In the Garden


A close-up of a small Water Shrew with brown fur standing on a wooden surface, looking to the side with its snout pointed upwards.

Backyard Biodiversity: The Hidden World of the Pacific Water Shrew

By Mariah Jiang / March 22, 2024

Written By: Daniel Krumm While upon first glance it may be a relatively non-descript small gray mammal, the Pacific water shrew is a rare gem in Northwestern ecosystems, and possesses…

A bunch of red berries hanging from a branch.

Native Plant Highlight: Oval-leaved Viburnum

By Anne Ternes / August 24, 2023

Attracting pollinators and pest-eating insects, supporting over thirty species of butterflies, providing food and shelter for birds and mammals, our native viburnum does it all.

A white flower on a branch with green leaves.

Native Plant Highlight: Suksdorf’s Hawthorn

By Anne Ternes / August 24, 2023

Suksdorf’s hawthorn is an overstory tree that supports hundreds of species, looks good while doing it, and has a great name.

A plant with pink flowers and green leaves.

Native Plant Highlight: Kinnikinnick

By Amiel Cruz / August 24, 2023

Oregon ash is a wetland wonder, stabilizing soils, protecting water, housing caterpillars, butterflies, and birds, and providing debris for aquatic habitat.

A tree with green leaves and flowers.

Native Plant Highlight: Oregon Ash

By Anne Ternes / August 24, 2023

Oregon ash is a wetland wonder, stabilizing soils, protecting water, housing caterpillars, butterflies, and birds, and providing debris for aquatic habitat.

Dangling white flowers on a green leaf.

Native Plant Highlight: Drops of Gold

By Anne Ternes / August 24, 2023

Drops of gold and Hooker’s fairy bells are apt names for this lily that grows in the shade of trees, often surrounded by water.

Ferns growing along a path in the woods.

Native Plant Highlight: Lady Fern

By Anne Ternes / August 24, 2023

Lady fern is a tall, broad-leaved fern that grows in the forests and riparian areas of the Pacific Northwest. Lady fern’s spring growth provides food for many insects and snails, while the leaves provide shelter for birds and mammals in the summer and fall.

A grass inflorescence in a person's hand.

Native Plant Highlight: Blue Wildrye

By Anne Ternes / August 24, 2023

Want ornamental grass in your landscape? Wish you could encourage more ground-nesting birds? Just want to know more about native grasses? Come check out our new post, all about blue wildrye.

A black and white bird is sitting on a branch.

The Chickadee’s Guide to Gardening

By JP Marchetti-Mendez / April 13, 2023

As we continue to experience the devastating effects of climate change and habitat loss, it’s become increasingly important to consider how our actions can impact the environment. We can make…

The logo for oregon flora.

OregonFlora: A Comprehensive Guide to the Vascular Plants of Oregon

By Megan Van de Mark / August 23, 2022

If you’re interested in learning about plants native to Oregon, OregonFlora is a great resource to support your learning. They’ve assembled a guide to the 4,700+ vascular plants of Oregon which they share through their website, the Flora of Oregon books, and their wildflower identification app.

A man standing in a garden holding a sign.

Enjoying Our Backyard Habitats

By / May 25, 2022

Several St. Andrew Lutheran Church members have certified Backyard Habitats. Each followed the criteria, available on-line, to study their yards. Learn a little about each of them and their efforts to create habitat!

A cat sitting on top of a wooden platform.

Helping Birds

By JP Marchetti-Mendez / March 24, 2022

There are ways we can help birds! The Backyard Habitat encourages folks to keep cats from roaming unsupervised outdoors and implement actions to reduce bird-window collisions. 

A yellow and black bird sits on top of a branch.

The Garden Experiment

By Janel Hull / September 1, 2021

By Janel Hull There it was, a flash of radiant yellow, orange, and jet black in the tree tops. The bird settled on a branch of my backyard pear tree…

A person taking a picture of flowers with a smartphone.

Garden ID Resources

By JP Marchetti-Mendez / August 13, 2021

People often ask us to identify wildlife, plants, and pests. Although we are happy to help, there are currently many free resources that do an excellent job at that. These are some that our program participants may find useful.

Birds perched on a branch.

Caring for plants, animals, and each other during extreme heat

By Megan Van de Mark / August 12, 2021

As extreme heat and extended periods of drought become more frequent in our region, we wanted to share some tips on how to care for plants, animals, and each other during extreme heat.

Yellow flowers with pointy petals in front of a rocky background.

Native Plant Highlight – Oregon Stonecrop (Sedum oreganum)

By Rachael Loomis / June 15, 2021

Small, but mighty, the Sedum oreganum (Oregon Stonecrop) can bring many benefits to your garden.

Yellow flowers on green background.

Make your outdoor space welcoming for birds and beneficial insects

By Megan Van de Mark / March 9, 2021

Here are tips from our Wildlife Care Center and Backyard Habitat Certification Program (a collaboration with Columbia Land Trust) on steps you can take to make your outdoor space more welcoming and safe for birds and beneficial insects.