At our restoration site on the Katzie Slough in Pitt Meadows, we have planted a number of native trees and shrubs to help stabilize the streambank, prevent erosion, and provide the slough with more shade. Last year, I wrote a blog highlighting some of these species. At the request of some of our green-thumbed supporters, here is part II! Let us know if you add some of these plants to your gardens this year.
The smallest and shortest of the plants at our restoration site, thimbleberry is a low and dense shrub with large, lobed leaves. In the spring and summer, it develops white flowers and raspberry-like fruit. The berries are edible and other parts of the plant are used by First Nations for various medicinal purposes. Thimbleberry provides ground cover which helps to prevent erosion. Unlike other members of the Rubus genus, including salmonberry and invasive blackberry, thimbleberry lacks thorns and prickly leaves. Because of this, I’ve read the soft leaves are a suitable replacement for toilet paper in emergency situations. (Please don’t test this out at our restoration site, if you come to visit in the future.)
Pacific ninebark is a shrub with leaves that look like a cross between a maple and salmonberry leaf. It can be identified by these leaves, as well as the peeled-looking appearance of its bark and the white, round cluster of flowers it produces in the spring.
Like many other plants at our site, Pacific ninebark does well in wetter areas and can be propagated from cuttings, so a few healthy plants can be used to help cover any gaps in vegetation that might occur over time.
The plant will grow 2 to 4 meters in height, helping to shade out invasive grasses and other unwanted vegetation.
Snowberry might be one of the most visually striking plants at the restoration site. As its name suggests, it develops clusters of white berries that make it stand out from other plants. Prior to fruiting, it also has pretty pink flowers. It’s a pretty hardy plant, able to grow in a variety of locations with different moisture and sunlight levels. Like other members of the honeysuckle family, the fruit is toxic to people, but provides food for birds. It would be a good addition to a garden if you are hoping to view more wildlife. It spreads readily from suckers off the root, which makes it great for covering ground at the restoration site, stabilizing the streambank and preventing erosion but might require a bit of maintenance in your backyard if you want to keep it from spreading.
Salmonberry is probably the most recognizable berry bush at our restoration site for Pacific Northwest folks. We’ve all spent some time in the summers keeping an eye out for the pinkish-orange berries and are probably familiar with the deep purple flowers that precede the fruit. Similar to many other plants on the list, it can grow well from cuttings and spreads readily from a parent plant. Leaves and bark are used by First Nations medicinal purposes and young shoots are edible. It is more common in wetter sites and tolerates sun to partial shade. Like many other species on this list, it is popular for restoration sites, as it helps prevents erosion, grows quickly and spreads readily and is beneficial for birds, bees and other wildlife.
Red Elderberry can grow a bit taller than the other shrub species growing at our restoration site. It can reach up to 6 m, or roughly 20 ft, in height. It has long leaves that narrow to a point and in the spring and summer months, it features big white flower clusters before developing clusters of bright red berries. Another plant that is popular among birds and bees, it grows best in wet sites with sun exposure or partial shade. It is advised to only eat the berries when they are ripe and avoid eating other parts of the plant or unripe berries as they can cause stomach upset.
Stay tuned for more updates on our restoration site through the summer as we get back out into the field regularly to perform maintenance!