A Winter Wonderland, by Heather Wendt

'Tis the season for staying inside, drinking hot cocoa by the fire and dreaming of springtime gardens in bloom. It is also the season to remember and appreciate why we have included certain native plants in our landscapes. What plants am I talking about on this cold, snowy day? Well grasses of course. If you have ever heard one of my Heritage Garden presentations you know I always talk about adding plants that add structure to your landscape. Plants that will stand up and say “look at me” long after the last bloom has faded from your garden. Consider incorporating native grasses into your garden to provide an important seed source and habitat for wildlife and year-round beauty and interest.

Winter Transformations


 Indian Ricegrass

Indian Ricegrass

Now is the time to give proper appreciation to native grasses like Indian Ricegrass. In the summer, its light feathery seed heads wave delicately in the wind.

But when the harshness of winter sets in, frost and snow coat this delicate plant and turn it into a winter delight.


 Bluebunch Wheatgrass

Bluebunch Wheatgrass

Not to be outdone is Bluebunch Wheatgrass, this sturdy erect grass provides the perfect medium to showcase winter’s frost. 


 Sand Dropseed

Sand Dropseed

Sand Dropseed takes a bow in front of a delighted audience while it showcases its signature “swoop”  as I call it; head gentle bowed to the side as stems try to hold up the abundance of seed heads made heavier by a hearty coating of snow and ice.

 

Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda)

Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda)

By Mary Ann Simmons, Columbia Basin Chapter of the WNPS. *This article was originally published in the Phlox Phlyer, the newsletter of the the Columbia Basin Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society.

Sandberg bluegrass is a member of the Poaceae family and one of the first bunchgrasses to green up in the spring. This small cool-season native grass (generally <10 inches in our area) is widely distributed both in the State and in the western US. The leaves have the typical bluegrass characteristics of prow-shaped tip and double groove down the center of the leaf surface.  Plants of the Sandberg bluegrass complex have extensive, deep penetrating, coarse, fibrous roots that make them drought tolerant... 

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Red-flowering Currant

Red-flowering Currant
"It happens every year.  As soon as the red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) blooms in the nursery there is a rufous hummingbird on it.  I saw my first male hummer of the spring on Saturday, checking out the spot where the feeder at home hangs each year, making me realize that this little guy was here last..."

Enjoy this repost of the April 5, 2016, article by Ted Alway of Derby Canyon Natives.

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Adding Long-Lasting Color to Your Low Water-Use Landscape

Adding Long-Lasting Color to Your Low Water-Use Landscape

I love native plants, from the soft texture of fringed sagebrush to the dazzling display of yellow blooms that encompass Oregon sunshine.  Each native plant adds a unique texture and color to a Heritage Garden (HG). When we developed the HG Program we realized that natives, although dazzling to our eyes, may not provide the long lasting color that most traditional gardeners expect from their gardens (remember the kaleidoscope of color provided by natives’ peaks in the spring).  Enter the allowed 25% non-native plants to the HG criteria. 

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