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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Native plants--Washington, Natural landscaping, Native plant gardening

I'm looking for a good publication on plant communities for my area, Whatcom County in northwest Washington. We want to encourage plant communities that will do well here, and have about 5 acres to work with. Can you make a suggestion, please?


If you are interested in plants native to Washington, I recommend these two books:

Kruckeberg, Arthur R., Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2nd edition, 1996.
Pettinger, April, and Brenda Costano, Native Plants in the Coastal Garden - A Guide for Gardeners in the Pacific Northwest , Timber Press, Portland, OR, revised edition, 2002.

The Washington Native Plant Society is also a good resource.

If you are interested in plants that will grow well in your area, but are not necessarily native to Washington State, please check out the Miller Library's booklist about gardening in the Pacific Northwest.

Date 2018-04-21
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Reviewed by: Brian Thompson on 2018-01-03

[Sowing Beauty] cover

James Hitchmough is the chair of the Landscape Architecture department at the University of Sheffield in England. On his faculty website, he describes his research as focused on the "ecology, design, and management of herbaceous vegetation."

In his new book, Sowing Beauty, he emphasizes the practical application of this research, especially for developing naturalistic meadows in public spaces. He is a strong advocate of sowing carefully designed seed mixes, using established plants only as supplements or embellishments.

I recommend this book to all who are designing restoration sites, especially larger sites where sowing seeds is advantageous to manage costs. Hitchmough has considerable understanding and practice with the creation of new herbaceous plantings, including restoration of native grass communities in Western Australia.

Much of this hefty tome is a handbook to the many steps required in the design, installation, and future maintenance of any new planting. He includes several case studies. While many of his installations include non-invasive, exotic species, he also provides charts using natives from various regions of the world that are effective in restoration projects.

For projects that fall under public scrutiny, Hitchmough considers "how human beings interpret and value" naturalistic plantings, concluding that "human responses are generally very complex, but there are patterns." Fortunately, he provides insights on how to work with these patterns.

Published in the December 2017 Leaflet for Scholars Volume 4, Issue 12.

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May 16 2018 11:15:37