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10 Award-Winning Annual Flowers to Grow from Seed

Well-grown bedding annuals should have strong root systems and lush tops.
Flats of garden flowers are costly, but you can grow a whole garden’s worth with just a handful of seed packets and a few inexpensive supplies. Petunias, geraniums, impatiens, marigolds, and salvias are several of the common annual favorites easily grown from seed. Choosing award-winning varieties will ensure good garden performance and consistent summer color. This […]

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DIY Layered Bulb Pots for Big Spring Color

A layered bulb basket just begins to break bud in early spring.
Early in the new year, when I see the first crocus poke up through the soil to herald the coming of spring, I know that my bulb pots are close to looking spectacular. Each year, I plant up bulb pots in layers for extended bloom. I fill them with early crocus, mid-spring hyacinths and […]

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Tough Garden Yuccas      

Adam’s needle (Yucca filamentosa) is an adaptable, bold landscape plant!
“This flower was made for the moon, as the Heliotrope is for the sun…and refuses to display her beauty in any other light.”  This lovely Victorian quote, taken from the 1878 edition of Vicks Monthly Magazine, set off a fad for yucca plants.  Though they flower in the sun, their blossoms become fragrant at dusk, […]

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Fall Anemones for the Garden

Pink Japanese anemones dance against the autumn sky.
Here it is October in the Pacific Northwest, and cool moist weather is upon us after a hot and dry summer. The recent rains and cool temperatures are a welcome relief to many plants (as well as to myself).  Many summer annuals are still performing, and the hardy fuchsias and dahlias will continue to flower heavily up until frost. […]

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Sunflowers for Bees, Song Birds, and Garden Splendor

Honeybees and native bees rely on sunflowers for pollen and nectar.
Annual sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are pure floral gold. Their immense blooms have an almost storybook quality. They track the sun, creating a glowing warm basin of golden pollen and sweet nectar to draw bees and butterflies. Abundant oil-rich seed heads follow, feeding both wildlife and humans. For Native Americans, sunflowers symbolized courage and were cultivated as […]

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Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies

Monarch on tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). (Image by Jessie Keith)
Over the last several years, I have become more aware of growing plants in my garden that are friendly to birds, bees, and butterflies. Plants to attract butterflies, especially monarch butterflies, are especially of interest. At one time, monarch butterflies were often seen here in the Pacific Northwest, but not anymore. Dwindling habitat and food sources have resulted in […]

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Connect through Curbside Community Gardening

This street-side strip went from sad lawn to glorious garden, and it inspired a neighborhood.
Gardening is contagious!  I don’t mean that in a bad way, but in the way that it spreads from one person to another.  Whether in a residential neighborhood, a condominium with a patio, an apartment with a balcony, or a community garden, people delight in talking about their gardens.  There is something […]

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Top 10 Water-Wise Container Garden Plants

Proven Winner’s Good Morning Sunshine is a cool-colored, textural container garden recipe custom made for hot, dry weather.
No matter where you live, you can always count on bouts of hot, dry summer weather. That’s why it’s smart to fill your outdoor containers with drought-tolerant flowers and foliage plants. Sure, you can always water heavily and fill your pots with water-holding potting soil, but […]

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5 Big, Beautiful Wildflowers for Dry Western Gardens

This relative of hollyhock loves growing along the dry edges of cactus and succulent gardens.
The American Southwest is rich in wildflowers, and a few have proved to be exceptional choices for arid gardens.  When wildflowers perform well and are beautiful, they are ideal candidates for home landscapes filled with existing drought resistant plants.  They also make exceptional problem solvers in desert gardens of cacti, succulents, and rocks where many […]

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Top 10 Shade Garden Plants for the Pacific Northwest

Hosta is a traditional shade-loving foliage plant that comes in a wide range of sizes and colors.
 
It’s hard for me to list a top 10 list for any category of plants, but here I try. It is a stretch to come up with a definitive list because my favorites vary from season to season and sometimes from day to day.  When people ask me what […]

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