The Importance of Sharing
In her day, my grandmother was lucky to have such a giving neighbor, as distance played a significant role in what grew in rural gardens in Alaska.
I can still remember my grandmother’s thick iris border growing up as a child in rural Alaska in the 70’s. The original Iris was a gift from her neighbor back in the 50’s and from that one division many more iris would grow. Through the sharing of plant material with friends and family we were able to use native plants in the garden landscape while also creating a lasting family tradition that spans four generations.
Consider Integrating Native Plants Into Your Landscape
Native plants provide food and habitat for native wildlife.
We tend to think of native plants as wild and not very sensible for a tidy flower garden. However, nothing could be further from the truth. As stated by the National Park Service  there are many beneficial reasons for using native plants in the garden, not only do they provide a natural habitat for native insects and birds, they prevent soil erosion and require little maintenance.
Popular Native Plants for Landscaping
- Mountain ash
- Red-twig dogwood
- White Spruce
- Lady fern
- Wild geranium
- Devil’s Club
How to Locate Native Plant Material
One of the most challenging aspects of growing native plants is locating source material. Before you grab your shovel consider reading a plant identification book specific to your area. Also, consider local and state laws pertaining to collecting on public or municipal lands. When collecting on private land make sure you have the owner’s permission.
- Alaska Native Plant Society has many helpful tips on plant material collection and proper collection etiquette
- State of Alaska, Dept of Fish and Game has a wonderful guide on landscaping for wildlife which includes plant selection.
 An introduction to using native plants in restoration projects, Prepared by Jeanette Dorner Center for Urban Horticulture, University of Washington
I am a beginning to intermediate gardener, living in South Central Alaska, residing on ten acres of coastal land in Point Mackenzie with my family of five and numerous pets. My interests have been, until recently, focused on native plants. However, as a student of the Alaska Master Gardeners Course, I hope to expand my knowledge and diversify into the vast verities of plants available for cultivation.