Fall is a great time to transplant new plants into your yard, especially native trees and shrubs. Dormancy reduces damage during transplanting, and the rain and lower temperatures help the plants get established. You can learn more about natives at a free natural gardening workshop on Saturday, Sept. 10. There are only a few spots left! See link below.
What are native plants?
Native plants are simply plants from a particular place, like the Willamette Valley or the Pacific Northwest, that have evolved over thousands of years and adapted to the local soils and climate.
Why plant natives?
Native plants help keep nature in our neighborhoods by supporting wildlife, including birds, butterflies and bees, with vitally needed habitat. Wildlife not only makes your yard a more beautiful and interesting place to be, but many creatures also control pests in your yard for you and help your plants pollinate.
Natives can help you save time and money, especially when planted in the conditions they are adapted to. Pick a good spot and get them established, and they’re likely to need little if any watering or other maintenance. Oregon grape
Getting started with native plants: a few suggestions
- Douglas aster and penstemon are beautiful perennial flowers great for sunny dry spots in local gardens. Their flowers provide nectar for dozens of beneficial insects like bees, miniwasps and butterflies.
- Western hemlock and Douglas-fir are majestic trees that will grow quite large. Trees in general are great because they absorb rain water, protect air and water quality, and moderate summer temperatures. They also provide a variety of heights of foliage in the garden essential to habitat for many birds and other wildlife. Large trees should only be planted if space permits.
- Sword fern and licorice fern are beautiful and dependable for shady spots.
- Ceanothus is an evergreen shrub that has great spring blossoms and evergreen foliage that looks good year-round.
- And we can’t forget our state flower, Oregon grape. It has yellow spring flowers and beautiful sour berries in winter that birds love. Watch for cedar waxwings, robins and flickers. Its evergreen foliage adds to its year-round interest.
Things to keep in mind when you’re choosing new plants for your yard
Avoid invasive plants. Invasives are aggressive, non-native plants that often crowd out natives for water, sunlight, nutrients and space. They’re carried by wind, water, wildlife and people. Left unchecked, they can severely alter wildlife habitats, crops, stream flows and the diversity of life in natural areas. A single English ivy plant, for example, can smother an entire forest. Learn to choose garden plants carefully.
Invasives aside, many non-native plants are fine for gardens. Food crops, medicinal plants and ornamental plants generally pose no threat to native plants and animals.
Ask your local plant nursery to help you pick out some natives for your yard this fall, or call Metro for tips on choosing native and nature-friendly plants at 503-234-3000.