Native flowering forbs and shrubs are primary nectar sources for a large diversity of native insects. These insects have multiple ecological functions, including not only pollination, but also control of many plant herbivore populations through predation and parasitism. Protection and support of native insects for control of agricultural and horticultural pests is one strategy in Conservation Biological Control and an important integrated pest management technique. Native plantings also provide crucial foraging resources for native pollinator species. The goal of this project is to create demonstration native plant gardens throughout Nevada at both the residential scale and in agricultural settings that will attract native insect pollinators, predators, and parasitoids. The gardens can be used to evaluate the survival and growth of native plant species on an ongoing basis, and to assess their attractiveness to native pollinators and other beneficial insects.
One of the three residential-scale pots for this research, the Washoe County Extension Office Garden was planted in September 2018 with the help of the Washoe County Master Gardener Program. The plot soil consists of native soil and fill soil covered with decomposed granite mulch and the plants are drip-irrigated using inline drip emitters in a grid pattern.
Of the first round of plantings, transplant success was roughly 90 percent as of May 2019. Several species have bloomed as of May 2019, including Agastache urticifolia, Baileya multiradiata, Geranium viscossimium, Ipomopsis aggregata, Oenothera caespitosa, and Penstemon eatonii.