Our catalog looks different from other nursery catalogs because we are a different kind of nursery. We grow plants for the harsh conditions of environmental restoration anertilized, mulched, irrigated, or fussed over in any way after they go into the ground. So, our catalog offers information to help you choose plants for these types of circumstances.
If project conditions are better than these, then our plants will still be your best bet. We grow them to thrive in difficult environments, and with a few amenities they will be all the more fabulous.
The catalog has four main parts:
- Description of our nursery practices
- Species Descriptions: terms defined, trees and shrubs, emergents, groundcovers and herbaceous
- Species selection guide
- List of other references
If you already know what species you want, you can check the species descriptions for details on placement and handling. If you know your site but are not sure what to plant there, first check the species selection guide for a list of plants that can succeed in your site’s conditions. Then go to the species descriptions for additional information.
Note for Gardeners and Landscapers
Although this catalog does not emphasize the plants’ appearance, they are beautiful. If you want more information on how a species looks and how to use it for landscaping, please ask us or check out the references listed at the end of this catalog. Keep in mind that we sell true native species only; we do not grow cultivars that have been bred to enhance the way they look or perform.
Enjoying natives in a garden may require a shift in your expectations; they may not flower as lusciously as cultivars and may drop leaves earlier, but they offer lushness and a lovely aesthetic unique to the Pacific Northwest. Most native plants have added benefits: they have high disease resistance, low fertilizer requirements, drought tolerance (once established), and they are food and habitat for local wildlife. They are wonderful to garden with!
Sound Native Plants is dedicated to growing native plants well adapted for environmental restoration and mitigation projects in the Puget Sound area. Restoration sites are often tough places for plants to grow: poor, compacted soil, no shade, and little water in the summer time. Often, site conditions are different than planned and plants end up in conditions wetter or drier, sunnier or shadier than anticipated—only the most versatile and hardy plants survive.
Based on our field experience and research, we choose cultural practices, types of plant stock, and species that will give you the best possible results in the field. We want your projects to succeed!
Our practices create hardy, genetically diverse plant stock. All of our propagation material comes from western Washington and includes a natural variety of form. We deliberately collect seed and cuttings from tall and short, fat and thin plants to avoid subjectively selecting genetics based on appearance. We use moderate levels of fertilization and irrigation and harden-off our plants in the fall. These measures prepare the plants for inhospitable and variable conditions.
Types of plant stock
All our stock is container-grown. Trees and shrubs are in 1 and 2 gallon pots with a few species in 5 gallon pots as well. Our herbaceous plants and woody groundcovers come in 1 gallon or 4 inch pots, depending on typical species’ size. Emergents are in 10 cubic inch plugs.
We use these container sizes because they give you the best prospect for success—plants large enough to compete with other vegetation and not be lost in the landscape; small enough to quickly recover from transplant shock and require minimal irrigation and nutrients. Our plants will out-grow larger material within a few years, and likely be healthier and more vigorous overall.
We believe container-grown plants are the most versatile. While bare root material can only be planted a few months of the year, container-grown plants can be installed nearly year-round, giving you greater flexibility for scheduling your projects. Compared to bareroot or balled and burlapped (B&B) material, containers are also easier to plant correctly and less prone to damage during handling and planting.
We value all our Pacific Northwest natives, but focus on growing what we call the superstars of restoration; these are the species we have seen thrive even with rough handling, poor soil, and more or less shade or water than expected (see Superstar list, page 28). We also grow some of the more finicky natives, but recommend special treatments to help them succeed; see species descriptions for specific details. Please contact us if you want a species that we do not list in this catalog.
Cooke, S. S., ed. 1997. A Field Guide to the Common Wetland Plants of Western Washington and Northwestern Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society/Washington Native Plant Society. Seattle, Washington.
Indispensable for learning wetland plants in western Washington. This book is best for inter-mediate to advanced botanists, but beginners would find it useful as well. Organized by large plant groups (trees/shrubs/herbs/sedges/etc.); illustrated with line drawings and some color photographs.
Jacobson, A. L. 2001. Wild Plants of Greater Seattle. Arthur Lee Jacobsen. Seattle, Washington.
A new field guide to native and naturalized plants of the Seattle area. This book fills in some gaps left by other guides, including the many weeds and other naturalized species found alongside the natives. Species descriptions emphasize ornamental attributes and are accompanied by line drawings. There are also species lists for different habitat types and recommendations for appropriate wild flower mixes. Includes some typos and no keys.
Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing. Redmond, Washington.
The favorite field guide for many serious and amateur botanists. Impressively thorough in its coverage and includes pointers on distinguishing between similar species. Lots of ethnobotanical information. Illustrated with color photographs and line drawings of nearly every species. Organization is somewhat confusing-by family in some sections, by larger groups in others.
Propagation and Salvage
Leigh, M. 1999. Grow Your Own Native Landscape. Native Plant Salvage Project/WSU Cooperative Extension – Thurston County. Olympia, Washington.
A terrific how-to guide. Most of the book is devoted to descriptions by species of appearance, habitat, advantages and disadvantages, and propagation and salvage techniques. Also includes descriptions of propagation techniques, commercial sources, and problem plants. Illustrated with line drawings. For a copy, phone WSU Cooperative Extension: (800) 723-1763.
Rose, R., Chachulski, C. E. C, and D. L. Haase. 1998. Propagation of Pacific Northwest Native Plants. Oregon State University Press. Corvallis, Oregon.
Species descriptions, habitat and range, and propagation techniques for a wide selection of natives-mostly from the west coast, but also from the montane regions and east of the Cascades. Minimal illustrations (all drawings).
Landscaping and gardening
Kruckeberg, A. R. 1996. Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press. Seattle, Washington.
The well-known classic on the virtues of native plants as ornamentals, oriented toward the home garden. Extensive discussion by species of gardening merits. Black and white photographs, some color plates, and drawings.
Link, R. 1999. Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Seattle, Washington.
Detailed descriptions of designing gardens and structures for attracting wildlife. Excellent line drawings and some color plates. This book emphasizes design, management, and special features to attract wildlife on your property; most of the information on specific native plants is in Appendix C. Useful for home gardens and larger projects too.
Stevens, M. L., Gordon, D. G., and D. Sheldon. 1993. Restoring Wetlands in Washington. Washington State Department of Ecology. Olympia, Washington.
A guidebook for wetland restoration, planning, and implementation. Contains chapters on planning, site assessment, design, implementation, and monitoring. Somewhat dated, but offers a good overview and introduction for people new to wetland restoration.
Land and Water
A trade magazine covering erosion control and stormwater management that occasionally has interesting articles on slope stabilization and shoreline restoraion. Contains a lot of advertisements. Phone: (515) 567-3191. Website: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Native Plants Journal
A journal intended as a clearinghouse for information on all aspects of growing and planting native plants in the U.S. The articles are well written and cover a wide range of topics. Very attractive, full-color layout. Subscriptions: (800) 847-7377. Website: www.nativeplantnetwork.org. Email: email@example.com.
A quarterly magazine published by Environmental Concern, an East Coast nonprofit specializing in wetland issues. Despite the East Coast focus, this publication often has a wealth of practical information. The occasional “Do’s and Don’ts” column is outstanding. Phone: (410) 745-9620. Website: www.wetland.org.
Society for Ecological Restoration (SER)
An organization for both professionals and lay-people interested in the science of restoration ecology and its implications in management, education, and culture. Publishes the magazine Restoration Ecology four times a year and the scientific journal Ecological Restoration. Pacific Northwest chapter office: (206) 547-9641. Pacific Northwest chapter website: www.sernw.org.
Washington Native Plant Society
A non-profit organization dedicated to learning about and protecting our state’s native flora. Publishes the quarterly journal Douglasia. Local chapters have field trips, monthly meetings, and newsletters. The members are very friendly and happy to help you learn to identify plants. For information on the chapter nearest you, phone: (888) 288-8022. Website: www.wnps.org.
We thank and greatly appreciate Jim Evans, Ron Vanbianchi, and Fred Weinmann for technical edits on this catalog, and Monica Bertucci, Mary Jo Buza, Rip Heminway, and Susie Vanderburg for layout and organization edits. And thank you to all our colleagues and fellow plant nerds who have talked shop with us over the years—we couldn’t have learned all this without you.
We take responsibility for any mistakes or errors contained in the catalog; please provide corrections to Jordan@soundnativeplants.com or (360) 352-4122.