It’s no secret that our treasured natural ecosystems and wildlife habitats have been shrinking over the last several decades, and this is especially noticeable in city environments. Although we in the Pacific Northwest have done more than many places to maintain the natural beauty of our environment, urban growth has nonetheless taken its toll on our native plant and wildlife species.
The good news is that there’s a lot we can do in our own neighborhoods and backyards to create healthier, more natural environments! It all starts with native gardening. Planting native species in your garden can help create healthier, sustainable ecosystems to benefit the local environment and wildlife. It also adds to the aesthetic value of your outdoor spaces, and makes caring for your garden simpler and easier!
The Benefits of Native Plants
What makes a plant native? In simple terms, any plant that would naturally occur in its existing location without human intervention is considered native. Native plants and wildflowers are intrinsically adapted to the local soil conditions and climate of their local environment. They evolved in harmony with the wildlife and other native plants of that area. In contrast, popular horticultural plants don’t contribute to the natural sustainable ecosystem in the same way.
Here are some of the many advantages of native plant species:
- They provide seeds, nectar, and pollen, which act as food for native animals, birds, butterflies, and insects.
- Their roots need less water.
- They don’t require fertilizer and generally need minimal pesticides, distinguishing them from lawns without native plants.
- They can help reduce air pollution by sequestering or removing carbon from the air.
- They provide shelter and food for wildlife, encouraging biodiversity in the native ecosystem.
- They look naturally beautiful in the local environment!
Native Plants in Oregon & SW Washington
The greater Portland area, which is home to the Blessing Landscapes community, is unique when it comes to the natural environment. We are a city surrounded by wild, unrestrained nature on every side. It’s part of what makes the area so beloved by so many.
Native plants contribute to the scenic beauty and environmental health of our city and the surrounding area. Keep reading to learn about the best low-maintenance native Oregon plants that conserve water, help wildlife thrive, and increase the natural beauty of your garden and our environment.
Oregon is home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful trees in the world! Native trees can help reduce pollution, improve the air we breathe, and help feed native animals, birds, and insects. They also hold up well against local pests and require less maintenance than non-native species.
Here are some gorgeous native Oregon trees to consider planting on your property:
- Cascara (Rhamnus purshiana)
- Oregon Crabapple (Malus fusca)
- Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii)
- Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii)
- Red Alder (Alnus rubra)
- Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)
Native Shrubs & Wildflowers
Planting a variety of native shrubs and perennials in your garden not only adds color and natural beauty to your outdoor spaces, but also helps pollinators thrive, which is essential for a healthy, functioning ecosystem.
Here are a few of our favorite shrubs and wildflowers to plant in your garden that are native to the PNW:
- Blueblossom (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus)
- Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii)
- Oceanspray (Holodiscus)
- Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa)
- Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum)
- Wild Ginger (Asarum caudatum)
Native Gardening in Your Landscaping: How To Get Started
If you love the idea of planting native trees, shrubs, and flowers in your garden, you’re probably wondering how and where to begin. There’s a lot to consider when choosing and planting natives in your garden, so the best place to begin is with a comprehensive landscape design, as well as a detailed budget.
Your design should take into account things like the specific soil and terrain on your property, drainage issues, sun exposure, existing plants, your personal landscaping preferences, and the kinds of wildlife, birds, and insects you get on your property. Working with a professional landscape designer can help make this process easier and more fun.
Once you have a landscape design you’re happy with, then comes the process of preparing the site for planting and then carefully integrating the native plants into their new environment. Here are a few things to remember when planting natives in your lawn and garden:
- It takes time for native plants to become established.
- It’s important to consider the local regulations regarding native plants in your area.
- Although maintaining native plants is generally easier than maintaining common horticultural ones, it’s still important to do regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure the health and longevity of your native plant species.
Professional Native Landscaping For a Beautiful, Natural Environment
Every member of our team at Blessing Landscapes is knowledgeable and skilled when it comes to working with native plant species. The value of education and continued learning is evident in our designs and installations. Our crews are always well informed about the plants they work with, and we’re committed to the long-term health and beauty of each and every plant incorporated in your landscaping.
We consider working with native PNW plant species an honor, and we love doing our part to make our environment and ecosystems healthier and more beautiful. Call us at (503) 284-3557 or contact us online today and let us help you create a carefully planned, natural, and lush landscape for your property.