Sunday, October 29, 2023

Grow Native Plants Part 2. Finding and Growing Native Plants

I wrote last time about the benefits of planting natives in our yards. (link)

With a few notable exceptions, most American yards, ornamental plantings, and crops over the last fifty years have been introduced plants from outside North America. Settlers brought their favorite plants with them. Furthermore, local plants were boringly familiar, exotic plants were much more interesting.

Now we want to change that, add lots of natives to our landscapes. And, natives are no longer boring and familiar because they have been so thoroughly displaced. Tulips and lilacs are familiar, sulphur flower and holly grape are not. 

tulips, Tulipa

sulphur flower, Eriogonum umbellatum
sulphur flower, Eriogonum umbellatum

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Grow Native Plants. Part 1: Why?

The conservation community is urging people to grow plants native to their area. At the same time, you can find articles arguing against planting cultivars of native species. It is difficult, buying a native plant, to figure out how to avoid a cultivar. And why should you? This is a big topic. I'll cover it in a series of posts. First, why grow natives at all?

beebalm, Monarda and blackeyed Susans Rudbeckia
Natives beebalm, black-eyed susans and a bit of grass

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Plant Story--European Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium

Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) is a small European mint (mint family Lamiaceae) that was an important medicine for millennia. It was used to treat a number of illnesses but was sufficiently tricky to use that it has been replaced by other medicines and you rarely see it in North America, even in herb gardens.

European pennyroyal Mentha pulegium
European pennyroyal Mentha pulegium

I grew it because I was curious about it.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Plant Story--Fameflower and Sunbright, Phemeranthus, Bright Native Succulents

 I first saw sunbright as little groups of succulent leaves near the plants I was studying, in a rocky grassland in the City of Boulder Open Space. 

sunbright, Phemerathus

Then I came back on a bright morning, and tiny magenta flowers hung in space. What were those?

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Northwest Oregon

My friend, showing me around her beloved Oregon, took me to the coast at Seaside. 

We walked the beach. (Of course!) Inland, in Portland, it was in the upper 80s and getting hotter. The beach, on the other hand, was chilly enough to require a sweatshirt. And the ocean so cold that few people were in the water.

beach at Seaside, Oregon
beach at Seaside, Oregon