By Capilano resident Terri Lynn Perron – Wildlife Biologist & Master Naturalist for the City of Edmonton
I haven’t noticed any ladybugs stretching their legs after their big winter sleep yet; however the Northern Alberta Birding Hotline reports Bluebirds are making their return along with Varied Thrushes east of Edmonton. Could it be!? Spring at long last? It is time to earnestly start my seeds indoors and rake my yard (the south facing yard at least). Yippee!
I always think about the Edmonton Naturalization Group (ENG) this time of year. Each spring I try to educate myself on one or two new native plants that would grow better in my sun-scorched flower beds than the annuals I have planted in the past. Making contact with the fine folks at this organization has opened my world to a new way of gardening. Did you know that if you volunteer a few hours of your time with ENG they will provide you with free seedlings/seeds of beautiful native plants to grow in your own yard?
The Edmonton Naturalization Group is an informal group of people in the Edmonton area who like to grow native plants and promote their use in gardening and landscaping to a wider public. ENG members raise native plants at the City of Edmonton’s Oldman Creek Nursery and maintain a demonstration native bed at the John Janzen Nature Centre. Volunteers also rescue native plants from areas of city development and relocate them to their nursery. The ENG use these plants for naturalization projects (schools, etc.) and as a seed source. In 2004, ENG published Go Wild! a gardening book that provides information on how to grow native species, where to see them in the wild and where to buy local native plants and seeds. I highly recommend it.
Visit their website at http://edmontonnaturalizationgroup.org/ to learn about projects they are involved in, how to volunteer, read interesting articles and get a heads up on upcoming events such as plant sales.