Just in time for the big reveal, ‘Hana’s flowers’ are back at Nature Discovery Center

By Charlotte Aguilar

Look closely (and tread lightly) when you visit the renovated Russ Pitman Park and Nature Discovery Center, which is having its big reveal today (Saturday, May 6).

In flower beds along the north pedestrian entrance off Newcastle Drive and into the Critter Classroom area, you’ll see the most delicate of lavender blue wildflowers. They are herbertia or prairie nymph, and they were the delight of the late Hana Ginzbarg, who along with husband Arthur was instrumental in the acquisition of the parkland and 1920s home and a force in its educational and financial development. The Nature Center, in fact, bears their names.

Hana Ginzbarg

The flowers dotted the lawn each spring, and she protected them fervently when careless visitors trampled them or at the end of one spring when a city maintenance crew mowed them.

Still the flowers endured — until the Gateway makeover of the park required reconfiguration of the great lawn and installation of an irrigation system to nurture the pecan grove that was planted to encourage continued bird migration to the park.

Great care was taken, though, to sow the herbertia seeds, and when the time was right, they were planted on the lawn and along the new flower beds.

In recent days, as volunteers and staff put the finishing touches on the grounds for today’s event, the herbertia emerged and bloomed — each flower lasting for only one day.  Staff is optimistic that the great lawn will once again be a mini-field of herbertia late spring next year.

Herbertia are a historic part of Russ Pitman Park. (Photo by Charlotte Aguilar)

Ginzbarg died in 2013 at the age of 88, but her presence will be felt in ways visible and unseen today.

Learn more about herbertia here and today’s event here.

The herbertia, or prairie nymph, wildflowers are in bloom on the edge of the great lawn in front of the Nature Discovery Center. (Photo by Carlos Aguilar)

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