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Gardening with (pseudo) Native Plants, for the Pacific Northwesterners

by Patrick Schwartzkopf (patschwap)


A quick list of fun cultivars of Pacific Northwest native plants that can help bring a bit more nature to your yard...

One of the gifts we get to enjoy for living in the Pacific Northwest are the abundant forests that we can explore.  As a garden consultant and designer I love bringing that touch of nature into a client's yard.  These plants work great in so many different situations.  I admit I am not a native plant purist and love looking for new cultivars from our native plants.  Below is a quick list (from ground on up) of native plants and cultivars that have proven themselves a success year after year.

  1. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Vancouver Jade' (Kinnickinick) - not only does this plant have the most fantastic Latin name around, it also is a great evergreen groundcover for hot spots in the garden.   It is drought tolerant once it becomes established and 'Vancouver Jade' has been bred for better resistance to leaf diseases.
  2. Cornus sericea 'Artic Fire' or 'Variegata' (Red Twig Dogwood) - what better winter plant than the red twig dogwood.  This plant is also a favorite as a center in winter containers.  'Artic Fire' is eye popping and perfect for the small gardens. 'Variegata' is just that, red stems with white margins around the leaves.  It is a larger sized dogwood and works great as a hedge.
  3. Vaccinium ovatum 'Thunderbird' (Evergreen Huckleberry) - no garden is complete without a trio of these shrubs.  Perfect for sun or shade (though it grows differently in both) and drought tolerant once established.  The evergreen leaves are glossy and the small fruit goes great in yogurt or dried in granola.
  4. Pinus contorta 'Spaan's Dwarf' (Spaan's Dwarf Shore Pine) - get in touch with your Zen side and plant this small evergreen tree (3' tall and 4' wide in 10 years).  Perfect for rock gardens, containers, or as a natural bonsai.  Maintenance need not apply.
  5. Acer circinatum 'Pacific Fire' (Pacific Fire Vine Maple) - a 100% garden pleaser with 4 seasons of interest.  This multi stemmed tree (15'-20') has striking red bark with the same shape and structure as our native Vine Maple.  New leaves emerge as purple and orange and turn green throughout the summer.  In the fall you are delighted with red, purple, and orange changing foliage.

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marcydiané commented on 06/01/12
Love your choices!
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TheGardenFriend commented on 03/17/12

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