A Native Plant Garden By Clay Wesson Yamhill Soil & Water Conservation District at Miller Wood Nursery
What are Native Plants? A "native" is a plant under cultivation that grows wild in the same local region. A plant that is removed from its native setting to gardens elsewhere in the world is considered an "exotic" or "introduced" plant. Over thousands of years, native plants have evolved and adapted to the local soils and climate without human influence. Why Plant Natives? As we have populated our earth, we have physically moved and changed a vast number of natural habitats and ecosystems through the introduction of new plant species to parts of this world that nature never intended. It was not always in our understanding that someday this "introduction" of new plants may possibly have an effect on these delicate natural ecosystems. It is important for us to try to support our local and natural bioregions by planting native species for the benefit of the native wildlife and rebuilding of these once thriving original flora inhavitants. These native plants have also co-evolved with local wildlife like bees, butterflies, and birds, and they have built a relationship that requires the resources offered by these native plants. Planting natives back into our local bioregions controls pests and helps plants pollinate. They also help save time and money, as most species need little if any watering or other maintenance and they make a yard a more beautiful and interesting place to be! Planting natives is a conscious choice and an example of the inspired stewardship we strive to encourage at the Soil and Water Conservation Districts. There are helpful field guides written by district employees that are specific to natives of each County. The majority of the plants we offer at our native plant sales are adapted to thrive in the Willamette Valley. They are low maintenance and wildlife-friendly.
"Landscape seen through the openings of the building thus placed and proportioned, has greater charm than when seen independent of the architecture. Architecture properly studied in relation to the natural features surrounding it, is a greater clarifier and developer of the beauty of the landscape." Frank Lloyd Wright, ~1925
Ten Landscape Tips from Frank Lloyd Wright: from The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright text and photographs by Derek Fell, 2009
Expose the house foundation to show where if meets the ground. Wright particularly disliked shrubbery hiding his artistry. To soften hard architectural lines he preferred to plant trailing vines in dish planteres on pedestals and window box planters. This draping effect then helped the building blend with nature.
Where an exposed site needs plantngs for shelter or aesthetic appeal, first consider the use of indigenous plants as these are likely to be more reliable and require less maintenance than non natives.
Flower color among plants is secondary to texture, shape, and form. However, Wright did like to have flowering trees and shrubs for fleeting color, and also perennials as armloads of flowers for cutting to create indoor floral arrangements.Try
Try to make your home landscape distinctive. Wright saw the use of natives as vital in making his home part of the regional siting and to create interesting sculptural accents.
Allow trees and shrubs to grow naturally. Learn the art of pruning by purchasing a good book. Trees and shrubs that outgrow their boundaries can be carefully sized back and still look natural. Do not trim shrubs into topiary shapes so severely that they look like meat balls.
Take as muich interest in the house surroundings as you do the house interior. Plant for privacy and shelter as well as aesthetic appeal.
Create vistas where none exist and preserve vistas that have become obscured by vegetation. A view of water -- a lake or river -- is especially desirable.
Consider a vine covered pergola leading from the house to a garden room or between two sunny garden spaces. This produces a leafy tunnel and a sense of compression, then release, when you emerge into the sunlight.
Use sculpture as focal points, particularly at the end of a path or entrance to a garden space. But choose sculpture in scale with the surroundings.
Digest other garden styles such as French formality, Italian baroque, and Japanese imperial, but do not slavishly copy them.
Thank you to our donors: GreenWorks Landscape Architects - 2004 Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs - 2007 & 2014 Oregon Roadside Council - 2007 & 2014 Hardy Plant Society of Oregon - 2009 Marion County Water & Soil Conservation District Landowner Assistance Program [LAP] - 2010 Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board [OWEB] - 2005 High Tech Turf - 2011 & 2013 Margaret Bagley - 2011 Monrovia Horticultural Craftsmen - 2011 Scott Buley & Catherine Spangler - 2013 & 2014 Jenny Meisel - 2014 Bosky Dell Natives - 2015
Marion County Master Gardeners - 2015 Silverton Poetry Association - 2016
Gordon House Garden Plant Lists A Native Bouquet Crimson columbine [Aquilegia formosa] California poppy [Eschscholtzia califormica] Common camas [Camas quamash] Cow parsnip [Heracleum maximum] Oregon sunshine [ Yarrow milfoil [Achillea millefolium] Tough leaved iris [Iris tenax] Mini daffodil [ Gateway Entry Garden Cow parsnip [Heracleum maximum] Penstemen Yarrow milfoil [Achillea millefolium] Tough leaved iris [Iris tenax] Woodland strawberry [Fragaria vesca] Stair Artifact Garden Red flowering currant [Ribes sanguineum] Oregon grape [Mahonia aquifolium] Cornus Corner Knoll Garden Oregon fawn lily [Erythronium oregonum] East Terrace Circle Garden Hino Crimson azalea Wild lilac
Gordon House Landscape Update
The most recent installment phase of a landscape designed by Greenworks PC is nearing completion at the Gordon House in Silverton thanks to the generous help of many individuals and organizations.
In spring 2007 the Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs provided the Gordon House Conservancy with the initial funding needed to begin installation of the first large trees and shrubs. Several more Oregon white oaks (quercus garryana) were added near the house, enhancing the native oak savannah that already surrounds the site. The addition of vine maples (acer circinatum) flowering currant (ribes sanguineum) and several western redbud trees (cercis occidentalis) now provides dappled light to the surrounding approaches to the entryway. Compact Oregon grapes (mahonia aquifolium ‘Compactum’), sword ferns (polystichum munitum), yellow twig dogwoods, dwarf redtwig dogwoods, snowberries (symphoricarpus albus), Nootka roses (rosa nutkana), kinnickinnick and azaleas both carpet and color the surrounding area. A Hick’s yew hedge offers a serpentine line which is enjoined by a circuitous planting of evergreen huckleberries (vaccinium ovatum). With its new curved planting areas, the house now typifies the kind of home Frank Lloyd Wright would have recommended to his middle-class clients.
More native annual and perennial flowers and forbs were added over the years. We now have the following additions that will only continue to improve from year to year: western columbine (aquilegia formosa), goatsbeard (aruncus dioicus), trout lily (erythronium oregonum), great camas (camassia leichtlinii), common camas (camassia quamash), harvest brodiaes (brodiaea coronaria), Henderson’s shooting star (dodecatheon hendersonii), Oregon geranium (geranium oreganum), Oregon iris (iris tenex), common yarrow (achillea millefolium), river lupine (lupinus rivularis), Idaho blue-eyed grass (sisyrinchium idahoense), inside-out flower (vancouveria hexandra), and California poppy (eschscolzia californica).
The project could not have been completed without the help of Gordon House volunteer gardeners, the cooperation of small local native-plant nurseries, and funding provided by the Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs, the Roadside Council, and individual museum visitors who participated in various fundraisers. Plants were purchased or donated by the following nurseries: Bosky Dell Natives, Inc., Leach Botanical Garden, Oak Point Nursery, Oregon Native Plant Nursery, Wallace Hansen (Native Plants of the Northwest), and Monrovia.
In 2014, the Gordon House Conservancy was awarded the Ellen Ambuhl Conservation Award. The Oregon Federation of Garden Clubs and the Oregon Roadside Council awarded funding for interpretive garden signage. The signage recognizes the purposes of the organizations and tells visitors about the Oregon native plants and landscape design demonstrated throughout the gardens around Wright's organic architectural design.
There is still work to be done, with many new projects in the works. The arrival of the remaining plants included on the plan: allium amplectens, collinsia grandiflora, woolly sunflower (eriophyllum lanatum), cow parsnip (heracleum lanatum), barestem lomantium (lomatium nudicaule), potentilla gracilis, and western buttercup (ranunculus occidentalis). This, combined with other efforts such as development of the Wright designed west lawn terrace, the continued self-publication of a seasonal Gordon House Garden Guide, development of the Elsa Coleman Memorial Garden, and an expanded volunteer effort will only help our garden to grow.
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