Monday, July 25, 2016

Native Plants

Balsamroot and lupines at Columbia Hills State Park
Flower tapestry including castillejas and penstemons at Johnston Ridge, Mt. St. Helens
Flower field at Johnston Ridge, Mt. St. Helens
Flower field at Crater Lake
Phlox, lupines, and balsamroot at Columbia Hills State Park
Penstemons and castillejas at Crater Lake
Lewisia rediviva in my garden
Flower tapestry at Johnston Ridge, Mt. St. Helens
Calochortus on the John Day River, Oregon
Close Up of Calochortus on the John Day River
Castillejas, balsamroot and delphiniums at Rowena near The Dalles, Oregon
Lupines and Balsamroot at Rowena
Dichelostemma Pink Diamond in my garden
Lupines and balsamroot at Rowena
Mimulus lewisii at Crater Lake
Mimulus lewisii close up
Pacific Coast Iris Hybrid in my garden
Penstemon barretiae at Derby Canyon Natives in Peshatin, Washington
Penstemon rupicola in my garden

     I am growing more and more native plants in my new garden.  For those people who have known me for a long time, this is something new, since I have, in the past, been a champion of exotic plants from all over the world.  And I still like those exotic plants, and I still have many of them in my new garden.  But in my travels around the western United States, I have discovered that there is a wealth of beauty in our native plants, and that many of these plants are hard to come by in the nursery trade.  To me, that represents a new challenge in gardening!
     When I refer to native plants, I generally mean plants which are native to the western United States.  If a plant is native to Washington and Oregon, so much the better, but I don't want to limit myself to just those places in my search for beautiful, garden worthy plants.  I know there are some who think we should put blinders on and look only at plants which have historically grown on the little patch of land which is our garden, but I think that approach is not only boring, but it ignores all the great, beautiful plants which might thrive on our little patch.  I am limiting myself right now mainly to those plants which are native to the western United States simply because I am looking for drought tolerant plants, and this is the area which has those kinds of plants.  But if I find a plant from the Great Plains, for example, which will thrive and be beautiful in my new garden, I will also want that plant.
     In future blog posts I will talk about some of these plants and my experiences in growing them.  Some of the ones I am particularly enamored of presently include penstemons, particularly the shrubby ones, castillejas which I have already written about here,  lewisias,  various bulbs including calochortus and dichelostemma, Lomatium columbianum, astragalus, oxytropsis, Pacific Coast Iris, opuntias, and balsamroot.


  1. You show a reasonable attitude toward growing natives. There is a vast difference between your PNW natives and our Southern Gulf Coast natives. Some will thrive in a different environment, some not.

  2. Hi Jean- yes, there is a vast difference between PNW natives and those native to the Southern Gulf Coast. We are fairly dry here in the summer, and we don't get the humidity that occurs on the Gulf Coast. As far as other natives to the west coast, such as California natives, I have found they do very well here, as long as they can take the winter low temperatures that we have, which might be colder than where they are from (even though we don't get all that cold).

  3. A worthy challenge to garden making, and I'm sure the self-education and discovery involved is part of what keeps gardening ever new. Good luck with the process, and we'll enjoy seeing how your garden evolves.