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Wild edibles and landscaping with native plants

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Master Gardener

Many Pacific Northwest native plants have a natural tolerance for summer dry periods common in the western side of the Cascades in the Northwest. These plants include species growing in woodlands, savannahs, meadows and vernal pools (seasonally wet meadows that dry out in the summer months). Most prefer some shade and will need supplemental summer watering until they are established. I have incorporated my ground covers, shrubs, and trees into my garden. They don't seem to suffer from insect or pest problems and tolerate neglect.

These plants are wonderful for creating a water-wise garden and keeping our waterways clean and healthy. I found a publication from King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks called "Going Native, A Guide To Creating Your Own Native Plant Landscape." You can download it for free at your.kingcounty. gov/dnrp/library/2003/gonative. pdf.

Many Mason County residents like to forage for wild plants to incorporate into their diets. Many native wild plants have medicinal qualities. The forager must be careful and have good plant identification skills to successfully add to his dinner plate without causing an upset stomach or worse.

Both of these subjects will be discussed at the next Master Gardener Garden

Workshop on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. You will learn about wild edible plants and their medicinal properties from Elizabeth Campbell. Elizabeth is a Spokane tribal member and grew up harvesting native foods with her family. She now specializes in growing and teaching about healthy foods. In 2008, she received a degree from The Evergreen State College with a focus in education and Native American studies. She is the program assistant and educator for the N.W. Indian Treatment Center's Native Foods Nutrition Project and also runs an organic farm with her family in Shelton. Karin Strelioff, environmental specialist and low impact development practitioner with Mason Conservation District, will discuss how to incorporate native plants into your landscape.

Now that the freezing weather has gone, I would once again like to ask you if you have plants in your garden that need to be divided. These could include hostas, ornamental grasses, rhubarb, sedum autumn joy and many others. Our Master Gardener dig team is available to dig up and divide your crowded plants and add your surplus to our inventory for the spring plant sale on May 9 and 10. Please contact me at 427-9670, ext. 688 if you would like a Master Gardener to come by and see what plants you may have that are suitable for donation.

A farewell to Bob Simmons will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. on Friday in the Mason County Commissioners' chamber. Bob has been appointed as the WSU regional water quality extension specialist and state water quality program leader effective March 1. Bob will be leaving as Mason County WSU Extension director to assume this new role, and he will be headquartered at the Jefferson County WSU Extension Office.

As always, the Master Gardeners are available from noon to 3 p.m. on Mondays to answer your home gardening questions. If Monday is a holiday, they will be in the office Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: February 20, 2014

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