming of Live Oak trees in the median by Bradlee Mills of Mills Services in Kingsland, who has committed his donated arborist services to the site through 2018. Phase II was the planting conducted by George Cates of Native American Seed in Junction.

Cates clocked 12 acres on the planter as he ploughed through the 56 acres of land in the clover-leaf intersection. Hopes are high for timely moisture to bring forth the spring flowers in the first season, though wildflowers will sometimes save their prize for another perfect season.

The site was dedicated by CSTH to the former First Lady and purchase of the Lady Bird Johnson Legacy Wildflower Mix channeled funds to the University of Texas Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Seed Grants to Texas Schools program.

Purchases for seeding were funded in part by tax-deductible contributions from individuals, organizations and businesses made to the CSTH's folder in the Highland Lakes Legacy Fund. However the citizen's group gave much of the credit to putting the project over the top to a new housing development.

“It wouldn't have been possible without Gregg Ranch,” said Isaac J. “Soc” Gonzalez, spokesperson for CSTH. “We are excited to add them to the long roster of supporters, including six neighboring county governments, 12 city councils within those counties, the Lyndon Baines Johnson family, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Governor Greg Abbot. This combined support delivers a strong validation to our citizen volunteer initiative.”

Gregg Ranch is a 240-plus-acre, master-planned community for a projected 700 homes just south of the US 281 and Texas 71 intersection and about 1,000 feet from the new Baylor Scott & White Hospital. Harvard Investments, Inc. is the developer.

“It makes sense for Gregg Ranch to lend early support for this wildflower beautification project so near our residential community,” said Chris Cacheris, vice president of Harvard Investments.

“Wildflowers are an intrinsic part of the beautiful landscape for which we’re known in the Hill Country,” added Christian Fletcher, executive director of Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. “We strongly support any efforts to preserve and enhance this beauty for future generations.”

The Gateway to the Hill Country Beautification Project is an Adopt-A-Highway Landscape Partnership Agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation.

For more information, visit www.ScenicTexasHighways.com.

 

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