The Discovery Center garden has thrived and blossomed thanks to the tireless efforts of staff members, and wonderful volunteers like Texas State University students, the Hays County Master Naturalist, and Hays County Master Gardeners who dedicate their time and energy every week. These gardens qualify Crook Park to be certified as a Wildlife Habitat set forth by the National Wildlife Federation.
Bird Watcher's Garden- The bird garden was adopted by The Ornithology Society of Texas State (T.O.S.T.S). Collaborating with the Discovery Center staff they created a garden that will attract a diverse variety of birds. Each section of the garden represents a geographical territory Texas has to offer such as the Blackland Prairies, Edwards Plateau, and Trans-Pecos. Plants found in those sections can also be found in their corresponding ecoregion.
Cactus Garden- This garden displays a variety of xeric plants that do well here in the Texas Hill Country. A few succulents like the century plant only bloom once in it's life and attract nocturnal pollinators like moths and bats. Some plants in the garden are native species and others are accents that do well in xeroscape gardens or in containers for the home.
Grass Garden- The grass garden showcases several native grasses that can be found in the Texas Hill Country. Native grasses can make great accents to any garden and are excellent for stabilizing banks and landscapes. They also provide suitable habitat for native wildlife such as wrens, finches and Texas spiny lizards.
Herb Garden- This unique garden displays several herbs that can be grown in our hot Central Texas climate. Most are perennial plants that are well established, while others are annuals that are replaced after the growing season. This garden came together with the help of local nonprofit, the Youth Services Bureau (YSB).
Monarch Waystation- This garden is a certified Monarch Waystation through the Monarch Watch program dedicated to supporting monarch butterflies as they migrate to and from their wintering grounds in Mexico. This garden contains several varieties of native milkweeds that are hosts for the monarch butterfly larva and flowering nectar plants that bloom year round to support a diverse array of pollinators. This garden has enlisted the help of many volunteers including H.E.A.T of Texas State University.
Pavilion- Have a seat in the pavilion and enjoy the cover of trumpet vines cascading over the canopy. A small garden of unique native plants catch the eyes of visitors and wildlife alike. If you are patient enough a hummingbird may stop by for a sip of nectar at one of the near by plants.
Spiral Garden- A unique and stylized garden bed which host a variety of native wildflowers and perennial plants. The spiral garden allows water to trickle from the top in a circular flow nourishing all plants in it's path. Let this garden inspire you to create your own unique beds.
Vegetable Garden- A busy garden year around at the Discovery Center. During the fall/ winter it host a variety of cold crops like lettuce, broccoli, and kale. Come spring through summer it grows warmer crops like tomatoes, peppers, onions, and melons. These gardens are as water conservative as possible while still maintaining healthy crops year around. If you are looking for ideas for your own vegetable garden stop by and have a look. Take a ripe pepper and let the ideas flow.
Shade Garden- The shade garden, complete with a small pond, highlights several native specimens that thrive in shade here in central Texas. With shade and dappled sunlight these plants can tolerate the heat and produce gorgeous blooms throughout the year. Find a shade loving plant for that dark spot in your yard by checking out this diverse garden bed.