University of Wyoming Extension News

New booklet highlights garden, landscape plants native to region

native plantsRegionally native plants that mix attitude and altitude with beauty are showcased in a new publication from the University of Wyoming.

These plants will weather Wyoming’s worst.

“Plants with Altitude: Regionally Native Plants for Wyoming Gardens,” B-1255, provides physical descriptions and unique characteristics of more than 50 perennials in addition to water need, sun exposure, native ranges, plant family and height and width. When applicable, icons denote animal resistance and pollinator attraction.

“The plants were chosen by the authors,” said Jennifer Thompson of University of Wyoming Extension and one of the writers. “They are regionally native plants that are attractive, relatively easy to get ahold of and that have performed well in our gardens, which are in challenging environments.”

Collaborators are the UW Biodiversity Institute, the Laramie Garden Club, Barnyards & Backyards Rural Living in Wyoming and UW Extension.

          Thompson had bounced around the idea of a regionally native booklet for some time. She had grown regionally native plants in her gardens and landscapes – especially those that required few inputs, including water.

“Many western native plants make super plants for gardens,” said Thompson. “These plants are fun to grow and rather fascinating to watch.”

They support a number of pollinators, and Thompson said she abandoned her hummingbird feeder after several years of growing many of the plants in the booklet.

“Hummingbirds ignored it and spent their time visiting and fighting over the penstemons and other flowers,” she noted.

Thompson found others interested in such plants, were willing to write descriptions and whose organizations were able to contribute financially or with people power.

Those include Dorothy Tuthill, botanist and associate director, and Brenna Marsicek, project coordinator, both of the UW Biodiversity Institute, and Amy Fluet of the Laramie Garden Club.

The UW Biodiversity Institute created a booklet companion website at http://wyomingnativegardens.org.

Many of the plants are now in the horticultural trade and are at quality local and regional nurseries or online, said Thompson.

“Others are not particularly hard to start from seed, and we have provided some key instructions in the guide on how to do so,” she said.

A limited supply of booklets are available across the state at local UW Extension, conservation district and weed and pest control district offices.

They also can be purchased for $5 at the UW Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center, 10th and Lewis St., Laramie. Free downloads from UW Extension are available by going to www.uwyo.edu/ces and clicking Publications on the left-hand side, enter B-1255, and follow the prompts. Hard copies can be purchased for $5 plus $3 shipping and handling. Click Request Copy.