Butterfly milkweed, wild bergamot, royal catchfly, wild white indigo, hoary vervain — the number of native plants in the prairie might seem overwhelming.
However, the Native Plantings workshop put on by Dickinson County Conservation 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, at the Lakes Area Farmers Market in Spirit Lake will help make people a little more comfortable with Iowa’s wildflower species.
“We’ll talk a little bit about identification of them, show which ones are common and that they’re not weeds and that they’re helpful and native,” said Charles Vigdal, former naturalist for the Dickinson County Conservation Board and current manager of the Dickinson Recycling Center.
The bi-weekly Lakes Area Farmers Market on the Dickinson County Fairgrounds is a perfect place to talk about native landscaping, and Vigdal plans to speak for about 45 minutes about native plant varieties, the virtues of natives, how native wildflowers are helpful for water quality and pollinators and how they can increase the aesthetics of your landscaping. Vigdal will even bring cuts of prairie flowers for people to see up close, touch and smell,
Many native flowers and grasses have been misunderstood for generations. They have been labeled weeds and partially eradicated. However, getting rid of natives has had detrimental effects including decreased native pollinator populations, excess nutrients in our waters and eroding shorelines.
Dickinson County Conservation is working hard to help people realize the importance of planting native species, and Vigdal’s program will teach you the most important species to know, how to establish them and the best varieties to plant in your specific landscape, whether it be dry, wet, sunny or shade.
Dickinson County Conservation environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman thinks learning about native plants is important for a wide variety of ages.
“Encouraging native planting in our communities is important,” she said. “Ornamental plants become invasive, and I think it’s also important to help native pollinators and native wildlife feed on native plants rather than cultivars.”
This Native Plantings program is part of the Lake Friendly Lawn Care series, encouraging you to take small steps in your own yard to make a difference for pollinators, wildlife and lake water quality. For more information on this workshop or other programs in the series, visit our environmental education page or call 712-336-6352. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.