Monday, January 18, 2010

Starting a Native Garden

A couple of days ago I received the following email:

I need advice on what to do with horrible patches of salt grass in my yard. I envision cosmos and lots of wild flowers, buckwheat, rocks, but what I have are a few trees and salt grass. Any tips?

Saltgrass, Distichlis spicata, is native to Utah and many other western states. It is very stiff grass that can grow in various soil types. It can grow in the dry desert and in mud and water. It is not a grass that children would like to play on or go barefooted. There are several positives for it. You don't have to water it, and it can hold the soil together to help prevent erosion. I would consider using some of it in the landscape. You could consider using it as walking paths where you could walk through your native landscape. The following plants arranged in your yard will leave you with beautiful, sustainable native landscape. All would have to be watered weekly for one full summer after planting. After that one watering in each of the following months of June, July, and August.
  • Gaillardia aristata, Blanket Flower
  • Antennaria parvifolia , Pussytoes
  • Arenaria fendleri, Shrubby Sandwart
  • Argemone munita, Prickly Poppy
  • Dalea purpurea, Violet Prairie Clover
  • Eriogonum jamesii, James Sulphur Flower
  • Eriogonum ovalifolium, Coin Buckwheat
  • Eriogonum racemosum, Pink Smoke Buckwheat
  • Eriogonum umbulatum
  • Linum perenne, Lewis' Blue Flax
  • Mirabilis multiflora, Desert Four O'clock
  • Oenothera casespitoso, Tufted Evening Primrose
  • Penstemon barbatus, Scarlet Bugler Penstemon
  • Penstemon eatonii, Eaton Penstemon
  • Penstemon palmeri, Palmer's Penstemon
  • Penstemon angustifolius, var. dulcis
  • Perityle stansburyi, Stansbury's Rock Daisy
  • Solidago canadensis, Golden Rod
  • Sphaeraicea munroana, Munroe's Globemallow
  • Stanleya pinnata, Prince's Plume
  • Bouteloua gacilis, Blue Gramma
  • Bouteloua curtipendula, Sideoats grama
  • Elymus cinereus, Great Basin Wild Rye
  • Sporobolus airoides
  • Chamaebatiaria millefolium, Fernbush
  • Ephedra viridis, Mormon Tea
  • Gutierrezia sarothrae, Broom Snakebrush
  • Rhus aromatica var. Trilobata
  • Ribes aureum, Golden Currant
  • Sheperdia argentea, Silver Buffaloberry
  • Yucca Kanabensis, Kanab Yucca
  • Yucca utahensis, Utah Yucca
  • Acer negundo, Box Elder
  • Celtis reticulata, Netleaf Hackberry
  • Juniperus osteosperma, Utah Juniper
There are some other plants that might fit, but I don't know how they would do in your climate. Also there are cacti, cholla, bulbs that do well with only the winter rain and snow. Great Basin Natives

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