Oregon natives in Portland/Beaverton area

Asked April 30, 2020, 8:09 PM EDT

I have been trying for years to transition my back yard into something that is supportive of native wildlife, and non-toxic for my support canine. The mock orange and mahonias are doing very well; the wild ginger seems to prefer areas that stay drier in the winter wet season. Aside from native spirea, what other options are there? There is one section of the yard that is in full sun- half is submerged in mud during the winter, and all of it is very without irrigation in the summer, the rest is shady, with the same wet/dry pattern. This must be a common problem for dog lovers in Oregon! Due to disability, I can only manage a low maintenance garden.. Thanks very much!

Washington County Oregon

3 Responses

I'm assuming you have seen this blooklet https://www.oregonmetro.gov/sites/default/files/2020/04/29/native-plants-for-Willamette-Valley-yards-booklet-20200428.pdf I like camas but it is really only for the springtime. I have this in my yard and the blooms are almost done and the leaves will be dying back in the next month so it works well in a mixed border. I can't tell if you are looking for shrubs or groundcover, but the booklet has choices with the sun/watering reuqirements, mature size and whether it's easy or hard to grow.

Yes! Thanks very much for reminding me!!! And your help- this ain't easy.
The difficulty lies in selecting natives that are non-toxic to pets. The APSCA site is considered definitive for pet safety/toxicity, but it is kind of short, and incomplete. Mahonias, and mock orange are 'safe', azaleas, rhodies, and elderberries are not. Different reputable sites give different answers about true native red currants. Salal was called safe on a PNW news show. Even though native people used camas for food, it could still be bad for dogs, like potatoes, grapes, garlic and onions are.
If you can think of another source for pet friendly natives- surely there's a Master Gardener with chewing dogs- please let me know. It would be a very popular booklet!

There isn't a good resource for 'non-toxic to dogs' that I know of or can find. I have a dog and I have azaleas, rhodies, elderberries, camas, alliums (this is garlic, onions, shallots, etc) He has never chewed on them (he does like to dig.) I understand your concerns, but I know of no resource that has a comprehensive list of what is 'pet-safe'. What might be toxic to dogs may or may not be toxic to cats, horses or other animals.