A W-A-L-K around my neighborhood.

10 06 2011

Each morning, whether rain or shine, I take my dogs on a W-A-L-K (we can’t say “walk” w/o my dogs running with excitement to the door) around my neighborhood. One thing I consciously do is allow my dogs to stop and sniff every once in awhile. This sure does make them happy. So as they are exploring with their noses, I take the time to observe my neighbor’s landscapes with my eyes. I am happy to report that in my neighborhood more and more people are using native plants mixed into their ornamental gardens. Why am I so happy?

Using native-plants assures they’ll thrive and as they support native birds, insects and other pollinators that depend on familiar home-grown species for a healthy eco-system.

I would like to share with you some pictures I took earlier this month of my dogs on our daily w-a-l-k. To the right you will see Pepper amongst both native (Goat’s Beard and Oregon Mock Orange) and the ornamental non-native plant (Astilbe).

Vida is running through a field of  Buttercup in a nearby park .

One of my favorite trees in Oregon is the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii).  See photo below of Vida & a Pacific Madrone.

I have seen more and more people plant the Pacific Madrone at their homes. I am sad to say that I don’t have one of these in my yard.  Although we do have 6 Oregon Ash (Fraxinus latifolia) trees and a Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) we started from a stray seedling .

One of my favorite homes which showcases (see picture below) both native and non-

native landscaping is one block away from my home. They have a beautiful rock garden that features non-natives such as Lithodora, Candy Tuft, Coral Bells, and Daylillies and natives such as Snowberry (Symphoricarposalbus), Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Pink Thrift (Armeria maritima) and a variety of Juncus that I am pretty sure is native.

In my backyard (see picture below) I’ve planted two Ceanothus next to a red twig dogwood (Sambucus racemosa), but along the row of natives we’ve also incorporated non-natives such as Sedum Dragon’s Blood, a beautiful flowering Crabapple, Coral Bell, a Hydran-gea Paniculata and a Euphorbia.

Oregonians, if  you want to learn more about landscaping with native plants then I would recommend picking up the three booklets about gardening with native plants that were produced by the Native Gardening Awareness Program, which is a committee of the Emerald Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon.  You can also view it online at the following link:  http://emerald.npsoregon.org/GardeningWithNatives.html

Enjoy taking a w-a-l-k. I know Pepper, Vida and I will. Don’t worry I won’t be coming by your house and noting the percentage of native vs. non-native plants you have incorporated into your landscape.

Written by Melinda Koshi Vega, Office Manager of the City of Eugene Outdoor Program

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