In the heart of the Inland Northwest, Spokane boasts a unique ecosystem characterized by its diverse native flora. To sustain the beauty and character of this region, this guide will delve into the art of sourcing and gathering seeds for native plants in Spokane. Whether you're a local resident or a landscaping enthusiast anywhere, this knowledge will empower you to make a positive impact on your landscape while focusing on plants native to your area.
The Importance of Native Plants
Before diving into the specifics of seed gathering, let's take a moment to appreciate the vital role native plants play in Regenerative Landscaping. Native plants are uniquely adapted to the local climate, soil, and ecosystem, making them an ideal choice for landscaping in this region. Here's why they matter:
Biodiversity Support: Native plants attract and sustain local wildlife, including hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, contributing to a vibrant ecosystem.
Water Efficiency: Native plants are well-adapted to Spokane's semi-arid climate, requiring less irrigation and reducing water consumption.
Low Maintenance: Once established, native plants typically demand less care and fewer pesticides than non-native alternatives.
Soil Health: Many Spokane native plants have deep root systems that enhance soil structure and prevent erosion.
Now, let's explore how to find and gather native plant seeds, with a focus on species native to Spokane.
How to Find Native Plant Seeds in Spokane
Local Native Plant Nurseries: Spokane is home to several nurseries that put major focus on locally adapted species. We enjoy shopping at Blue Moon Garden & Nursery, Floralia Nursery, Plants of the Wild, and Greenacres Nursery. These nurseries are excellent sources for native plants tailored to the Spokane area. What's easier than growing native plant seeds with a head start and not having to take them from nature?
Spokane Conservation District: SCD hosts a yearly plant sale and puts on workshops featuring plant species native to Spokane. Attend these events for access to seeds and valuable knowledge.
Native Plant Identification: Familiarize yourself with native plant species common in Spokane, such as the Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.). Local field guides and online resources can aid in identification should you come upon something while exploring our beautiful region.
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
Gathering Native Plant Seeds
Timing Is Key: To collect seeds effectively, understand the timing of seed production for each species. In Spokane, many native plants produce seeds in late summer to early fall.
Ethical Seed Collection: When gathering seeds, follow ethical practices. Only collect a small portion of seeds from a population to minimize the impact on the local ecosystem. Use sanitized tools to prevent the spread of diseases.
Inland Northwest Native Plant Species to Consider:
Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.): Collect seeds from mature plants in late summer.
Lupine (Lupinus spp.): Collect seed pods when dry, usually mid to late summer.
Western Aster (Symphyotrichum ascendens): Collect dried seed heads in late summer.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Collect seeds from dried plants most of summer.
Drying and Storing Seeds: After collection, allow the seeds to dry thoroughly to prevent mold or mildew. Store them in a cool, dry place in labeled, breathable containers.
Share Your Knowledge: Encourage neighbors and fellow enthusiasts to participate in seed gathering, and share your knowledge to promote regenerative landscaping practices specific to the region.
Gathering native plant seeds is an enriching experience that celebrates the region's unique flora while contributing to a more sustainable and resilient landscape. By understanding the significance of native plants, identifying suitable species, and adopting ethical seed collection practices, you can embark on a regenerative landscaping journey tailored to Spokane's distinctive environment. Bring the power of Spokane's native plants home and watch your landscape flourish in harmony with the local ecosystem.