Oregon Grape (Mahonia repens)

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.

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About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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