Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw. ~Henry David Thoreau
Coppertop gardens are loaded with easy-care Washington native plants, from trees to shrubs to weeds. Many are easiest to notice in the spring. I’ve written a bit about bigleaf maples, douglas firs, Indian plum / oso berry, red flowering currant, palmate coltsfoot, and sword ferns, as well as others I’ve spent time identifying. This has given me a jump on the native plants section of my master gardener training, which includes a native plant ID exam.
Washington Native Plant Society has a helpful website that instructs with great photos. Because I’m often walking around with just my phone camera in pocket, many of my own photos aren’t the clearest resolution.
Rubus spectabilis or Salmonberry – Blooms deepest pink all April here at Coppertop in arching, thorny brambles. Mainly featured in our wild areas and all along the stream.
Gaultheria Shallon or Salal- The native version of this low evergreen plant grows everywhere here, especially around the base of older trees near the chicken mansion. It’s not a well-groomed plant here, but offers green glossy leaves. It blooms in April/May.
Mahonia aquifolium or Oregon grape – These upright evergreen natives with spiny leaves and clusters of yellow flowers in April are found near the salal and grow to be just a couple feet tall. Our larger and bushier specimens have some red leaves, perhaps leftovers from the winter.
Dicentra formosa or Native bleeding heart – I’ve mistaken this spring bloomer for the weed Herb Robert which also has ferny foliage and pink flowers, and have attempted to pull them up, discovering they have a sturdier growth habit than the weed. Their delicate foliage and lovely stems of hearts naturalize and decorate many shady areas here.