Caton details diverse roles of native plants in first Floyd Flower Power event

Colleen Redman for The Floyd Press - Feb 1, 2022


More than 35 Floyd community members enjoyed a slide show presentation from Floyd’s Ian Caton of Wood Thrush Native Plants Nursery on Saturday, learning some of the basics of gardening using native plants.

The free-to-the-public event was hosted by the Partnership for Floyd and Floyd Flower Power, a new citizen initiative to promote more flower gardens in Floyd and to share gardening resources.

The Jessie Peterman Memorial Library provided the Community Room and a selection of books related to the topic, and homemade refreshments were served.

Caton spoke about the environmental benefits of using native plants, the foundation of a healthy ecosystem, as well as the importance of aesthetics in a native garden.

He recommended adding bold colors to designs and planting thick, dense and diverse plants to deter deer from freely chomping down. Birdboxes and garden sculptures add to a garden’s attractiveness. Fences and stone walls are framing devices that add structure, he said.


Native plants are tough and can tolerate unadulterated poor soil, as well as fend off weeds and invasive species. Because they bloom at different times and have varying depths of root systems, they can be planted live or by seeds, on top of one another, and don’t need to be mulched, Caton said. “They cool the ground and prevent weed growth.”

“Weeds love rich cultivated soil, but native plants don’t need it,” Caton continued. “They grew up on mountainsides, cliff basins and riversides. They seed themselves. They eventually find the place they want to be, and if you plant enough different kinds of things, you won’t miss the stuff that doesn’t make it.”

Attendees learned that goldenrod and other flowering plants don’t cause hay fever, but ragweed, tree and grass pollens do.

“Mountain mints attract beneficial carnivorous insects like wasps,” Caton said, noting that wasps can be part of an effective pest control system. “And they pollinate.”

Caton displayed the design of a native meadow garden that he will be installing at the Church of Christ on Route 8, across from Citizens Telephone Co-Operative. Another native garden is planned for the Wall Residences office building on U.S. 221.

Both projects are initiatives of the Floyd Flower Power group with reduced costs being donated by members.

Floyd Flower Power’s Jean Woods announced that Caton’s Native Nursery at 1097 Beaver Creek Road will be open to the public from 1-5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays beginning in April. She noted that Caton gives tours of the greenhouses, shares his knowledge and has plants for sale.

“It’s truly an interesting experience. I’ve spent several hours there and it was fascinating,” she said.