Two Great Plants for Drought-Tolerant Gardens

“Ack!” you say. “We have had almost 4 feet of rain since October! What’s this talk of drought?”

South Seattle College instructor, Mark Pollock, reminds us that Seattle experiences 8-10 weeks of little or no water each summer. His South Seattle College Continuing Education class on June 3, “Water-Wise Gardening,” will focus on choosing drought tolerant plants and methods for conserving water.

Mahonia aquifolium

Pacific Northwest natives Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grape) are the real heroes in the drought tolerant garden, even in dry shade. More temperate-loving mahonias come from Asia. Mark’s class will provide information on reading tags and interpreting part-shade, part-sun, descriptions. Mahonias are appreciated for drawing wildlife, particularly hummingbirds. A very popular mahonia for our area is ‘Charity’, best known for its cheery, yellow, winter blooms.

Polystichum munitum (Western sword fern) is the work horse for the Pacific Northwest drought-tolerant garden. They are robust, reliable and virtually maintenance-free, providing texture and color for shade to partial shade corners of the garden.

Photo from Monrovia

Photo from Monrovia

Mark Pollock is the Faculty Coordinator for the Arboretum at South Seattle College and instructor in the Landscape Horticultural Program. A graduate of the program himself, Mark is the owner of Folkestone Gardening in Burien, a landscape design and maintenance company. He will teach a class on Water-Wise Gardening at South Seattle College on June 3, 2017.

Margy Stover has been volunteering with West Seattle Garden Tour for 10 years, most recently as the garden description writer for the ticket booklet. She is a retired teacher and Master Gardener. Margy loves teaching writing and taught writing assessment to teachers for many years. She enjoys gardening and interviewing gardeners.