Open Days!

Tadpole Haven Native Plants, a nursery normally open only by appointment, will host several Open Days this spring.  The nursery will be open to drop-in visitors on Open Days.  The next Open Day is Saturday, April 10, from 10-4.  A complete schedule of upcoming Open Days and Teach-Ins is posted online along with directions.  Information is available over the phone at 425-788-6100.

 Tadpole Haven carries more than 90 species of plants native to Western Washington and the Northwest.  Many of these, such as Wood Fern (Dryopteris expansa) and Western Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) are often difficult to find in general retail nurseries.  This small nursery on Paradise Lake Road prides itself on its ecologically sound practices, using organic mulch to improve the soil in the nursery and avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides. 

“People plant natives to help the environment.  I wouldn’t grow native plants unless I could produce them in a way that also protects and helps the local ecosystem,” said owner Shirley Doolittle-Egerdahl.  The calls of Pacific Chorus Frogs, which lay eggs in the nursery’s kiddy pools, vouch for that statement.

 Puget Sound-area native plants give the locality its character and beauty. Every native tree, shrub or perennial planted enhances that regional character.  But there are many reasons to plant native plants in individual yards or local parks.  Native plants and animals have, over the ages, evolved symbiotic relationships.  Gardeners provide shelter and food for birds and other native creatures when they plant natives in their yard. 

Protecting and conserving water are major reasons to incorporate native plants into local landscapes.  Since our native plants are used to our climate, they need little or no summer watering.  That can really cut down on the water bill.  And adopting a gardening style that allows natives to fill garden spaces combats pollution effectively.  Native plants keep excess rainwater and contaminated, overly-warm runoff from getting into streams and ultimately into larger bodies of water.  Foliage traps and holds a surprisingly large amount of rainwater, dramatically slowing it and preventing erosion and runoff.  Roots capture rainwater and send it percolating through the cool earth, cleansing it and keeping local waters cool for fish and other water creatures. 

 Of course, many non-native garden plants can provide some of these practical functions as well, though they are not as care-free. Most ornamentals need much more water than native plants in the summer, and many suffer during our wet winters, setting them up for health problems.  Natives are easy to keep healthy, requiring no pesticides.  Teamed with natural companion plants, native plants efficiently work together to support a healthy environment for all living things.

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