Adapting to a changing climate: Natives are plants with a purpose

By Mary Fran McClure
WSU Chelan/Douglas County Master Gardener

Natives 'N More Garden
The Natives ‘N More Garden at the Community Education Garden features a variety of native plants that can provide home gardeners with ideas and inspiration for their landscape. The natives garden will be part of the Third Saturday in the Garden program at the CEG on July 15. – Provided photo/Mary Fran McClure
Mary Fran McClure
Mary Fran McClure – WSU Extension Chelan/Douglas County Master Gardener – photo by Don Seabrook, Wenatchee World

The usual weather in early July means our plants are coping with higher temperatures and are not so happy. On the other hand, tomatoes, peppers and marigolds might just be bursting with growth as long as they’re getting ample water, while most everything else is just trying to cope with the elements.

If you’re searching for ways to conserve water or how to cultivate plants more adapted to our extreme temperatures, WSU/Chelan-Douglas Master Gardeners might be able to help. Our program’s Third Saturday in the Garden will focus on waterwise gardening, native plants and mulches. The free event takes place from 10 a.m. to noon July 15 at the Community Education Garden (CEG) on the northwest corner of Western and Springwater avenues in Wenatchee.

Master Gardener Mark Kulaas will talk about the benefits of using mulch in the garden for water conservation, weed control and as a soil amendment.

You will learn how to apply mulch and how much, as well as the different types of mulches available — plant-based, mineral-based and artificial types. Mark will also discuss how compost amends the soil and improves moisture retention. All these amendments are so helpful in providing a good environment for plants while using less water.

Master Gardener Susan Peterson, who manages the Natives ’N More Garden at the CEG, will explain why native plants are important in our environment and how they can thrive without extensive care. She will show examples of beautiful yet practical native plants that are adapted to our dry and warm climate and require less care and watering than other non-native plants.

Peterson’s list of favorites includes a grass, bluebunch wheatgrass; a shrub, Douglas maple; and penstemon, a diverse group of native flowering perennials.

Members of our program’s diagnostics team will be on hand to take your questions. If you have a plant problem, are trying to identify a plant, or have other gardening questions, bring samples and the clinic will help solve or answer your questions.

Our foundation sales table offers a selection of helpful garden tools and items to buy that help support our volunteer group.

For more information, contact WSU Extension at (509) 667-6540 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and before noon on Fridays.