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photoRob Crandall and Gloria Spiwak prepare for planting at the Native Plant Garden.

Home Grown
Native plant garden

The first plant, a clump of Wyeth bunchgrass, went into the ground at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center’s future Native Plant Garden at TwispWorks Sunday.

It will be one of “thousands” of native plants, trees and shrubs that eventually will grow on the now barren ground in front of the center, said Robert Crandall, owner of Methow Natives and the man in charge of the garden project. “I’d like to see 250 different species” growing at the site, he told Grist.

The vision is to create an attractive, highly visible garden that will entice passing motorists to stop and tour the site, according to proponents. Plans call for gravel paths and benches along a garden landscaped with shrub steppe, riparian and subalpine habitat vegetation.

There will be dozens of native wildflowers such as alpine aster, spring beauty, meadow penstemon and scarlet gilia. Among native grasses will be green fescue, Junegrass, and western needlegrass. Native shrubs and trees will include serviceberry, bitter cherry, coyote willow, Douglas maple, red osier dogwood and big sagebrush.

photoPlant starts awaiting their turn to go in the ground

Plans also call for the six-foot wire fence that now surrounds the center to be moved southeastward to the pavement to expand the garden space onto what is now lawn, according to the center’s director, Carolyn Schmekel. The existing shaded lawn near the Glover Street/Highway20 junction on the west side of the property will be reserved for use as a picnic spot for visitors, she said.

Crandall’s decision to take on the center’s native garden project dovetailed with shifting his Methow Natives plant business away from retail sales to focus on riparian restoration, he said. His garden has been a center for native plant education with as many as 400 visitors a year.

Many of the plants to be grown in the center’s garden will come from Methow Natives, said Crandall.

The center, founded in 2010, plans to serve as a comprehensive regional center for native plant education. Its core mission is to portray the pre-European native inhabitants as well as the geology and natural history of the Methow Valley. The center will partner with the Colville Confederated Tribes to provide educational information about the Indian tribes’ various uses of the plants in the garden, according to Schmekel.


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Have a comment? >>

This is really exciting and valuable for Methowites and visitors. Big thanks to Rob for initiating and making it happen!

Nancy Farr