Native Plants 101: Protecting Your Native Fauna

Native plants evolved with a gigantic number of associated microbes, fungi, bacteria, herbivores, and insects. It follows that plants don't exist by themselves - they need the organisms that helped them adapt and change over the ages. For home gardeners, insect assistants are one of the easiest and most interesting class of partners to manage … Continue reading Native Plants 101: Protecting Your Native Fauna

Native Plants 101: How About A Hedgerow?

Don't say you don't have room for a hedgerow - this 40 X 100 lot has a rockery topped with a modern day hedgerow. Hedgerows traditionally were used as fences between fields, and a "laid hedge" in England contained thorny plants like hawthorn to act as a barrier. Cut through the lower trunk and laid … Continue reading Native Plants 101: How About A Hedgerow?

Native Plants 101: Insect protectors

Lady bugs are everyone's friends; they are so iconic. But guess what? There are a lot of questions surrounding these seemingly innocuous and friendly insects. Did you know that: Over the past twenty years several native ladybugs that were once very common have become extremely rare. During this same time ladybugs from other places have … Continue reading Native Plants 101: Insect protectors

Native Plants 101: Western Sword Fern

Sword ferns (Polystichum munitum) are the workhorses of the native plant garden. Like many creatures and plants that are common and abundant, we often forget to appreciate the subtle beauty and utility of these large, helpful, ecologically important, and undemanding ferns. In suburban, rural, and wildland area of Puget Sound, these ferns are extremely important … Continue reading Native Plants 101: Western Sword Fern

Native Plants 101: Basic Growing Information

Growing Native Plants   Native plants are best for native insects, pollinators, birds, and local wildlife. Plants and animals evolved together, so the ones that are native are always the best for local wildlife. Mix them in with your ornamentals, and you will have a diverse landscape teeming with healthy life! You will have more … Continue reading Native Plants 101: Basic Growing Information

Late Winter Bloomers

Cornelian cherry, Cornus mas is not a cherry, although it has cherry-like fruits. The common name comes from the term "cornel" used in the UK to describe the wood, fruit and plant. According to its Wikipedia entry,  "Cornus mas, 'Male' Cornel, was named so to distinguish it from the true Dogberry, the 'Female' Cornel, C. … Continue reading Late Winter Bloomers

Umbellularia californica – California bay laurel, or Oregon myrtle

I'd like to bring this plant to your attention, but first an observation about names. Common names are so interesting, because they reflect local usage - not only of the language but the plant itself. There are tons of European plants with common names that were applied to plants used daily for remedies - a … Continue reading Umbellularia californica – California bay laurel, or Oregon myrtle

Native Bees Are Better Pollinators: Important For Gardeners and Farmers

Native pollinators, and bees especially, are often overlooked beneficial insects. Research indicates that natives are better than introduced honeybees in SO MANY WAYS!  Learn to take care of your native helpers and you will be rewarded many times over. Many natives are ground-nesters, so make sure to leave undisturbed patches of bare sandy soil - … Continue reading Native Bees Are Better Pollinators: Important For Gardeners and Farmers

Garden Planning Time…

In this time of dark winter retreat, it is so much fun to imagine additions to the garden. It's also a good time to locate plants, so they will be available to plant in late winter or early spring for an easy transition to their new landscape life. When I contemplate plants for purchase, I … Continue reading Garden Planning Time…

What’s Winter For?

From some plants' points of view, winter provides an essential chilling period. In climates with seasonal temperature variations, selection has favored seeds that delay germination until the warmth of spring arrives. Then, in soil still moist from winter rain and snow, tiny plants get a good start before the onset of hot dry weather. Woody … Continue reading What’s Winter For?