By Master Gardener Jane Wentworth
Although our recent cold rains may not inspire us to even consider planting, the Vernal Equinox and spring are just around the corner.
There is still time to order native plants from the San Juan County Master Gardener/Conservation District Native Plant Sale. The sale is scheduled for March 29, 9 a.m. to noon, on San Juan (Fairgrounds), Lopez (Sunshine Builders) and Orcas Islands (The Grange).
Plants native to the Pacific Northwest are beautiful in the garden and landscape, are beneficial for wildlife, and improve habitat and plant diversity.Here are a few noteworthy trees and shrubs to consider:
— Pacific Crabapple (Malus fusca) has attractive flowers and fruits and is a good plant for creating thickets. It can grow in wetter soils.
— Douglas Maple/Rocky Mountain Maple (Acer glabrum) is a small tree or shrub that occurs naturally in the San Juan Islands. Both its leaves and twigs add fall and winter color to the garden or landscape. It is better adapted to drier, open sites than the more commonly planted Vine Maple (Acer circinatum).
— Sweet Gale (Myrica gale) is an aromatic, deciduous shrub, fixes nitrogen and is a good choice for wet or poor soils.
— Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) has attractive leaves and flowers and is a good soil-binder.
— Garry oak (Quercus garryana) is also known as Oregon white oak. It grows well on dry, rocky slopes or bluffs as well as in rich, well-drained soils. It is a beautiful, heavy-limbed tree familiar to our natural landscapes.
And don’t forgot the understory plants. Ferns add grace and year-round color. We have Deer fern and Sword fern available in small plugs that are easy to plant. Evergreen huckleberry has glossy leaves and edible berries. Salal and Kinnikinnik also provide rich evergreen leaves and colorful berries.
Some species may already be sold out, please call WSU Extension for more information. Quantities are limited, so order now. The deadline for orders has been extended to March 21. A limited number of plants may be available on the day of the sale.
For more information and the entire list of plants and to print an order form, go to http://sanjuan.wsu.edu, or call WSU Extension at 378-4414 for information and order forms.