Eco gardens, a growing green initiative in the Kootenays

Project launch parallels May being Invasive Species Action Month in B.C.

Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society hopes to have EcoGarden demonstration gardens throughout the region. Photo: Submitted

Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society hopes to have EcoGarden demonstration gardens throughout the region. Photo: Submitted

The B.C. government has officially declared the entire month of May as Invasive Species Action Month.

Invasive species threaten the environment of British Columbia.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature considers invasive species as one of the greatest threats to biodiversity globally.

To combat the threat to local biodiversity, the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) is taking action on invasive species by launching the Eco Garden Project.

“The idea for this project came from the experience of my own garden,” said Laurie Carr, CKISS development program coordinator. “I wanted to know how I could do a better job protecting the Kootenays in my own backyard.”

With a rapidly changing climate and major climate disturbances, Carr says native ecosystems are under stress to adapt quickly.

The Eco Garden project aims to support the planting of native and non-invasive plants to increase biodiversity and reduce risks associated with invasive species, which supports resilient ecosystems in the face of climate change.

“I started researching wildlife gardens and I had questions about some of the plants I was considering,” said Carr. “I figured I wasn’t the only one wondering what to do with all the disparate plant lists and needing expert local advice.”

The project provides resources to make it easy for gardeners to support local ecosystems.

CKISS consulted with local experts to develop a list of native and cultivar plants that are suited for the Kootenay region and that support nature.

Plants highlighted are suited for future climate conditions, are non-invasive, support birds and attract pollinators.

Wildlife attractant issues, such as attracting bears, are detailed on the list.

All the plants are available from local sources and were chosen by local experts to ensure success by gardeners and landscapers alike.

READ MORE: Invasive plants wreaking havoc on Annable bridge and Trail Creek

READ MORE: Tree planted at Beaver Creek marks 100 years of local government

The list is available on the CKISS website:

CKISS hopes to have Eco Garden demonstration gardens throughout the region, to showcase the beauty and utility of planting for the future.

One of the greatest challenges of the project is the lack of accessibility and supply of native plants within our region. As this project moves forward CKISS hopes this gap can be addresses and the supply and selection of native plants can increase for Kootenay gardeners.

“This project is directed at gardeners and landscapers but the entire community will benefit from urban and rural landscapes that support ecological values,” added Carr.

“Planting for the future can start in your own backyard.”

Contact CKISS for more information at 844.352.1160 ext. 210 or email Laurie Carr at

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