One of the most useful Washington native plants for Seattle gardens is Acer circinatum or Vine Maple. Acer circinatum grows in sun or shade, needs no irrigation once established. Multiple, slender trunks rise 20 to 30 feet with a 10 to 15-foot spread. The small size, slender silhouette & tolerance for shade make Vine Maple perfect for planting between houses on tight city lots. Acer circinatum is particularly charming among coniferous forest trees such as Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) & Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir) where the rounded leaves in summer & bare branches in winter provide a wonderful contrast. In fall, Vine Maple leaves flame in red, orange & yellow providing one of the most colorful & reliable displays of color in the Pacific Northwest. The graceful upright form (somewhat like a clump of Bamboo) also makes Acer circinatum a lovely specimen tree.
This blog began in 2008 as metropolitan gardens to provide information on gardening in Seattle & places like it. Click on Gardening in Cascadia. It expanded to include Parks P-Patches Public Gardens in the US, Canada & Europe. Then Nature was added. (The only difference between garden & nature is intent.) Most recent posts are not about Seattle, or Cascadia. Many are Urban Landscape, mostly streetscape. Posts appear on 1st Friday & sometimes also on 3rd Friday.
The city of Seattle rests between 2 bodies of water: Puget Sound & Lake Washington. Puget Sound is a substantial part of the Salish Sea & a very small part of the Pacific Ocean. The Salish Sea is set apart from the Pacific by the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington & Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia. The dense, wet clouds of the Pacific Ocean travel as far as the Cascade Mountains, near the Salish Sea & not very far from the ocean. East of the Cascades lies the desert of the Columbia Basin. The moist, temperate climate of Seattle extends south to northern California & north to southeastern Alaska. The Pacific Northwest Coast from San Francisco Bay to Cook Inlet shares a flora dominated by evergreen coniferous forest. The central portion, west of the Cascade Mountains, is called Cascadia. The climate is cool & wet from fall to spring, warm & dry in summer. The Olympic Mountains block Seattle from much of the Pacific rainfall. Seattle is drier than the Atlantic coast of North America & northern Europe, cooler in summer & warmer in winter. It lies near the latitude of Paris & Quebec City.