Seattle experiences 8-10 weeks of little or no water each summer. Mark Pollock's South Seattle College Continuing Education class on June 3, “Water-Wise Gardening,” will focus on choosing drought tolerant plants and methods for conserving water.
Containers, raised beds and window boxes are often chosen for their easy maintenance reputation or for limited garden spaces. The real truth is that their usefulness comes with its own heavy issues sooner or later.
Upright rosemary shrubs are blooming freely now, their pale blue flowers reminiscent of the clear skies we have been missing here in the Pacific Northwest. Both ornamental and edible, Rosmarinus officinalis has a great many assets.
When winter has faded and the seed catalogs reviewed, I am itching to get the spring vegetable garden started. There is a little thrill in removing the remnants of the winter vegetable garden, then beginning again with new seed varieties and old favorites.
In our discussion of hand pruning tools, we've covered bypass pruners, anvil pruners and loppers. The last step on the scale of hand pruning tools is the pruning saw, which should be used for branches and limbs over 2” in diameter.
Heuchera is revered for its foliage, making a great groundcover or striking accent in the perennial border, or combined with other plants in a container garden. Colors include shades of green, chartreuse, pink, red, bronze, orange, chocolate, and purple.
Loppers come in both bypass and anvil blades. They come with short “mini” handle lengths, traditional mid-lengths, long handles and telescoping handles. And they can come with gears or ratchets, and in “heavy duty” size. How do you sort all this out?
For year-round seasonal interest, Pieris japonica should be on every northwest gardeners must-have list. Also called Lily-of-the-Valley bush or Japanese Andromeda, Pieris is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that typically grows 9-12’ tall with a dense, upright habit.
Of the two types of hand pruners (bypass vs. anvil), the anvil pruner is the lesser-seen variety. It is designed to cut best on tough or dead wood, with a straight blade that makes a slicing or chopping cut against a flat anvil.
To continue with our winter fragrance theme, let’s talk about daphne odora, or winter daphne. Often placed near doorways and walks, the jasmine-like scent of this lovely shrub wafts from Pacific Northwest gardens from late January through March.
As a child, the only peas I wanted to eat were the ones growing in my grandmother’s garden—straight off the vines. Now, as an adult, I appreciate the work that she put into growing English peas; the per pound yield was a precious commodity.