Plants for a Northwest Look

Sue Williams

The Northwest look is informal, heavy on shrubs, particularly evergreen shrubs and as such is often considered to be a low maintenance garden. This kind of planting is often seen on older lots that have a number of large Douglas fir trees, meaning that the garden could be somewhat shady and is often on the dry side. If there are no large trees, some trees will need to be added, but they can be kinds that do not grow so large or at least, not as quickly large, as our native Doug. Japanese Maples are a great option and make a wonderful focal point for your garden. 

Trees for the Northwest look

  • Abies koreana “Horstmann’s Silberlocke (a lovely blue and white, small fir tree)
  • Dogwood
  • Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)
  • Japanese maples (from a similar climate, and a good choice for a smaller tree)
  • Mountain hemlock  (beautiful texture, slow growing)
  • Spruce (but not blue spruce, doesn’t do well in our climate)

Shrubs for the Northwest look

  • Azalea, both evergreen and deciduous
  • Barberry
  • Doublefile viburnum
  • Hemlock (shrub forms)
  • Hinoki cypress (shrub forms)
  • Hydrangea
  • Japanese holly
  • Mahonia – Oregon grape
  • Pieris
  • Rhododendron (look for attractive foliage as well as flowers – foliage for 11 months)
  • Yew (shrub forms)

Perennials for the Northwest look

  • Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
  • Dicentra (Bleeding heart)
  • Digitalis (Foxglove)
  • Ferns
  • Hardy Fuchsia
  • Hellebore
  • Heuchera
  • Hosta

 

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About
Sue is the Chief Education Officer and plant resource contact at Watson's. She spends her time teaching our customers and staff about planting and maintaining gardens.
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