Choosing plants that will thrive in your garden does not have to be difficult. Just look around in our meadows, forests, and sagebrush lands. What flowers and shrubs do you see? To name a few, there are lupins, flax, penstemon, clematis, phlox, Oregon grape, globemallow, flax, wood’s rose, chokecherry, golden currant, sunflowers and rabbit brush. Reach out to USU Extension Service Horticulturists, Swaner Preserve naturalists, and plant nursery garden specialists and they can provide you information about these and other “natives”. These are not the hybridized specimens you choose for their brilliant colors and large blooms. Planted in places that match their natural habitat, natives will thrive without fertilizer and pesticides, and with little additional water. Your native garden is an extension of the landscape surrounding it.
Utahns waste a lot of water. Ours is the second driest state and we are one of the highest per-capital populations of water consumers. Planting a native garden saves water. Use drip irrigation and water regularly to establish plants’ deep roots. Then drip water infrequently when their leaves are droopy or crisp. With less maintenance time required, there is more time to hike and bike!
Utah has over 1000 species of habitat-specific bee pollinators. They have incredibly specialized relationships with the plant species they pollinate and require for reproduction. We should plant these natives to maintain bee and plant populations.
Birds eat the seeds of native plants which provide them much needed habitat. A woman in Chicago planted a native garden on one-tenth of an acre of land that attracted 116 species of birds to her “little yard!”
Enjoy a sustainable ecosystem of native plants in your garden!
By Bev Harrison