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After receiving an invitation from the Keep San Marcos Beautiful team, the Price Center applied for and recently received the designation of a Certified Sustainable Habitat. The beautiful front garden of the Center, which runs along the W. San Antonio Street side of the property, was recognized for its commitment to soil and water conservation, promoting native species, and organic practices. Many plants also provide food from fruits, seeds, and pollen to local and migrating insects, birds, and smaller animals.

Two heritage pecan trees, three antique red climbing roses, a short stone wall, and the telltale horse hitches embedded in the sidewalk date to the days the property served as the original home of First Christian Church from 1893 through the early 1990s.

The current garden dates to the creation of the Price Center in the early 2000s. Over the past two decades, Dianne Wassenich and an ever-changing handful of volunteers have transformed the space into a nearly ever-blooming display of native and hybrid specimens that draw thousands of visitors each year in the form of regular sightseers, garden aficionados, passing and nesting birds, and pollen-seeking butterflies and bumblebees.

“Gardening here for over two decades has been so good for me,” said Dianne Wassenich.  “Many wonderful people donate plants and time, and others walk by and visit with me as I garden, all of which makes it feel like a true community space that’s always open to all,” she added.”

The garden has grown a lot over time. One of the City’s 10 mermaids, which graces the corner of the property, kicked off the installation of several additional permanent pieces of outdoor art in the space, including a beautiful, locally inspired botanical mural that bookends the other side of the front Garden. New features like a grape arbor along the Feltner Alley side of the building and new beds on the Comanche St. side of the building have added to the overall appeal of the space.

Pictured Top: (l-r) Ann Whitus, Clay DeStefano, and Dianne Wassenich pose in the garden they all work in with the new sign. Middle: Migrating butterflies of all types stop throughout the garden nearly year-round. Bottom: Various native species and the abundant coral vine attract pollinating bees year-round.

For more information or to become inspired, stop by the Center at 222 W. San Antonio St., or visit or Facebook @ Price Center & Garden or Instagram @smtxpricecenter


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