Northwest Gardening 101 Stories

When my children were young, we used to enjoy leisurely walks down the quiet lanes in the English countryside. I'm sure my mind often wandered off on its own private ramble: "What shall we have for dinner? Do I need to buy milk on the way home?" Yet the children were totally immersed in the moment. They would splash through...
Protect a Precious Resource With a Rain Garden
Rain gardens are a great way of creating beautiful landscapes while protecting one of our most precious resources. They are water features that celebrate natural processes, and they're constantly changing — growing during storm events and...
Great Design Plant: Winter Jasmine Gladdens Snowy Gardens
Just when you can’t bear the thought of another gray day, winter jasmine comes to the rescue. Cascading bright green branches are covered with sunny yellow flowers from Thanksgiving to early spring, not missing a beat — even when it snows. Although...
Color Sparks a Winter Landscape
While waiting for spring to arrive, I took a trip to the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum. Tucked away in a deep green wooded area...
Great Design Plant: Cotoneaster Lacteus
Parney cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lacteus) is an informal evergreen shrub that is as attractive to wildlife as it is to gardeners, particularly gardeners in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. California gardeners may want to...
Great Design Plant: Chamaecyparis Nootkatensis
Conifers are great additions to any garden where they will grow. They introduce elegance and structure to the landscape. When flowering perennials are done and have disappeared for the season, these stalwart workhorses mind the garden until spring. Certain...
Great Design Plant: Cedrus Atlantica ‘Glauca’
There are certain trees that just seem to have soul. Conifers in particular, with their unique and unusual shapes and time-tested strength, seem to have personalities just as strong as their human counterparts. This is why I am drawn to them. Enter the...
Great Design Plant: Polystichum Polyblepharum
A well-designed shade garden makes up for its lack of raucous colors by providing subtle surprises at every turn. Here structure, texture and shape rule. While many plants provide only one of these qualities, there are some that rank high on all three...
Great Design Plant: Snowberry Pleases Year-Round
Wander along nearly any stretch of Pacific Northwest roadside or through a forest clearing, and you will soon encounter vast thickets of snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). Most commonly seen in roadside ditches in farming areas, growing with steeplebush...
Great Design Plant: Western Sword Fern Adds Prehistoric Drama
While commonly seen in the Pacific Northwest, western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) is nevertheless one of the region’s most visually distinctive — even dramatic — native plants. Its dark green, prehistoric-looking fronds can reach...
Great Design Plant: Broadleaf Stonecrop (Sedum Spathulifolium)
Pacific Northwest native plants are generally thought of as lush, leafy and green, but in fact, there is a wide world of underutilized succulent plants — even cacti — that are native to our region. Sedum spathulifolium is one of the most widespread...
Great Design Plant: Hibiscus Syriacus ‘Sugar Tip’
I’ve never been especially fond of hibiscus. The flowers are impressive, but when it’s not in bloom, hibiscus is just another green-leaved shrub that contributes little to the garden and certainly doesn’t merit a place in my containers. Hibiscus...
Great Design Plant: Evergreen Huckleberry Appeals All Year
Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) is surely one of the most versatile, attractive and wildlife friendly of all the Pacific Northwest natives. Factor in the delicious berries that are adored by wildlife and humans alike, and you have a plant...
Great Design Plant: Feed Wildlife With Flowering Currant
Long admired in the British Isles for their chubby racemes of bright flowers appearing in late winter to early spring, flowering currants (Ribes sanguineum) are now gaining the appreciation they deserve in West Coast gardens. Flowering...
Great Design Plan: Zagreb Tickseed Takes Care of Itself (Almost)
I have two important criteria when it comes to plants: They must be drought tolerant and deer resistant. Zagreb tickseed is a winner. Rabbits did munch on one plant early in the season, but the tickseed quickly outgrew the rabbit with no detrimental effects....
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