Native Plants Replace Spurge-Filled Salt Lake City Landscape
The truth is, we didn't set out to create a wildscape. We were happy to let the mountain landscape for us. Little did we know the mountain was in the thrall of a villain that was carpeting our backyard—myrtle spurge!
Turning a Weed-Filled Backyard Into a Habitat Hero Wildscape: Before/After Transformation
The truth is, we didn't set out to create a wildscape. We live on the foothills of Salt Lake City, at the base of city-purchased green space. We were happy to let the mountain landscape for us. Zero water, zero cost, zero work. Little did we know the mountain was in the thrall of a villain that was carpeting our backyard—myrtle spurge! We pulled a full carload of this noxious weed off our rocky slope. Then we had to stabilize this ridiculously steep, swath of dirt. Plants from the dry mountain west were our only good choices. It turns out the critters like them, too.
It’s four years later and we've pulled a lot more spurge and put about 200 plants on our back slope. New sage and rabbitbrush emerged after the spurge was cleared. We are coaxing along other shrubs and trees, including Golden Currant, Rhus trilobata, Apache Plume, Serviceberry, Fernbush, and Scrub Oak, among others. Bunch grasses lend texture and cover while the shrubs grow.
We didn't expect such a huge burst of wildlife. We've spotted up to 14 different bird species in our yard in one day. Hummingbirds, not seen here before, now fight over the flowers. Butterflies, bees, and other bugs set whole patches in shimmering motion. A trio of baby owls learned to fly on our yard. We enjoy the bunnies, squirrels, and deer. Our daughter is growing up with a community in her backyard.
-- Erin A. and Craig B., homeowners
Here is the list of some of the 200 plants we used on both the upper slope and bottom terrace. For a few of the plants listed without a link, High Country Gardens carries other varieties of these plants, including Artemisia; Monardella macrantha; and Yucca.
- Amelenchier utahensis
- Arenaria macradenia
- Asclepias tuberosa,
- Artemisia tridentata and Artemisia ludoviciana
- Chamaebatiaria millefolium
- Chrysothamnus nauseosus
- Clematis lingusticifolia
- Eriogonum umbellatum
- Gaura lindheimeri
- Muhlenbergia Pink Flamingo
- Monardella odoratissima
- Penstemon digitalis Husker Red
- Penstemon pinifolius and Penstemon rostriflorus
- Physocarpus malvaceus
- Rhus trilobata
- Yucca elata
- Ribes sanguineum and Ribes aureum
- Rosa woodsii
- Salvia pachyphylla
- Schizachyrium scoparium
Bottom Terrace: Agastache rupestris; Fraxinus cuspidata; Kniphofia; Phlox subulata; Salvia pitcherii (similar to Salvia azurea); Schizachyrium scoparium; Sphaeralcea grossulariifolia (similar to Sphaeralcea munroana); Symphoricarpos orbiculatos; and Zauschneria garretti.
© All articles are copyrighted by High Country Gardens. Republishing an entire High Country Gardens blog post or article is prohibited without permission. Please feel free to share a short excerpt with a link back to the article on social media websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest.