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Native and xeric gardening tips from a Master Gardener

Interested in xeric gardening or gardening with native plants? Susan Peterson, a WSU Master Gardener who manages the Natives N’ More garden at the Community Education Garden in Wenatchee, shared some tips with me about how to start a home garden and plants to choose.

  1. Before starting your garden, do some planning. Ask yourself what you like. Flowers? Vegetables? A natural landscape? Shade? Make a file or digital folder for your garden and collect photos and clippings of ideas and colors you like. Some of the plants you like won't work for the climate you're in, but you can use the characteristics of those plants to search for ones that will.
  2. Evaluate the site you’re working with to determine what will work best. Depending on where in the Wenatchee area you live, your garden might have lots of sand, rocks, heavy clay or sun exposure. You can also test your soil to know what you’re working with.
  3. Once you have gathered ideas and learned more about your site, design your landscape. “It’s like designing a house,” Susan said. Think about where you want to walk, what your lifestyle and space demand, and how much time you can devote to your garden.
  4. For inspiration for gardens with native plants, go to the Riverfront Park Xeriscape Garden, where there are lots of examples of plants that aren’t fussy. Check out the Washington Native Plants Society for ideas and visit the Community Education Garden for extensive examples of firewise, xeric and deer-resistant... (More)


For the past three years, I've been the Board Treasurer and for two years the part-time director for the Hospitality Ministries now dba Wenatchee Rescue Mission. Scott Johnson, fresh from the L.A. Mission, is our new Executive Director. Monique Johnson directs our Women's Services.


We have just received a two-year urban forestry environmental justice grant from the Department of Natural Resources. This grant will fund a portion of the first phase of our long-term project to renovate the landscape of our six-acre property between S. Wenatchee Avenue and S. Mission Street. Retired US Forest Service hydrologist Rick Edwards has spent the last year gathering input from a wide range of resource specialists and preparing a multi-year landscape renovation plan.


Local landscape designer Betsy Dudash is partnering in this effort to move the WRM landscape toward a friendlier habitat for everything from bees to birds to deer. A significant emphasis of this first phase of the project (2021-2023) will be the planting of desirable, more drought-resistant trees and shrubs in priority areas and the gradual removal of non-native trees, along with so much more.


Grass or not? What are your thoughts/goals/dreams for your yard?