A demonstration bed (with at least 30 different species!) designed to show gardeners how native wildflowers and grasses can be used in a regular garden setting.
The Edmonton Native Plant Society's first Native Plant Demonstration Flowerbed was planted in the spring of 2003 at the John Janzen Nature Centre.
Our goal in establishing the flowerbed was to show gardeners that perennial wildflowers and grasses can be used in a regular garden setting, and to give gardeners the opportunity to look at these plants and see them growing so they can decide which species they want to add to their own gardens.
The advantage of native plants over other perennials is that they require no fertilizer, no extra water and very little care beyond the usual weeding. The plants we chose are all suitable for a drier, more open and sunny garden situation.
The bed was started with plants, not seeds, and the plants all came from local sources. Several species were obtained from plant rescue sites where construction took place on the original habitats. All the plants are growing very well and surpass our expectations. We mulch the bed with wood chips, so weeding is kept to a minimum
John Janzen Nature Centre this coming summer. By Liz DeLeeuw
Summer in the City. A little bit of Nature away from it all.
Tuesdays, as scheduled, at 6:30 p.m. starting sometime in April or May.
Spring Cleanup – at the beginning of the season we cut away the dry plant material to get the bed ready for the plants which slowly rise up out of their winter slumber.
Planting and Restoring – Nature has a way of not being critical of itself but we people like to adjust and change. We are in the process of replacing some of the old and tired looking parts of the bed with new species and combinations. It is all in the effort to understand how native plants can fit into our urban landscaping constraints and perceptions. Native plants can be incorporated into landscapes effectively and aesthetically. We are open to learning new ways to use them.
Weeding and Mulching– is important in the early spring as the weeds also want to get in on that early start when the weather starts getting nicer. Through the season we have to “comb” the weeds from the bed when they try to sneak in the back way.
Transplant Potting – In the spring last year I brought seedlings and soil for the volunteers to pot up for my backyard native plant stash. I am hoping to do the same again this year with many species.
Potting up Volunteer Seedlings – We pot up the excess “babies” of plants that start in the demonstration bed for our further use in projects and for promoting native plant use in residential gardens around the city. Volunteers are encouraged to take some “babies” home to plant and nurture themselves.
Education and Tours– not school exactly, but we will have one evening a month when “visitors” can tour the bed and participate in a discussion of the reasons native plants are an important part of, yes!, even the residential urban landscape. Volunteers are encouraged to join in the discussion.
Hanging Out – It has taken me a while to realize we have the opportunity to enjoy the woods, ponds, and grounds of the Nature Center. Last year we especially enjoyed the pond and the progression of the frog population from tadpole to adult. We also visited the adjacent Shooting Star Hill and have walked the loop trail around Fort Edmonton a few times.