Mike Darcy

Edible Landscaping

Pots of lettuce look great in spring or fall gardens.
As I visit gardens, it is a delight to see more and more gardeners incorporating edible plants into their landscape.  It has not been that many years ago that vegetables, fruits, berries and herbs would be grown in their own separate garden spots. In many cases, they would be away from the ornamental plantings around the […]

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Pruning Shrub Roses in Spring

Spring pruning makes shrub roses tidier and prettier.
Exactly what does it mean when a rose is called a ‘shrub rose’?  In Taylor’s Dictionary for Gardeners a shrub is defined as “A woody plant that is shorter than a tree and usually has several stems that branch from the base”.  This definition would certainly fit many rose types, like floribunda (shrub rose crosses between polyantha and […]

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Eight Best Flowering House Plants

Moth orchids are one of the easiest to grow! (Image by Jessie Keith)
 
House plants have made a resurgence in popularity over the past several years and the trend shows no signs of diminishing.  On a recent visit to a large Portland garden center that had just finished their annual January house plant sale, the manager told me it was the best one they have ever had. […]

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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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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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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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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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Growing Dwarf Apple Trees

Dwarf apple trees can fit into practically any sunny, small-space garden.
Walking out on your deck, balcony, or patio and being able to pick fresh apples off your own tree may be a dream to most gardeners.  In the world of today, we often have small lots, which means less available space for a standard-sized fruit tree.  Even if we did have the space, there may be […]

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Share the Fruits and Vegetables of Your Garden

Garden abundance offers an opportunity to share food with your community!
This is the time of year when home vegetable gardens reach their peak with summer produce ready for picking. Just walking around my neighborhood, I see that the tomatoes are turning color, a sure sign that the harvest season is upon us. Once summer vegetables begin maturing, they continue at a rapid pace, often too rapidly. […]

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