The demonstration garden at the Hegewald Center in Stevenson displays native plantings that represent local Columbia Gorge habitats. The garden showcases how to use native plants to increase pollinator foraging opportunities and create habitat for wildlife in our area.
Initiated in 2017 by the Noxious Weed Program with funding from the US Forest Service, the garden's first year included planning and preparation. Volunteers sheet-mulched the area with cardboard and wood chips in the spring while staff secured more funding for plant installation.
In the spring of 2018, volunteers installed over 1,000 native plants purchased from local nurseries with funds from the Bayer Feed a Bee Program. Seeds from the WA State Noxious Weed Board's Bee-U-tify flower mixes were sown in the garden as well. Supplemental plantings continued in the fall and again in 2019 and 2020. Now the garden has changed from weeds to wildflowers! Over 90 native species bloom throughout the growing season to provide a continuous food source for pollinators and other wildlife. While demonstrating what local gardeners can do in their own area, the shrubs, forbs, and bunch grasses planted under the large Oregon white oaks have also created habitat for thousands of beneficial insects, birds, and pollinators.
Interpretive signage in the garden showcases the benefits and importance of gardening with native plants as well as facts about pollinators and how to create beneficial habitat. Also, many plant species are labeled for easy identification by garden visitors. Located on the south side of the Hegewald Center near the auditorium entrance, the garden can be enjoyed anytime. Stop by today and see what's blooming!