Gardening with Native Plants: Yesterday and Today


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Gardening with native plants, especially for Oregon gardeners, with tips on why we garden with natives, some garden examples and approaches, and recommended plants for various kinds of gardens.

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Gardening with Native Plants: Yesterday and Today

  1. 1. Gardening with Native Plants<br />Yesterday and Today<br />Linda R McMahan<br />OSU Extension, Yamhill County<br />
  2. 2. Ask yourself: Why do we garden the way we do?<br />A Pacific Northwest public garden <br />
  3. 3. Where did our gardening traditions come from?<br />
  4. 4. In caseyou had any doubts! <br />Our gardening traditions in North America come primarily from England<br />
  5. 5. The British gardening traditions are reflected almost everywhere we look<br />
  6. 6. We copy what we remember and see<br />What gardens do you remember from our childhood?<br />What are your neighbors doing?<br />Are you inspired by our friends’ gardens?<br />What do public gardens, parks, and other designed landscapes look like?<br />
  7. 7. But now. . . <br />We are beginning to relate to gardening in an American style<br />Native plant garden display at a Portland garden show <br />
  8. 8. Plant explorers brought plants to Europe, leading to the Victorian Era (1837-1901-reign of Queen Victoria). Tropical plants were were grown in glass houses or used as “bedding plants” in a formal gardening style requiring high resource use. <br />London’s Crystal palace and bedding plants. Photo: Wikipedia<br />Photo: Neil Bell<br />First, a view from yesteryear<br />
  9. 9. Enter William Robinson, a Scottish gardener who reacted to Victorian “excess” by promoting “Wild Gardening” <br />Robinson’s house and garden: Wikipedia<br />
  10. 10. Wild gardening defined<br />“Wild Gardening” says William Robinson, is not native plant gardening. Instead, it is “placing perfectly hardy plants in places they will take care of themselves. It has nothing to do with wilderness.” From English Flower Garden<br />A Robinson design- Wikipedia<br />
  11. 11. Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), the founder of the modern border garden, was a colleague of William Robinson. She popularized the idea of the informal border in many publications and garden designs. <br />Gertrude Jekyll and the emergence of the border garden<br />
  12. 12. Very Early America<br />Beginning in the 1700’s, growing fruit trees became very important. This interest followed settlers across the continent to the American west. Apples for food and cider, plums, and pears were particularly popular. <br />Winslow Homer painting of grafting of fruit trees in 1870, Photo: Wikipedia<br />
  13. 13. William Bartram<br />With his father John, William studied and promoted certain native plants, including Frankliniaalatamaha. The Bartram’s were prominent exporters of native plants for European markets.<br />(1739-1823)<br />Photos: Wikipedia<br />
  14. 14. Gradually, people began to incorporate native plants into their gardens<br /> First, native trees were substituted for European ones, then shrubs. Notable was the use of plants of Southeastern US origin such as magnolias and azaleas.<br /> Other early plants noted in the literature are native lilies, ferns, and western conifers.<br />Magnolia virginiana, Photo: Wikipedia<br />
  15. 15. Thomas Jefferson<br />Experimented widely with southeast native plants, including osage orange as a hedge<br />Sponsored Lewis and Clark Expedition<br />(1743-1826)<br />Photos: Wikipedia<br />
  16. 16. David Douglas<br />Visited the Pacific Northwest on behalf of the British Horticultural Society to look for new plants for European gardens.<br />Collected Ribessanguineum which was, according to Penelope Hobhouse, “so important a find as to be itself worth the cost of the whole expedition”<br />(1799-1834) Photo: Wikipedia<br />
  17. 17. Liberty Hyde Bailey<br />“Father of American Horticulture”<br />Michigan Agricultural College, then Cornell University<br />Creator of the first US horticultural dictionaries<br />Botanist, plantsman, nature promoter<br />Began tradition of nature study in NY schools, which were probably forerunners of native plant societies<br />(1858-1954)<br />Photo: Wikipedia<br />
  18. 18. For many years, we have continued to follow European tradition—we merely planted native plants in place of standard plants in the European style. This is still reflected in most gardens incorporating native plants.<br />A magnolia and Ribessanguineum<br />
  19. 19. But today, public places are becoming more reflective of nature<br />Oregon State University campus<br />
  20. 20. Now our own gardens more often reflect nature as well<br />Natural plant forms such as that of goldenrod<br />Native wildlife including the banana slug<br />
  21. 21. Many of us are inspired by nature – we copy what we see<br />Lomatium (desert parsley) on an outcrop at Catherine Creek Preserve in the Columbia River Gorge<br />
  22. 22. Even when using native plants, we give ourselves permission to be whimsical <br />Pots feature native Sedum<br />
  23. 23. We more often focus on the natural form of plants, and pair them with natural materials<br />The Berry Botanic Garden, Portland, OR<br />
  24. 24. Some gardenssuch as this one at the McMinnville OR public library, feature only native plants<br />
  25. 25. We add native ground-covers to our gardens<br />Vancouveriahexandra, inside-out flower<br />
  26. 26. We sometimes use plants considered to be weeds for their garden or wildlife value<br />Cow parsnip, Heracleumlanatum, featured in a butterfly garden at The Berry Botanic Garden, Portland, OR<br />
  27. 27. To get conservation certification, many new buildings use native plants in the landscape<br />Engineering Building, Oregon State University, featuring kinnickinnick, vine maple, and deer fern<br />
  28. 28. So what is a native plant?Is this one?<br />California fuchsia, Epilobium canum<br />
  29. 29. Vine maple, Acer circinatum<br />What is a native plant?<br /><ul><li>Native to Planet Earth?
  30. 30. Native to the exact site?
  31. 31. Native before the arrival of European explorers?
  32. 32. Found naturally in Oregon?
  33. 33. Is a foreign but naturalized plant OK?
  34. 34. What about cultivars?</li></li></ul><li>What is a native plant?<br />This is partially a question you will have to ask yourself; others will have many opinions<br />My personal definition goes something like: “native to the Pacific Northwest before the arrival of European explorers, including cultivars” <br />Douglas iris, Iris douglasiana; variegated form of Fragariavesca; California fuschia, Epilobiumcalifornicum<br />
  35. 35. Does gardening with native mean that is all you can grow?<br />In the late 20th century and even today, twin styles of gardening with natives continue to evolve side by side <br />Substituting natives for more traditional plants and the development of “garden-worthy” cultivars<br />Gardening with native plants for their own sake in naturalistic landscapes<br />VS<br />Photos: left azalea and sword fern (Polystichummunitum); <br />right coltsfoot (Petasitesfrigidus)<br />
  36. 36. Practical gardening with natives<br />Reflect your personal style<br />Pick plants that work for you<br />Pick plants that excel in your area<br />Look at their value for aesthetics, color, form, wildlife support, edible landscaping<br />Avoid exotic invasive plants or those that might be a problem in your own garden<br />
  37. 37. Some examples of approaches<br />A formal approach of Lisa Albert, a native plant gardener and lecturer in the Portland area<br />Selected plants featured: wild bleeding heart (Dicentraformosa); western azalea (Rhododendron occidentale)<br />
  38. 38. Some examples of approaches<br />A B&B in the Cascades using local native plants<br />Selected plants pictured: wood sorrel (Oxalis oregana); sword fern (Polystichummunitum) <br />
  39. 39. Some examples of approaches<br />City of Corvallis waterfront park—tough plants and easy maintenance<br />Selected plants: Oregon iris (Iris tenax) and blue fescue <br />
  40. 40. Plants to consider: woodland classics<br />Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), osoberry (Oemleriacerasiformis), vine maple (Acer circinatum), sword fern (Polystichummunitum), wild rose (Rosa gymnocarpa), blue elderberry (Sambucusmexicana), wild bleeding heart (Dicentraformosa)<br />
  41. 41. Plants to consider: groundcovers<br />Kinnickinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), spoon leaf sedum (Sedum spathulifolium), false lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemumdilitatum), wood sorrel (Oxalis oreganavar. smallii), waterleaf (Hydrophyllumcapitatum)<br />
  42. 42. Plants to consider: more groundcovers<br />Sword fern (Poloystichummunitum), stream violet (Viola glabella); long-leaf Oregon grape (Berberis nervosa), inside-out-flower (Vancouveriahexandra)<br />
  43. 43. Plants to consider: streamside garden<br />Ninebark (Physocarpuscapitatus), Corydalis (Corydalis scouleri), umbrella plant (Peltophyllumpeltatum), red osier dogwood (Cornussericea), coltsfoot (Petasitesfrigidus)<br />
  44. 44. Plants to consider – more streamside<br />Skunk cabbage (Lysichitumamericanum), red elderberry (Sambucusracemosa), and twinberry (Lonicera involucrata)<br />
  45. 45. Plants to consider: shrubs for a sunny border<br />Golden currant (Ribes aureum), mytle (Myricacalifornica), western azalea (Rhododendron occidentale), ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor), western rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum), silk tassel (Garrya elliptica)<br />
  46. 46. Plants to consider: sunny border<br />Western goldenrod (Solidagocanadensis), camas (Camassia sp.), western columbine (Aquilegia formosa), fireweed (Epilobiumangustifolium), balsam root (Balsomorhizasagittata), globe gilia (Giliacapitata) <br />
  47. 47. Plants to consider: more sunny border<br />Checker mallow (Sidalceacampestris), coast penstemon (Penstemon serrulatus), Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllumlanatum), scarlet monkeyflower (Mimuluscardinalis), Oregon iris (Iris tenax)<br />
  48. 48. Plants to consider: rock garden<br />Sedums (S. spathulifolium, oreganum), Lomatium sp., pussytoes (Antennariasp.), CA fuschia (Epilobiumcanum), wild buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.), scarlet gilia (Giliaaggregata), Penstemon sp., sea thrift (Armeriamaritima)<br />
  49. 49. Plants to consider: wildlife<br />Tall Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium),wild strawberry (Fragaria sp.), western mock orange (Philadelphuslewisii), violets (Viola adunca), snowberry (Symphoricarpus alba), red flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)<br />
  50. 50. Plants to consider: small spaces<br />Douglas iris (Iris douglasiana), Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’, sedums<br />
  51. 51. For More Information!<br />Kruckeberg, Arthur R. 1966. Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest, 2nd edition, University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA<br />Yamhill County, OSU Extension Ecogardening at:<br />Selecting native plants for home landscapes in Central Oregon at:<br />Oregon Flora Project (interactive maps and photos) at:<br />
  52. 52. Thank you!<br />Linda R McMahan<br />Botanist and Horticulturist<br />Oregon State University Extension Service, Yamhill County<br /><br />Note: This presentation may be used for educational purposes without express permission. All plant and garden photographs, except as noted, by Linda R McMahan at Oregon State University. Please contact author for all non-educational uses of photographs. <br />Tall Oregon grape, Berberis aquifolium <br />