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Friday, May 25, 2012

Barberries for Wildflower Wednesday May 2012

For Wildflower Wednesday I am featuring plants I grew from seed last year, some native
Barberries and Sumacs, and a few other natives in bloom.  For more Wildflowers, join the fun at Gail's Clay and Limestone.  

I was excited to find my tiny seedlings from last year starting to grow, Berberis fendleri!  They are not only beautiful shrubs that are very tough, but also thorny to repel deer and have EDIBLE berries.

 They are part of my plan to reclaim an area where the PO dumped many large logs, which has been overrun with Himalayan blackberry vines ever since, 17 years.    Last year I waged total war on the blackberries and cut and removed them all, see the before and after photos last fall in the link.  I now have to patrol and dig any that try to come back, which may take some time but hopefully not as much as dealing with the vines every year.   Here is this area now-

I also planted some Rhus trilobata and Rhus aromatica which have berries as well.  I hope over time the whole area will be covered with shrubs which will help suppress the berry vines.  Rhus sprouting-
Thanks to my Big Leaf Maples, I will be pulling hundreds of seedlings out of the area, in addition to fighting the berry vines.
I have allies in the native plants, though, which also try to move into the vacuum, here a Spring Beauty, a lovely edible plant related to Miner's Lettuce and with an edible tuber-

Other woodland carpet plants are sprouting as well, Circaea alpina and Hydrophyllum tenuipes, Pacific Waterleaf, respectively to the lower left and upper right of another B. fendleri-
These plants can be seen in an early post of mine, in a mature state.  They will now have a chance to fill in here. Pacific Waterleaf over by my woods-

Other native plants are growing here as well, Maianthemum racemosum, Plumed Solomon's Seal, whose flowers have a wonderful, heady, restorative fragrance-
and the very abundant in some parts of my yard Berberis nervosa, what a shock to visit this website and find Mahonia has been renamed Berberis.  They have an edible berry which is good cooked mixed in with other berries and full of antioxidants.  I thicken berries with Guar Gum or gelatin and sweeten with Stevia.
One of the native roses also grows there, some Fireweed, a couple of sword ferns, and a native Red-Flowering Currant Ribes sanguineum-

 and around the corner an Oemleria  cerasiformis.    It is great to see the wild plants liberated from tyranny and able to come back.



  1. Hannah,terrific to see so many of the same plant friends on the other side of the continent - I tell you, I envy you your rain. The mertensia virginica is an ephemeral as you've gathered - leaves completely die down to come back the following year. Some natives when you plant them from seed, like to be kept in their pots for a couple of years before transplanting. I thought I was doing some native cyclamen a favour by getting them out into the garden, only to realize I'd moved them too soon and hastened their demise. Hopefully your blue bells will pop up once they've gathered some steam.
    Best wishes

    1. Yes, I may have been too hasty in planting them out when so tiny. I will have to go check them again, I thought I might see one coming back. I would love to grow them. I do have a lot of other Borage family plants that do well, especially the ground cover Comfrey.

  2. Hannah, Happy WW! Love learning about new plants and Colorado Berberis sounds ilke a cool plant. I was thrilled to get an especially large boulder moved from one side of the garden to the other and it was placed by the workers directly on top of my bluebells! New ones got planted elsewhere!

    1. Sad that the bluebells got squashed. I would love to grow them. I am excited to see what happens with the Berberis fendleri, they were tiny too when planted out last fall so I'm happy to see them return. I just transplanted some more into individual pots that I started this year and hope they will plant out OK in the fall. I also bought a gallon Berberis darwinii last fall and it bloomed well and is setting some berries, so it will be exciting to try them this fall, hopefully they will be larger than the native Oregon Holly Grape berries.