Here is a side shot of one side of my outcropping. It will soon be ready for planting (fun fun). This area gets full sun with a western exposure. It is at the top of a hill that slopes down to a lower grassy area and pond. The hillside will be overseeded with erosion grasses and wildflowers (which may or may not take). I want to keep the plants in the outcropping fairly low so they don't obstruct the view. I am leaning heavily toward natives, but not closed minded about cultured plants. Above the outcropping is a mowed lawn. Bring on the ideas!!
Here's a look at the other side. I would like to tie them together, and the far end kind of just dives into the grass. We will likely create a mown path (ADA access) that will swing around the boulders and back to the patio. Still kind of cerebral at this point.
Evergreen huckleberry: native, good looking in all seasons, edible berries, can be grown in full sun though is shorter than if grown in shade, slow to get established but will take off after a year or two.
Cammasia if you want a native bulb for spring bloom time. The flowers are a gorgeous blue, last only a short while but worth it anyway in my opinion.
Red twig dogwood will stay short if you cut it back regularly. Winter color! Put it in a place where you won't mind a little suckering is the usual advice I've heard about this one, but mine has been in place 5 years and it isn't rampant just expanding a little.
How are you for deer, the 4 foted bush and tree manglers? In other words, do you need deer resistant ideas?
A native shrub I would NOT recommend is the upright form of Mahonia, gangly, prickly, and hard to get out if you decide you don't like them after they grow out of their cuter baby phase.
Oddly enough, I have never seen a deer in my yard. We live in a very rural area and have 15 acres ourselves, most of our neighbors have at least 10. Lots of woods. No deer, no raccoons, no squirrels -- I guess they have enough habitat to make it not worth their while to come up to the houses/dogs or something. So, no, deer proof is not a problem.
The huckleberry is on my list, as is salal (should stay shorter in full sun).
You are extraordinarily lucky!! I guess they have enough to eat in the woods, or there are natural predators keeping the numbers from getting out of control. Here on Vashon, there is nothing culling the flock except the occasional unfortunate meeting with an automobile. No coyotes or cougars and only the very occasional bear that swims over at times of very low tide.
This bush is pretty deer proof, even though that doesn't matter in this case. Osmanthus delayvii. it stays 3 or 4 feet tall, has small dark green leaves, and fabulous smelling flowers in bloom right now. It isn't native though.
The native Red flowering currant is in bloom now also, and they are eye-poppers. They get taller, but maybe you could put in one or two taller things.
I have lots of native salal and dislike it immensely in any of my cultivated areas. It spreads with runners and is really hard to get out. The native mahonia is very nice, on the other hand, and seems much better behaved. .I am also very fond of my native huckleberreis, though they are decidious and probably a little taller than you would want there. Beware of the sword ferns as they sneakily move from very nice accent plants to huge monsters that are really dificult to get out or move.
I know what you mean about the sword ferns, but do plan to use them in one corner. They will be under a rather boring pink shrub (I never remember what it is) and can colonize the area up to a pathway. I think giving them a definite space will work. If I can ever get out back, I think I actually have ferns other than sword that I can utilize. I especially like the look of snowberry growing with ferns, and have some of that on hand.
I've never had any luck moving salal in, oddly enough. I do like it though and there is lots growing in the ditches I can scoop up. Might use kinnikinnik. I do want something evergreen to tie things together.
I'm noticing more mahonia growing amongst my trees now that the cows are gone. Not sure how tall it gets, so far appears to be mid sized.
We have property in Okanogan County that is rampant with roses, not sure if they are nootka or the other variety. I plan to try to move a bunch of those to the area below the big huckleberry in the first photo.
Definitely plan to work in some mock orange and ribes.
That is a beautiful area to play with! I love your rocks. Your area reminds me of the area in this photo, which I took at the Vashon Island garden tour in 2009, accompanied by Holly! I remember thinking 'oh to have that open space with full sun'!
Apparently you have the native plants covered so I'll chime in with the other kind. How about a moderately sized ceonothus? And have you considered any clumping grasses? I love how the taller grasses create movement in the garden, and provide winter interest, too. I'm especially partial to the last rays of sun shining through them at the end of a summer day. How do you feel about cape fuchsias? They are not evergreen, but would put on a good show in your location and be hummingbird magnets.
And then I think about something like a graceful dwarf conifer?
THANKS for the great ideas - keep 'em coming. My plant sister is coming over the hill this weekend and between my son, my sister, and myself, we should come up with some sort of planting plan. And the sun is out. Life is good.
Jan, I've never had a formal 'plan' before - this will be quite new for me. I've also never had such a large expanse of unpopulated dirt, my beds have just slowly evolved, usually expanding in the spring when I cut in my edges - adding a swoop here, or a bit thicker there. I take that back -- when I transformed my veggie garden to an herb garden, that was a big step too (and still evolving), but that 'plan' was pretty loose - I basically just picked up whatever herbs I could find in every nursery I went to, and then tried to figure out how and where to fit it in. Lots of rearranging, but fortunately most herbs are very forgiving.