March and April are great times to start planting for the year’s upcoming seasons. In spring, soil and air temperatures remain cool and there is abundant moisture to help young plants develop strong roots.
Plant with natives!
Native plants have many benefits in addition to their beauty. They are well-adapted to our region’s soil and rain fall, require no fertilizer, provide food for wildlife, are easy to maintain and are drought-tolerant. Many regional native plant sales occur this time of year so you can get planting for little cost. The Portland Plant List provides a user-friendly guide to the native plants and nuisance plant species found in Portland and the metropolitan region.
Certify your garden
The Audubon Society of Portland has partnered with the Columbia Land Trust and Friends of Tryon Creek to promote and support the Backyard Habitat Certification Program. The program provides assistance and incentives to residents within the cities of Portland and Lake Oswego to restore native wildlife habitat in their backyards. For a $25 program fee, a technician will visit your site and generate a customized report with information and three certification levels to choose from (silver, gold or platinum). Over the course of a few months to over a year, you craft your native landscape, remove aggressive weeds, plant native plants, add stormwater features (such as a rain garden or ecoroof) and act as a wildlife steward (add food plants for birds, nesting habitat, mason bee box, bat house, or more). Once you are ready to be certified, a technician returns to verify your progress. Plants do not need to be mature or fully grown to be counted toward your certification.
Learn about native gardening
Take a free class near you and learn about bee-keeping, edible landscaping, soil preparation, rain garden construction, growing organic vegetables and more! Remember: “the right plant in the right place.”Metro’s Natural Gardening Workshops are held on a variety of topics at varying locations around the region. East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) hosts natural gardening workshops and the annual Naturescaping for Backyard Habitats Tour. West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District's (WMSWCD) calendar features plant sales, free workshops and more.