Creating my Native Plant Garden- Phase 1

I spoke of “rewilding” my yard back in March of last year 2021 to create a mini wildlife habitat and a refuge for myself.  See “The Home Yard as a Natural Ecosystem”. In a tiny way, it would be my way of doing something for this damaged earth, replacing a piece of what has been lost and in that way replacing a piece of myself. 

Unfortunately, a serious knee injury ensued and after months of being on crutches, I am up and for the most part, ambulatory.  Instead of getting started last fall, my goal is to have phase 1, a 21 x 28 section of my front yard completed by the end of March. Approaching my yard in sections is much easier on the budget and initial watering.  When a dump truck came two weeks ago and deposited 5 yards of soil in the middle of my driveway I knew I was fully committed.

Here is how my process has unfolded thus far…

  1. Purchased some resource material: “Real Gardens Grow Natives by Eileen Stark and Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest” by Arthur Kruckeberg
  2. Get inspired- I visited a native plant nursery and other native plant gardens.
  3. Bosky Dell Natives in West Linn, Oregon, was a total WOW for me. The Owner Lory Duralia created a virtual oasis after what was formerly a simple old farmhouse and field.  I wrote about that visit here.
  4. Got a consultant.  Often nurseries will assist you in making your garden manifest for no fee but the expectation to purchase plants from their business. I am supporting Bosky Dell Natives with the enthusiastic support that Lory has graciously given to me.
  5. Joined a Facebook group “Friends of Backyard Habitats- Greater Portland, OR Area“.  
  6. Killed the lawn with cardboard (this can take a while)
  7. Drew a plan and make a notebook with pocket dividers.  Included a map, before pictures, pictures in progress, and eventually after pictures.  Saving receipts in one of the pockets.
  8. Layed out the berms with a garden hose.
  9. Collected natural materials such as downed wood and rocks.  (I have been collecting large rocks from road cuts and construction sites for several years.)
  10. Purchased quality soil and had it delivered
  11. Made berms out of the soil to add elevation for interest.
  12. Placed rocks, downed wood. (Birdbaths and gravel for paths are coming soon.)

Now all I have to do is……

  1. Purchase plants
  2. Plant and watch them grow!

Thus far this has been an inspiring project and a great way to get outside and out of the Covid blues.  Stay tuned!

We were grateful for the neighbors tractor!
Berms ready to plant

All images by the author

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