Mike Darcy

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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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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Generational Family Gardening with Kids

New, budding gardeners learn how to grow vegetables organically.
Gardening is best shared with multiple generations, especially for our youngest gardeners. Whether we gardeners have our own children, grandchildren, or children in the neighborhood, it is an easy role to fill.  Young Millennial families are embracing gardening, so the goal for older gardeners should be to share our garden knowledge to inspire young, budding plant lovers. When […]

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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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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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