When it comes to landscaping, garden centers and the local garden groups locally, provincally and across N.A.
The HOT trend for 2021 is without a doubt..
Native Plants with tag lines including plant natives, support the bees, support the butterflies and other native bug life and more..
Now the really great thing about this trend is that it works for both types of peaple.. landscaping company’s really can plan and plant your city yard with stunning native choices that will do amazing, and support all kinds of wildlife.
BUT they also need to include the knowledge that that tree that is a natural native host to say 11 native butterflies cycle means that in real life, you will have catapillers on that tree and that sometimes it will not be as pretty as the “imported that will not support” this means many things that the average city home owner can find challenging , including the fact that a health amount of catapillars means that wasps will come to your yard and sadly most peaple just see the colors and think they are all jack-ass’s like yellowjackets when point in fact many many yellow and black wasps are in fact part of a nature yard and gardens in a healthy and postive way.
Same with birds, I love my birds and it never occurred to me that someone would have a issue with birds but I have heard it, the birds are pooing on this or they are making a mess..
So let me round that out in a very clear way, putting in native’s in the back and front yards of the urban is great but not if they still have the yard sprayers coming once a month, not if you still spray the trees and so on..
In that case, the plantings will not help the over all issue but it can be a boon to the landscape company’s and the native producing company’s.
Now lets flip this from the average urban and move it over to urban homesteaders, the burbs, small and large homesteads and big community gardens and urban or country food forests and hedge rows and more.
I want to look at this from two angles..
So the first is that you MUST as the gardener, the homesteader stop undervaluing your local native plants. We have for so many years loved our wild natives, what many of us call our “Bird Gifts”, our ditch finds or they grow in a huge patch down there or its a straight line, so one of the past owners of the land or great-grandpa or grandma must have planted them at some point.
Many of us have had a bad habit that “new” improved and bought has more value, we put more value on our bought “eurapean” plum vs our native plum.. The one I see alot now is bought elderberry’s vs wild elderberries.
Now I get it for a very small yard, if you only have room for one or two of each, then of course you want to get the most for your small space and ideally have proven results.. but if you have any length of garden time under your belt, you know that is WAY to simple. soil, water, weather, feeding, pruning and sun hours all effect your yeilds from year to year..
We all adore reading those seed plant catalogs and what do we love best.. Aunt Bess’s Y, found in 1800 or early 1900’s.. and so on..
Here is the exciting NEWS.. that can and should be EVERY SINGLE one of us!! .. Stop right there and let that sink in..
Farmgal challenge 2021.. I want you this spring to find all your wild fruiting bushes/trees.. we are going to take walks and we are going to spot those flowers and we are going to map and mark out our wildlings and we are going to try all of them.. I am going to walk us though find, learning, marking (in a careful way that ideally does not bring others looking lol) and taste testing, how we can help them, recipes and ways to bring out their flavours
We are going to get out there and do this for ourselves but I also have plans to lay out a plan to help all your garden folks and homesteading folks to come up with a way to create a small income stream if you want to do so.. we will get to that at a later point and I will link all the posts together interlaying them.
So lets bring this back to my comment about undervalue.. I have plans to buy very few extra’s to bring to the farm but I saw a post on my local native plant group that a larger producer of trees, bushes and so on so off I popped to a nursery that is 45 min from my farm.
I was thrilled to see all of my food forest native plants and then i looked at the sizes and the prices.. the most I went from plant to plant to plant, my frown lines got deeper, which menat I was thinking hard..
I finally shook my head, and did a little number crunching.. Rounding things out to a average between the lowest and the highest and then figuring out that x the amount of Native plants that we transplant out of our nursery area’s, wild bird started, ditch babies and farmer fields local edges that we moved into the two new massive hedgerows planted out into 2020..
I am rounding out to 150 to make it easier and that means we moved well over 3 grand of natives.. if I had ordered, bought the same plants form the nursery, by the time we paid, tax, shipping/handling and so on.. we would have spent 4 thousand.
When we spent days moving these, at no point did it cross our minds at the value of plants we were moving, the value was in our time.. and of course our time has value but we often forget that if you needed to BUY these mass plants at those sizes that it can be worth a great deal of money.
We are often focused on food production, what the cane, plant, bush or tree looks like, maybe we are also looking at it from eco as well.. but we also need to a starting value.
If you have wild blueberries and they grow freely in your bush lots and you pick all you want each year and never think anything of it.. the fact that right now, a 24 inch high low bush blueberry bush in a 3 gallon pot will locallly start at $22 and could go as high as $29..
Now I will fully admit that five years ago, you could have found them 12.99 to 15.99 but just try and find that right now.. maybe you can in your next of the woods but you can not in mine!
Each type of plant needs to be looked at as its own.. some can be spring sold as a bareroot/little soil, ready now to plant!, others if you have the pots to do so, can be prepped a bit more and be done in the spring but sold for fall plantings.
If you took the time to carefully dig and transplant 5 or 10 plants, this spring filling in those holes with a good mix of acidic needles, a little bit of compost, so you have no holes to step into, and gave them a small prune for shaping grew them with care over the spring/summer and then offered them at 100 for a lot of 5 for fall planting.. they would sell!
In 2021.. a extra hundred here, a extra 50 here, a bonus 20.. will be a good thing..
Of course we are not only talking about fruiting bushes, canes or trees.. there is much more and will get there..
Now do not think you need a website, or lots of shipping and you DO not need to get big on this.. I am talking micro here folks.. Facebook local buy and sell’s, Kijji and so on will get the job done.. live in a even smaller place.. go old school.. sale write up on the local grocery or church bullitin board..
So what is YOUR more common ditch, hedgerow, forest edge wild fruiting bushes.. in middle alberta, the saskatoon rules.. in northern alberta, the blueberry was king, in NWT.. o the blueberries.. in Iqaluit.. cloudberry, in Quebec, I had the most amazing pincherries, moving to the farm, my farm’s only “wild” fruit that it had was wild strawberry and Elderberry.. but a walk took me to huge patches of Black ChokeCherry and Black Chokeberry..
The most common however was Elderberry!
We’ve got a lot of Saskatoon bushes that grow wild. Also a huge glut of black twin berries (think they’re from the honeysuckle family). They’re not great eating (bitter) but I usually mix them with a sweeter fruit for jam. I have the odd wild blueberry bush, and because we have wild ducks nesting near our pond every year, we also now have wild raspberries. The trick with any of these fruits is to beat the birds to them – though I always leave some behind. Two years ago I purchased two haskap berry plants – they produce here like crazy in our climate – and need next to no attention. Like you I seldom buy these things – usually I can find what I want buy asking around. It’s worth noting as well – that many of these plants provide more than just fruit – it never hurts to do some research to see if the bark/leaves/roots can also be put to use.
I have added three kinds of saskatoon’s to the farm but to date I have never gotten a good crop.. I LOVE saskatoons so much, maybe one year coming I will get the right kind or the right weather and get a better crop.. Very nice on the raspberry for the wild ducks.. I love the Honeyberry/Haskap plants, I added in 4 more kinds last year (I was able to get a amazing sale from a friend at wholesale pricing of 8.50 each) and I went a litlte hogwild on them.. so I have 6 kinds now on the farm and I have 14 of them, and I am going to see if I can air root two more plants off them this year.. I wish mine grew as well.. they are doing good and I have hopes that some of the newer ones will rock it.. but we have had some of the older types struggle a bit, but I think that might have been placement as well.. Outstanding comment on the bakr/leaves/roots and I will add that to my notes in regards to future posts.. at least including the basic’s on it and links to more info depending.. Thanks for your overiew 🙂
I think I got lucky on my haskaps – I tossed them in the same area as my raspberry/rosehip patch – it’s kind of a dirt/gravel mix with decent drainage.
You bring up a good point on the Haskaps – you need different cultivars or they won’t fruit. I didn’t know that until after I got mine planted – fortunately I happened to grab two different ones from the nursery.
They have done so much more work on them since I got my first “set” way back in the day.. same kind but male and females.. now I have the earlist producer, a early producer, a mid season and the late season ones.. this spread gives me much better odds of getting a good crops regardless of weather patterns.. or at least that is what I am hoping..
Hi Val B! This is the second response I’ve read of yours today that mentioned harvesting “black twin berries (think they’re from the honeysuckle family)…”
After looking up ‘Lonicera’ on PFAF, I’m guessing these are the fruit you mention? https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lonicera+involucrata
That looks like them yes 🙂 They’re very prolific around here.