Did you know it was native plant appreciation week in Washington state? I didn't either until I saw our local Native Plant nursery Woodbrook post it on their Facebook page. To celebrate, I submitted this years plant order to them and went and picked up the plants today! We've been working on our native plant landscape for the 3 to 4 years now. We've done it in phases because one, it is hard work, and two, it costs money. This year, we're completing our backyard plant landscape. (Is anything ever really done?)
Over the course of the winter, I put together landscape drawings that take into consideration our light and moisture levels. There is an awesome resource made available by King County that helped us immensely. The Northwest Native Plant Guide is an online resource that catalogs native plants in a searchable index. It also provides sample landscape design plans, which is super helpful. Hopefully one day Pierce County will provide something as comprehensive. I found the website particularly useful to print their designs and use them as reference for my own design. Once I got our design complete, I put together a shopping list of plants with quantities. This makes getting and identifying what you need a lot easier, or at least it did for us. I was able to provide this list to Woodbrook, and they pulled all of the plants in advance and had the order ready for us.
We chose native plants for several reasons. First, they have low to no water requirements, which is a major objective for our landscape. They also build great habitat, and provide food and shelter for wildlife. In addition, native plants are in line with the Arts and Crafts design principles - which is to use local materials and design elements whenever possible.
Not all of our landscape is native, nor is that really practical if you are trying to feed yourself. There are many edibles found in Washington, such as Miners Lettuce, Salmon Berries, etc., but it is our desire to grow a much more diverse edible landscape. Therefore, I have found mixing lower-maintenance natives with fruit trees and garden annuals and perennials to be particularly useful.
Next up is to start planting, and then sit back and watch it all grow!