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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Rhamnus purshiana, Pyrus, Nyssa, Hovenia, Oxydendrum arboreum, Cornus nuttallii, Malus, Crataegus, Native plants--Care and maintenance, Trees--Pacific Northwest, Quercus, Multipurpose trees and shrubs, Prunus, Acer

Can you recommend some tree species (deciduous) that can have wet feet but will also tolerate dry conditions in the summer? The recommendations should be trees that are not too messy (no cottonwoods or alders, please) and not too big. I would like to plant some trees near a swale in my yard - so they could be sitting in soggy ground during the winter.

Answer:

Following is a list of possibilities, most of which come from Water Conserving Plants for the Pacific Northwest West of the Cascades (by the N.W. Perennial Alliance, 1993). The list includes only trees that 1) thrive in soils which are waterlogged in the winter, and, 2) grow to less than 40 feet tall.

ACER (maple):
A. buergeranum (trident maple)
A. campestre (field maple)
A. ginnala (Amur maple)
A. circinatum (vine maple)
CORNUS nuttallii (western dogwood)
C. douglasii (black hawthorn)
C. monogyna
C. phaenopyrum (Washington thorn)
C. x lavallei (Carriere hawthorn)
HOVENIA dulcis (Japanese raisin tree)
MALUS fusca (Pacific crab apple)
NYSSA sylvatica (black gum)
OXYDENDRUM arboreum (sourwood)
PRUNUS (prune/plum/cherry):
P. virginiana var. melanocarpa (chokecherry)
P. emarginata (bitter cherry)
PYRUS (pear):
P. communis (common pear)
P. pyrifolia (Chinese pear, sand pear)
QUERCUS (oak):
Q. acutissima (sawtooth oak)
Q. imbricaria (shingle oak)
RHAMNUS purshiana (cascara)

Date 2016-11-19
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Multipurpose trees and shrubs, Berberis, Skimmia, Leucothoe, Fatsia, Euonymus, Elaeagnus, Shade-tolerant plants, Osmanthus, Aucuba, Viburnum, Prunus, Camellia, Buxus

Can you suggest some shade shrubs/low trees that could be used in the bottom quarter of a huge, years-old pile of yardwaste and branches that is now a 20 foot cliff? I have started with some vinca minor in the lower part but could use some ideas of some things to plant that might get 15 feet tall, evergreen, and grow in woods/shade or sun through trees.

Answer:

The closest list I could find to meet your needs is one of evergreen shrubs that will grow in shade:

Japanese aucuba - Aucuba japonica vars.
common boxwood - Buxus sempervirens
camellia - Camellia sp.
gilt edge silverberry - Elaeagnus x ebbingei 'Gilt Edge'
Euonymus - Euonymus fortunei radicans
Japanese aralia - Fatsia japonica
drooping Leucothoe - Leucothoe fontanesiana
Oregon grape - Mahonia aquifolium
Burmese mahonia - Mahonia lomariifolia
longleaf mahonia - Mahonia nervosa
holly leaf osmanthus - Osmanthus heterophyllus vars.
English laurel - Prunus laurocerasus 'Mount Vernon'
Japanese skimmia - Skimmia japonica
evergreen huckleberry - Vaccinium ovatum
nannyberry - Viburnum lentago

Source: The Pacific Northwest Gardener's Book of Lists, by R. & J. McNeilan, 1997, p. 46-47

Date 2017-04-27
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Multipurpose trees and shrubs, Garden design, Perennials

I have an asymmetrical flower bed in front of my house. It faces southeast and the house is white, with reflection of light. I purchase plants for full sun but they tend to get fried. I am interested in finding perennials to provide interest 12 months of the year. I prefer shrubs with a variety of texture. Plants that attract butterflies would be nice, and any grasses that are known not to grow out of control. What plants do you recommend that would give me a lush, year-round garden?

Answer:

You may want to plant a mixture of perennials and shrubs, particularly those which tolerate bright light. An excellent book full of lists of plants is Ray and Jan McNeilan's Pacific Northwest Gardener's Book of Lists (1997). This book includes lists such as Shrubs for Interest in Each Season (pp.62-64), and Herbaceous Perennials for Full Sun All Day (pp.138-139).

I think you may find many of the other lists in this book valuable as you design your flower beds.

The Great Plant Picks website has lists of many different plants that do well in Northwest gardens, including pictures and descriptions.

There are quite a few books which address the issue of providing year-round color and interest in the garden, such as Adrian Bloom's Year-Round Garden: Colour in Your Garden from January to December (Timber Press, 1998) and his Bloom's Best Perennials and Grasses : Expert Plant Choices and Dramatic Combinations for Year-Round Gardens (Timber Press, 2010). The Miller Library also has booklists on topics like Winter Gardening and Perennials which may be of use to you.

And, here is an article entitled "Create a Butterfly Garden" (S. Lamb et al., January 2002) from Oregon State University.

Visiting local gardens throughout the year and noting the plants that appear to be thriving may help, and a trip to your local nursery can give you lots of ideas and information. The Center for Urban Horticulture (scroll back for archived posts) and the Washington Park Arboretum both feature seasonal plant highlights.

Date 2017-04-27
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April 11 2017 13:50:16