In the Garden | Penstemons will brighten your landscape

Mary Fran McClure

Tired of coping with finicky, difficult plants in your landscape? Perhaps it's time to go native.

Learn about our wealth of local native plants at a free program 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 21. This is part of the monthly series called Third Saturdays in the Garden at the WSU/Chelan Master Gardener's Community Education Garden on the northwest corner of Western and Springwater avenues in Wenatchee.

Master Gardener and U.S. Forest Service entomologist Connie Mehmel will lead off the presentation. "My topic will be North Central Washington native plants and their uses in home gardens," says Mehmel. "I will cover some terms to remember when discussing native plants, the history of gardening with Pacific Northwest plants and some favorite shrubs (serviceberry, snowberry and mock orange)." She will explain the differences between native, non-native, naturalized and invasive plants.

Ted Alway of Derby Canyon Natives in Peshastin will be on hand to answer questions. His nursery specializes in growing wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees. Take a look at his website,, for great background information on natives, with photos, where they grow, their size and shape.

Then tour the Natives N' More garden, where native plants are intermixed with some non-natives. This demonstration garden offers a firsthand look at such natives as penstemon, Missouri primrose, rudbeckia, goldenrod, red columbine, shrubby cinquefoil, red osier dogwood and many others. You'll see Mehmel's favorite shrubs growing there also.

Event chair Emily Gale encourages the public to learn more about the native plants that surround us and why they thrive in NCW, whether in our foothills or in our gardens. Chelan County PUD is sponsoring this month's program.

For more information, see our website at or phone the WSU Extension office weekdays at 667-6540.


A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in The Wenatchee World. Mary Fran McClure is one of four columnists featured.