It is late January and I am on a seed-ordering binge.

This year I have decided to try native wildflowers not only for their beauty but also for local pollinators. I have some sunny borders, a grassy slope, and a shady area that I hope to turn into a woodland garden.

The grassy slope faces east and receives morning sun and some midday sun from the south. By afternoon it is in open shade. The top part of the slope is also the site of the drain field for the shower and dishwasher of our home. As I cannot plant anything whose roots will damage the drain-field I am planting Camas lilies (Camassia quamash) bulbs with annuals such as Baby-Blue-Eyes, Blue-Eyed grass and Arroyo Lupine. That’s a lot of purple, right? I think California poppy and Meadowfoam will be just the ticket to balance out all the purple. What do you think? I’m thinking ‘superbloom’ of the west coast hills and valleys.

Down the slope the area flattens out. Several years ago I planted four Coastal Redwoods, which are now becoming youngsters and creating an area of shady solitude. I’ve already been planting Redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregano) and sword ferns and this year I’ll add some hardy ginger and fringe-cups.

Closer to the house and patio are the sunny borders flanking a lawn. Originally I had more of an Asian theme in mind but last year I had an epiphany about supporting pollinators after reading books about plant communities so instead I planted Salvia caradonna, Nepeta “Walkers Low’, Mexican Feather Grass, fronted by geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Nasturtium ‘Golden Gleam’, a butter yellow variety.

And, of course, always willing to be distracted by plants, I have been captivated by the variety of ornamental grasses available now.  Lucky me, Shorty’s Nursery had several varieties still on clearance.

Here are some of the native seed companies I ordered from: Larner Seeds, High Country Gardens, American Meadows, and Willamette Wildlings.


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