NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Many think of a visit to your local Botanic Garden as an escape location. Surround yourself with all that is green and that flowers, take in a little of the best of urban landscaping. For me? More a walk through my local plant laboratory.

It is not hidden truth that most of my garden is a best guess of someone else’s success. I see, I mimic. Sometimes in the mashing up of others’ ideas I land on a semi-unique version of my own. This might be more born from a habit of confusing in my head several streams of new information and making a stew instead of duplicating a dish. By the way, the points above also reveal the secret sauce to the patent-generation monster that is the United States. Just put a huddled mass into a big pot and stir in equitable opportunity and a little grit. Diversity is a visual and durability strength in any landscape; it is an idea-generator in an open society like ours.

Anyway, I digress. A visit to your local botanic garden or well-maintained city space is a lesson in what grows in your area. The Demonstration Garden in the back of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden has been there for decades. Walk back there and pick a couple of your favorite plants to try in your yard. You know they work in your area when you can see them growing (and hopefully) thriving right in front of your eyes. I also turn my training rides on my bike into information gathering missions when I get my miles in by looping around in my local neighborhoods. If it catches my eye, I snap a picture. Sometimes I get lucky and gardener is out there in the yard to take a few questions. I’ve never run into a gardener yet not willing to talk about what they grow and what they have learned. Its part of the creed.

In my walk around the Demonstration Garden with Steve Huddleston I had him talk out a couple of taller summer flowering plants. I already have the Orange Zest Cestrum and Rock Rose growing in my yard (an idea planted from an earlier visit to the same garden). I think I have a place opening for the Phlox. The ideas keep coming, the garden keeps churning. Visit your local Botanic Garden often for ideas across all the seasons.