Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Native Plant Gardening

On Sunday, May 7, we had our first Wet Weather Flow workshop. The topic was Native Plant Gardening. While the connection may seem tenuous between native plants and reducing the load of wet weather on our rivers and streams it all has to do with water efficiency. Commercially sold nursery plants tend to be water hogs so you need to water them alot. Since most homeowners don't know how much is enough, they tend to water too much. So when it does rain, their property is already watersoaked and the natural water just flows right off. If native plants are around they tend to use less water, thus rainfall has more chance to soak in when it does come.

Charles Kinsley, former owner of Ontario Native Plants gave an interesting talk and slide show about native plants. There are certainly enough aesthetically pleasing native plants that you don't need to use hybrids or foreign sourced plants to achieve a beautiful garden. How many of you know about such plants as, Ironweed, New Jersey Tea, Butterfly Milkweed? All native, all showy, all easy to grow.

The big question for me is where do you acquire native plants. There are a few nurseries like ONP that specialize in locally grown plants. You can also order online and grow from seed. There are also a number of groups that hold spring sales of native stock. Friends of the Don East is holding one such sale this Saturday, May 13, 1 - 4 PM as part of the Leslieville festival. It will be at Grove Park at the corner of Jones Ave. and Queen St. East.

Our second workshop is still to come and will be held at Riverdale Farm on Saturday, May 27. There will be a tree planting at 9:30 AM followed by a light lunch and a presentation at Noon. I just want to give a big thank you to Marni for organizing these events and Aynsley for her valuable assistance. Other volunteers included Susan, Kyle, and John.

1 comment:

River Rat said...

Hi DW,

As a plug to native plant gardening, yes, it is difficult to figure out where to get the plants from but guidance on how to help the plants succeed in growth if you get your hands on some seed is available through Lorraine Johnson's books on Ontario Native Plant gardening. I have been totally inspired by her books and she has a great one that is just a guide of plants, how they grow, what they look like and in what conditions they'll be successful. All available at the local library!