Native Plant Sales

Native Plant Sales

Ribes-sanguineum-labeled.jpgOften,  I have discussions with clients about re-establishing and caring for native areas in their landscape. A typical scenario is a new home built on a property that was once fir trees with a mix of brush underneath. In the building process, plants and soil are mercilessly pushed to the fringes of the property to level the land.
My design brain says I want that lovely native understory to creep back into the landscape and create a natural edge.
If you have one of those areas in your landscape, start by identifying the good and the bad. Remove invasive plants like blackberries, then encourage the good that are healthy like western sword ferns and salal.
Then re-plant! Check out the native plant sales and take advantage of bundle pricing.

Here are a few of my favorites being offered this year at the Pierce County Conservation district plant sale http://www.piercenativeplantsale.com/

Baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa) Grow this scrubby little rose in small thickets of 3 or more. (one plant, can look a little weedy) Does well in the part shade understory of a woodland garden. Pretty, delicate single petal roses will add color in the early summer.

Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum): One of the best evergreen shrubs for the understory of tall fir trees. It will create a dense privacy hedge that does well in both full sun and deep shade. Good bird habitat too. It provides shelter for birds and they love the small edible dark berries. Hummingbirds are attracted to the delicate spring flowers.

Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) If you are looking for some height without planting a tree this tall rangy shrub adds a delicate canopy to a woodland garden. It prefers moist soil and part shade. Birds and other wildlife forage the berries. Interesting note: red elderberry has been studied for use in heavy -metal contaminated soils and found to be tolerant as well as showing signs of protecting soil bacteria from the toxins http://www.centerforagroforestry.org/pubs/elderberrysymposiumguide.pdf )

Red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea): This shrubby dogwood is best known for its brilliant red stems in the winter. Attractive to wildlife and pollinators this tall vase of stems will help with soil erosion in moist areas.

Red flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum): I use this a lot in natural landscape design. It is highly ornamental and tolerant of tough conditions dry. The pink flowers in the spring are hummingbird magnets. Plant in groupings of three or more in open spaces under tall limbed firs to add a swath of color in the spring.

Coastal strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis): Plant this for an easy care, tough groundcover for slopes and dry soils. Forms a low carpet that spread fast to help with soil erosion. Tiny strawberries are sweet and delicious, but the birds will find them before you do.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon): A common and lovely evergreen creeping plant. A good groundcover that can grow 3 to 4 feet high. If you have open space that needs to be re-established start with salal to cover ground and create a nice woodland understory.

Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) Tough and beautiful. Just a planting of sword fern allowed to grow and colonize make one of the most attractive tough groundcovers in the dry shade of fir and cedar trees.

Other resources
Woodbrook native nursery in Gig Harbor (http://woodbrooknativeplantnursery.com/)

Travelogue: June in the UK

This first travelogue post is photos of those heavenly fragrant English roses all over Wales and England. It does seem unfair to give you a look, but not a smell of how a rose in Britain on a warm day in June fills the air with perfume.

Many have asked how my trip was and sometimes I feel speechless because I can’t put it into quick, casual conversation. And if you know me, you know I love talking about gardens.  It was many words from travel over 1700 miles on a coach zigzagging across the countryside of Wales, Cornwall and the Cotswolds.

Come along with me for an exploration of gardens of Wales and England, not in the chronological order of travel sense,  but the things that inspired me to write something along the way.

IMG_7924 heathrow lavenderMust start here…
Arrival Heathrow, UGH! You know that place where people who are grumpy from flying get pushed into the dungeon of this mega airport to get their passports checked. Emerging into daylight, the swath of English lavender blooming reminded me where I had just landed. The aromatic journey begins.

English Roses
In my gardening realm, all I hear is roses are too hard to take care of and disease”y”, aphid magnets. I tend to agree unless they are the tough ol’ Rugosas. I have moved into a new place recently and there are a few old rose bushes (not Rugosa!) that are fabulous and now after this trip I have fallen in love with growing roses again.

IMG_0391 webrose shadows
casting shadows on the walls of Kiftsgate manor

The “Kiftsgate” rose at Kiftsgate Manor was not in bloom as we had hoped. It was just its rampant, huge tangle of crazy that I remember from a visit in 2005, but as we walked through gardens over the next few weeks, it seemed like every other rose in the UK was blooming! Everywhere, scrambling up walls and in the middle of mixed borders, mixing and mingling all over the place.
So this first travelogue are some photos of those heavenly fragrant English roses all over Wales and England. It does seem unfair to give you a look, but not a smell of how a rose in Britain on a warm day in June fills the air with perfume.

 

 

 

IMG_3781 thalictrum at sissinghurst
A sweet tango with Thalictrum

 

 

IMG_3976 roses and hedges
Roses and hedges, so very Sissinghurst

 

rose collage again
Kiftsgate, Sissinghurst, Aberglasney, Veddw, Heligan, Eden

Join me on my blog for more photos and musings from my trip.

This trip was one of those I looked forward to and panicked as well, it is one of the busiest times of year for my landscape design business but a chance to visit and study gardens and the renovation of properties lost in the past to ruins. Two places were on my bucket list and we saw so many more that I never knew should have been on my list.

Next travelogue post: Check marks on my bucket list