Join us – Saturday, April 16 at 10 a.m. for the ENCF Native Plants Sale
The Edmonton Nature Centres Foundation (ENCF) is having our first Native Plants sale on April 16th, starting at 10am. Come to the John Janzen Nature Centre and buy native plants for your garden. We will have a variety of shrubs and flowering perennials for sale.
When: Saturday, April 16th at 10 a.m.
Where: John Janzen Nature Centre
Buying native plants from the ENCF helps to support local conservation and environmental education initiatives. At the same time, growing a beautiful garden oasis that supports local pollinators and wildlife.
Want to learn more about gardening with native plants?
Below we have compiled some information about the importance of native plants as well as some tips for adding them to your garden.
Supporting pollinators and wildlife with native plants
When you add native plants to your garden, you help local wildlife by creating pockets of natural habitat and bridging the distance between Edmonton’s larger natural areas.
• A hearty meal. Native flowers provide vital food, both nectar and pollen, for butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and more. Nuts, seeds, and fruit support birds and other wildlife species.
• A place to call home. Many local insects and birds are dependent on native plants for habitat and protection from predators.
• Welcoming the good bugs. Growing native plants increases insect diversity in your garden, including an increase in beneficial insects that will pollinate flowers and keep pest-insect populations low.
Which native plants to choose?
It can be overwhelming picking new plants for your garden. Try considering what type of garden you are hoping to grow to help narrow down the best native plants for your space:
• Pollinator garden – Select bright, flowering plants that will attract insects, but don’t forget to include a few grasses and less showy plants to provide food and habitat for insect larvae, such as caterpillars.
Native plant suggestions: asters, yarrow, violets, gaillardia
• Garden to attract birds and wildlife – Choose plants, trees and shrubs that will support wildlife by providing food, building materials, and places to live. Think fruit, seeds, grasses, and branches for nests.
Native plant suggestions: mountain ash, Saskatoons, goldenrod
• Shade garden – Native plants that thrive in the shade have often evolved to live in the under-canopy of larger plants. Consider companion planting these shade-lovers under larger, sun-loving plants and trees.
Native plant suggestions: columbine, asters, fireweed
• Rock garden – Choose native alpine plants — rugged, compact plants that tend to bloom early in the season. Mix in native conifer trees for a Rocky Mountain vibe!
Native plant suggestions: blazing star, early blue violets, juniper
Gardening with native plants is good for you too!
Adding native plants to your property isn’t just for the bees and birds! Growing native plants can save you time and money while still allowing you to create a beautiful garden.
• Save water. Native plants have evolved to thrive in our climate, and once they are well-rooted in your garden, will require little to no additional watering.
• Use less chemicals. Native plants are accustomed to the soils and pests of our region, so there is no need for fertilizers and rarely a need for pesticides.
• Less time weeding, more time relaxing. Once native plants are established in your garden, they require little maintenance and even reduce surrounding weed growth.
• Replace fewer dead plants. Native plants are better adapted than non-native plants to withstand our often-extreme climate, as well as fend off local pests and diseases. You’ll spend less time and money replacing dead plants.
Tips for adding native plants to your garden
• Start small. Consider adding a few native plants at a time, allowing you to see how they grow in your garden and make any needed adjustments to future plantings.
• Give them space. Resist the urge to crowd your plants. Give new additions to your garden plenty of space to grow to their full size — you can always fill in gaps later.
• Plants get lonely too. Consider planting a clump (3-6 plants) of a particular species vs a single plant. This makes the plants easier to spot by passing pollinators.
• Water them in. Native plants require little watering once established, but they still need some help when freshly planted. Water after planting, and then regularly for the first few months