A beautiful garden that can grow itself? Get real! Growing a garden you can be proud of takes a lot of hard work, right? Well, if you’re thinking of adding a few native plants to your landscape this season, you’re doing more than saving a bit of effort.
They may be rugged, but they’re not ugly. Native plants are just as bright and colourful as your favourite exotic annuals and perennials. Your options are varied and vast—you just have to know what you’re looking for!
How Native Flowers Improve Your Garden
Native plants are so named because they naturally grow here in BC. They’re beloved for their ability to withstand pretty much any conditions our province can subject them to. They’ve existed for generations beyond us, outlasting unsavoury soil conditions, rough winds, and frosty winters.
So really, native plants can grow without too much help from us. Once you’ve established them in your garden, your native plants will outlast even the toughest rainfalls and remain some of the most disease-resistant plants in your yard. Their adaptation to their home means they also work to sustain other wildlife, like our bee and butterfly populations. All you have to do is give your native plants an occasional watering and enough sunlight. They can take it from there, blooming big and bright in no time.
Beautiful Native Plants
If you’re already sold on incorporating some native plants into your garden, here are a few of our suggestions that can add to the character of your garden.
Pacific Bleeding Heart
Bleeding hearts are beautiful all around with long, fern-like leaves and pretty pink, heart-shaped flowers. Their stems are a lighter shade of green and the flowers are nectar-rich, drawing in the company of hummingbirds and bees alike. They’re perennials that enjoy shadier conditions and consistently damp soil. Their colours can range anywhere from pink to white to red. If you’re looking for a more unusual-looking flower, Pacific Bleeding Hearts are your guys.
This flowering perennial gets its name from its fluffy, wispy white flowers. It’s another pretty shade-tolerant plant, so it’s great for filling in spots in the yard that don’t get much sun. They’re nice and low-maintenance because our frequent BC rainfall usually keeps them sufficiently hydrated. If you like, you can cut the flowers and display them in a vase— they should keep fresh for at least a week.
White flower clusters that resemble little clouds cover this big leafy shrub in the spring— but once these flowers wither, that certainly isn’t the end of the visual spectacle this native shrub provides. Its foliage turns a vibrant red-orange tone in the autumn, and it produces bright blue berries that birds love to snack on. Whether your yard is sunny or shady, arrowwood viburnum will still grow beautifully, as it’s pretty easy to keep happy. It’s very tolerant of moist soils too, so you won’t likely have to worry about root rot.
These shaggy, deep green ferns can grow quite massive, reaching up to 1.5 metres tall! They prefer the shade, and for their soil to be more on the moist side, as this helps them to spread and reproduce. That being said, they are pretty drought-tolerant following the first year after being planted, so it’s not the end of the world if you forget to water them once in a while. Just make sure to water them diligently for that first year, so they can develop strong roots and continue to develop nicely.
Quite similar to the sword fern, except much smaller, this compact evergreen perennial fern has two different types of fronds: fertile and sterile. The fertile fronds reach up to 3 feet tall and come up from the centre of the fern, but only hang around until autumn. The sterile fronds are shorter and surround the fertile fronds, and they stay green all year round. They prefer partial to full shade, because full sun and scorching hot temperatures may scorch them.
Clusters of tiny white blossoms appear in summer on this native shrub, eventually producing tiny edible black berries that make great additions to pies and preserves. Just make sure they’re fully ripened before you eat them, or else you’ll end up with a bad belly ache! Common elderberry shrubs prefer full sun to partial shade, can reach up to 20 feet tall, and they don’t mind a good thorough pruning at the end of autumn to keep things tidy.
With a few of these native plants blooming in your landscape, you’re saving time managing your garden and keeping all your pollinating friends doing most of the heavy lifting. Most importantly, you have a varied, beautiful-looking garden without the extra effort.