I blog about Wyoming because I think it is worth writing about. The life style of Wyoming is strange to many. In fact, it’s not unusual for Americans to not even know where Wyoming is located, or they ask, “Do you still ride horses in Wyoming?”
Be sure, the 21st century has found us, but in many regards, life in Wyoming is unique. All through history, the culture of the inhabitants of an area has been influenced by the climate, and that simple fact is very evident here. Our climate is harsh and full of extremes, and I think our population reflects that. With only a little over half a million people in the entire state, we have the lowest population density of the lower 48.
We have tall mountains, dry deserts, relentless wind, and endless skies. We have slow rivers, white-water rivers, and more Pronghorn antelope than any other state. We have big ranches, coal mines, oil fields, small towns and a live and let live attitude.
And yes, some of us still ride horses.
But Wyoming isn’t immune to change. We can see it all around us. Even though our wildlife enjoy vast amounts of unpopulated acres, they are still affected by increased human pressure. Even though our population is low, many folks come here and then try and change the way Wyomingites live, work and enjoy life. Our natural resources are wanted, needed and used mostly by people who don’t live here, so the struggle to maintain a way of life continues.
I write about native plants not so much from some ideology, but simply because I am intrigued by them. I have no goals to save the earth by planting native plants. I guess I’m too practical for that. I like propagating and using native plants in the landscape because they are beautiful and supremely suited to the environment. I see no reason to fight the soil and climatic constraints when there are plants happy to grow in our native soils and climate.
My love for native plants began when I was very young. Way before I knew what an ecological island was, I experienced them. I grew up in the corn and soybean farmlands of the Midwest. As a young girl I would walk through the remnant pieces of hardwood forest near my home and be amazed at the Trillium, May Apples, Trout Lilly and Anemone.
As appreciative as I was of the Midwestern native species, I was astounded at the delicate beauty of Wyoming’s native plants because they thrive in such harsh and extreme locales. Ever since I came to know their names, I have tried to bring them into my gardens. I see no reason to grow plants that struggle and require all kinds of fussiness because of our wind, our intense sun, our extremes in temperature and our low precipitation, when the native plants are adapted to all of it, and they are beautiful to boot.