135 Suzie Savoie - Spring native pollinator plants


Transcribed by Andrew Simon

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:00:00]

From the Oregon State University extension service: this is PolliNation, a podcast that tells the stories of researchers, land managers, and concerned citizens making bold strides to improve the health of pollinators. I'm your host, Dr. Andony Melathopoulos, assistant professor in pollinator health in the department of horticulture.

I know we have listeners from outside of Oregon who may have never experienced a spring in southern Oregon, and it's a shame because it is home to some of the most wonderful pollinators in the state. And that's because of the unique plant communities that exist in southern Oregon. And I also know we've got Oregonians who love going down to southern Oregon this time of year, but have to stay home because of stay at home orders. To try and remedy the situation, I've invited Susie Savoie onto our show. She's the co-owner of Siskiyou Ecological Services and Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds. She's also the conservation chair for the Siskiyou chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon, and the coauthor of Native Pollinator Plants for Southern Oregon.

Now, Susie is going to tell us a little bit about how you can establish some of these wonderful native plants in your garden. She's going to talk about some of our favorite plants that bloom at this time of year. And finally she's going to talk about some restoration projects: places that you can actually visit to see how you can integrate these various elements of a native plant community into the landscapes that you're trying to manage.

I'm excited to bring this episode to you right now because I know many of you are thinking about doing some work in your garden and trying to get some ideas about how to take your garden to the next level. For southern Oregon, this episode is going to really hit the mark.

Hope you enjoy the show.

Are you ready to go?

Suzie Savoie: [00:02:20] I'm ready.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:02:21] Okay. Hi, Susie. Everybody's cooped up inside right now. Can you walk us through some of the pollinator plants that are likely blooming in southern Oregon at this moment?

Suzie Savoie: [00:02:31] Well, one of my favorite spring-blooming plants in Pacific County at this time is Pacific houndstongue (Cynoglossum grande). It's perfect for a dry shade environment, which is a hard niche to fill in gardens and restoration projects.

Pacific houndstongue has beautiful, lovely, large leaves. It's a robust plant, with purple-bluish flowers that dangle. It's a larval host plant for the houndstongue wooly-bear moth (Gnophaela latipennis) and the wild forget-me-not moth (Gnophaela latipennis). Bumble bee queens really relish the flowers because when they come out of hibernation the Pacific houndstongue is usually in bloom. I see a lot of early pollinator species using the flowers, including butterflies such as Sara Orangetip (Anthocharis sara). So I really love the Pacific houndstongue.

Henderson's fawn lily (Erythronium hendersonii) is highly attractive to bumble bees... Various biscuit root species: Lomatium utriculatum, Lomatium dissectum, Lomatium californicum—these are all starting to bloom right now. They're members of the parsley family, and larval host plants for the Anise swallowtail butterfly (Papilio zelicaon). The flowers are also highly attracted to a lot of small insects, like really small bees.

Shooting stars are blooming right now—the Dodecatheons (though the genus has now been changed to Primula). Locally, we have Primula hendersonii, which is pollinated through buzz pollination by bumble bees. Trilliums are blooming right now. They're pollinated by various pollinator species. One of the fascinating facts about Trilliums is that both ants and yellow jackets disperse the seeds. They're attracted to a lipid-rich structure that's attached to the seeds. I've collected Trillium seeds and had yellow  jackets come after me, taking away the seeds, and dispersing them. There's some really great research papers about that if people are interested in looking into it.

Another one of my favorite spring-blooming plants is silver lupin (Lupinus albifrons). It has gorgeous silver leaves and purple flowers,  and it's really drought tolerant. It's a larval host plant for some butterflies, and is highly attracted to bumble bees and other insect pollinators.  It's great for a super dry area, or rocky site, or xeriscape garden. Then of course, we have California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) blooming. Deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea) is starting to bloom, one of our native sunflowers. Lots of great stuff starting to bloom!

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:05:33] And really a diverse set of shapes and colors out there... some of the Lomatiums in yellow, and some of the purples...  a lot of us are used to seeing these when we go on a hike, but these are things that could be established in your backyard. I imagine there are people who are able to see some of these pollinator species, and this kind of diversity of flowers, cooped up in their backyard right now.

Suzie Savoie: [00:06:07] I grow a lot of Lomatiums just right outside my back door, and right now is a great time to watch some of the first Anise swallowtail butterflies come out. And if you grow these species out in your yard you can get really great photos of the larva on the plants. On klamathsiskiyouseeds.com we have a great new blog about Lomatiums and there's photos of Anise swallowtail caterpillars on various species of Lomatium. Some of those photos I took right on my own land, or out hiking. So when you're growing native plants, you're bringing a little bit of the wild into your backyard—and bringing nature home.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:07:00] Some of these things, like bumble bees, you see on a variety of plants, but on things like the Lomatium, you do start to see, in addition to caterpillars, some very small bees that are so delicate. When you have a nice umbel, they're going to spend some time walking across it, and you get a chance to really see them in a way that you might not, unless you're out in the wilds.

Suzie Savoie: [00:07:22] Yes, that's really true. And you know, there's usually one umbel of Lomatium that's just a buzz! They're usually really small insects that are hard to see and identify, but they're just buzzing with lots of different pollinators.

And that's one of the great things about growing Lomatium: while many people grow plants attractive to larger pollinators, which are perhaps easier to identify, like bumble bees, Lomatiums support some of our more overlooked pollinators, and are also larval host plants for some of our more charismatic butterflies.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:08:04] So I am recording this from my home, and I just had to close the door because I can hear somebody next door doing yard work. So this is a  great time to start to think about incorporating some of these native plants into your garden.

Tell us a little bit about some of the tricks to getting them established. We had a previous episode with Linda Boyer describing these plants. They are not like a lot of exotics, but they can be established successfully to create beautiful gardens. Can you tell us a little bit about some of those tricks?

Suzie Savoie: [00:08:40] Right? Yeah. Native plants, they run the gamut. Some are really easy to grow and germinate from seed, and some are really slow, taking years to get a flowering species. Others are more easily grown through root division, but they're all worth trying. Some annuals don't require long, cold, moist stratification; you can grow them in the spring. Yet with most of our species it's best to sow the seeds in the fall or early winter and let the seed sit out over the winter, exposed to all the cold weather conditions—the freeze, thaw, snow, and rain. That helps break down the seed coat, allowing for springtime seed germination. That can also be mimicked using the refrigerator method. I have more information about that on my website. Some species require a really long, cold stratification, while other species such Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) or coyote mint (Monardella odoratissima) only require about 30 days.

Oregon sunshine and coyote mint are good species to start out with if you've never grown native plant from seed. I experiment with all kinds of different species. I really enjoy growing bulb species such as camas, which can take a long time to grow. You can sow camas seeds directly on the ground in the fall or winter, or you can grow them in containers, let the bulb grow out for a year or two, and then transplant them. Camas is not only a really important cultural plant, as a major food source for native people, but it is also a really great pollinator plant. Many insects are highly attracted to canvas. And once you get it established... to me, it's as easy to grow as a daffodil. So why not grow a  beautiful bulb such as camas? It adds so much beautiful color!

Growing native plants from seed is definitely a lot different than growing squash or beans in your garden. But once you learn the tricks of the trade and get into the rhythm of the seasons, sowing the seeds in the fall and the winter, then it becomes second nature.

But each species has different requirements. The seed packets that I sell on my website list the germination requirements. That information can be hard to come by. Many species are only available in limited amounts and haven't been researched much. So I actually have to do a lot of the research on my own. I grow out many species so that I can  understand the germination requirements. But there are a lot of great resources online for more commonly grown native plants that have been researched over time.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:12:09] I imagine it's like anything, there are some simple things that get you started and then you just get the bug and you want these challenges: plants that are a little more difficult, and perhaps a little bit more rare. What would you say are some good plants for someone who's just starting out, for their first excursion into native plants? What are some  southern Oregon species that would be easy to get started?

Suzie Savoie: [00:12:41] Well, like I said, Oregon sunshine or coyote mint. Those two only take about 30 days of cold-moist stratification. When you get into a longer period, say between 60 to 90 days, buckwheat species are great. Some of our native buckwheats are considered pollinator power plants, because they're larval host plant for so many different butterfly species. These species are attractive to many other different pollinators as well—native buckwheat  species like sulphur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) or heartleaf buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum). Those are really great for dryland sites, or rock gardens. Obviously in southern Oregon we have a lot more dryland habitat than in northern parts  of Oregon. Buckwheats are great in xeriscape gardens, and for habitat restoration as well.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:13:48] The one thing I would say with the buckwheat is that people are so used to cultivated buckwheat. On any drive through southern or central Oregon, at certain times a year, it's just miles of it. There was such a beautiful assortment of them at the Master Gardener's demonstration garden in Bend. I was really amazed at the diversity of buckwheats we have in the state.

Suzie Savoie: [00:14:17] Yeah, buckwheats are really diverse. I use the typical, cultivated, annual buckwheat as a cover crop in my vegetable garden. That's very different from the wild native buckwheat that we're talking about. A lot of them are sub-shrubs, like sulphur-flower buckwheat, which can be woody at the base. Others are perennials; they completely dieback to the ground and come back up in the spring. Southern Oregon is rich in species, which all come in various different  flower colors and plant sizes, and they bloom at different times of the season. So you could grow five or six different buckwheats in your garden and they would all bloom at different times of the year—it's nice to have a continuation of flowering wild buckwheat available for pollinators. 

I'll talk a little bit more about species good for dryland habitat, which obviously we have a lot of in southern Oregon. There are a lot of species that grow in these habitats that can be challenging to grow in containers and nursery pot. Species like deltoid balsamroot or narrowleaf mules-ear (Wyethia angustifolia)—those are great. Belonging to the sunflower family, these plants provide large, showy flowers. And because they're so drought tolerant, they have a tendency to get over watered in the nursery environment. So you really have to be careful to ensure good drainage, and try not to over water them. You can also direct feed them, so you don't have to worry about keeping them dry in this environment. But plants that like more moisture are easier to grow in the nursery environment. Many plants that we grow in our gardens are actually from higher elevation, moist habitats, like horsemint giant hyssop (Agastache urticifolia)—that plant is a powerhouse for pollinators, and it's really easy to grow from seed. It's easy to grow in the garden. So that's one that I would recommend for beginners as well.

Horsemint giant hyssop is a member of the mint family, but it doesn't spread by rhizome like a culinary mint. It is a perennial that stays in place and is highly attractive to pollinators. We have two different native coneflowers here in the genus Rudbeckia, related to the black eyed Susan that people might be familiar with from their local nursery. We have Rudbeckia occidentalis, the western coneflower, and Rudbeckia glaucescens, which is endemic to southwest Oregon and northwest California. Rudbeckia glaucescens has really showy, waxy, ray petals that are gorgeous, and the cone itself has many flowers in it.

Many pollinators love the coneflowers. The western coneflower does not have the showy, yellow ray flowers; it just has the cone but it's just as attractive to pollinators. And species like Solidago spp.—golden rod—those are really easy to grow from seed.

Another common species we have down here is leafy-bracted Aster (Symphyotrichum foliaceum). It doesn't need cold-moist stratification, so it's easy to grow. Same with broadleaf lupine (Lupinus latifolius)—you can grow that in the spring in a greenhouse environment. So there is a great diversity of species. The best thing to do is just make sure that you provide a diversity of flowers: diverse in structure, species and, and bloom time, from the early to the late season.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:19:09] Some people talk about how native plant communities are in synch with seasonal fluctuations in moisture. So you have a big flush of species flowering in the spring. Yet if you were a typical gardener, you would like to have something in bloom the whole time. And I suppose it's a little unnatural in a way, but you can play around with these species to keep something in bloom the whole time by being careful with your plant selection.

Suzie Savoie: [00:19:45] Yeah, so obviously with more broad scale habitat restoration you're not going to be able to do some of these methods. But in the backyard garden you can deadhead species like goldenrod and asters and horsemint—a lot of the more moisture-loving species—after they bloom, and they'll bloom through the rest of the summer until fall arrives.

That's one of the advantages too. Obviously you have to irrigate species you're bringing from moist areas into your backyard, but they do provide a greater diversity of flowers throughout the year because you can deadhead them and keep them blooming.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:20:36] Fantastic. So I can just imagine that to be able to provide enough seed for so many species it must be a very challenging operation. How many plants do you grow? Tell us a little bit about what's involved with collecting and propagating the seeds so that people can use them for their backyard purposes, and for restoration.

Suzie Savoie: [00:21:03] Well, my focus is primarily on seed collection, although I do grow some species on my own land for seed increase. I currently offer about 200 species as seed packets through my online sales, but the inventory fluctuates because I collect seeds through permits on BLM land and forest service land. And I also collect on private property.

Obviously I have a lot more available in the fall, and then some species sell out... Then I have a little bit less this time of year when I'm gearing up to start doing the next round of collection. But I also provide seeds on a large rollout for for restoration projects. For example, I've been recently collecting seed for large seed increase fields for what will be the Klamath dam removal project on the Klamath river, where they're going to need thousands of pounds of seed for habitat restoration. So I spend a lot of my time hiking and driving into the backwoods. I've been doing this for over 15 years, so I know certain spots where I can go to sustainably and ethically harvest seed. And then I have  to do a lot of seed  cleaning and packaging. I have a clipper seed cleaning machine that I use to help clean seed, but the cleaning is a pretty laborious. I encourage people to try to collect seed from their own local areas.

One thing that I really enjoy doing is providing localized seed for people. And I envision that, over time, it would be really great if there was a larger network of people providing localized seed throughout the country for their specific regions, so that people have access to local native plants for their area. Locally sourced seeds are generally the most successful for that specific location.

I do grow native nursery plants for particular projects as well—from vineyards that want to have plants for pollinators, to backyard gardeners, to large scale restoration projects. It's a very diverse field to be in and I just love it because it allows me to be in nature and to work with nature and help—not only to promote native plant and pollinator conservation, but also a love of wild species.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:24:22] Well, that's fantastic. And I can imagine it's a much more complicated... I was just thinking about the seed cleaning you were describing... it would be one thing if you had to clean one seed from one species. Then you could kind of optimize it. But when you're having to deal with plants that are indeterminate—that have big seeds, small seeds, and all sorts of paraphernalia for protecting their seed—it must be a real challenge to do things efficiently, so you can get a lot of seed, but at the same time keep that diversity of plants up, for these restoration projects.

Suzie Savoie: [00:25:02] Yes, I think diversity is really important. It can be difficult sometimes, especially when there's a lot coming in at one time, like when so many different berries are all ripening up at the same time. I use the augmented blender to blend the seeds. The blades are covered in a rubber, so that you can blend the seed and separate the seed from the flesh. But yes, it takes a lot of time to clean the seeds and keep track of all the different species.

One of the things that I always tell people who are trying to learn how to collect seeds is to make sure you get all the data that you need at that time. Make sure you write down the name, the date that you collected it, and the location—all that information—because you will need it later. It's really important to keep track of the timing, because every year is different. This year southern Oregon has been experiencing a bit of a  drought. So things are a little bit ahead of schedule. You don't want to drive all the way somewhere and then be too late to collect the seeds. So I keep really detailed records of when I've collected in the past, so I can look back and see when I need to go out and start harvesting, always paying close attention to when things are going to be ready. Inevitably, though, somebody will want one specific seed—just a small amount of something—and I might miss it because it's hard sometimes to get the timing right.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:26:49] Wow. And I imagine that with every collection your knowledge of the natural history of these plants expands. Given that process of tracking their phenology, and the act of actually trying to propagate them, your brain must be full of plant facts!

Suzie Savoie: [00:27:13] I do appreciate that aspect of it. I feel like you really get to understand a plant when you collect its seed. Cleaning the seed, you're looking at it really closely. You're connecting with it. And then you grow the plants from that. Through the whole process, you really start to understand the ecology of the plant and its phenology—everything about it. You get to understand the intricacies of how plants grow and what they need and all about their different  requirements. When I actually go out spend time with the plants in their native natural environment—that helps me really understand how they're going to grow in a cultivated environment. It helps me understand how to site the plants  appropriately in the garden environment. Maybe it really thrives with sharp drainage, or in a rocky area. Then you need to be able to mimic that in the garden setting, or find the right location. Or if something grows in a wet meadow, then you're going to need to make sure that you have plenty of moist area for it to grow and to thrive. Once you really get to know a plant, it makes it easier to grow it. I think that's the key.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:28:51] Well, this is great. Let's take a quick break and I want to come back and hear some examples of restoration and gardening principles and practice. I want you to walk me through a couple of these examples around southern Oregon so that people get a picture of how this all ties together.

Suzie Savoie: [00:29:10] Okay.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:29:21] One thing I'm always aware of through my work on the Oregon Bee Atlas is that we have such high levels of plant endemism in southern Oregon. You're located in the epicenter of plant diversity among some of the coolest plants in Oregon. But you also have a book. Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Suzie Savoie: [00:29:49] Yeah. I met Tom Landis, one of the cofounders of southern Oregon Monarch Advocates, and, through our mutual love of native plants, we decided that we wanted to write an introductory guide to native pollinator plants for southern Oregon. So we wrote a pretty simple guide that we wanted to be accessible to people who are new to the concept of gardening with native plants. It's called Native Pollinator Plants for Southern Oregon, and it was written by myself and Tom Landis. The guide walks through some of the species that grow locally in southwest Oregon, which you can find either at nurseries, or you can easily collect as cuttings or seeds. So they're not totally obscure, or they're easy to grow—things that people may be familiar with, or they've at least seen in the wild. The guide provides basic description of the plant, information about its flowering time, growing requirements—things like that. We break it up into 'early flowering', 'mid season', and 'late flowering' so that people can pick a few out of each time frame and grow a diversity of species that flower throughout the year. It has been really popular for people who are new to native plants and want to start growing them for the benefit of pollinators. But it's also for folks who may already be familiar with native plants—maybe they hike a lot and they see them out in the wild. They might even know some of the names, but they haven't experimented yet with growing them. It's helpful for people to have some really basic information to start with. From there, of course, people now want us to expand on it and make it much larger. But it could be... you know, like you said, we live in a hot spot for botanical biodiversity. We have so many different species that we can grow, and it makes it really exciting.

Every year I try to grow something new, to add to my own native plant gardens, so I have more and more diversity. And it really shows: the more native plant diversity you have, the more pollinator diversity you have. So I think providing local guides is really good. Hopefully, over  time, people in different areas throughout Oregon will create localized guides for their regions too.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:33:00] Absolutely. And just as a reminder: it was a while back, maybe a year or two, but we did have Tom on the show. It would be worthwhile checking back in with Tom. I think he spoke about the guide then. It's really something you don't want to miss.

Suzie Savoie: [00:33:25] I will. I think you were going to link to the guide? We do sell physical copies of it at cost for printing, but we also offer it for free online as a PDF. We just want to disseminate this information, and just get it out there so that people can start growing native plants. A lot of people are really starting to learn the benefits of growing native species. A lot of us have grown highly hybridized plants that you buy in the nursery and,  with some of them, no insects will even use them at all. So when you grow native plants, you're providing such a higher level of habitat, and just getting that information out there is important.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:34:14] I do remember a prior episode with Gail Langellotto. I think she did a poll of Master Gardeners in terms of aesthetic qualities of certain plants, and she lined it up with their ecological function. They were kind of mismatched. And I know on that episode, Gail was talking about how there is a market and there is an appetite, with a little bit of education in terms of ecological function. Some of these plants may not meet the expectations of a traditional garden, but like you say, as soon as you tune into the small insects on the Lomatium— it's a little explosion of life that's so worth it.

Suzie Savoie: [00:34:58] Yeah. And you know, one of the things I grow a lot of is the Pacific Houndstongue. I grow a lot of it on my own land. I have 24 acres that I've homesteaded with my husband for about 20 years in the mountains. So I really increased the Pacific houndstongue on our land. And I had never heard of the wooly-bear moth or the wild forget-me-not moth before, but then I started seeing the caterpillars on the plants. And so when you grow the plants, you tend to see these insects more than you might when you're out on a hike, because you can just sit outside with your cup of morning tea and really observe them.

You have more time to really sit with them. And so I started seeing these caterpillars all over the hand and was like, "Oh." And then I started seeing the adult moths on my showy milkweed plants. And then I started noticing it nectaring on other species, beacuse it's a day-flying moth. And it's actually quite a showy moth too. So when you grow the plants, you definitely get a little bit more of an intimate relationship with them. You start noticing what insects species are using them, which you might not see when you're out on a hike. I mean, obviously a lot of us spend some time really sitting with plants and nature when we're out on a hike, but just having them in your own backyard can make a big difference in your understanding of their pollinators. Though it does depend on where you live, as the insect visitors vary from location to location too.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:36:31] Well, let's talk about some examples of native plant gardens in southern Oregon, the concept behind them, and what they look like.

Suzie Savoie: [00:36:50] Well, if folks take the Pacific Crest Trail through southern Oregon up near Mount Ashland—I was involved in a project up there where the PCT goes right along a private property. The landowner had done some machine work, and it was basically just blank soil to work with, and he wanted to turn it all into native wildflower meadows. He already had native wildflower meadows on his property lower down, but he wanted to take the opportunity that arose of this unfortunate soil disturbance, to make sure it wasn't colonized by invasive species, and turn it into a wildflower meadow.

So I collected for him for about a year, focusing on the Pacific Crest  area where his property is located. I guess it's in year four now, and it's now just one large wildflower meadow all around his place. And it's really nice because he's allowed the hikers to hike right through there, and there's a little picnic bench and everything. So people can sit right there and see the native planting. It's really great to see people take an unfortunate situation where they have done some heavy machine work and try to make the best of it, and realize the opportunity to get native plants established, because preparation is really important.

Some of the other projects that I've worked have required a lot more site preparation. On one project that I did on the Klamath river there were a lot of invasive star thistles, so it took a lot of time to get established, and it's still a continual process weeding the area, trying to limit the amount of invasive species that were there. We actually used a propane torch method, where, in the fall, after the fire danger was gone, we burned off the duff to prep the site and then seeded into that area. With a lot of these sites, you have to go back to them and try to maintain them even though you're not going to get 100% native. That can be a difficult thing to achieve, but you can at least maintain them by weeding out the invasive species. Though everyone has a different perspective on how much effort they want to put into the maintenance. Some people just want to get native plants established. And then if there's non-native species mixed in, they're okay with that because they've increased the amount of native species there, which is still beneficial. Other people really want to maintain it and try to keep the non-native species at bay.

Like I said, I've also worked with some large wineries. I've actually recently started working with the cannabis farms, which I'm really excited about. The cannabis industry has been really quite ecologically destructive on a lot of levels. It's a monocrop, and that is not beneficial for pollinators. Though there are some who want to start trying to grow more native plants, not only for the benefit of beneficial insects or for their operation, but also just to actually break up the monotony of the monoculture and provide diversity.

And then there's a lot of projects that I've worked on on public land as well. I've done some growing out of native plants, providing seed for restoration projects on forest service lands—mainly the Applegate Valley in southwest Oregon, where certain sites were designated for pollinator habitat restoration projects. And then a lot of small restoration organizations will also do pile, thinning and burning, and then those burn pile areas are actually great for getting native established. When my husband was younger, he owned a forestry  company and they would do noncommercial forest restoration, thinning and pile burning around home sites to manage fire risk, and they would take all the burn piles and they would seed a lot of them. If the property owner was interested in increasing the pollinator plants and the overall plant diversity on the land, they would seed into those burn pile scars.

So there's lots of opportunities to use native plants in various different types of projects. And that's one of the things that I think we should be thinking of in general: native plants can be incorporated into many different types of projects and endeavors. Right now I'm working with Tom Landis on putting in a monarch waystation at the new I-5 rest stop near Ashland. So that will be a new place and that should be planted soon, where people will be able to see a native plant garden and monarch waystation.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:42:47] It's great. I was at the Oregon Vegetation Management Association Meeting in Seaside in October last year, and I had one of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) employees come up and show me a picture of the sign for the waystation. And it was really nice to see. Especially with organizations like SOMA, having a community partner, having some knowledge. And we actually had an episode with somebody from ODOT—they really like those kinds of partnerships where there's a community group, ODOT, and someone with knowledge of the plant community. That is really a winning combination.

Suzie Savoie: [00:43:32] It goes to show that you can incorporate native plants into all kinds of different applications. It doesn't  have to just be large-scale restoration on public land. Those projects are really valuable, but it can happen on private land as well. I'm working with another woman right now, to create a native plant pollinator meadow in Ashland as well. But there are small, small projects—even just taking one garden bed in your backyard and turning it into native plants can make a big difference. And so I always encourage people to just start small and go from there. You'll learn a lot and you can just keep increasing native plants, and making them part of your garden. Or, if you are a land manager and you  manage land on the large scale, then, definitely, take opportunities wherever possible to incorporate native plants for habitat restoration.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:44:38] Fantastic. Well, thank you for taking a time out of what is a very busy season for you.  I'm looking forward to coming down and seeing some of those projects when we can.

Suzie Savoie: [00:44:52] Hopefully soon.

Suzie Savoie: [00:44:55] Yeah. As soon as we can. Sounds good. Thank you so much. Alright, thank you. Thanks for everything. Alright. Bye.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:45:06] Thank you so much for listening. The show is produced by Quinn XXX Neal, who's a student here at OSU in the new media communications program. And the show wouldn't even be possible without the support of the Oregon legislature, the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, and Western Sayre. XXX Show notes with links mentioned on each episode are available on the website, which is at pollinationpodcast.oregonstate.edu. I also love hearing from you, and there's several ways to connect with me.

The first one is: you can visit the website and leave an episode-specific comment. You can suggest a future guest or topic, or ask a question that could be featured in a future episode. But you can do the same things on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, by visiting the Oregon Bee Project. Thanks so much for listening and see you next week.


Southern Oregon has some of the most amazing pollinator species, in large part because of the unique native plant communities. In this episode we learn about the best spring blooming plants for pollinators and how to grow them.

Suzie Savoie is co-owner of Siskiyou Ecological Services and Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds, is the Conservation Chair for the Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon and is co-author of Native Pollinator Plants for Southern Oregon. Suzie provides native seed collection services, online native seed sales, native nursery plants, and native plant consultation. She is an avid hiker, backpacker, gardener, native plant enthusiast, and off-grid homesteader. For seventeen years Suzie has been using native plants for gardens and habitat restoration on her property in the Applegate Valley, and she enjoys helping others do the same.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

Links Mentioned:

Was this page helpful?

Related Content from OSU Extension

Ask an Expert

Have a Question? Ask an Expert!

Ask an Expert is a way for you to get answers from the Oregon State University Extension Service. We have experts in family and health, community development, food and agriculture, coastal issues, forestry, programs for young people, and gardening.

Ask Us a Question