Sweet. At my local Home Depot I found Mahonia repens on sale. I picked out three of them. I was delighted to find a New Mexico native there!
I love Mahonia in my garden, it attracts so many birds when the berries are ripening that they leave fertilizer-encased seeds that sprout underneath in the spring. I transplant little seedlings, and get amazing plants this way, all free to me. A circular economy provides for everyone inside the circle… including wildlife and plants. Birds may seem detrimental to a food forest to some, but I count them as primo seed donaters. If I get totally stingy and want to deny the birds their share, I can always use netting. I prefer to share. If there isn’t enough for me then I add another plant.
I have always had Mahonia aquifolia, the tall handsome Oregon Grape cousin… but short wide repens suits me just fine.
Repens is native to the Rocky Mountains and both shade and drought tolerant. It is usually about one foot tall and can get 6 feet wide. The yellow flowers are gorgeous and attract native pollinators like bees.
I like the fully ripe berries dried and a teaspoon added to enrich my tea, the berries are full of antioxidents. The berries make a nice jelly that is tasty with roast venison or pork.
The best part is that it pretty much takes care of itself. It also provides cover for small animals.
I consider Repens an exciting addition to my food forest and its circular economy because it does bring so many new plants. Free no extra charge.