Native & non-native plants in the patio garden. Photos taken in May 2015.
This is my new garden in Rainier Vista, a neighborhood in Seattle just one mile from my old garden, the Cascadia Garden. It is 18 months now (May 2015) since I first began to work on this garden. It has grown amazingly fast, perhaps because it has grown entirely in Cedar Grove compost delivered in November of 2013. The native soil is clay. I left that alone & planted in the compost I spread over the clay. We call this house Ell Alley, because it sits in the ell of 2 alleys that divide our block of 19 new homes into 3 parts. The Ell Alley Garden also has 3 parts. The largest part is a Pacific Northwest Coast native garden. There are also 2 parts with mostly non-native plants, one under the large ash tree in the front & another, much smaller garden, between the patio & the parking pad in the back.
In the native garden, I have used plants that grow in the region that stretches along the coast from northern California to the Alaskan panhandle. Some plants are shared throughout this area & others do not occur naturally in western Washington. There is a shaded portion that is planted with forest plants & a sunnier area that is more of a meadow. I won't include the long plant list here, but it includes Acer circinatum (Vine Maple) Asarum caudatum (Wild Ginger) Blechnum spicant (Deer Fern) Erigeron glaucus (Beach Aster) Fragaria chiloensis (Sand Strawberry) Iris douglasiana (Douglas Iris) Mahonia repens (Creeping Oregon Grape) Penstemon serrulatus (Cascade Beardtongue) Polystichum munitum (Sword Fern) Ribes sanquineum (Flowering Currant) Rubus parviflorus (Thimbleberry) Sambucus racemosa (Red Elderbery) Tellima grandiflora (Fringecup) & Tolmiea meinziesii (Piggyback Plant).
There are many places to find native plants in Seattle. Many nurseries have sections devoted to native plants. There are a number of native plants that are commonly used in gardens. Those are available almost anywhere & include Acer circinatum (Vine Maple) Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) Blechnum spicant (Deer Fern) Erigeron glaucus 'Sea Breeze' (Beach Aster) Polystichum munitum (Sword Fern) Ribes sanquineum (Flowering Currant) & 3 species of Mahonia (Oregon Grape) M. aquifolium, M. nervosa & M. repens. An excellent source of native plants is at the annual Washington Native Plant Society plant sale. The West Seattle Nursery had an excellent collection of native plants this year.
This blog was started in 2008 as Metropolitan Gardens to provide information about gardening in Seattle & the Pacific Northwest. It was later expanded to include information about parks, community gardens & public gardens in the US, Canada, Europe & South Africa. These can be found by clicking on Parks P-Patches Public Gardens. Natural areas in the US & South Africa can be found by clicking on Nature. The primary focus has always been on Seattle. However, many posts are based on photos taken while traveling. Please feel free to use the basic gardening information & plant lists found by clicking on Gardening in Cascadia. There are also posts on Urban Landscape, which is primarily architecture. Comments are welcome. Posts are scheduled on the 1st Friday of each month October-March & twice a month April-September. Seattle Urban Landscape offers garden design & consultation at very reasonable rates in Seattle, & garden design by email in other areas. Contact Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.