Tucked in among research plots of grains, potatoes and other crops at the University of Idaho’s Aberdeen Research and Extension Center are research plots of native wildflowers and plants to test their garden and landscape appeal.
A Native Plant Field Day, the center’s sixth, is planned June 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. to give native plant lovers, nursery operators and others a look at using native plants to reduce water use and pest problems in landscaping.
Led by UI Extension horticulture specialist Stephen Love, the tour through colorful arrays of wildflower and shrub evaluation plots will feature grasses, penstemons, mints, columbines, buckwheats, syringa and many others.
Another field day is planned the following day, June 13, in Twin Falls by the Idaho company that is taking the lead on bringing Love’s finds to gardens and landscapes. The Native Roots LLC Field Day is planned from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the company’s production farm at 2475 E. 3600 N. in Twin Falls. The farm is south of Twin Falls along old Idaho Highway 24, a half mile east of U.S. Highway 93.
Love has explored the wilds of Idaho and other western states searching for perennials and shrubs. After collecting seeds from hundreds of species to grow at Aberdeen, Native Roots is beginning to distribute plants to nurseries.
The Native Roots lineup grew from Love’s quest and his expertise as a plant breeder. The company now is selling seed of its first 30 native species products. It has 80 more products in the wings with more than 300 under development.
The company will offer visitors the chance to see its native seed production facility and wildflowers, grasses and shrubs that are suitable for home gardens and larger landscapes. Organizers will offer tips on how to create beautiful landscapes with native plants.
More information is available from UI horticulturist Stephen Love at (208) 397-4181 or Rich Drick of Native Roots at (208) 329-4790.