Edmonton Native Plant Society
native plant stewards
Get Involved in Our Projects!

Thistle Patrol

A group of volunteers who get together regularly to weed creeping (Canada) thistle and other invasive plants from various natural areas in Mill Creek and Fulton Ravine.

The Thistle Patrol started in Mill Creek Ravine south of Whyte Avenue. We have several areas under the Partners in Parks program that the City of Edmonton Runs. Some of us weed only creeping (Canada) thistle while others weed all noxious weeds and even exotics like small Manitoba maple and cotoneaster from among the native plants. When we finish we often go for a walk to see what native flowers we can find.
Booklets of Alberta's noxious weeds are available for use by anyone who comes out.

Volunteers are always welcome to join in on a current project or take on a new one. By hand pulling or cutting we weed more selectively than the City can through spot spraying or weed-whacking.
DATE: Every Tuesday evening beginning in June and ending in September for Mill Creek; a different area is weeded each week, with each area being weeded twice. Fulton Ravine will be weeded when we get enough volunteers together.
TIME: We weed for an hour at a time, beginning at 7pm.

SKILLS REQUIRED: A love of weeds. Anything else you will learn on the job!

COMMITMENT: None! Come when you can.

BENEFITS: Good exercise; work with a bunch of great, like-minded people; learn more about the plants, animals, bugs and birds of Mill Creek; free plants and seeds from the ENPG garden plot.

Project Leader is Diana Baragar (debaragar@gmail.com) or phone 469-5626.

Shooting Star Hill

Shooting Star Hill/Caragana Hill in Whitemud Creek Park near the mouth of the Creek was established as a Partners-in-Parks project in the summer of 2004. The aim is to support the calcium-loving flora that occurs on this escarpment of Whitemud Ravine by clearing Caragana bushes off the hill slope, maintaining a bed of native shrubbery to protect native vegetation at the bottom of the slope, and controlling weeds throughout this small site.

We also grow suitable local native species from seed and cuttings to enrich the existing native flora and we undertake infill transplanting.

Opportunities for volunteers including weeding, growing plants from seed, and learning about the interesting native flora of the area, which exists because of the calcareous seeps and springs that occur along the escarpment in this part of the river valley.
Project leader is Patsy Cotterill, 780-481-1525 or email: nutmeg@planet.eon.net Access (from Fox Drive) is easy by car and by bus. Toilet and picnic facilities are close by. The volunteer season lasts from May through September or October.

John Janzen Native Garden

A demonstration bed (with at least 30 different species!) designed to show gardeners how native wildflowers and grasses can be used in a regular garden setting.

The Edmonton Native Plant Group's first Native Plant Demonstration Flowerbed was planted in the spring of 2003 at the John Janzen Nature Centre.
Our goal in establishing the flowerbed was to show gardeners that perennial wildflowers and grasses can be used in a regular garden setting, and to give gardeners the opportunity to look at these plants and see them growing so they can decide which species they want to add to their own gardens.
The advantage of native plants over other perennials is that they require no fertilizer, no extra water and very little care beyond the usual weeding. The plants we chose are all suitable for a drier, more open and sunny garden situation.

The bed was started with plants, not seeds, and the plants all came from local sources. Several species were obtained from plant rescue sites where construction took place on the original habitats. All the plants are growing very well and surpass our expectations. We mulch the bed with wood chips, so weeding is kept to a minimum

John Janzen Nature Center this coming summer. By Liz DeLeeuw

Summer in the City. A little bit of Nature away from it all.
Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. starting sometime in April or May.

Spring Cleanup – at the beginning of the season we cut away the dry plant material to get the bed ready for the plants which slowly rise up out of their winter slumber.

Planting and Restoring – Nature has a way of not being critical of itself but we people like to adjust and change. We are in the process of replacing some of the old and tired looking parts of the bed with new species and combinations. It is all in the effort to understand how native plants can fit into our urban landscaping constraints and perceptions. Native plants can be incorporated into landscapes effectively and aesthetically. We are open to learning new ways to use them.

Weeding and Mulching– is important in the early spring as the weeds also want to get in on that early start when the weather starts getting nicer. Through the season we have to “comb” the weeds from the bed when they try to sneak in the back way.

Transplant Potting – In the spring last year I brought seedlings and soil for the volunteers to pot up for my backyard native plant stash. I am hoping to do the same again this year with many species.

Potting up Volunteer Seedlings – We pot up the excess “babies” of plants that start in the demonstration bed for our further use in projects and for promoting native plant use in residential gardens around the city. Volunteers are encouraged to take some “babies” home to plant and nurture themselves.

Education and Tours– not school exactly, but we will have one evening a month when “visitors” can tour the bed and participate in a discussion of the reasons native plants are an important part of, yes!, even the residential urban landscape. Volunteers are encouraged to join in the discussion.

Hanging Out – It has taken me a while to realize we have the opportunity to enjoy the woods, ponds, and grounds of the Nature Center. Last year we especially enjoyed the pond and the progression of the frog population from tadpole to adult. We also visited the adjacent Shooting Star Hill and have walked the loop trail around Fort Edmonton a few times.

See you in the Summer!
Please call Liz DeLeeuw at 780 484 9539 (If no answer, leave a message stating where you can be reached and Liz will contact you directly.)
OR email Liz at liz.d@telus.net

This flowerbed, along with our book and website, was made possible by funding from Alberta Ecotrust, The Alberta Native Plant Council, The Edmonton Natural History Club, Shell Envionmental Fund, The John Janzen Nature Centre and the City of Edmonton's Partners in Parks program.
LOCATION: John Janzen Nature Centre, adjacent to Fort Edmonton Park.

Fort Saskatchewan Prairie

Yes, you have to travel all the way to Fort Saskatchewan, but it's worth it. This 12-hectare remnant of aspen parkland, set aside as a nature reserve by the City of Fort Saskatchewan, is home to a wide array of prairie flowers and grasses, including some rare species such as the Prairie Violet and Long-leaved Bluets.

This small remnant prairie is a gem and every time you visit it, different flowers will be in bloom.
The flowering – and volunteer management – season lasts from April through October. The Prairie is located close to the North Saskatchewan River and is easily accessed through the Westpark subdivision off Hwy 21 at the south end of Fort Saskatchewan.

Patsy Cotterill is the project leader. Email her at nutmeg@planet.eon.net if you are interested in helping out and for more information on outings and work days.

'Wildflowers of the Fort Saskatchewan Prairie' is a brochure that is available at the Ft. Sask. Museum or from ENPG. The price is $2.00.

Nisku Prairie Restoration

The Alberta Native Plant Council is co-steward with Leduc County of a 17 hectare remnant of native prairie off Highway 2, just east of Nisku. Two small areas in the prairie are disturbed and need weeding and replanting. A field trip will be organized this spring, and another in the fall to collect seeds.

Contact Patsy Cotterill at nutmeg@planet.eon.net if you are interested in volunteering and/or visiting the site.

Muttart Native Plant Bed

A former annual garden bed by the parking lot at the Muttart Conservatory has been given up by the Edmonton Horticulture Society. On the advice of an EHS member, ENPG applied to the City of Edmonton, and was granted permission to use this bed as a showcase for perennial native plants.

As it is very visible to visitors, our idea is to have a full season of blooms and impress people on how great native plants and grasses can look! Hardscaping was done with stumps and rocks and a variety of plants were transplanted in the spring of 2012 with the help of many enthusiastic volunteers.

Barry is steward of the bed and may be contacted at biobs@telus.net if you would liketo help with the maintenance of this site.

Non-gardening Opportunities

There are lots of these. We are always looking for people to staff our display at various events such as Seedy Sundays.

Email engvolunteer@gmail.com