Native plant tour to showcase Blaine home gardens


People interested in incorporating more native plants into their landscaping have an opportunity on Saturday, June 1 to tour seven home gardens around Whatcom County, two of which are in Blaine. 

The Koma Kulshan chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society is holding a free self-guided tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Preregistration is required at

The gardens are owned by chapter members and have different highlights. Volunteers will answer questions and provide learning material to attendees, according to the chapter’s website. 

Blaine resident Margarette Grant’s garden located near Dakota Creek is among those on the tour.

Grant said she was introduced to using native plants in her yard by a friend who had extra plants from Whatcom Conservation District’s annual native plant sale. Grant began incorporating native plants to her yard in Bellingham, and then focused primarily on native plants when she moved to Blaine. 

“It’s a great way to help the environment,” Grant said from her front porch. “I feel like it’s one little thing I can do to help.” 

The garden started with a privacy barrier made of trees and shrubs before Grant eventually hired professional help to design and plant the rest of the yard. Over the 10 years since it started, Grant’s garden has grown to over 60 native plant species. 

Grant says she sees many benefits to her native yard, such as encouraging pollinators and requiring little maintenance. She no longer needs a lawnmower or weed whacker, and the yard only takes up to eight hours of work per week in the spring. Nothing is ever urgent, she added, saying it was all about the process.

“Every inch is such a delight,” she said. “Butterflies show up that have never showed up before, and birds hang out regularly that would be occasional visitors. It’s a dynamic space to be in and watch what’s happening.”

Grant recommends people interested in incorporating native plants to their yard go on field trips and learn about native plants from the Koma Kulshan chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society. She also encouraged Blaine residents to take advantage of Kelle Sunter’s organization, Community Orchards for Resources and Education (CORE), which provides free courses related to home and gardening. 

The other Blaine garden is 0.6 acres designed to be a young forest in Semiahmoo, while the other homes included in the tour are around the Bellingham area. 

After registering, participants will be sent the addresses and other information they may need for the tour. Sturdy shoes are recommended as some gardens are uneven and only service dogs are allowed.

To register for the tour, visit


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