Garden Writers

Making Space for Gardening: The Portland Community Garden Story

Gardeners in an Oregon community garden harvest late-season vegetables. (Image by Dawn Grunwald)
Throughout the United States, urban community gardens have become a common thread that helps bring communities together, in cities large and small. Most community gardens have similar goals. In addition to supplying families with fresh produce, they encourage physical activity, provide needed green space, and a relaxed way to meet your neighbor.
No matter where […]

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Seven Mediterranean Food Plants for the Dry Edible Garden

Grapes have been cultivated in the Mediterranean since ancient times.
The dry edible garden is rooted in classical civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea. The Greeks, Romans, and Carthaginians shared their ancient local food crops throughout the western world. Some of the best are grapes, pomegranates, date palms, rosemary, artichokes, cardoons, and figs. All are still vital to contemporary agriculture in deserts and dry places around the world […]

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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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VLOG: How to Grow Amazing Amaryllis Indoors

Learn how to grow beautiful amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.) and keep them from year to year. These winter-blooming favorites are commonly sold during the holidays but will continue to bloom for much longer, with good care. Watch this video to make the most of your amaryllis.

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Western Native Evergreen Shrubs for Landscapes

Oregon grape berries in winter
In recent years, I have noticed a substantial increase in the use of native shrubs for the home garden. Many are diverse and beautiful while growing well in local climates, and those with winter interest have the added benefit of year-round beauty. Quite a few native evergreen shrubs from our region have exceptional landscape value.
In my own neighborhood, I have seen an […]

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Healing the Land after Fire: Post-Fire Planting

Wildfire is ubiquitous in the west but has spread to new areas due to lack of forest thinning.
Wildfire is an equal opportunity killer.  This year it took out multimillion-dollar vineyards in Napa County, CA just as ferociously as it destroyed lot and block subdivisions in Santa Rosa, CA, neither considered high fire hazard locations (click here for the California Fire Hazard Severity Zone map).  For all […]

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Fire up the Landscape with Red Twig Dogwood

The bloodtwig dogwood ‘Midwinter Fire’ has some of the most brilliant branches for winter.
Fiery branches of gold, orange, and red rise from the winter garden, bringing color to the bleakest landscapes. There’s no better complement to evergreen and berried landscape shrubs than brilliant red twig dogwoods (Cornus sericea) and blood twig dogwoods (Cornus sanguinea). Their branches also look attractive in seasonal arrangements.
About Redosier Dogwoods
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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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The Herbal Tea Garden

Garden fruits and herbs combine well to make delicious herbal tea.
What’s in a cup of herbal tea? Aromatic dried leaves and fruits impart the comforting, rich flavors for herbal tea, which are most welcome in chilly weather. Gardeners that grow herbs, fruits, and spices already have the raw ingredients for tea. From there, it’s a matter of well-timed preservation and creative tea mixing.
History
Unlike teas made from […]

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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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