Mike Darcy

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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Amazing Rhododendrons and Azaleas

Rhododendron 'Caractacus' (Waterer Hybrid) JaKMPMRhododendron ‘Caractacus’ (Waterer Hybrid) has many magenta clusters, or trusses, of flowers in spring. (Image by Jessie Keith)
I cannot recall being in a Pacific Northwest garden that does not have rhododendrons and azaleas. Most gardens have many, and deservedly so. The hybrids can provide beautiful trusses of flowers throughout the spring and there are native species with smaller flowers but a very […]

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Growing Hardy Carnivorous Plants

 
IMG_0431This fanciful pot of pitcher plants shows the fun you can have with carnivorous plants!
When I was in high school, I bought a Venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula) because carnivorous plants always intrigued me.  It survived a mere few weeks and died.  Then when I was in college, I tried again with the same results.  Perhaps it was living in hot, dry southern Arizona that did […]

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Blooms in the Ice: The Joy of Late Winter Bulbs

IMG_3043Winter aconite and snowdrops blanket a forest floor in February. (Image by Jessie Keith)
Here in the Pacific Northwest, this past November and early December were very warm and mild.  My tropical red-leaf bananas did not die until a hard freeze shortly before Christmas (almost unheard of), and many gardeners had summer- and fall-blooming plants still in flower.  Neighbors showed me their 3-4 inch spring daffodils that […]

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Winter Garden Plants for Holiday Cheer

Helleborus_Cotton_Candy_4b-1Helleborus Cotton Candy (Image thanks to Terra Nova Nurseries)
In years past, Pacific Northwest gardeners have put their gardens to bed at the end of summer. This is changing. I see a greater trend towards maintaining garden color using ever-beautiful perennials and woody plants. This trend was reinforced while visiting a gardening friend last fall. He said that his garden looked too barren after he had removed […]

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Smart Tips for Growing African Violets

African VioletsAfrican violets are popular for their colorful, ever-blooming flowers and compact size. (Image by Jessie Keith)
I once heard someone say that the African violet was “America’s Favorite Houseplant”.  While I do not know if this is true, it has certainly been a house plant staple for years.  The compact pretty plants bloom throughout the year with flowers that come in a multitude of colors. They […]

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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 »

Shrubs with Fall Color

Crape Mrtyle 2014This late-season Pacific Northwest landscape shows the bountiful blooms of a pink-flowered crape myrtle.
In the spring, gardens come alive with tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs, and the peonies and many other herbaceous perennials emerge from the soil.  It is a time of much BG-Peat-Moss-8qtanticipation for gardeners.  We often visit our […]

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Late-Summer Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

TomatoMountainMeritFuchsia ‘Dying Embers’ has lovely deep purple flowers that draw hummingbirds.
It seems as though the gardening season has flown by, and here it is August already.  I think August is a good month to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor; summer is not quite over and autumn has not yet begun.  The summer vegetable gardens are peaking with tomatoes, squash, melons, beans, […]

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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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