Last night at our CVHS November Zoom meeting we were treated to an incredibly informative session on our area’s native plants from Abby Hyde of Satinflower Nurseries in Saanich. Some suggestions on why, how, and/or what natives to include in your landscape include:
• Plant the beautiful Red-flowering Current (Ribes sanguineum) for Spring migrating and hungry Rufous Hummingbirds. In Fall, the berries are lovely and also provide a treat for the birds.
• White yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an alternative lawn option
• Fall blooming flowers to support pollinators include Gumweed (Grindelia stricta), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), California Aster (Symphyotrichum chilense), Canada Goldenrod (Solidago lepida)
• For slope stabilization, use bunch grasses like Blue Wildrye (Elymus glaucus) and Roemer’s Fescue (Restuca roemeri)
• For a good, all-round, pollinator-friendly flower try Woolly Sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum), One of the Nursery’s favourite flowers.
• Nodding Onion (Allium cernuun) is a wonderful perennial that is fully edible, is great for pollinators and has a beautiful flower.
• Fool’s Onion (Triteleia hyacinthina) is a drought tolerant plant with stunning pollinator-friendly, umbel-shaped white flowers that grows in full sun and part shade
• Red Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) is one of the few red natives that grows in our area. It attracts bumblebees and hummingbirds.
• Farewell-to-Spring (Clarkia amoena) a large pink, late spring bloomer is very drought tolerant and is best-suited to well-drained, shallow soils in full sun.
Non native invasive plants were also discussed briefly—the top three thugs mentioned being Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), English ivy (Hedera helix) and Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus). Of interest and concern: Scotch broom is a nitrogen fixer (it belongs to the Fabaceae family, which includes peas) and adds nitrogen to the soil. However, many native plants aren’t adapted to high levels of nitrogen; therefore, Scotch broom is promoting growth of non natives. Also, seed production of this plant is incredible. Seeds can stay dormant in the soil for 30–40 years and when they do germinate, they can do so at a rate of 350 seeds per meter squared. Each plant can produce up to 10,000 seeds. No wonder there is anxiety about this plant.
If anyone needs help with choosing plants for a particular spot in their garden, the Satinflower Nurseries web page has a very helpful page that will provide you with a list of plants for various types of conditions i.e. Native Plants for Shady Slopes, Native Plants for Wet Meadows, Native Plants for Full Sun, etc. Here is a link https://satinflower.ca/pages/plant-lists
Many thanks to Abby for this wonderful presentation–fair to say, Abby’s breadth of knowledge about this subject is amazing!