Appreciating native plants | Letter

Did you know that April is Native Plant Appreciation month? Proclaimed in 2004 by the Governor initially for a weeklong celebration of native plants, it became a full month in 2020. This year’s theme is “Prairie Preservation”. Local Washington Native Plant Society chapters have been hosting numerous activities all month long. Check out for more information.

I live on San Juan Island and enjoy visiting the many trails and public open spaces to view our ephemeral and lovely spring wildflowers, the Calypso orchids, Fawn lilies, Chocolate lilies, Shooting stars, and Camas, to name just a few. I recently discovered that there are two locations in the town of Friday Harbor to easily see native wildflower displays. Thanks to our local plantswoman Jennifer Harris of Catkin Horticultural Arts, native plants and wildflowers can be seen at the Joyce L Sobel Family Resource Center on Market Street (an award winning-garden), and at the San Juan Community Home Trust’s new affordable housing development, Holliwalk, at the intersection of Price and Holli Place.

What a nice surprise to find such special plantings right here in Friday Harbor. There is a growing trend to use native and other non-invasive plants in landscapes, to increase the biodiversity, complexity, and ecological functions in our suburban, residential landscapes. Over time, these planted areas, and the rain garden on Spring Street can become exemplary gardens to demonstrate how beautiful functional landscapes can be. The Town of Friday Harbor could be a bellweather for this national trend.

Many plants are now in bloom, check them out when you can!

Jane Wentworth

MS Botany, Master Gardener