I'm new at Gardening: What plants are easy?

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    I have an ugly yard and trying to do my part at not being the ugly house on the block… What shrubs, flowers, and other plants are easy and attractive in Seattle?


    tom kelley

    I’d suggest that you wonder West Seattle Nursery. They have a wide variety of plants and a very knowledgeable staff. Village Green carries a lot of natives that are forgiving and easy to grow. Also, start watching Cisco.



    Native plants are easy because they are growing where they belong, and have the added bonus of attracting native songbirds and butterflies. Native evergreens are attractive all year round. I second the suggestion to check out WS Nursery; they carry a good variety of natives and can let you know which ones will be best suited to the particular conditions of your yard.

    Camellia and P. japonica varieties do well here too; both are low-maintenance evergreens with showy spring flowers.

    This is a tough time for most plants to get transplanted because of the dry and (relatively) warm conditions; waiting until fall or early spring will give your new plants a better chance at long-term survival.

    Good luck and have fun! But be warned, gardening is addictive! :)



    Thanks! where can I get affordable mulch/ soil.?



    For mulch/soil, we have used Burien Bark numerous times. Their “garden mix” is excellent!




    I order soil products in bulk from Sawdust Supply. They deliver for a very reasonable price. I like their Beauti-Gro as a combination compost/woody mulch.

    There are many things to consider when planning a garden other than what is easy to grow. I think you mean to say “low maintenance”. What is the terrain like? Sun, shade? You’ll want a variety of shapes and sizes, variations in height. Lawn is a poor idea environmentally speaking.

    I would disagree that natives are the best choice. They can be, but not always. For one thing, native to Washington State doesn’t mean a plant is appropriate for your landscape, as we have many different growing environments in western Washington alone. Native also does not mean disease or pest-free; pests are native too, and they are acclimated to eating native plants.

    I would double or triple the suggestion to pay a visit to both West Seattle Nursery and Village Green. They have great plants at good prices, and the advice – priceless.



    MrsBui . . . choice of plants is important but sometimes it is not as important as quality of soil/dirt. I spent thousands of dollars on plants from a host of nearby nurseries. Many died and not from a lack of watering or care but because of poor soil quality. Invest in quality soil, mulch, etc. The rest will come (pardon the pun) naturally.



    I have sandy dry soil that I’ve added compost to regularly. Here’s a list of plants that have survived on my sandy, hot, direct sun hillside:

    1) Johnson’s Blue geranium (I’d be happy to share some starts if you contact me at tamvan at msn.com). Thrives on neglect.

    2) Bearded iris – never needs water (my favorite)

    3) Crocosmia – Lucifer and other

    4) Daylilies and Asiatic lilies

    5) Lavender: French, English and Spanish

    6) Peony

    7) Poppy’s – very easy

    I’ve purchased everything at W. Sea Nursery. Love that store! Always buy from a 4 inch pot (cheap).



    WSMom, thanks for this list! Its time for me to redo my front yard plants and I’ve wanted to use low maintenance ones this time around. Appreciate the advice.



    For fragrant flowering bushes I got some lovely daphne and sarcacocca from Village Green. Heuchera is also a great plant to grow. Cape fuschia will attract hummingbirds and Japanese anemone will give them seed fluff to build nests with.

    Camellia, P. japonica, and rhodies can get quite large so plant those in a spot where you won’t mind losing the view over time, or prune them every.

    I tried growing lavender several times and killed it every time by forgetting to water it! It might be low maintenance after well established but not right away. Rosemary will grow really well, tho’.



    You might look at Russ Link’s ‘Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.’ He has lists at the back that divide plants according to height and deciduous or evergreen. Each plant listing tells how big the plant gets and what kind of position it needs: sun, shade, part shade, etc. It also tells what kind of wildlife use them. You can encourage bees, birds and butterflies as well as have an attractive yard.



    Start by enriching your soil. E-landscape is very local to West Seattle and will deliver.

    Fall is a great time to plant…before the cold weather comes. Both West Seattle Nursery and Village Green can walk you through the process.

    Good luck!



    Cannabis Sativa grows well, has a bright green to dark green foliage. It can be trimmed to modest height or makes a great privacy hedge.



    kootchman . . . got seed?



    It’s in no short supply… although, I do not.


    The Velvet Bulldog

    Mrsbui: there are two books you can get from the library to help you out, The Pacific Northwest Gardener’s Book of Lists, and Right Plant, Right Place.

    You will initially want to pay attention to the environment of the area you want to plant–how much sun/shade, what direction is it facing, how much rain, and are there any slopes?

    You will also need to look at your soil conditions–lots of our soil around here tends to be sandy/rocky/clayey. Fortunately, there are some plants that will thrive in this stuff and many of those are natives. However, amending soil with compost is a great idea both for the plants and all the little microbial thingies that help the plants.

    If this is overwhelming, remember you can always do it in phases. If you have lawn to get rid of, you can layer cardboard and mulch on it and let it die off over the fall/winter for planting next year. Or, get some pots and start playing with plants in those and get a feel for what you like.

    Have fun and enjoy the wildlife that will be enjoying your efforts!

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