Flower Power! Carl Grimm

By AM Northwest Staff

Flower Power

Metro’s natural gardening specialist Carl Grimm was on the show today to share ideas for what you can plant now for an explosion of color in your garden later. He explained how flowers are not just great to look at, but also excellent for attracting hummingbirds and native pollinator insects. If you choose the right plants—including native and drought-tolerant varieties—your garden can even thrive without pesticides or fertilizers! Here are a few top picks:

Ceanothus/California lilac

This medium-tall shrub has gorgeous glossy leaves great for arrangements and a stunning show of blue blossoms in spring. Most do best in full sun and require good drainage.


This perennial starts blooming purple or pink in spring and just keeps on going through summer and beyond. It likes the sun or part shade and grows about two feet tall.


This perennial puts out an amazing show of yellow daisy-like blossoms all summer and fall. It spreads a little so it fills in and gives you new plants to populate your garden. It likes full sun and grows about two feet tall.

Sword fern

This Pacific Northwest native is great for form and foliage accents in cut flower arrangements. It loves the shade or part sun and grows about two to three feet tall.


Penstemons put on a great all-summer show of red, pink or purple blossoms that hummingbirds love. They thrive in sun to part shade and reach about two feet in height.

Seaside daisy

This native perennial is a wonderful evergreen groundcover that blooms profusely with pink-to-purple daisy-like flowers through the summer and beyond. They are great for attracting beneficial bugs like threatened native pollinators and tiny mini wasps that eat aphids so you don’t have to spray.

Cardoon- This delicious Italian vegetable related to the artichoke is an amazing fountain of frosty gray foliage nearly nine months out of the year. It grwos 3-6' tall in full sun!

Rosemary- Most people may nto realize this delicious culinary herb is an evergreen shrub with beautiful blue-lilac flowers through the Winter and Spring, and even into the Summer and Fall. Hights vary from 1-3' and they love the full sun!

When planting…

Be sure to add compost to your soil before you plant. If you think your flowers will need an extra boost of nutrients, mix in some alfalfa meal pellets for fertilizer. Alfalfa is available at any feed store, it provides a broad array of nutrients and it doesn’t easily wash away into storm drains, so our streams are kept clean.

For more information on four-season flower gardening and other natural gardening topics, contact Metro at www.metro-region.org/garden or call 503-234-3000.


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