This is becoming a more common question as people are interested in creating pollinator habitat and conserving water by using plants adapted for the local climate. At the Lyon County University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office, we are starting our own native plant garden to create a teaching garden and native pollinator habitat. Marcia started by using the native Desert Dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata, that was naturally growing in front of our office. She kept them weeded to avoid spraying herbicide and reduce competition. The building and the trees shade them, so we have small plants. Desert
Dandelion can be larger when grown in full sun. As they go to seed, we collect the seeds in a small paper envelope to let them dry. Next spring, we will plant the collected seeds to expand our patch.
Native plants are great for Lyon County gardens. In recent University of Nevada Cooperative Extension special publications “Flowers at the Borders” and “Penstemons are for Great Basin Gardens” have recommendations for native plants to include in your garden. Your native garden can also help native pollinators by providing habitat, like native milkweeds, or as pollen and nectar sources. Do not collect seeds from natural areas or areas where you do not have permission to collect seeds. Not all pretty flowers are beneficial, some can be noxious weeds. Make sure you know what plants you are spreading before moving plants or seeds.
Have a native plant that you want to know more about? Send me a picture! firstname.lastname@example.org