The Gardens of RNC

Riverside Nature Center has one of the most unique gardens in the Texas Hill Country. Within its 3-acre site it has more than 100 species of native Texas trees and shrubs, 300 wildflowers & vines, grasses, cacti and other plants. (master checklist)

When RNC purchased its downtown Kerrville site in 1992 it was overgrown with a multitude of non-natives predominately Chinaberries, Japanese ligustrum, Japanese honeysuckle, Johnsongrass, Bermuda – even bamboo. For the past 21 decades, hundreds of volunteers have cleared and planted, creating a diverse landscape that is urban forest, a certified TPWD Wildscape Demonstration Site, a Monarch Waystation, and perhaps more importantly, a genetic seed bank of Hill Country native plants.

The 700-foot long crushed granite Nature Trail winds through the arboretum of trees that were planted in 1993-94 with a grant from the Texas Forest Service. Interspersed are several specialty garden areas that highlight the other plants.

Butterfly Garden provides larval and nectar plants that have attracted over 90 species of butterflies. (list to come) Insects are the primary diet for baby birds as well as food for other wildlife). RNC is a Certified Butterfly Garden (NA Butterfly Association).
NABA sign

The Meadow has been an on-going project for the past decade. Volunteers have turned from eradicating invasive Bermuda grass and bur clover to encouraging a wide variety of wildflowers and native grasses.

Medicine Wheel Green Native Healing Garden includes plants used by the Native Americans as food and medicines.
RIVERSCAPE is a constructed “river” to illustrate how seeps and springs are the source of Hill Country rivers that travel through different habitats such as riffles, runs, pools. Native grasses provide a vital role in funneling rain into upland soils that aid in the recharge of seeps and springs. 20-1340_Presentation_RNC_REVISED_Page_1

RAIN GARDEN demonstrates of how to direct and temporarily detain stormwater to reduce the impacts of run-off.
WILDSCAPE focuses on the diversity of plants that provide wildlife habitat values such as a wide variety of seasonal foods as well as shelter with access to the water in Riverscape.
COMPOST Demo area is real a “soil factory” – a reminder that healthy soil provides necessary nutrients for plants that in turn capture sunlight to make foods that feed the first level of consumers (such as insects).

Butterfly garden of course HILL COUNTRY LOOP & Carroll Abbott garden showcases some of the most unique plants found in the Edwards Plateau such as the beautiful Texas Madrone, endemic Anacacho Orchidtree and the endangered Texas Snowbell and Hinckley Oak.
In the XERIC GARDEN, at the parking lot entrance, grow the toughest plants (include cacti) with special adaptations that enable them to survive Texas-tough droughts. Xeric entrance garden