Monday, June 17, 2024

Thanks for the memories! May 2010-March 2020

Get the local dirt in our northwest corner • Regrowing in 2023!

10 Native Plants to know and grow; Conservation District plant sales coming up

Mar 2nd, 2014 | Category: Growing

Local conservation districts are holding their annual native plants sales this month. Native trees and shrubs can provide many benefits such as improved water quality, enhanced fish and wildlife habitat, and reduction of wind and soil erosion.


Snohomish Conservation District

The 29th annual Native Plant Sale and Celebration will be held March 1 at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The sale provides an opportunity for residents to purchase affordable native trees, shrubs and ground cover plants. The Conservation District will have ran barrel kits for sale, free art activities and games for children and a photo booth for taking pictures with nature-inspired props. Tamarra Neuffer from the Stillagaumish Tribe will be hosting a make-your-own native plant essential oil demonstration, and will have herbal teas made from native plants available for tasting. Other educational and interactive booths will be on site.


Whatcom Conservation District

The 21st annual Plant Sale & Expo will take place Saturday, March 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Whatcom Community College at the Roe Studio, 237 W. Kellogg Road in Bellingham. Pre-orders are accepted through March 17. This year around 40 different species of native, bare-root trees and shrubs along with a variety of potted perennials will be offered. Several local nursery vendors will be on hand to provide more plant purchasing options and information.

Day of sale purchases are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Plants are grown by local and regional nurseries. They are typically, one to two years old, under 24 inches tall. Individual plants range in price from 85 cents to $3 each. A variety of educational opportunities, entertainment, and food options also on site. Order forms and plant descriptions are available on WCD’s website or requested from the WCD office at (360) 354-2035 ext. 3 or e-mail


Skagit Conservation District

Held at the WACD Lynn Brown Plant Materials Center at 16564 Bradley Road in Bow. For more information call the Skagit Conservation District at (360)428-4313 or visit Sale dates are Friday, April 4 from 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturday, April 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Preorders of $100-plus accepted until March 21. For more information, see

The Plant Materials Center  (PMC) is owned by the WashingtonAssociation of Conservation Districts and provides conservation grade plants, shrubs, and services. The 60-acre bare-root nursery located in Bow, where the SCD holds its native plant sale every year, produces over 70 species of quality conservation seedlings and cuttings. Once the seedlings are lifted, they are kept in cold until the day of the plant sale. The PMC provides plants to conservation districts around the state of Washington.

San Juan Island Conservation District

The annual plant sale will be held Saturday March 29. Plants are 1-2 years old and are bare root or plugs sold in bundles of five plants, unless noted. Plants average from 8 to 36 inches in height. Plants are conservation stock, not nursery stock. Pre-orders recommended. Plants can be picked up from 9 a.m. to noon in one of three locations: SJC Fairgrounds, Orcas Island Grange or on Lopez at Sunset Builders.

For more information contact Kris Bayas at the WSU Extension at (360) 378-4414 or the San Juan Islands Conservation District at (360) 378-6621. For a complete list, see

-compiled by Grow Northwest


10 Native Plants to know and grow

Western red cedar – Growing to 150-feet tall, it is a vital component of our riparian ecosystems. When mature, it can provide enduring shade, bank stability, and wildlife habitat. The wood is soft and light but decay resistant which accounts for its resiliency.  A prized species among Native Americans, the wood is easy to carve and used for totem poles and canoes.


Bitter cherry – White to pinkish blooms give way to bright red cherries on this deciduous tree. The fragrant flowers attract pollinators. The fruit is a favorite food for many species of birds and other wildlife. Shiny red bark on middle-aged trees provides nice winter contrast when all else is bare.


Pacific crabapple – A small tree or shrub, it is found in moist soils and can form dense thickets that can stabilize soils. Long lasting fruit persists into the winter making it an excellent choice for a wildlife landscape. The tart fruits can also be made into jam and enjoyed by humans.


Black twinberry – A fast-growing shrub that thrives in moist to wet sites. Its roots bind the soil, reducing erosion, and its berries are eaten by some birds. The peeled bark is used for nest material by some birds and small mammals. This is an excellent native for riparian and wetland restoration projects.


Red flowering currant – This thorn-less shrub grows best in sunny, well-drained sites. Its drooping clusters of tubular, pink flowers are present in early spring and oft visited by hummingbirds. It is a prized native and ornamental.


Snowberry – A highly adaptable shrub, it spreads via underground runners and can create dense thickets, which provide refuge for birds and small mammals. Its white berries are highly recognizable and persist through the winter. It is commonly used in restoration due to its adaptability, soil stabilizing roots, and wildlife habitat.


Thimbleberry – Often found in transitions zones around wetlands, this shrub can grow up to 8-feet tall. Showy white or pink flowers give rise to delicate red berries, which are prized by wildlife and some humans.


Vine maple – A large shrub or small tree, where it grows will affect the way it looks. Growing long and gangly in the shade, full sun will result in a more upright and compact shrub. It is widely adapted and a common plant in riparian areas. Its roots stabilize the soil and its seeds feed a variety of wildlife species. When grown in a sunny spot, its fiery red autumn foliage is a visual treat along the forest edge or residential landscape.

Salal – An evergreen groundcover, it can grow to 3-feet tall and spread via underground runners. It may need to be cut back if used in an ornamental landscape. Its underground stems are excellent for stabilizing soils. Its berries are treasured by wildlife and are an important food source for native peoples.

Kinnickinnick – Another low-growing, evergreen shrub, it typically grows only 6-inches high while spreading up to 15-feet wide. It is a great groundcover sunny, dry locations and can easily be maintained. Strong roots provide soil stabilization and red berries provide forage for wildlife. It is salt tolerant, thus a good choice for seaside locations.

–compiled by Emily Hirsch, Whatcom Conservation District


Published in the March 2014 issue of Grow Northwest

Leave a Comment