Native plant gardening for all seasons

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Native Plant Gardening for All Seasons

Native Plant Gardening for All SeasonsLinda R McMahan, Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State UniversityAugust 6, 2016Photos by the author except as noted

Why and How to Cover all Seasons?Have something to appreciate all year for a more satisfying gardenPlan in advance!Look for plants with multiple seasonal interestKnow before you buy to get the best all-around coverageKeep it local for best results, expand with experience to statewide, region-wide, or North American

Heres an Example Black twinberry, Lonicera involucrataLarge (12-16ft) deciduous shrub native to many PNW habitats and provides cover for birds and other animalsBlooms spring and early summerSummer berries in pairsWildlife use berries as food and nectar-hummingbirds love the yellow flowers Occurs naturally throughout much of Oregon

Overall, What do We Experience and Expect from native plants?Color and subtlety!Visiting wildlife birds, hummingbirds, bees, salamanders and so onDeer resistant plants for fenceless areas if desiredLower needs generally for fertilizer, garden chemicals, and water

Red flowering currant for early color and hummingbirds, wild bleeding heart for groundcover and color in the shade and Oregon iris for color and deer resistance

Finding Native Plants that Grow Where You LiveCheck websites for local recommendations from SWCD, cities, county governments, and so onConnect with others through a Native Plant Society of Oregon near youCheck out species distribution on the online Oregon Flora Project housed at OSU

Goatsbeard, mules ear, rabbitbrush

Lets start with Summer!What natives are good right now?Bright flowers of the sunflower family for visual interest and pollinatorsFlowering shrubsBerries and fruits for wildlife and sometimes the gardenerGroundcovers to support soil and hide fragile or small creatures

Oregon sunshine, salal, wood sorrel

Oregon sunshine, wooly sunflower, Eriophyllum lanatumBright flowers provide nectarDrought hardyNative to Oregons east and west sidesShorter stature and grayish leaves on eastsideWestside plants generally taller, greenerGreat for general garden, rock garden, full sun

Douglas aster, Aster subspicatusSunflower family colorful perennial, 1-4 ftReliable, spreads slowly,Will grow in many regions, native mostly west and in the CascadesBlooms July/AugustAttracts bees and other pollinators

Mock orange, Philadelphus lewsiiMedium high shrub best in part-shadeNative statewide but habitat may varyBright white fragrant flowers in early summerMulti-stemmedGood source of nectar

Oceanspray, Holodiscus discolorTall shrub for woodland edge, also full sunDrought hardyBlooms mid-summerDeer resistant!

Baneberry, Actaea rubraDelicate understory plant in western forestsSeeds spread by birds that eat the berries

Caution: OK for most birds but not for people. Dont plant if you are concerned about pets or children eating the berries

Wild strawberry, Fragaria vescaOf all native strawberries, this is the best one for shadeDelicious small berries for wildlifeLoosely covers ground, prefers shade, spreads by runnersButterfly host plant

Wood sorrel, Oxalis oreganaSpreading groundcover for shade/part-shadeLook for white or pink-flowered forms. Pink flowered type spreads less slowly and has larger leavesShelter for salamanders, frogs, insects

Rosy spirea, Spiraea splendens (densiflora)From Oregons higher mountain ranges but grows at lower elevationsFlowers July/AugustAttractive pink clustersButterfly host plantSmall, usually 2-4 ft

Rabbitbrush, Chrysothamnus viscidiflorusNative to Oregons eastside Blooms late summerBright yellow flowers and drought tolerance make it a good shrub for desert or other dry areas

Skunkbrush sumac Rhus aromatica (R. trilobata), Related to poison oak but is generally a fine garden plantNative primarily SW Oregon but can grow statewideSmall to medium shrub with berries

Photos Clint Shock, Malheur Experiment Station, Oregon State University

AutumnFall foliage of courseNuts and seeds for wildlifeLate blooming summer flowersWildlife watching as squirrels and birds look for food, migration begins

Oregon white oak, native hazelnut, vine maple

Oregon white oak, Quercus garryanaLarge iconic tree of western OregonShelters many kinds of wildlifeAcorns and insect galls provide winter interest

Vine maple, Acer circinatumTall multi-stemmed shrub with spring flowers and sometimes beautiful fall foliageSmaller samaras are food for wildlifeHost for native butterflies

Big-leaf maple, Acer macrophyllumLarge tree valued for wildlifeHosts mosses and ferns on the trunk and branchesYellow fall colorSamara type fruits and a wildlife favorite

Winter: Time for subtletyFocus on lingering berries and evergreen foliageLichen on trees swell and growIf you are lucky you may see a slime mold!

Snowberry and evergreen huckleberry

Snowberry Symphoricarpos albusSmall/medium shrub, shade or part sunTolerates drought wellWhite berries in winter help sustain birds until springSoft bluish foliage is a garden asset

Focus on foliageAppreciate evergreen foliage of some native plantsSome good choices are evergreen huckleberry, blueblossom, manzanita, Oregon grape, myrtle

Pictured: evergreen huckleberry, blueblossom, long-leaf Oregon grape, myrtle

Osoberry, Oemleria cerasiforis Earliest native shrub to bloom!Deciduous tall shrub/small tree for shade to part-shadeNative to western Oregon

Currants, Ribes speciesRibes sanguineum, native to westsideRibes aureum, native to eastsideThe westside Ribes sanguineum blooms late winter, and the golden ribes, Ribes aureum, blooms spring

Lichen and Mosses

With fall rains, lichens and ferns swell and begin to growWhen leaves have fallen, lichens and mosses are often at their best

Slime moldsSeveral kinds of these decomposers grow in late winter /early spring when the air and soil and moist and dead plant material is on the groundOnce found, watch them and catch the fruiting/spore production phase before they disappear for another year

Good Time to Practice ID from TwigsWinter Twigs: A Wintertime Key to Deciduous Trees and Shrubs of Northwestern Oregon and Western Washington, Revised EditionHelen M Gilkey and Patricia PackardOSU Press

Spring!Early delicate wildflowers and early shrubsNew leaves emerge on deciduous treesFerns emerge or break dormancyMany groundcovers bloom or spread at this timeLocal plant sales and nurseries may feature Oregon nativesthey need not be blooming if you know what you want

Silk tassel, sword fern, vine maple, inside-out flower

Vanilla leaf, Achlys triphyllaOne of many delicate spring blooming groundcovers for shadeThis one prefers moist soil

Spring queen, Synthyris reniformisSmall delicate woodland plant that blooms early in woodland settingsPrefers shade

California black oak, Quercus kellogiiNative to Southwestern part of the state and southDeciduous but provides summer shade and shelter

Silk tassel, Garrya ellipticaTall shrub with leathery leaves native to the south coastCascading inflorescences of male of female flowersProvides shelter and early garden interest

Fremont silk tassel, Garrya fremontiiMedium shrub found inland in southwestern Oregon and in the mountainsSimilar to the coastal silk tassel but shorter stature and smooth leaves

Oregon iris, Iris tenaxMost widely available of native irisShades of blue, occasionally white formsDeer resistant as are most or all iris

Maidenhair fern, Adiantum aleuticum Gracious fan-shape fronds with spores on backside near edgeGreat ornamental near water or as a woodland accent

Umbrella plant, Darmera peltataGrows near water in nature, needs moisture in a garden Spreads slowly by rhizomesFlowers emerge before foliageLarge leaves add garden interest

Inside-out flower, Vancouveria hexandraDeciduous groundcover with yellow fall foliage and limey green leaves of emerging plantsSome other native species are evergreen

Pacific rhododendron, Rhododendron macrophyllum Native to coast and mountainsRequires additional irrigation away from native habitatTall shrub to 30 ft in natural habitat

Learning MoreWeb searches. Look for .gov, .edu and .org sites - .com sites vary greatly Connect with others-Native Plant Society of Oregon chapters, Soil and Water Conservation District sales

Small native plant garden in Gleneden Beach

Online InformationMid-Snake River Watershed Vegetation Database Malheur Experiment Station Gardening with Oregon Native Plants West of the Cascades. Written by Linda R McMahanGardening with native plants information page, Yamhill County Extension: includes fact sheets photos and other resources Native Plants and Trees of Oregon: Low Maintenance Native Plants to Conserve Water, Help Pollinators, OR Department of Forestry

More online informationBackyard habitat certification program information sheet and resources Plants of the Rogue Valley, North Mountain Park Nature Center, Ashland, Oregon City of Beaverton, Native Plant Fact Sheets for Pollinators in Oregon, Natural Resources Conservation Service