Taking landscaping beyond the plants
october 27—Native plants come naturally in the ecosystem without the need for human interaction—but because of urban growth, many of these plants have died out or been removed from their natural environment.
But some of them will be making a comeback at Bishop Place Senior Living in Pullman.
Diane Weber and Katherine O’Rourke, residents of the living center, have long been working on getting native flora planted around the buildings, creating excitement for many of the tenants. Planting started in mid-October and will continue in the spring of 2023.
“There are many people here who are well into their 100s and remember these plants when they were kids,” O’Rourke said. “Various of these native plants are linked to fond memories.”
After getting in touch with The Phoenix Conservancy, a Pullman-based nonprofit organization with a mission to restore endangered ecosystems, the pair met with prairie restoration manager Brianna Slothower to map out the best locations to place the plants.
Slothower and Chris Duke, executive director of The Phoenix Conservancy, were both on board with the idea and stopped by Bishop Place recently to start the project.
“This project is really the sweet spot,” Duke said. “In many cases, not many people admire the native plants, but these people who live here remember these plants when they were younger and have great knowledge of them.”
Both Duke and Slothower circled around a few buildings as they planted in certain spots — placing plants like Oregon sunshine flowers, red osier dogwood trees and Jessica’s aster flowers — so that residents who are in their rooms or in a group setting can see the blooms from inside.
“There used to be huge trees that would block the scenery,” Weber said. “But now, we’ll be able to see the plants.”
Although the project will provide better view for seniors living in the facility, the native plants have their own benefits to the institution, including saving the amount of water they need to survive.
“Native plants have deep root systems being a perennial, which means they can take in a lot of water,” Slothower said. “Planting really deep-rooted things can keep soil in place and can prevent water from running off.”
With rainy and cold weather having arrived in Pullman, The Phoenix Conservancy will halt the project until the spring of 2023 before continuing to plant around Bishop Place Senior.
And the group is excited for when that time comes around.
“We hope to do a walking tour in the spring so people from all around the community can come see these native plants,” O’Rourke said. “We’re really excited.”
Carrillo Casas may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.