Gardening

A Great Way to Water Your Garden

A Great Way to Water Your Garden

My friend Crystal once dubbed me the “Dahlia Whisperer” after spotting me in my front flower field. And while I basked in the glory of her kindly title and her stealthy skills as island paparazzo, I hated to tell her I was really more of a dahlia waterer.  Every evening […]

White Flowers: Dressing-Up the Garden

White Flowers: Dressing-Up the Garden

Like the song says, “June is busting out all over!” But before it concedes to July and the bold colors of summer, June is holding a formal affair before things really heat up.  The following garden guests, white flowers all, have donned their best to graciously welcome summer. Mock Orange […]

Foxglove in the Locust Tree

Foxglove in the Locust Tree

Foxglove growing in an unlikely place. Each season brings new surprises, a changing of the guard so to speak, when petals fall, snowflakes melt or swallows sail. Last year, I noticed a sweet sprout of a surprise growing in the fork of my old black locust […]

I Fought the Lawn, and the Lawn Won

I Fought the Lawn, and the Lawn Won

At first it was difficult to wrap my suburban-lawn-care brain around the fact that I no longer lived in Seattle on a postage-stamp-sized lot. When I moved to the country, I remained ensconced in the protocols (or perhaps tyrannies) of city gardens and urban scale. Ten […]

How to Make an Orchard Mason Bee House

How to Make an Orchard Mason Bee House

While I adore my honeybees, I also revere the amazing and often-times overlooked native pollinator, the Mason Orchard Bee (Osmia lignaria). Where the honeybee is a finely-tuned pollinating powerhouse with corporate efficiency, native pollinators tend to be the small-business counterpart, a mom-and-pop pollination operation, so to […]

Garry Oak: Deep Roots in the Pacific Northwest

Garry Oak: Deep Roots in the Pacific Northwest

True confession: I’m a collector of plants. I can (and do) have a greenhouse of flora, weeds, seeds, bulbs and starts, with nary an inch of space to spare, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find room for one more specimen should the opportunity arise. One summer […]

Broadfork: Shake, Shimmy and Till!

Broadfork: Shake, Shimmy and Till!

Broadfork: my new best friend in the greenhouse There are gardening tools, and then, there are gardening tools. The Meadow Creature broadfork is definitely the latter, a precision-built tool made right here on Vashon Island. Bob Powell is the Meadow Creature mastermind who “…re-invented the broadfork, […]

An Easy Way to Repot Plants

An Easy Way to Repot Plants

Out in the greenhouse, I found many of my garden starts and cuttings were already needing to be repotted into larger pots. Apparently a warmer-than-normal Pacific Northwest winter has encouraged some rapid growth in some usually pokey plants. In this case, my tayberries (a sweet-tart, raspberry-blackberry cross) were […]

Gardening Tip: Shredded Paper as Garden Mulch

Gardening Tip: Shredded Paper as Garden Mulch

Junk mail and newspapers are two of my best crops, sprouting up everywhere inside the house, covering surfaces like kudzu. Solution: shredded paper as garden mulch. Before you hyperventilate and say, “NO! NO! NO! It robs the soil of nitrogen, adds toxins, and is ugly […]

Best Plants for Pollinators: Tips and Regional Guides

Best Plants for Pollinators: Tips and Regional Guides

Plants for Pollinators, Info for Gardeners No doubt, I am the largest, most flightless, furless bumblebee around, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do, especially if he wants peaches in the Pacific Northwest. So with dry paintbrush in hand, I […]