Native Species for creekside woodland

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by zinzara, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. zinzara

    zinzara Member

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    Port Coquitlam, BC

    I am a new member.

    I have recently purchased a home on a large property in Port Coquitlam. This property has a creek running through it. On the far side of the creek, part the area is forested with plenty of pacific rainforest features, a mixture of trees, many ferns and lush undergrowth of a variety of species. However, adjacent to this area there was a large patch of Himalayan Blackberries (approx. 20' x 25'). We have removed all of these blackberry bushes, and found to our delight that underneath them was a complex area of terraces (this area is also a steep hill with a flatter area near the creek). These terraces are made of un-mortared native river rock and are extensive and beautiful. This entire terraced area beside the creek is now completely bare (although there are some ferns which will pop up in the spring).

    We are looking for suggestions on what types of native species trees and shrubs to include in the area. Soil erosion is a concern of course so we need to get this started. The soil in the area is well drained due to the hillside and the composition of the soil itself which is silty. The watercourse specifications in our area indicate that there should be an evergreen tree every 10 square metres (which is already the case on the forested area of the property). The forested area is very old and untouched, plenty of nurse logs and decaying material... we would to start preplicated that environment in the bare area as well.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. We really want to help the native species get a foothold here and we are prepared to battle the blackberries until they are completely erradicated.

    Please help.

    Thank you.
  2. HortLine

    HortLine Active Member 10 Years

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    Vancouver, BC
    Dear Zinzara. Thank you for your question re species for creekside woodland.

    We would like to suggest two very good books that hopefully you will be able to acquire from the Library:

    1. "Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest" by Arthur R . Kruckeberg. Published by Douglas & McIntyre.

    2. "Native Woody Plant Seed Collection Guide for British Columbia" . by S . Mishtu Banerjee, Kim Creasey, and Diane Douglas Gertzen. Published by British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Tree Improvement Branch.

    There is an excellent chapter in "Gardening with Native Plants" on shrubs e.g., Oregon Myrtle, Oregon Box, Hazel, Vine Maple, Red huckleberry, Serviceberry, Creek Dogwood, Mountain Ash, Viburnum edule (Squashberry), and Manzanita.

    We do hope this information is of some assistance to you and wish you luck in your project.

    UBC Hortline.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2003
  3. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Metro Vancouver, BC, Canada.
    I would second the suggestion to peruse the books about native plants for the west coast. There are a good number of ornamental plants that are natives. Consider the conditions that the plants will get and the conditions that they thrive in. Many nurseries have limited stock on native plants unless they are fairly ornamental, if you are looking for plants and have a hard time sourcing them, contact Peel's Nursery, they are one of the largest local wholesale growers of top notch native plants.
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Your new property sounds very idyllic and you should be complimented on your goal to maintain the property in as close to a natural state as possible.

    I'm going to third the suggestions kindly put forth by Hortline and jimmyq, but I'd like to add a few comments.

    Don't neglect some of the perennial herbs that you may be able to grow in the area. These are the little things that you may have some difficulty establishing depending on the specifics of the site (or not!), but it can be the little things that give the greatest pleasure.

    Consider joining the Native Plant Society of British Columbia. There are many similar-minded folks that you can share insights and information with.

    Also, in the spring, UBC Botanical Garden and the Native Plant Society are holding a joint Native Plant Sale. This event combines opportunities to learn about native plants from members of the NPSBC and UBC staff with a "one-stop" shopping opportunity to purchase native plants from some of the finest nurseries in the Lower Mainland and area. This spring's event is on April 17.

    Please share your experiences with your garden on the boards. I'm sure many people would appreciate it.

    Best of luck.
  5. I would also add that you find a similar habitat in nature and look to see what mix of species grow there. There are several species that love full sun with wet feet and provide shade for others. Salmonberry is one. Check out Bear Creek Park in Surrey or Kanaka Creek Park in Maple Ridge for ideas.
    Do be aware that other non-natives and invasives also like this habitat -policeman's helmet etc.
    Have fun!
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    As with other gardening, matching adapted plants with specific site conditions produces best success. The 1989 field guide Indicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (UBC Press) gives information needed to assess site conditions for planting new plants based on (indicator) plants that are already growing there. Written to help foresters with establishment of tree plantations, it could just as well be used for a project like yours. Maybe you can find it at a library if you are not interested enough to buy one (or if it is no longer in print).
  7. This time of year you will be able to see if there is a section of the slope which is much wetter than the rest and potentially acts as a seepage for draining the land. I would assume that the top and centre of the slope are drier where the base would be wetter and act as a catchment for draining the surrounding area. The base will also receive more humidity from the creek. I will list some of my favorites which are readily available from native plant nurseries in the Lower Mainland or can likely be ordered through UBC Shop-in-the-Garden. I would use evergreen tree species such as Douglas fir, western hemlock at the top and mid section of the slope and blend into western red cedar as you approach the base of the slope

    At the top and middle of the slope where it is drier, I would suggest:
    Red Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) - spectacular flowers in early spring bloom in conjunction with the hummingbird migration northward.
    Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) - fragrant blooms attract butterflies.
    Ocean Spray (Holodicus discolor) - for any sunny rocky outcrops (Mock orange also does well in rocky outcrops.
    Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) - all of the above love dry rocky soils. This one attracts cedar waxwings in to feed on the berries.
    Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) - One of my big favorites this shrub is adaptable for wet to dry soils. It is the earliest blooming native shrub with multicoloured berries on the shrub at one time. Birds relish the berries and you will likely have a hard time admiring them for long.
    Don't forget to add a smatter some dwarf woodland roses (Rosa gymnocarpa) in amongst the slope in areas where there is some organic matter in the soil.

    For wetter area shrubs, I would suggest
    Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus)- likes it moist, where this plant recieves some sunlight it is a great attractant for butterflies.
    Devil's Club (Oplopanax horridum) - likes it moist; has a tropical look,huge spiny thorns, berries very attactive to birds.
    Red osier (Cornus stolonifera) - likes it moist; can have attractive blue to white berries that attract birds.
    Black Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata) - Again attracts birds and butterflies to berries and flowers
    Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) - a small tree that likes it moist; white blooms feed native insects and bright red berry clusters attract birds. I often have woodpeckers and tanagers eating these.
    Black Hawthorne (Crataegus douglasii) - a large shrub that likes it moist, it produces large quantities of berries that are relished by many birds.

    If you want a suckering shrub (thicket like) to cover large areas try thimbleberry with its large white flowers and insect stem galls that feed the tiny downy woodpecker in winter or its thorny inpassable partner, salmonberry (for wetter areas), which hummingbirds love to nectar on in early spring.

    All of these shrubs and trees are very easy growers. The best bonus is viewing the butterflies that come to nectar on them and the birds foraging on flowers and berries.
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)

    Hawthorn tree
    Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Additional Note: Western hawthorns have been split up recently into multiple species, not all black hawthorns are Crataegus douglasii anymore. See easily found online resources for details, even the statistical analysis used is available online, on publicly accessible (free) pages.
  9. LilyISay

    LilyISay Active Member

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    Abbotsford, Canada
    What a delight to find terraces under the blackberries. Watch the area for the next year though, and make sure it doesn't start coming up again. It's a nasty one for regrowing from root fragments in disturbed soil, like thistle.
    Speaking as a nursery worker, if you do go to a retail nursery to look for specific plants, call first to make sure they have it. It really bites to have your heart set on something and not be able to find it. If you warn them that you want it, they will likely stock it if there seems to be demand. Luckily the showiest seem to be gaining general popularity. To add to the list of plants, you want to consider:
    aquilegia formosa (Columbine)(attractive to hummingbirds) rich soil, dappled shade
    gautheria shallon (salal) groundcover, drought tolerant, part to deep shade.
    Vaccinium spp (huckleberries, cranberries) attractive to birds (and humans!)
    Asarum caudatum (wild ginger) deep humus, deep shade.
    Aruncus dioicus (goat's beard) part sun, forest edge.
    Dicentra formosa (native bleeding heart) part to full shade, moist humus.
    I could go on, but these ones are generally findable.
    have fun!

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