Natives in June

To be perfectly honest, my heart has strayed from blogging. I even considered calling it a wrap, which I will do at some point in life. The world stands at a difficult juncture; it feels much more important than gardening. But, and here's the but (you knew it was coming), as we all know gardening is good for the world. So if I can take a few hours of my week and take photos and i.d. plants and create a blog post and somebody out there finds honest value, I shall blog.

This week is about native plants because integrating them into the landscape does so much towards healing. They attract native specialist insects that may not go for ornamental plants (that is, non-native plants). Those native insects provide food for foraging birds and they also pollinate. The native birds have food for their offspring by feeding them insects and, hopefully, will stick around and find a home in your garden. At the very least a few native plants help to create a wildlife corridor in urban settings - it all counts, especially if everyone plants at least one.

Here are just a few beauties in my garden this week:

SUN LOVERS
 Aquilegia formosa, our native columbine. These were on the property, having recently sprung up out of reclaimed areas.



Eriophyllum lanatum, Oregon sunshine is one I planted from a 4" pot, I now have several large clumps taking over the edge of the labyrinth garden as it has reseeded a little. I cut it back hard after it blooms as it has a tendency to open up from the center, I prefer a tidier plant that doesn't sprawl as much. The bonus of having this in the garden is that it's super easy in full sun and dry soil and the tiny native pollinators really go for it.


 Eschscholzia californica 'Alba'. I notice there are many shades of "alba" in the garden - I think they are crossing with others so I have a range from white to yellow and many subtle shades in between.


 Eschscholzia californica, California poppy, has happily made itself at home in the garden. In the old garden I could not get even one to germinate. I guess they like a bit of neglect.


Gilia captiata or globe gilia, an annual wildflower that attracts many pollinators. I let it come up where it will in the meadow garden.


Armeria maritima, sea thrift, has evergreen basal fine foliage and bright pink flowers. This is great for rock gardens, sea spray, tough spots in general with sun.


I realized all the plants in these containers are native sedums and lewisia. Sedum oreganum, S. divergens, somewhere in there is S. spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco' as well (hidden).


 Festuca rubra 'Patrick's Point' is a spreading blue green grass from Xera Plants.



Limnanthes douglasii, Douglas meadowfoam that I have let seed in many areas. It's an annual, so once they are done blooming and the seeds have ripened, I take the whole lot out (it comes out easily) and put the dead foliage with seeds somewhere where I want them to bloom next year.


Penstemon davidsonii, an evergreen penstemon, very low-growing at only an inch or so high. But check out the size of the flowers compared to the foliage. These grow from Washington state to California on either side of the Cascade mountain range.


Another evergreen penstemon is P. cardwelii on the left, a small evergreen sub-shrub that blooms May - June and is covered in purple flowers.


Lewisia cotyledon 'Rainbow' (it is either that or 'Kanab'), a succulent-like plant native to Oregon. If you can give it excellent drainage (think rock garden) it is relatively easy to grow.


 Eriogonum heracleoides, creamy Eriogonum, purchased from Humble Roots Nursery a few years ago. This is the first year it has bloomed.


 Sidalcea campestris, checkermallow. I also have Sidalcea hirtipes that blooms later. I think I prefer this one if I had to choose. 


Iris tenax, I believe. These were on the property when we moved here and continue to surprise me by popping up in unlikely spots throughout the garden. Once these are established in the garden, they seem to seed around and also tolerate drought. They only reach about 1 - 2' high, so are ideal for smaller gardens.



SHADE LOVERS
Vaccinium ovatum, evergreen huckleberry, the quintessential evergreen native shrub for shade. They do tolerate sun but I find do better with at least partial shade. They are painfully slow-growing, but the new growth make them worthy garden plants. Yes, the fruit are edible, I think the birds get to them first, however.


 Physocarpus capitatus, Pacific ninebark, a large shrub with exfoliating bark and sweet white flowers in May. It's a good one for pollinators and has a lovely upright-then-drooping habit, giving it a look of a fountain.


Gaultheria shallon, salal, an evergreen spreading shrub I have seen 8' tall at the coast and 4" tall in some woodland areas. It is ubiquitous here in the Willamette Valley and an attractive shrub for shade or sun. It's also used in the floral industry.


Cornus sericea 'Hedgerow's Gold' is a gold variegated version of our native redtwig dogwood. It can be a multi-stemmed suckering shrub, you can cut it back hard every few years for fresh new growth. The mature specimen we have in the garden at work are allowed to grow into the size of a small tree.



Tiarella trifoliata, purchased from Bosky Dell Farms several years ago. Also known as foamflower, it has seeded around a tiny bit in my garden, I am hoping for more seedlings and denser colonies in time.


Maianthemum stellatum, syn. Smilacina stellata, starry false solomon's seal is a spreading herbaceous perennial found in forests throughout much of North America.


Vancouveria hexandra is a spreading perennial groundcover with small white inside out flowers in spring.


Tellima grandiflora, another woodland perennial that I let take over certain areas that would otherwise be filled with blackberry.


Acer circinatum, our lovely vine maple, a small multi-branched tree that floats its way through the middle of the forest canopy.


Maianthemum dilatatum is a weird hosta look alike that I kept noticing on the property here and there. I finally looked it up and it turns out it's a somewhat aggressive spreader native to the West Coast. It is also known as false lily of the valley.


Vancouveria planipetela, an evergreen inside out flower native to the southern regions of the state. It is also called redwood inside out flower, likely for its association with redwood trees.


Heuchera cylindrica or green alum root, purchased this year at Xera Plants. I have had this before in the old garden. It is a lovely, small heuchera with rather tall stems.


Circaea alpina, commonly known an enchanter's nightshade, a little annual that was already in the soil. I let it go where it will, it doesn't stick around all summer.


Juncus patens or Juncus effusus. I am unsure which of the two native rushes these are, but they show up from time to time in the garden and I had them in the old garden. They are evergreen and good for soil erosion, like boggy conditions but can tolerate our summer dry spells.


Western maidenhair fern, Adiantum aleuticum, a very cool and airy fern sporting black stems. Just about my favorite fern.


Polystichum munitum, our ubiquitous sword fern. This is a great solution for dry shade, for once established, they are tough plants. They also tolerate sun if given water in summer.


Polypodium scouleri, leatherleaf fern is an evergreen small fern.


Juncus, Oxalis oregana and Polystichum munitum in the shade garden.

While I have many more native plants in the gardens than what is shown, this is what I was drawn to this week. It always changes and is a pleasure to watch it do so. I also have a bazillion non-native plants that provide some value to wildlife, that is shelter, food (I see the birds gorging on the cherries right now), garden canopy in many layers, pollen, hiding places. I am not an exclusively natives gardener, I find value in many ornamental plants so long as they are not truly invasive species for my region.

On a side note: The nursery is still very busy but it has slowed as people begin to go back to work and the county has opened up. People are very good about social distancing and wearing masks, even outside, and we appreciate that because, really, you never know. I would hate to get someone's grandmother sick if I'm carrying it, you know? So for all of you still considering others' well-being, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, we really love connecting with gardeners from around the world.

Comments

  1. Anonymous9:03 AM PDT

    I know what you mean about growing less enthusiastic about blogging but I do so look forward to your posts (a little mini-vacation on a Thursday morning). Thank you for keeping up the effort.
    rickii

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    1. Thank you, Rickii, it gives my soul a dose of love knowing you are reading the blog. xo

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  2. Anonymous9:24 AM PDT

    Well, I, for one, find value in your blog posts and look forward to them. I hope that you continue to do it, but I know that you must do what's best for you. Cheers, from the East coast! Oh, and your garden is absolutely beautiful.

    Steve B.

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    1. Cheers to you, Steve - thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I hope to continue on, as I love gardening so much and am lucky that I have such a garden, so sharing it gives pleasure.

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  3. I appreciate every opportunity to see your beautiful garden, Tamara, although I also understand the dwindling interest in blogging, especially when there's so much else going on in the world. Your native plant selection is lovely and, in this case, I even have some of the same plants in my own garden. Re California poppies, I've had better luck some years than others and suspect that the timing of rain (or irrigation, which is increasingly a requirement here) is a key factor in my success or failure with them.

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    1. Thank you, Kris. I think you are right about the poppies and timing and rain - it's all a big experiment. How are you feeling about blogging these days?

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  4. Like others, I totally GET what you're saying about blogging in such times; I'm struggling with it, too. Seems trivial in the face of everything. But I have to believe it's also a needed respite for people, from the incredible stress and anxiety we're all experiencing. I put up art and movies and pretty things that I and others find creatively nourishing. And you put up images of your amazing garden which are SO inspiring. And I can testify that about the only time I'm able to relax and focus is when I'm fussing around in the garden. Big changes have to happen in our country, in the world - we have work to do - but we also have to take care of ourselves. This blog is a wonderful encouragement to do that, by taking the time to tend to and nurture the little bit of the world that is under our care. It's self-care, as well. And I can't help but believe that the love we give to the task reaches far beyond our own small borders....

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    1. Aah, you do get it, Stephilius. You are right, though - that it's ok to put up art and movies and pretty things that are creatively nourishing. In fact, what is the point of it all when art and creativity disappear? So, with your encouragement, let us unite in continuing to bring a little respite and joy to the world - you with your **amazing** painting (Froelick Gallery, people - look up Stephen O'Donnell) and I'll keep on gardening.

      It is self-care. The love we give spreads. Thank you, my friend. xo

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  5. The inspiration and sheer beauty of your blog posts never fails to lift my spirits, so thank you for any and all that you wish to write. Perhaps when we create gardens, it is a kind of redemption to the ugliness in the world.

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    1. Thank you, thank you, Sandy, your words are salve to my soul. I think you are right, I feel like creating gardens is a kind of redemption. Well-said. Cheers.

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  6. This is my first comment to your blog but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy it. I've been reading since you were in the other house. So many of my favorite bloggers no longer post so I certainly hope you continue. Your garden is so lovely and we've all seen the hard work that created it. Thank you for posting, and I hope you decide to keep on!

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Barb, that means a lot to me. Thank you for sticking with me all these years! I hope to continue, and based on the amazing feedback from you all I will continue to joyfully blog as much as I can.

      Thank you again, and happy gardening to you.

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  7. If nothing else blogging is a way to keep a record of thoughts on your garden for yourself, and to see how the garden changes over time.

    Another great post, plenty of value. Thanks!

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    1. Aah, indeed, Hoover Boo! Amazing how many times I refer to my own blog to answer that question "what the heck was that plant?"...as memory often fails.

      Thank you Hoover, I hope you keep on blogging!

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  8. How delightful to see all those natives. I love when others share them so I can learn about even more beauties from this great big beautiful country. There's a lot going on and it's heart wrenching and heart breaking. Our gardens are a refuge and I appreciate when you share yours with us. So glad you are going to stick with blogging, you garden/blog always brightens my day.

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    1. Thank you Gail, you are right, our gardens are a refuge and I am most happy to share mine. We are lucky that we have gardens, I genuinely feel for those who do not.

      Let us hope the heart wrenching and heart breaking events in this world of ours are a path to a better future for us all.

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  9. You have such a wonderful collection of natives and every time you post on this subject, I find new ones I want to add. I don't have many but just added the Pacific ninebark, holodiscus and a native honeysuckle this year.

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    1. Ah, that's great, Phillip! Wonderful choices to add to your amazing garden. The honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa) is such a bright spot with its orange flowers, all great plants. You have embraced the Pacific Northwest and the plant palette here with a flair few people could match.

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  10. I just love the Juncus. Path Rush is the common name here. I have a variety in my garden. I have put it here and there. I am hopeful it will reproduce. I have a small garden but I have been incorporating natives into it.
    I would be so sad if you never posted. I know you must use a lot of time creating your posts. You have great information and your photography is so good. I can also imagine with working and having such a large garden you feel overwhelmed sometimes. Your writing and your garden itself is an inspiration.

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    1. Oh, I'm glad someone else likes the Juncus. It's so architectural and tough. Yay!

      I will continue to post as I can (business aside) - thank you for your kind words and encouragement. It means the world to me and makes us all feel connected as a community. There is strength in that.

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  11. Lovely photos of all your natives. I so look forward to your posts and would sorely miss them. Spring is so busy and with the plethora of bad news can see how it's a challenge to put in the extra effort to blog. However, your posts are so beautiful and positive that it's a way of keeping the better parts of the world in focus. Thank-you!

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    1. Thank you Luv2garden, I'm glad the posts are a positive spot in your world. With that, I will continue on, thank you thank you.

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  12. You definitely help dispel the stereotype that gardening with natives is boring.

    This latest "improvement" from Google to their blogger platform has me thinking "why do I do this!?"... they're making it far too difficult. Then again, at least right now, it's a habit and routine that's somewhat comforting in our chaotic world.

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    1. Ah, Danger, coming from you that is high praise indeed. Many natives can be super cool!

      And yes - this blogger "improvement" is the WORST. I think a lot of us who use Blogger will abandon ship. I think I'll give them some feedback.

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  13. What a colossal and floriferous post. You take us on a journey through a wild wonderland of flowers and ferns, in sun and shade. I am dazzled. I guess you are right about the California poppies: neglect is best--scatter and forget. Do you find the oxalis troublesome? I find it gets in everywhere.

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    1. Thank you, Prospero! Your words mean a lot. The oxalis - I don't find it troublesome but then again, I have two acres and a big chunk of that is shade, so I kind of want it to spread. I may eat my words someday, though! ;)

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  14. We have so many wonderful, garden-worthy native plants, don't we? I'm glad you're still blogging. It takes a lot of time but it's worth it, I think. As you pointed out, the world is a mess right now so this makes the garden and nature in general all that more important for our sanity.

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    1. We sure do, Grace. So many and gardeners in similar climates around the world have known this for a long time.

      It is worth it, to blog that is, as Anna points out, at least to organize one's thoughts.

      Gardens for me right now are my salvation, being in nature, fresh air...oh, how lucky I am.

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  15. Oh T, I know that feeling exactly! But, I enjoy at least posting a picture here and there - even when I don't have much to say. I started blogging as a mode for self expression, and it's still a way for me to organize my thoughts and reflections. As a happy and grateful recipient of some of your fabulous plant babies, I find your fab photos both inspiring and motivating. I completely agree with Danger about the dispelling of the stereotype. I love how you link to the nurseries where you can find the more hard to find and less cumbersome natives. I really feel for all those enthusiastic and well-intended novice gardeners, lured into thinking that they need all those large shrubs to get a Backyard Habitat Certification. Your blog is an excellent resource as well as an inspiration, my dear!

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    1. Thank you Anna Bean, you are too kind my friend.

      Yes, there are some amazing native plants out there that ARE exciting and I love seeing that others are using them in the landscape and even in formal gardens. Great native nurseries, too...we are lucky here in the Willamette Valley.

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  16. Oh I understand how you feel about blogging right now, I feel the same way too. But thank you for continuing as I only recently found your blog. Our gardens are so important for mental health right now- I love walking out in my yard and looking at all the plants and my vegetable patch.

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    1. Oh, Lisa, gardens are so important, I agree wholeheartedly. Isn't it a privilege to be able to walk around our gardens? So healing. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. It's such a gorgeous time of year for flowers in the garden- thanks for sharing what you've found while you've being out and about!

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    1. This is a good time of year for plants indeed! Thank you for reading and commenting, Crystal!

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