This January I had a fall and dislocated my shoulder, leaving me lop-sided with one working arm, so when it began to snow…. and snow… and snow in February I watched helplessly out my living room window as our trees filled with the heavy wet snow, bent over in agony, and broke. One after the other. And still it snowed as I went to the window all that day and saw the jagged remains of trunks, the large branches dangling, the bushes crushed under the weight of the accumulation.
Flash forward to Spring and a massive clean up campaign! Most of the damage was done to non-native trees, our beautiful lacy-leaved Japanese maples. Our side gardens had all been planted with native bushes, ferns, vines, and ground covers. They all survived and looked none the worse for the snowfall. We have been gradually making over our garden to these hardy locals for the sake of the birds, other pollinators, and also ourselves, so we could learn about native plants at first hand. Could we learn from our disaster and go all-native?
Luckily for us, the Native Plant Society was holding its annual sale just a block or so from our house, at the old State Capitol Museum. We had learned in previous scouting trips to come early and plunge in as the selection quickly thins as avid gardeners make their selections in a twinkling. Everyone is very friendly and knowledgeable; it’s well organized with plants grouped in helpful ways, printed information and tags, and volunteers to answer questions everywhere. But there is no mistaking the glint in fellow gardeners’ eyes as they roam the aisles and fill their boxes. Want a trillium? Don’t hesitate!
Here is our modest but lovely picks: a nine bark bush for a little height, Indian plum for its early blooming flowers and lovely green leaves, a Nootka rose, mostly for its name but it also grows fairly tall and has wonderful blooms and dramatic hips for winter, some Western bleeding heart and three Fringecup whose description won me over with “Basal rosettes of round to heart shaped, often scalloped or toothed leaves and tall late spring stems of one sided bell shaped flowers with back-swept lacy petals and evening scented flowers.” Sounds divine! Oh, and one trillium, to keep our other lone trillium company and hopefully encourage more.
It’s a start! A re-start.