No one who lived in Texas during February of 2021 has forgotten Winter Storm Uri. The storm swept through the state, impacting all 254 counties. In Houston, snow, ice and frigid temperatures teamed up to cause a record number of power failures and kill trees and plants that were not used to the freezing temps. Westchase District Maintenance Director Kelly McNabb Aylesworth knew she’d have her work cut out for her cleaning up the damage and replacing dead plants.
“When you maintain as much landscaping as we do in Westchase District, it’s not going to be a quick fix,” said Aylesworth. “Not only did our in-ground landscaping suffer, but we also lost plants that were in the pipeline to come to Westchase District for other projects, like Walnut Bend.”
While removing the dead plant material proved relatively easy, budgeting for replacement plants and finding them has taken longer. Westchase District recently finished refreshing and relandscaping the 16 medians on Wilcrest between Westheimer and Lakeside Place.
Beautifying on the border
These esplanades were originally landscaped in 2017, becoming the first project Westchase District had undertaken outside the District’s boundaries under its 380 area agreement with the City of Houston. “This project was significant because it allowed us to improve the look of the public spaces immediately adjacent to Westchase District,” said Aylesworth. “We were eager to get back in and fix the damages left by the winter storm.”
The $115,098 plant replacement project was again paid for by the District’s 380 area agreement with the City of Houston. New landscaping includes Asian Jasmine, Popcorn Drift Roses, Wedelia, Red Yucca, Variegated Flax Lilly, Turks Cap and Foxtail Fern. Leaning Mexican Sycamore trees were replaced and Earth Tone Bull Rocks complemented the landscaping.
“These are all plants and trees that grow well in Houston,” said Aylesworth. “The Mexican Sycamores have done particularly well along our trails. We’ve planted all of these plants elsewhere in Westchase District, so this project extends the look and feel of Westchase District beyond our boundaries to the neighborhoods.”
In fact, the neighborhoods and area businesses along Wilcrest support this project by contributing to the cost of ongoing maintenance. Both Lakeside Estates Townhomes Association and Lakeside Improvement Association are maintenance sponsors, along with Michael Stevens Interests, Rusty’s Automotive, Life Storage and Mitterhoffer @Wilcrest.
“We are happy to participate in the ongoing maintenance of the Wilcrest esplanades,” said Kavin Dumes, store manager of Life Storage, located at 2010 Wilcrest. “We appreciate the great job that Westchase District has done in the design of these esplanades and we want to help make sure they look good for a long time to come. It’s a beautiful view from our front door.”