By Claire Gault
The past two summers, I worked on an EPA grant with Calvin College, called the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative. We learned about ways to naturally improve water quality through gardens – primarily, we learned the importance and beauty of native plants.
What are native plants? They’re defined as “plants indigenous to a given area in geologic time.” These plants have adapted to the soil and air so well, they don’t need watering or fertilizing. Their extensive root systems can trap carbon (fighting climate change), prevent erosion, and mitigate flooding. Not to mention, they attract and sustain naive pollinators.
These flowers aren’t commonly known. Roses, tulips, peonies, or anything in an ornamental greenhouse are usually not native. Rather, these flowers are called lance-leaves coreopsis, spiderwort, or hairy beardtongue, for example. Strange names, but incredibly beautiful and valuable flowers. They make up the ancient ecosystem that precedes and will live beyond our time.