So, you’re interested in doing your part to care for the bees, or maybe you’ve heard about the decline in the bird populations. Whatever the case, you’ve decided to research what it takes to start your own native wildflower garden- I’m so proud of you for taking this step!
I feel disheartened when I see packets- or bulk packages!- of wildflower seed mixes sold in local shops. Planting wildflowers for the pollinators is promoted, and yet several of the flower seeds included in the mix are known to outcompete native plants. Some are even noxious weeds! But the well-meaning folks who purchase these seeds have no idea they’re actually doing nature a disservice.
Not only that, but it just isn’t that easy to find detailed information on how to start your native plant garden, or which types of flowers and grasses to plant, or how to care for them.
However, on this blog, you’ll discover a range of information answering many of your burning questions. Start with this post about great native trees and shrubs to plant in the prairies, or this one about how to attract more birds and bees to your yard.
Following is an additional list of resources to browse as you make your garden plans a reality!
Alberta Native Plant Council
When you know where to look, this site contains a wealth of valuable information for the native plant gardener. Click on “Plant Publications” under the tab “Publications”, and you’ll find a long list of links and resources to peruse at your leisure. You’ll find everything from how to grow native plants from seed to recipes using dandelion greens.
The Alberta Native Bee Council
Browse The Alberta Native Bee Council’s blog for plenty of information about the bees we have in Alberta, and which plants to grow to support them.
ALCLA is a Calgary-based native plant seller with heaps of information on their website about native-to-Alberta trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses.
Wild About Flowers
Wild About Flowers is a lovely Alberta-based native wildflower business near Calgary. On the website, discover detailed, practical information about the growing requirements and habits of all the different native trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses. If you are local, I strongly encourage visiting the plant sale location. It’s beautifully organized and is simply a pleasure to shop at.
Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design
Once you’ve decided to take the leap and begin your native landscape (no matter how small the space), I highly (highly, highly) recommend first reading Benjamin Vogt’s recent book, Prairie Up. Also, spend time reviewing his blog before you make your garden plans. Mr. Vogt has such a down-to-earth, says-it-how-it-is attitude, which I truly appreciate. Although he’s not local to Alberta, there are so many takeaways from his work that will apply to any native garden.
Guide to Common Native Trees and Shrubs of Alberta
This highly detailed and informative guide will teach you all you’d ever want to know about Alberta’s shrubs and trees.
Native Plants for Prairie Gardens
I chanced upon this great, practical book about native prairie gardens, written by June Flanigan, at a second hand bookstore once upon a time. Highly recommended!
Native Plants for the Short Season Yard
This may be my favorite resource of all! Native Plants for the Short Season Yard is a down to earth, very useful book by Lyndon Penner. I absolutely encourage everyone to purchase a copy of this book to refer to as you make your native garden plans! My copy is well read.
Watersheds Canada contains many interesting, informative, and inspirational blog posts that will get you motivated to start your native landscape today!
Common Coulee Plants of Southern Alberta
This fantastic ebook is full of information about the coulee and prairie plants you’d find in Southern Alberta. I used this resource to help identify some of the unknown forbs I found during a coulee exploration in this post.
I hope you’re inspired today to do some research and learning regarding native plants. Diligent effort is a requirement to create a native flower garden, but it’s so worth the time and money investment when your yard begins humming with pollinator and bird activity!