7 Perfect Plants for a Northwest Summer
Summer in the northwestern United States means a change in weather. Our overcast, rainy days are magically transformed into bright sunny ones. I caught up with Matt Porter, the Live Goods Manager and self titled “Plant Geek” for Woodinville based Molbak’s, a garden and home store. He shared his tips on choosing the best plants for our northwest climate. According to Matt, even in the usually rainy northwest, “Drought tolerant plants do exceptionally well.” Here are Matt’s top seven picks.
Blueberries: As their fruit ripens in late summer, you can pick the berries and pop them right in your mouth, making them the perfect summer plant (and treat).
Conifers: These drought tolerant “bones” of a garden are versatile in that they’re available in many different shapes and sizes.
Echinacea: Blooms all summer and it’s available in a wide range of colors and styles. Echinacea also attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Hydrangeas: Big, bold and summer blooming, hydrangeas thrive in the northwest.
Japanese Maples: Once established, they make a wonderful focal point as well as providing some shade.
Monarda: They peak in the heat of summer and with flowers that sit on top of the plant hummingbirds are sure to stop by.
Penstemon: The tall spikes of flowers on these midsummer bloomers beckon bees and hummingbirds.
All these plants sound fabulous, but what if you’re working with a small space? According to Matt, no space is no problem. His advice, “Go vertical with vines.” He also suggests vegetable container gardening and miniature gardens. “There are smaller varieties for a lot of different plants. Also, many edible plants are being bred to be small to fit into tight quarters as well.”
And if you have the opposite challenge, as in a lot of space to fill, Matt has advice for that too. “Plant in layers, like a stadium, with tall plants in the back and ground cover in front.” One plant that’s perfect for filling in large spaces is a member of the hydrangea family. “Hydrangea Limelight is a great single plant,” says Matt, “it’s easy and takes up a lot of space.”