What to plant
We have two very large doug firs in our back yard and want to plant perennials and or bushes around it and near it. Water is not a problem and we realize that we will have to berm the plantings because of the roots. It is mostly shady but does get some sun. We were told to plant only native species in the area. One suggestions was service berry. Do you have any other suggestions? Thank you.
Washington County Oregon shade gardening
Thank you for using Ask an Expert for help finding Willamette Valley native plants.
There are several publications online to help with your search for plants compatible with the douglas-fir environment. First, “Native Plants for Willamette Valley Yards”. You will find sun and water needs spelled out, as well as height and other features. Find it here: http://library.oregonmetro.gov/files/native_plants_willamette_valley_lo_res.pdf
The "Portland Plant List" groups natives by plant community, listing both shrubs and perennials that would suit your trees. Snowberry is certainly one of them. See here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/index.cfm?&a=322280
Another publication of interest is the "Meadowscaping Handbook", here: http://wmswcd.org/library/meadowscaping-handbook-2/
Douglas-firs take a tremendous amount of water from the soil each week. As you are aware, be watchful about your new plants getting enough water for them to become established.
Have a good gardening year,