Why and How to Garden With Native Plants
Thursday, March 21. 7-8 pm, online event
Do you have questions about gardening with native plants? That’s good to hear – because we have answers. Please join us as Dr. Ana Hidalgo and Dr. Oscar Zapata of the University of Saskatchewan enumerate the many advantages of gardening with native plants. Then stay put as prairie-restoration expert Michael Skinner of Skinner Native Seeds answers your practical questions about how to turn your yard or balcony into a pollinator paradise.
Ana and Oscar have this to say about their research into pollinator gardens and ecosystem services in the Prairies:
Cities are rapidly facing the challenges of climate change and the preservation of residents’ quality of life and well-being. Solutions based on nature and urban ecosystem services can help cities face these challenges. Specifically, city environmental amenities, such as public and private spaces with more vegetation, the presence of tree canopy, and native and non-native gardens, contribute to cleaning the air and reducing the heat island effect. Although the difference in the production of ecosystem services and their benefits between areas with and without vegetation is remarkable, the type of plant species used to green city spaces is also fundamental. Compared to non-native, native species bring additional benefits that include reduction in water use, pesticides and fertilizers, biodiversity conservation, the creation of pollinator corridors, urban beautification, cultural preservation and physical and mental health. Our interdisciplinary work 1) determines the benefits of green areas and native gardens in prairie cities by comparing pollution levels and heat island effects between green and non-green areas, 2) defines the benefits of native gardens, 3) identifies the challenges for homeowners to adopt native gardening practices, and 4) determines the attributes of native gardens that people find most attractive. The findings can inform the design of policies to increase green spaces in Prairie cities and promote a change in gardening practices in favour of native species.