A Walk With Natives

A peaceful walk through some my favorite gardens and you’ll find year-round interest, from lush ferns to beautiful fall color with trees and shrubs. I hear many species of birds chirping along the path like sparrows, bushtits, woodpeckers, and warblers that find shelter in the garden. Integrating native plants in your landscape helps attract beneficial insects to promote biodiversity which in return also helps encourage birds to nest there. Birds play a key role in our ecosystem, by helping maintain a healthy landscape by eating insects to feed their young in the spring and summer months.

Photo courtesy of Karen Smith

And no garden in the northwest is complete without ferns! If you have a shady spot and would like to add some texture try a Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), Deer fern (Blechnum spicant) or Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). The sea of green hues and textures will create a pleasant appearance, spotted with accents of some Bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa) for a little color during those winter months.

One thing that is often over looked is the fact thatNative plants are generally more resistant to disease and often times more resistant to drought problems because they establish well in this area. (still, don’t forget to water them- especially in the initial planting!) If you are looking to attract hummingbirds and native pollinators to your yard a Red flowering currant, (Ribes sangiuneum) could be a good option. They have beautiful blooms and drought tolerant growth habits so they are great for any landscape.

Photo courtesy of Karen Smith

I know it is currently Summer here in Eugene, Oregon, but I have to admit, my favorite time of year is autumn. Nothing beats fall color in the garden. To accomplish this, try a few Vine Maples (Acer circinatum), White Alders (Alnus rhombifolia), and Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus). I especially love the fall accents of Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sencea). Or if you have the space and are looking for a nice evergreen to make a statement add a Western Red Cedar (Thuja pilcata).

A layered garden will not only give a full and pleasant appearance but also fill those niches with plants rather than weeds! So try incorporating some native plants!

Blog article by Karen Smith.