With Spring now officially here, it's time to start thinking of ways to keep your yard looking fresh.
The best, and perhaps easiest, way of doing that is taking advantage of all the native plant species that the Fort Saskatchewan area has to offer.
Susan Gronau with the Fort Saskatchewan naturalist society says the community has some very beautiful flowers to choose from.
"Many native plants offer beautiful showy flowers, produce abundant colourful fruits and seeds, and brilliant seasonal changes in colours from the pale, thin greens of early spring, to the vibrant yellows and reds of autumn," said Gronau.
Perhaps the most striking of the flower are the Lindley's asters, prickly wild roses, and tall bluebells that can be found around the region.
Not only are native plants beautiful, but Gronau says they will help foster healthy environments and encourage a more diverse ecosystem.
"The colourful array of butterflies and moths, including the iconic monarch, the swallowtails, deer, insects, and birds are all dependent on very specific native plant species," says Gronau.
"Native plants provide nectar for pollinators including hummingbirds, native bees, butterflies, moths, and bats. They provide protective shelter for many mammals."
These plants can also be used as a source of food for the people who plant them.
The highbush cranberry is said to have a tart taste that makes it perfect for a trailside snack or even used to make jams or jellies.
If that isn't your thing, you might be surprised to hear that there are also nodding onions growing naturally around the region.
For an experienced gardener or landscaper, adding in these plants should be common knowledge, but the beauty of utilizing native plants is that anyone can do it, regardless of experience.
Gronau says these plants are extremely easy to introduce and maintain.
"Because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require far less water, saving time, money, and perhaps the most valuable natural resource, water."
Luckily, Gronau has been active in identifying some of the native plant species around Fort Saskatchewan, taking photos as she finds them.
Take a look at some of her shots: