We grow many plants in our gardens and homes introduced from other parts of the world. We try to stretch the boundaries of climates with the tedious process of planting annuals each year because they cannot survive our winters. We dig Dahlia and other tender, summer-blooming bulbs and mother them for the winter to plant them again the next late spring.
Winter is slowly creeping up on us this year, but I can remember recent years when a killing frost (20 degrees) came early in September. This year we have been kissed by frost but warmed by sunshine to milder temperatures by midday.
What is wrong with this plant and how do I fix it? We have just completed an entire season of gardening questions and more than half of the 700 or so people we talked to at the WSU Plant Clinic and the farmer’s markets and Demonstration Garden asked this question.
Peach Flambe,” “Creme Brulee,” “Marmalade,” “Lime Rickey” — wait, am I writing a food column? No, these are exotic names of recent hybrid introductions expanding the world of heucheras — known to most of us as coral bells.
Spring-flowering shrubs provide a colorful backdrop for the first bulbs, and their blooms persist through the spring until the perennials burst forth with their summer color. In North Central Washington, we can grow a number of colorful, fragrant shrubs because our climate provides winter cooling and warm, moderately dry springs.
In the early years of my gardening career, I planted many perennials without a clue as to how to take care of them. It gradually dawned on me that I needed to learn something about tending these beautiful flowering plants. Sometimes it was not such a gradual learning but more of an emergency! Too-rich or too-moist soil, heavy winds or rains, letting the plant grow past the size when it should be divided — all can contribute to a messy, flat clump of ruined flowers.
Why would savvy business owners pay good money to top trees that beautify and shade parking lots and parking strips, when all it does is shorten the trees’ lives? “I really don’t know why they do tree topping,” says Paula Dinius, urban horticulturist for WSU/Chelan County Extension. She and others were shocked to see so many topped trees around Wenatchee this spring — not a good sign for maintaining healthy trees.
LOS ANGELES — Julie Burleigh has designed highly tailored organic gardens for clients all over Los Angeles, but at home in the West Adams neighborhood, her personal garden reflects a more freewheeling sensibility. Easy-care California natives and hearty gray-blue aloes snipped from a neighbor’s yard share space with giant ageratum with ethereal, lavender-colored flowers, and herbs such as African blue basil and winter savory. Bright red geraniums, figs and other familiar plantings are interspersed with less common white sage and the aromatic edible lovage, which tastes like celery and can ...
BALTIMORE — Greg Cantori plans to downsize when he retires. Really, really downsize. His retirement home is 238 square feet — one-tenth the size of the average new American house — and sits in his Anne Arundel County, Md., yard. He and wife Renee can hitch it to a truck and take it with them wherever they go.
Congratulations on your new home. I imagine you’re really excited to get settled in and make the place your own. The yard is overgrown? You don’t like dogwood trees? The ground looks too bare? The lawn is weedy? You have always loved rhododendrons near the front door like you had while living on the west side of the mountains.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A sliding door — say, a door of planks hanging from exposed hardware — transforms a room. It’s so eye-catching, so unexpected, that it invites closer looks. It brings smiles. There are also practical reasons for choosing sliding doors. They can be larger — taller, wider and heavier — than hinged doors. They don’t require open floor space like swinging doors. But mostly, architects and designers love them for their looks.
One of the regular comments I hear from frustrated gardeners is “I love to garden but I can’t keep ahead of the weeds.” It is May. We have prepared our vegetable garden sites and made a wish list for this year’s annual flowerbed. In many ways, it is too late to deal with perennial, grassy weeds. (Note No. 1 to self: during the cold days of March and April, when I have the yearning to garden, weed, weed, weed those perennial grasses.)
Step outside to pick a sprig of rosemary, a bit of thyme and some oregano, flavoring the soup you’re making. There’s no reason many food plants can’t be integrated into your regular landscape, right beyond your kitchen door. Many are beautiful in their own right, as well as providing fresh food. Planning is key; food plants intermixed with ornamentals need similar sun, water and fertility needs.