Flower Gardening

Mike Darcy’s Favorite Fall Trees and Flowers

Stewartia, fall color, J. Eves 2014Stewartia pseudocamellia fall color
The fall season is upon us and what a glorious time of year it is. As I walk around my neighborhood, and drive around Portland, the many deciduous trees are turning brilliant shades of color. The more brilliant they are, the better.
Favorite Fall Trees
Stewartia pseudocamellia seed pods, L Foltz 2014 Read More »

Salvias for Fall-Migrating Hummingbirds

habitSalvia greggii (autumn sage) (photo by Maureen Gilmer)
Hummingbirds rely on the nectar of many fall-blooming salvias to assist in their late-season migration. The striking beauty, bright colors, and architectural statures of these plants also make them great for the garden. Most cultivated salvias are from Mexico and the Southwest United States, which is why pollinators migrating south are attracted to them. Their relationship is […]

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Smart Summer Pruning and Deadheading

Coneflower-pruningRemoving the old, spent flowers from perennials, like this coneflower, will keep the plants flowering and looking great for longer. (photo by Jessie Keith)
Summer is not the time of year when most gardeners prune, but there are some definite advantages to summer pruning. It is easier to identify damaged or ill branches when a tree is in full leaf. When a tree is in full leaf it […]

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Blue Ribbon Dinner Plate Dahlias

Seed Savers1552-dester-tomato-organicDahlia showing is serious business. Cultivating them to full glory takes a little extra care and patience.
Summer is Dahlia time, and my favorites are the super giants with blooms the size of dinner plates. The grand flowers of dinner plate dahlias are so large that just one is enough to fill a large vase or decorative bowl. They are produced on tall, four and five foot […]

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Preparing the Garden for a Hot Summer

Lantana, colorsAn excellent summer bloomer for heat is Lantana camera.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have had record high temperatures already this spring. When the temperature is 100° F in spring, it is HOT!  Not that our weather pattern is ever predictable, but this year it seems to be even less consistent. With our mild winter temperatures, record rain, and a summer forecast as being hot and dry, our plants may suffer without […]

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Garden Flowers for Hummingbirds

hummingbird with salviaA hummingbird with Salvia ‘Amistad’.
If there was one pollinator I would like to attract to my garden, it would be the hummingbird. It is such a fascinating bird to watch as it zooms from flower to flower and reveals its characteristic of being quite territorial. For many years, I have planted containers of Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ on our deck because this plant is a hummingbird magnet. Several years ago I tried Salvia […]

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Everything about Growing Dahlias

Dahlia 'Park Princess' - CopyDahlia ‘Park Princess’
Dahlias come in all forms, from monolithic 12” dinnerplate monsters to tiny 2” pixie pincushion blooms, and colors—pretty much any shade except for true blue. So, you can never love just one. They thrive in the cooler seasons of early summer and fall and offer a botanical extravaganza of floral beauty with over 50,000 named cultivars and 20 wildly diverse forms. (Visit the American Dahlia Society (ADS) website […]

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April Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

R. Yaku Angel flowersRhododendron yakushimanum ‘Yaku Angel’
“This is my favorite time of year”, is a phrase that I seem to use for every season because every season is my favorite time of year.  However after a relatively mild winter and with spring here, gardens all over are bursting with color and new growth.  Probably because we did not have a late frost to damage the emerging flower buds, the deciduous magnolias have been […]

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Tender Perennials for Pacific NW Gardens

Lantana, colorsLantana camara
It is hard to believe that it is already March and soon spring will be official.  We’ve had a relatively mild winter and I cannot remember when we’ve had so few frosts.  Like many other gardeners, I always have some tender perennial container plants that need winter protection, and I haul them in and out of my garage depending on the temperatures.  This winter they have been out more than they […]

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Getting Orchids to Bloom

Phalenopsis g. Baldan's KaleidoscopePhalenopsis g. Baldan’s Kaleidoscope is one of many beautiful moth orchids.
It’s a common story. You are given an orchid as a gift. It blooms beautifully for a month or so, and then it stops, never to bloom again. You may be tempted to throw it away, but don’t. It may seem like a challenge, but getting your orchids to rebloom is not as difficult as it seems.
Most cultivated orchids purchased at […]

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