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Arts & Leisure / The Whistling Gardener

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Bonkers over Begonias

I confess, growing up in southern California, I have always had an affection for begonias. My very first purchase, at the young age of 8, was from the county fair and was a rhizomatous variety that I grew for many years. As it got too large for its...

 

Here's how to have the best containers

It's time to move out of our comfort zone and get into container gardening in a whole new way. Gone are the days when we only put flowers in our pots. Gone are the days when everything had to be perfectly symmetrical and gone are the days when all th...

 

What to get mom for her special day

Oh, the eternal question... What should we get mom for her once a year special day? (Knowing that no matter what it is, it will never be commensurate to all the love and sacrifice she has given us.) Here are some ideas that might save you, if you...

 

Encouraging words for local gardeners

I know what you all are thinking: "Will spring ever come?" It's a fair question but I can assure you that spring has already come and we are well on our way to summer but that probably doesn't make you feel any better. Beyond a doubt, this has been...

 

Japanese maples are a great addition

One on my first plant addictions, that began years ago and will never be cured, is an affinity for all things Japanese maple. I just don't see how anyone can pass on a maple. Not only are they stunning architectural plant specimens to admire, but...

 

Spring is time to rediscover Rhodies

Springtime has arrived and the multitudes of Rhododendrons are blooming. Our state flower shines in every color imaginable – but what I am here to remind you of is one old adage - flowers come and flowers go - so discover the different foliages of Rhododendrons! We all salivate for spring...

 

It is time to take a stance

If you love gardening then chances are you probably also appreciate the arts and the humanities. I have always considered gardening a form of art and the warm and fuzzy feeling I get from being around plants is the same kind of feeling I receive...

 

Things to do in April

Considering all the cold and wet weather we have had and evidently will continue to have for at least the first half of April I could easily just refer you to my To Do list for both February and March and you would probably be just fine (you can...

 

Time to plant onions

March and April are what we call the "cool season" when it comes to veggies and typically that means planting vegetables either for their roots such as onions or potatoes or carrots or for their shoots (think leaves) such as lettuce and cabbage and s...

 

What's blooming in your garden?

It's official, spring is now here. This week marks that magic moment when our days finally become longer than our nights. Of course there is no guarantee that any of these days will actually have the sun shining but it is at least encouraging to know...

 

Trust me, I know how you feel

There's no point in sugar coating this message. The weather sucks and it is going to continue to suck for the rest of the month; ain't nothing any of us can do about it and no amount of whining is going to make me or you feel any better (although a...

 

A few things to do to get ready for spring

Last Tuesday (the last day of February) started out cold and frozen with a few snowflakes falling from the sky, but as the day went on the sun came out and it actually felt like a taste of spring for me. I was working in the garden doing some...

 

The many signs that spring has arrived

I know it doesn't feel like it but spring has arrived despite the cold and wet (dare I say snowy) weather we have been experiencing. I will be the first to admit that when it is this cold I prefer to stay inside and wait for the sun to come out. But...

 

It's time for the Flower & Garden Show

This week marks the beginning of the 29th annual Northwest Flower and Garden Show which will run Wednesday through this coming Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. This is a world class production that is sure to get you in...

 

What a difference 2 weeks make

I just returned from spending two deliciously warm and sunny weeks in Mexico doing as little as possible while the rest of you endured "Snowmageddon" and some nasty freezes that pretty much put the skids on any productive work in the garden. With tha...

 

February's To-Do List, Part 2

Yes, this is a continuation of my "To-Do List" from last week with more chores to work on. Time to roll up those sleeves, put on the gloves, and get to work. Lawns: February is still a relatively slow month for our lawns. Hopefully the moles are...

 

February's To-Do List for gardeners

It's funny how one year can be so different from the next. With last year's winter being so mild everything in the garden seemed to be 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule. My Cornelian Cherry started blooming in early January with a mass of spidery yellow...

 

The importance of plants

I realize that for many of you I am probably preaching to the choir but for the rest of the world it never hurts to remind them that plants (next to dogs perhaps) are man's best friend. We simply would not exist if it weren't for plants. Plants...

 

Surviving the deep freeze

By the time you read this column it will probably be raining and the cold dry spell of late December and early January will be behind us. According to the weather gurus, this was the coldest winter since 2013 with temperatures dipping into the...

 

The importance of 'Awe' in our lives

I recently read an article by Jessica Hullinger in The Week about the importance of experiencing "AWE" in our lives. To quote Ms. Hullinger: "I'm a nature nerd and an awe junkie. Regular injection s of natural beauty help keep me afloat in a world...

 

A new season and a new To-Do List

Okay, here we go. Out with 2016 and in with a whole new gardening season and hopefully a whole new attitude about life. First off, we are over the hump which loosely translated means that we have passed the shortest day of the year and things will...

 

Plants can make great gifts, too

We don't often think of plants as being good gifts for Christmas. After all, they are hard to wrap and tend to dry up and die if left under the tree or in the house too long. But plants are a gift that keeps giving for years to come. As they grow...

 

Gift ideas for the gardener in your family

It's time for my annual column on gift ideas for the gardener in your life. Here are some things that I wouldn't mind receiving for Christmas. The Old Farmer's Almanac and/or Desk Calendar: These make a great stocking stuffer and are chocked-full of...

 

December To-Do List for gardeners

I know it might be hard to believe that there are actually chores to accomplish in December but in a real garden the work is never completely done. Here are my major points to consider. WINTER PROTECTION: As I write this column we have yet to have a...

 

Blooming plants for the winter garden

I have often noticed that as I move deeper into the dark and dreary days of winter the need for some color becomes more and more important to me. Somehow bright colors have to ability to lift my spirits and move me out of this pit of despair that...

 

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