Blog May 14, 2012

Spotlight on Pacific NW gardening

Everything comes alive in the Pacific Northwest with fair May weather. The last frost of the season is likely behind us, and gardeners have the next 200 days, approximately, to cultivate the annuals, perennials, and vegetables of their choice.

The Pacific Northwest, which is defined by the area bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Cascade Mountains on the east, has a cool growing season. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho as well as the Canadian province of British Columbia are commonly considered to be part of this region, while looser definitions also include the northernmost part of California. Trees and shrubs like rhododendrons and redwoods do well in this part of the country, but so do a plethora of other plants.

There are many resources available to both novice and professional gardeners. The National Gardening Association provides key information on zonal gardening, seasonal plant trends, and how-to videos. Better Homes and Gardens features articles that range from the highly specific to the general, accompanied by helpful visuals, and Sunset is another magazine full of guidelines and inspirational ideas for gardeners as well as home decorators and entertainers.

When choosing plants, don’t discount the benefit of native species, which are proven to thrive in the region’s growing climate and are ideal for creating a Pacific Northwest-themed garden. Consider the goatsbeard with its tall plumes of white bloom or the broadleaf lupine, an evergreen perennial with silvery leaves and blue-violet flowers. Gardeners who want long-blooming perennials need look no further than the blanket flower, which produces vivid red, yellow, orange, or rust colors throughout the summer months.