Book Review: The Pacific Northwest Plant Primer

This spring, I’ve replaced some of the original plants in my home garden, things planted when I first moved here twenty years ago. I was young, in love with the classics, a good place to start a garden education. Winter daphne (Daphne odora), with it’s earliest perfumed blooms, I’d planted all around the garden—two near the front door, and one in the narrow corridor where it scented sweetly every year until this one when I found it withered and done.

After removing a heavy limb from the front garden fig tree, Aaron bemoaned the loss of screening it used to provide. I looked to the location of one of the daphnes, the scragglier of the front two. A taller shrub there could fill the screening gap nicely. And now, at this point in my garden education, it’s native plants that I crave more of at home.

Enter osoberry (Oemleria cerasiformis). One female plant is now at home there, putting on new, leafy green screening growth as I type. Another female joined my hellebores in the back garden, and a prized male replaced the dying daphne in the corridor. Three osoberries and one remaining daphne now strike the perfect balance for attracting birds and honoring the progression of my garden education.

Fueling this education are all the resources demonstrating the significant impact gardeners can have to offset species decline and habitat loss through planting natives. I wrote a review of the best new book on the subject for Pacific Horticulture recently.

The authors responded, “WOW. Thank you! What a beautiful review! And it is obvious to me that you truly get it! It moves me deeply to read your reflection on our book and feel that our messages are being heard. Thank you for sharing such a meaningful and thoughtful review with others and helping to spread the word!” The glow of appreciation is mutual!

Read Book Review: The Pacific Northwest Native Plant Primer then grab your own copy here.


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