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As much as I love plants and all of what the act of gardening encompasses, watching my feathered friends fliting about the yard is truly one of the joys and bonuses of laboring in the garden. Their brightly colored feathers, melodic songs, and sometimes gravity defying antics never get borin…

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I just had the opportunity to sit through a class on plants for fall and winter interest, presented by our chief horticulturist and general manager Trevor Cameron, and it brought back home to me that there is no excuse for a drab garden in the fall, or even the winter, considering that there…

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On the shelves of garden centers in the month of October you will find enticing selections of tulips, daffodils, alliums, crocus, snow drops, and assorted other lesser-known bulbs - all of which, if planted this month, will start blooming in late winter and on into spring. Collectively, we r…

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In my world, September always feels like a continuation of summer, whereas October puts me in the mood for fall. Shrubs and trees are starting to really color up, everywhere you look retailers are displaying mums and pumpkins (not to mention Halloween candy), lawns are waking up from their s…

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It isn’t every day that a plant comes along that will grow just about anywhere and has some interesting feature every season of the year.  But that’s just exactly what our northwest native Red Twig Dogwood does. In its native habitat it thrives in moist soil along stream banks and usually in…

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If you are like me, you are probably a bit conflicted this time of year.  My summer containers, while looking a bit worn out, are still drawing droves of honey bees and hummingbirds (especially to my salvias) and the thought of ripping everything out and denying these delightful creatures th…

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Common names for plants can often create confusion, especially among botanical nerds like myself.  The main reason we like to rattle off multi-syllabic Latin names is that there is never any question as to what plant we are talking about. In the case of common names however, many different p…

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In a normal time, all of us would be sending our kids back to school and returning to the office to our routines, but we all know these are not normal times. It remains to be seen if our kids will be able to stay in the classrooms and who knows when most of us will start commuting back to ou…

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This little northwest mist we just experienced reminds me that this is the time of year when all those little weed seeds that have been lying dormant in our soils suddenly get a notice from Mother Nature that it is time to wake up and start growing. There are 3 environmental signals that cau…

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If you are looking for a shrub for your garden that is drought tolerant, blooms most of the summer, takes full sun, has fragrant flowers that attract pollinators and hummingbirds, is disease free, and is even deer resistant, look no further that the genus Abelia (which, just to confuse you, …

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When I purchased Sunnyside Nursery in the fall of 1989, there was a large fig tree (actually a bush) growing in the back yard next to the old carriage house. At the time I didn’t think much about it and over the next several years of remodeling and relandscaping, the old fig got uprooted and…

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Exactly one year ago I wrote about the virtues of plants in the hibiscus family, specifically, the perennial hibiscus that is native to our eastern United States, the shrub hibiscus known as the Rose of Sharon which is an Asian introduction, and to a lesser degree, the tropical hibiscus that…

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August can either be a month where the fruits of our labors and expressions of love come together into a glorious crescendo of all the wonderful colors of the rainbow, or it can be a time when we head out for vacations and ball games, and our yards become neglected barren patches of dried ou…

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Now that the summer weather has arrived, it never fails that someone will ask me: “Can I still plant now or should I wait until the fall?” For the record, as a landscape contractor in the Sacramento Valley where it was routinely 85 to 105 degrees, I planted all summer long and never lost a s…

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Summertime in the northwest is a great gardening time. There is lots of sunshine and warm soils to make plants grow, and as long as we remember to water, we can have some amazingly productive veggie gardens and luxurious landscapes (or at least some bodacious containers). Here are a few rand…

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Summer watering is inevitable in the northwest if we want to keep our landscapes green and healthy.  We can, of course, choose to let our lawns go dormant, but we really should give some extra water to our shrubs and trees at least 2 to 3 times during the next 3 months.  Naturally, flowers, …

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There are few things that give me as much pleasure as being in my garden surrounded by a well fed and properly watered landscape.  Plants that are well-cared-for not only shine and exhibit brighter colors of flowers, but they also exude a certain energy that lifts up those around them.  It i…

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Fuchsias!  What does that name conger up for you? When I usually think of fuchsias, I visualize a beautiful hanging basket dripping with delicately formed blossoms of pinks, reds, purples and whites.  When I purchased my nursery in 1989, fuchsias baskets were very much in their heyday and we…

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Ninebarks are deciduous shrubs native to North America that possess many redeeming qualities that make them good candidates for our gardens and landscapes.  For starters, they are tough as nails and will grow almost anywhere in our northwest gardens. Reaching 5 to 10 feet tall (depending on …

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Recently, I was browsing through my past columns looking for ideas when I came across my very first monthly check list, written in June 2001, 20 years ago. I have spilled a lot of ink since then, but the idea of a list of chores for every month of the year still seems useful. That being said…

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For northwest gardeners, the genus Salvia provides us with a wide range of plants to brighten up our gardens in the summer.  In addition to the culinary Salvia, aka Sage, these prolific bloomers come in bone hardy perennials like ‘East Friesland’, ‘May Night’, and ‘Caradonna' — all of which …

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We are fortunate, in our mild northwest climate, to be able to enjoy a wide selection of broadleaf evergreen shrubs —some of which will actually grow into small trees. Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Hollies, Osmanthus, Boxleaf Honeysuckle, Boxwood, Fatsia, Leucothoe, Laurels, Privets, Pyracantha, a…

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Of all of the wonderfully exotic species of plants on this globe we call home, carnivorous bog plants have got to be high on the list when it comes to weirdness. They absolutely look like they belong on some alien planet, despite the fact that many of them are actually native to our very own…

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One of the many things I love about spring is the re-emergence of my favorite perennials.  It is so satisfying to see them come back fresh, blemish free and often twice the size of the previous year. Nothing brings on this warm, fuzzy feeling more than the return of my hostas.

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Of all the wonderful different types of flowering plants that I simply have to have in my garden, peonies are always at the top of the list.  They are a regal flower that feels very formal yet still “cottage garden-ish” to me. You can usually find them gracing the beds of older gardens in th…

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Some say “tomayto” and some say “tomahto”, some say “CLEMatis” and some say “CleMAtis”.  I say, who cares!  No matter how you pronounce it, Clematis are the absolute queen of all vines and everyone that gardens should find a way to work in as many varieties as possible into their yards.  Bet…

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We are blessed with an extended parade of flowering trees in our northwest spring. Starting in February, we get to enjoy the flowering plums and flowering pears followed by all sorts of flowering cherries and several forms of magnolias. But as we move closer to the end of April, the pickings…

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Rhododendrons are one of the most spectacular blooming shrubs for northwest gardens. They come in many colors and sizes, are usually evergreen, and for the most part are easy to grow.  With proper selection, a person could actually have a rhodie blooming in their garden from February through…

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Of all the classes that we offer here at the nursery, pruning is always the most popular. And, of all the different types of plants that need to be pruned, hydrangeas are probably the most confusing. Hopefully, I can help clear the air on how to properly prune these extremely popular shrubs.

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The Lakewood High School girls volleyball team made strides during a match on March 17 against Snohomish’s Glacier Peak High School. Unfortunately, the Cougars came up short against the Grizzlies losing in three straight sets (10-25, 14-25 and 24-26). 

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Jay’s Flooring, a new local flooring business, has opened up in Marysville for those looking to improve their homes.

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There is nothing that gets my gardening juices flowing more than a string of dry days, a little blue sky, and the mercury flirting in the low 60’s. Such was the case last week and did I take advantage of it — this is often the case in March.

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Believe it or not, spring is almost here! Many varieties of bulbs are blooming, Winter Daphne’s intoxicating fragrance is filling my front bed, my cornelian cherry is about to pop open, and several varieties of hellebores are in full bloom. One of my favorite shrubs in the garden, a delightf…

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For most of us that live in the northwest, we are faced with either sandy soils that drain so fast it is impossible to keep them watered or that hateful stuff known as glacial till, that is nothing more than rocks and clay that was compressed under umpteen feet of glacial ice several thousan…

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I have this theory (I know, some of you are thinking, “OMG, what is he going to say next?”), that gardeners possess a special “horticultural hormone” that I have dubbed “hortitostrogen." This is a non-gender specific hormone that kicks in about this time of the year and causes my fingers to …

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As I am writing this column on a Sunday afternoon, I am looking out my window to a magical sight. Snow has now been falling for 24 hours and there is an accumulation of 8 to 10 inches covering virtually everything in the yard.  Under this blanket of white are my blooming hellebores, snow dro…

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Every time I walk through the nursery this time of year I am struck by the amazing variety of plants on display that have what I would call “winter interest." By this I mean that they have some distinct quality that makes them stand out in the winter garden.  PJM rhododendrons, for example, …

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There’s nothing like a fresh bowl of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries straight out of the garden, and now is the time to plant them. All of these berries are well suited for growing in the northwest and are readily available from garden centers this time of year.

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Outside my patio sliding door, in several pots on my south-facing, full sun deck, is a selection of herbs including parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. I know this probably sounds like a Simon and Garfunkel song, and for most of us, we simply can’t mention these four herbs without involuntar…

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January is seed starting time and like a lot of things in life, it’s not always as easy as we professionals make it look, (nor I might add is it the kind of activity that you can walk away from for a week or two, like knitting). To be successful you have to show up on a consistent basis and …

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Growing fruit trees in our own backyards can be lots of fun and nutritionally rewarding.  It does, however, take some time and effort to be successful and a willingness to accept less than perfect (blemish-free) produce.  If you have any interest in growing your own fruit, then these next tw…

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Okay my gardening friends, 2020 is behind us and it is time to start drooling over the seed catalogs and visiting garden centers to see what looks interesting this time of year. During the next several weeks of rain storms (remember, this is a La Nina year so there’s likely to be lots of rai…

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A lot of gardeners wisely move some of their houseplants outside during the summer to give them better light and fresher air.  It is a tricky thing to do because light conditions inside our homes are always much more reduced than even the shadiest location in our gardens.  Leaves that have b…

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In this day and age of social distancing, I am inclined to think that the vast majority of us, either consciously or unconsciously, are suffering from a lack of physical contact with our fellow human beings. There is something healing that happens when two individuals connect with each other…

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There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t receive yet another email listing the “top 25 gifts for gardeners”, which invariably includes a whole host of garden gadgets like kneeler pads that double as stadium cushions, “Swiss Army” gardening knives that have a plethora of attachments, bird …

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Here’s a continuation of last week’s list of late fall chores. Remember what I said,  try to accomplish most of them, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get them all done.  These are suggestions that will help your plants survive the winter and get off to a healthy spring start.  

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Just when you thought you were through with yard work for the season, some wise-acre nursery professional comes along and tells you to “Winterize your yard!”  “Okay”, you say, “How do I winterize my yard?”  Big mistake!  Never use open-ended questions with nursery professionals, unless of co…