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Plant of the Month

'Native Roots'
30 species of Western North American wildflowers, selected for ornamental qualities

Location: North of the Idaho native section of the Xeriscape Garden, east side of the gravel road Grid Q29

Native Roots is the name of a group of plants developed by Dr. Steve Love working at the Aberdeen Extension Center in Southern Idaho. Steve obtained some grants to work on finding native wildflowers that have strong ornamental qualities and are able to survive in the harsh conditions of the Intermountain west.

Native Roots display garden 6-27-15
Native Roots display garden 6-27-15

Dr. Love started with the premise of working with plants that are native to the intermountain western states, rather than restricting the selections to a particular state. He worked on collecting lots of different species, brought that seed back to Aberdeen, then grew the best selections for several years, selecting the most consistent plants to provide seed for the next year's crop.

Desert Zinnia, Zinnia grandiflora 6-27-15
Desert Zinnia, Zinnia grandiflora 6-27-15

His goal is to provide seed grown wild flower species with consistent size and color. So far, he has released 30 species to the nursery trade. We have planted all 30 species in the new display garden. The plants are available through Plants of the Wild Nursery in Tekoa, Washington, who generously donated the plants in the garden.

Monthly Projects

Fortunately late May and early June provided some much needed rain to the area, so some of the irrigation stress was reduced. We have been able to plant most everything that I had hoped to get done this spring (602 'permanent plants' and over 1,000 annual flowers so far). That happens in between all the routine maintenance of mowing, pruning and irrigation. And, of course the weeds grow faster than we can pull them!

Foxtail Lilies, Eremurus sp. 6-27-15
Foxtail Lilies, Eremurus sp. 6-27-15

The Arboretum Associates plant sale was another success, raising more than $11,000 for the Arboretum.

Upcoming Events


Arboretum Concert
Monday, July 13 7:00 pm
Top of the upper pond. Acoustic concert put on by Dan Bukvich, the School of Music and community members. Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy an evening in the Arboretum


Science Saturdays
July 18, August 15 10:30 am at the Red Barn
This year the theme will be pollination, and each session will look at different aspects of pollination.

Science Saturday, 6-20-15
Science Saturday, 6-20-15

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