Saturday, April 28, 10-4

Mercerdale Park, Mercer Island
(open to members at 9:00, anyone can become a member)
– Ask the Experts
– Theme NATIVE PLANTS for “Habitat for Birds and Pollinators”
– Rain garden plants
– Plenty of free parking

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WNPS 2017 Spring Native Plant Sale and Evironmental Fair

Click on the Sale Info button above to see all the sale information.


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Ways to get free or low cost native plants We  of course would like you to buy plants from our spring and fall sales but there are also ways you can get low cost or free plants with a little bit of your time and effort.  If you have big projects this can really reduce costs. Bare Root Sales (low cost) The best low cost source is your county Conservation District bare root sales.  These sales usually start in December or January with plants generally available in early March.  The advantage of bare roots is that they are inexpensive  and easy to transport.  This is especially helpful if you are planting on hillsides.  You don’t have to haul pots up or down hillsides.  The disadvantage is they need to be planted as soon as possible.  Also the bare root plants are frequently sold in bundles.  Roots dry out very quickly. According to Lawyer Nursery Inc. in Olympia, the bare roots should be soaked a minimum or 4-6 hours before planting.  If possible continue to soak the roots while planting.  Plant should be transplanted within 24 to 48 hours or receiving them.  The most difficult to successfully transplant are broadleaf evergreen (Arctostaphylos, Mahonia, Gaultheria, long needle pines and others).  Lawyer Nursery recommends clipping off most leaves prior to planting to reduce desiccation for broadleaf evergreens. (See http://www.lawyernursery.com/bareroot_nursery_stock_handling_guide.asp for the whole guide.) County Salvages (free) Several counties have native plant salvage programs where the county receives permission to salvage an area with volunteers before the area is cleared for building.  In King County one salvages for the county from 9-12 in the morning and then, if you salvaged in the morning, you can salvage for yourself from 12-2.  They may also offer special days to those who have salvaged for the county to come and just salvage for them selves.  These plants are completely free except for your effort.  There are usually some knowledgeable people around who can help you with what native plants to salvage.  Again it is very important to not let the roots dry out and to pot them up or replant them as soon as possible.  Taking some native soil and adding it to the planting soil adds native microrrhyzae which improves transplant survival. Ferns are exceedingly easy to salvage.  When you salvage ferns there are frequently more than one crown in a larger fern.  The ferns can be divided by cutting (sawing) them apart between the crowns to get even more plants.  Salvaged ferns may not look very good until their second year in the ground but usually have many more roots and therefore bigger than purchased ferns. If you have large ferns on your own property, you can divide them as described above to create more ferns too. Conservation District Nurseries (free) If your county has a Conservation District Nursery you may be able to volunteer and receive credits which then can be traded for plants.  King Conservation District gives $10.00 worth of plant material for each hour you volunteer in the nursery.  The selected native species are usually available in the early spring. Plant Survival It is also very important to plant correctly and in the right conditions for the plant (sun/shade, wet/dry, according to the plant’s needs).  OK, we all have tried to push the envelope but we usually end up with dead plants. The original soil stem/root boundary should be maintained (roots should not be above the level of the soil nor the stem/trunk any deeper than it was originally growing).  Also the roots should be spread out in the planting spot not curved back up on themselves.  It is better to prune a few roots than plant incorrectly.  After planting, the plants should be mulched with 4”- 6” of wood chips.  Keep the mulch about 3”away from woody stems.  The best mulch is free.  You can request arborists to deliver wood chips to you.  The minimum is usually about 5 cubic yards.  The chips keep weeds from growing and retain the soil moisture.  They also help water to permeate the soil rather than running off and keep soil pores open. It is important to water for the first summer or two or plant mortality can be high.  Most years you do not need to start watering until after the rains stop.  Watering deeply is better than shallow watering.  Check the moisture in the soil before you water. If the plants have been planted in the right conditions, they will probably not need additional watering in after the second summer.  In general remember the first year planted they sleep, the second year they creep  and the third year they leap.

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Orchard Mason Bees

I just picked up my rented orchard mason bees, Osmia Lignaria, for the season.  These native bees do not sting and look very little like bees.  However, they are great pollinators doing their job from about now until early June. 

I have to admit to being lazy, I don’t want the bother of having to remove the new bee cocoons from their tubes, clean them and store them in the refrigerator until next spring.  They need to be taken in about the beginning of June so they don’t get parasitized by wasps.

At the Spring Native Plant Sale and Celebration on May 11 from 10-4 in Mercerdale Park on Mercer Island, WA, we will have a bee expert talk about these little native bees.  If you have a lot of things in bloom in the spring (trees and shrubs count) you may want to consider raising these bees.

Maybe you’ve heard, “The pollination crisis is upon us. Honey bees are not doing well.”  It’s a fact. Did you know that you can improve the plight of the pollinators by using your own back yard?  Consider the ways to ease the crisis and help your own garden by raising bees in your yard. You need to place your bees in the sun but also protect them from rain. 

There are many styles of bee nesting material from paper tubes in a quart milk carton to sophisticated nesting blocks and houses.

The bee house above right is not easy to remove the cocoons and clean. Some bee suppliers do NOT recommend wood blocks with drilled holes. This is because your bees will fail within a few years due to pest buildup.

Below you see paper nesting tubes placed in an empty oatmeal box which is then placed in a empty milk carton.  Milk cartons are good because they are waterproof.

Commercially purchased bee houses and nesting matrials are also available.  The houses with paper tubes are easy to use and clean because you just open the paper tubes and clean the bees and then put them into clean tubes in the spring.  You can tell if the bees have laid nests in the tubes because the end of the tubes will be plugged with mud.

In selecting a bee system it is important to consider how easy it will be to remove the bees and clean the nest for next year

Wood trays are an excellent nesting material.  Wood is their natural habitat and it pulls moisture from wet pollen masses. The trays come apart for easy bee removal and cleaning.


You can buy mason bees on line although it may be too late for this season.

To the right you can see cleaned bee cocoons ready for winter storage in a refrigerator.


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Date Saturday, Oct 4th, 2014

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Location 7744 35th Ave NE Seattle, WA Between 75th & 80th

More info about the FALL PLANT SALE:

  • If you’re interested in purchasing some new plants for your garden, Chapter volunteers will hold a Native Plant Sale. 
  • To address your questions about preparing your garden for the fall, native plant experts from WNPS will be on hand.
  • Seeds and bulbs for sale.
  • Plenty of free parking
  • Rain garden plants and information
  • Visit with our partners at the sale to find out what other organizations are doing around the Seattle area to support gardening with native plants. Visit with  King County Noxious Weeds, SPU Water Wise Program, Bats Unlimited, Bert the Salmon and more.  Bring the kids.

More info about the Native Plant sale:

Every year the sale features the largest selection of native trees, shrubs, perennials, and ground covers plus bulbs and seeds that are ideal for gardens in western Washington.

Choose from a wide range of botanical and gardening books or get gardening advice from native plant experts at the sale.

Attend the workshop on  Creating your own Rain Garden.

Bring your own trays or boxes please! Come early for best selection.

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2014 Spring Sale & Celebration Almost Here!

2014 small Spring PosterMy how time flies.  Our spring sale and Celebration is almost upon us.  It will be from 10-4 on Saturday, May 3rd, and will again be on Mercer Island in Mercerdale Park (77th Ave and 32nd St).  This is just a few blocks off of I90. Easy on and easy off and plenty of free parking.

This year we have over 200 species of native plants for you to select from.  No retail nursery carried the number of native plant species we will have available for you.  To see the species we expect to have, click on the Species List tab above. Lists by Latin names, common names & plant types (shrub, tree, etc.).  Rain Garden plants will be featured.

Plan on coming to our Rain Garden talk at 11:00.  Find out what Rain Gardens are and why you might want one.  Even if you are not ready to add native plants to your yard, you should come and see what plants are available and what they look like.

  • Planted pots for decks and balconies
  • Rain garden plants & talk
  • Ask Experts
  • Environmental Fair
  • Abundant FREE parking
  • Huge Native Plant selection
  • Children’s tables

Enjoy other environmental organizations that will be there to answer your garden and wildlife habitat questions are:

  • KC noxious weeds
  • Seattle Audubon
  • Forterra
  • Garden Hotline
  • Friends of Cedar River
  • Kruckeberg Gardens
  • MI Farmer’s Market
  • Flora & Fauna Books (unless it rains)
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We had a great fall sale with beautiful weather!

Selling Lots of seedsIMG_4596The fall sale was a  great success!  Thanks to all the volunteers who helped put the fall sale on and to all our customers who bought our beautiful native plants.

Save the date May 3 for our spring sale on Mercer Island in Mercerdale Park.  Note:  the sale will be one week earlier than our previous sales.

Checking out with the talliers

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We had a great sale, thank you all!

The 2013 fall sale lists of the plants, seeds, bareroot and bulbs are still posted.

The hedgerow below is all native shrubs and trees.


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