But I'm happy to report the Northwest Territory part of our garden is filling in, and it's clearly proving the appropriateness and value of native plants over these last two hard winters.
The salal filled in well last summer and is looking cozy beneath a lodgepole pine.
The ribes sanguineum is bare now, but we're anticipating beautiful early-spring flowers. Behind it, three camellia x 'Winter's Snowman' bloomed back in November, but are continuing to add to our green screen. The little wild huckleberry in front has thickened up, too.
A lodgepole pine that had a difficult start has recovered nicely and is looking healthy. Our nice neighbor has given us permission to paint the side of his garage. We'll do that this year: that barn red is pretty overwhelming and it looks terrible behind the magenta currant flowers!
The three Western red cedars are probably our the most impressive success. They have filled in amazingly in less than two years: standing on our back patio, I can't see the neighbor's kitchen window. What's more, I can't see their window from inside our bedroom window now, so they can't see in, either.
Looking south, mugo pines, a hellebore, mahonia aquifolium and more kinnick kinnick are helping to cover the vine maple (acer circinatum) bed.
One sad note: we're losing the second of three small rhododendron impeditum. I've pulled out the first dead one and you can see the second one at the inside corner of the patio is browning out now. I know they don't like wet feet, but this little bed has new soil, is mounded, and drains well. It's perplexing and sad to see them go belly up, but when two out of three do it, that's a clear message. We need to find some substitutes, but I'll miss their tiny, bog rosemary-like leaves and their soft mauve flowers. A tougher native of some kind is in order to replace these little shrubby hybrids.
This picture doesn't show a native and it's not in the Northwest Territory, but I had to include it because it's such a success story. I think nandina domestica tends to get passed over by serious gardeners because it's so easy to grow and it's been ubiquitous in commercial landscaping for years.
But I love the winter leaf color, and mine still have a few bright red berries hanging on.
Besides, I like the way nandina looks in my garden all year round - it's not just for winter.