Lawn News

Zoom in on Dallas' worst gardening monstrosity with Organic Randy

Zoom in on Dallas' worst gardening monstrosity with Organic Randy

lawn green grass nature
Seemingly benign but in actuality, a monstrosity. Calloway's Nursery

A Dallas plant guy is sharing some of his infinite knowledge on top-priority garden matters, via a special 3-part series that anyone can watch via zoom.

Randy Johnson, aka "Organic Randy," a well-known native plant expert who specializes in organic gardening, will host three presentations, beginning with one on lawns that's an absolute must-see.

A graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Johnson has a business called Randy Johnson Organics, that offers native plants and seeds for sale as well as offering on-site environmental consultations.

He was previously horticulture manager at the Dallas Zoo and director of horticulture at Texas Discovery Gardens, and served as president of Native Plants Society of Texas.

He's a popular public speaker, giving talks on Native Plants, Milkweed, Soil Biology, Composting, Pollinator Conservation, and Edible and Organic Horticulture.

He also regularly posts videos on his Facebook page about native plants. Even if you don't care that much about lowland switchgrass or the leaf shape of a Texas redbud, he's fun to follow, thanks in no small part to a twang that's so fierce, it's almost musical.

But his perspective seems more valuable than ever at a time when the country is enduring a long spell of record heat and drought.

These are the three sessions, with Johnson's own descriptions. The schedule is tentative but the first one is definitely July 31, as follows:

  • July 31, 7 pm. Lawn Gone: The Environmental Disaster that is the American Lawn

This presentation discusses the origin and evolution of the maintained lawn, from its beginnings in Europe and England to its import and promotion in the United States.

I'll expose some of the environmental, financial, and social consequences of the seemingly benign lawn. Alternatives to the monstrosity will be offered.

I want to offer this one first because it's one of the few realms directly in control of the average person. They can implement immediate, positive management protocols without much hassle or expense. You can easily create both wildlife and human habitat by removing lawn and installing natives and food crops.

When I first put this presentation together, the stats I used for water use in Dallas County were 2012 numbers and back then it was 70 million gallons per day. In 2022, 350 million gallons of water are used every day, and most of that is for turfgrass.

Want to make a difference? The easiest place to start is with your own habitat.

We'll allow for an hour and a half since I'm long-winded.

  • August 14,* 7 pm: Habitat Design, Installation and Maintenance *tentative date

This is a presentation I do for The National Wildlife Federation discussing habitat design. I work with that entity installing school gardens for the Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs. It's great for those who've not yet done anything like converting or creating native habitats.

  • August 28,* 7 pm: Pollinators and Natives: An Ancient Marriage *tentative date

This one cements why we utilize native plants and largely avoid non-native plants species in our landscape designs.

I'm primarily an educator and I think these 3 presentations offer a nice overview of the philosophies and methods for restoring and/or creating native habitat. I don't use the term "wildlife habitat" because it's human habitat as well. Native plants serve us as intimately as they do wildlife — after all, we're critters too!

To join the zoom sessions, click on