Creating a garden can be more than crafting a green space to beautify your living space. When done with thought and planning and the help of an expert, it can be about creating a better place not just for you, but the wildlife that lives in your neighborhood. That's the principle belief behind Bosky Dell Natives in West Linn.
Started by Lory Duralia 30 years ago, Bosky Dell Natives specializes in native plants that would be found in your neighborhood prior to development and people moving in. By bringing back these plants, it helps create supportive ecosystems for the other plants and animals that still try to call the area home.
"My mission is to educate the public about native plants to help restore wildlife. When I was a little kid I was always in the woods playing, I wasn't into TV and I'm still like that as an adult," Lory said.
"As we continue to develop, there's less space for wildlife to survive. It becomes really important that all of us as individuals do our very best to be good stewards to the Earth, to put back in to our gardens what was once there so our backyard neighbors can thrive. It's such an important mission," she said.
When it comes to preservation and even restoration, Lory has accomplished a lot. A small stream runs through her property and she decided that restoring it to its former glory would be a great project. She then worked with her neighbors and gathered volunteers, hundreds sometimes, to remove each invasive plant by hand. They then returned during the planting season to replace those invasive ones with native varieties.
"Over a period of 15 years we restored the stream from Pete's Mountain all the way down to the Tualatin River. It's the only stream I know that's been restored in its entirety."
That stream is home to several endangered and threatened species, including cutthroat trout, giant salamanders, red-legged frogs as well as various birds of prey. Wildlife officials have actually come to the stream on her property to document the various species which they thought could no longer be found there, until she proved their revival. We even got to see one of the frogs hanging out in a pond at the nursery. It was fun to watch it sun itself in the morning light, and it seemed completely unbothered by our presence or my dedication to getting a great photograph of him.
Her efforts also caught the attention of various groups who recognized her work with numerous awards, including the Green Heron Award from Tualatin River Keepers, the 2007 SOLV Citizenship Award and the National Conservation Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Seeing the vast selection of native plants is fun and inspiring, and it made me want to redo my yard. If only I had the aptitude for growing things, although I am apparently pretty good with dandelions. One of the most fun things about Bosky Dell Natives, however, is all the fun things to see beyond the plants. Little structures dot the property: a green house made from recycled materials, an office made out of a small travel trailer nestled amidst trees, among many others. Each of these add character and charm to the nursery. Lory calls one of the structures an owl apartment. She built it as a tribute to her mother after she passed, and sure enough, soon after work was done it became home to a pair of screech owls.
Bosky Dell Natives is a wonderful example of how beauty can be beneficial to our environment, and a great exercise in sustainability. The next time you come to Mt. Hood Territory, visit the shop located in West Linn for a fun and inspirational day of browsing the plants and hearing the wonderful stories Lory has about the nursery.