Buying Native Plants

My order is in for spring!

I get a lot of mail here — a lot more mail than I got in Arizona. I’m still trying to figure that out.

Among the mail I got this week was a four-page newsletter from the Cascadia Conservation District. I’m not a member — at least I don’t think so. I think it just went out to everyone.

Quaking Aspen
I shot this photo of quaking aspen trees at my neighbor’s home last month. I ordered 20 bare root stock aspen trees and hope to have my own grove growing next year.

This particular issue had an order form for the 2014 Native Plant Sale. I was thrilled to find bare root stock of native trees at very affordable prices. For example, a bundle of ten 12-inch Quaking Aspen trees was only $15. The same price applied to other trees that interested me: Blue Elderberry (which has edible berries), Red Osier Dogwood (which has red bark in winter), and Woods Rose. And if I wanted Ponderosa Pines — which I do, but not right away — I could get a bundle of 25 trees for $20 or 200 for $120.

There were more options on the order form, but I just chose the ones listed above (except the pines). I chose them primarily because they’re fast growers and they flower at various times of the spring or summer. (My bees will like that.) As for the aspens — well, I just love aspen trees. I mean, who doesn’t? You can download an illustrated brochure of all the plants here.

What’s best about all this, though, is that these are native trees — not something from out of the area brought in to Home Depot or nurseries just because people like them. I think it’s important to landscape with native plants. Not only are they more likely to do better locally, but in this area, they’re likely to need less irrigation or soil supplementation.

The order form requires me to submit my order with at least 50% payment by February 14, 2014. But because I know I’ll forget if I put it aside, I filled it out today and will mail it in when I drive down to town later. Plant pickup will be on April 5, 2014. In the meantime, they’re also offering a “Native Planting 101” Workshop in February, which I’ve already signed up for.

So yes, in April I’ll be digging a lot of little holes. But I’m excited about moving forward with landscaping on my property. This looks like a great way to start.

5 thoughts on “Buying Native Plants

  1. This is very exciting, Maria. Can’t wait to see all these wonderful items growing and thriving on your property as time goes along. They will be so nice!!

    • It’ll take a while for it all to really get going. My friends at the winery down the street have been living there for 10 years and their garden is really spectacular. They started with pretty much the same terrain and local vegetation as I have. But I don’t expect to see real results for at least 2 to 3 years. It’s a matter of patience — something I usually lack. I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of seeing things that I put together grow and evolve.

  2. Follow-up: I checked out the PDF brochure. Wow. You’ve picked out such lovely things to plant and grow on your property. The bees should also be quite happy. Nice!

  3. Good for you. I wish everyone would plant as wisely. When I was new to Arizona I listened to a landscaper. Big mistake. Were I to landscape again it would be zero-scape, no water except for the orange and grapefruit trees. My Prescott AZ cabin’s property is getting better treatment. After having created “defensible space” against forest fires, I checked out http://www.firewise.org and selected low-water-needs plants available from a local “Native Plants” nursery. However, the ground is so rocky I’ve only planted 6 and may rely on mother nature to furnish the rest of the landscaping beneath the towering pines. Unfortunately, six Saskatoon alder-leaf/service berry bushes that I’d ordered didn’t meet the nursery’s standards so were returned to the grower. I’ll miss the fruit but not the digging of more holes, right now at least.

    Why do I favor native plants? I was very surprised to find the invasive “Dalmation Toad Flax” on a Prescott neighbor’s property. The Canadians have strongly encouraged its eradication so I’d spent 3 days last summer destroying that yellow snap-dragon like flowering weed from the edge of a lake in British Columbia.

    • Invasive weeds can be a real problem. There’s a type of weed that grows along the road on my property; I was in the process of tearing it all out when I sprained my foot last summer. This year I have to start all over again and I’m not looking forward to it. But I’ll start early in the season before the plants get too large and I think within a year or two I should get it all. But if that plant weren’t introduced into the area, I wouldn’t have to deal with it at all.

      If Phoenix area landscapers had their way, we’d have lawns, expensive irrigation systems, and plants from all over the world. That’s not doing anything for the local ecology. It’s much better to use local plants in our landscaping. The best way to do that: don’t shop for plants at stores like Home Depot.

What do you think?