INCREASE BIODIVERSITY: SUPPORT WILDLIFE WITH NATIVE PLANTS

The Pacific Northwest is renowned for its diverse ecosystems and the rich array of wildlife that calls this region home. If you are looking for ways to bring the beauty of natural areas into your landscape, consider growing some of the incredible native plants found in our area.

Well-chosen native plants provide many benefits to gardeners. They can help conserve water, reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers, and create wildlife habitats!

Native plants have evolved and adapted to the specific climatic conditions and ecological communities in our region over thousands of years. They have co-evolved with native animal species, forming intricate relationships. Many of our songbirds, bumblebees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects depend on native plants for their survival. Continue reading to learn more about some of the native plants available at Farmington Gardens that can help you create a haven for wildlife in your yard.

LARGE TREES

  • Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii): This large evergreen tree is fairly fast growing and becomes an excellent windbreak. The cones of this iconic tree attract seed-eating birds such as pine siskins (Spinus pinus) and red crossbills (Loxia curvirostra). The tree’s canopy also provides habitat for numerous insect species including beetles, butterflies, and moths.
  • Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana): This tree anchors many local habitats by providing favorable conditions for several important wildlife types. This includes the western gray squirrel (Sciurus griseus), which is listed as threatened in Washington and sensitive in Oregon, and many birds including dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis), goldfinches (Spinus tristis), nuthatches (Sitta spp.), wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo), acorn woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus), and pileated woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus).
  • Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides): Aspen trees support a diverse array of insect species. These insects, in turn, form the base of the food web, providing sustenance for many other wildlife species such as birds, bats, and amphibians. Several woodpecker species rely on Quaking Aspen for nesting and foraging. Both Lewis’s woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) and the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) are known to utilize aspen forests in Oregon.

SMALL TREES

  • Vine Maple (Acer circinatum): The dense foliage and multi-stemmed structure of Vine Maples offer excellent cover for birds, small mammals, and insects. Additionally, the flowers of Vine Maples attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which are essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems. Rufous (Selasphorus rufus) and Anna’s (Calypte anna) hummingbirds are known to feed on the nectar of Vine Maple flowers.
  • Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii): This tree species produces abundant white flowers in the spring, attracting insects that serve as a vital food source for many bird species, including Anna’s hummingbirds and warblers.

LARGE SHRUBS

  • Red-osier Dogwood, Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea): Known for its vibrant red stems during the winter, this shrub produces white flowers in late spring and blue fruits in late summer. It provides both cover and food for birds such as American robins (Turdus migratorius) and northern flickers.
  • Tall Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium): The bright yellow flowers of this shrub are a favorite of Rufous hummingbirds. The berries it produces in late summer are a valuable food source for western bluebirds (Sialia Mexicana) and American robins.
  • Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus): The dense growth habit and multi-stemmed structure of the Pacific Ninebark offers shelter and nesting opportunities for a variety of birds. The shrub also produces small, reddish-brown fruits called drupes. These fruits are an important food source for numerous bird species, including the black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), American robin, and cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum). Pacific Ninebark is often used in riparian restoration projects. By planting this native species along streams and rivers, it helps restore and enhance habitats that support amphibians like the Pacific treefrog (Pseudacris regilla) and mammals such as the river otter (Lontra canadensis).
  • Douglas Spirea (Spiraea douglasii): Similar to other species with dense growth habits, the Douglas Spirea provides important habitat for birds and other small mammals. Deep pink flowers bloom in early spring and attract pollinators. In bogs, this shrub provides cover for many water birds, namely Marsh Wrens (Cistothorus spp.), and are good hunting habitats for birds of prey.

MEDIUM & SMALL SHRUBS

  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon): A common evergreen shrub in the Pacific Northwest, Salal provides cover and its berries are a key food source for thrushes (Turdidae spp.) and grouse species (Tetraonini spp.).
  • Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus): The dense thickets formed by this shrub offer excellent shelter and nesting sites for towhees (Pipilo spp.) and other ground-dwelling birds. The white berries are consumed by American robins and cedar waxwings.
  • Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii): Birds like the American robin and warbler species may use the dense foliage of this shrub for shelter and nesting purposes. Mock Oranges have long been prized by gardeners for their fragrant, white flowers that also attract pollinators.

PERENNIALS

  • Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa): Showy milkweed is a crucial host plant for monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Female monarchs lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed plants, including showy milkweed. The caterpillars then feed on the leaves, which contain toxins that make them unpalatable to predators. By providing a vital food source for monarch larvae, showy milkweed plays a critical role in supporting the monarch butterfly population. Western bumblebees (Bombus occidentalis) also feed on the nectar of showy milkweed while inadvertently transferring pollen, aiding in the plant’s reproductive process. Supporting bee populations is important for the overall health of ecosystems and the pollination of other native plants.
  • Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana): This perennial is considered a host plant for western swallowtails (Papilio rutulus), whose larvae feed on the leaves as part of their life cycle.
  • Yellow Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus): Yellow monkey flowers produce bright yellow, tubular-shaped flowers that are attractive to a wide range of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. In Oregon, both bumblebees and mining bees (Andrena spp.) are known to be frequent visitors to yellow monkey flowers. They are also host plants for the common buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia) who feed on the foliage of the plant in their larvae stage.

*Please note that this is just a small selection of the many native plants in stock at Farmington Gardens. Visit or give us a call at (503) 649-4568 to check our current availability!