Mike Darcy

Garden Flowers for Hummingbirds

hummingbird with salviaA hummingbird with Salvia ‘Amistad’.
 
If there was one pollinator I would like to attract to my garden, it would be the hummingbird. It is such a fascinating bird to watch as it zooms from flower to flower and reveals its characteristic of being quite territorial. For many years, I have planted containers of Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ on our deck because this plant is a hummingbird magnet. Several years ago I tried Salvia […]

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April Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

R. Yaku Angel flowersRhododendron yakushimanum ‘Yaku Angel’
“This is my favorite time of year”, is a phrase that I seem to use for every season because every season is my favorite time of year.  However after a relatively mild winter and with spring here, gardens all over are bursting with color and new growth.  Probably because we did not have a late frost to damage the emerging flower buds, the deciduous magnolias have been […]

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Tender Perennials for Pacific NW Gardens

Lantana, colorsLantana camara
It is hard to believe that it is already March and soon spring will be official.  We’ve had a relatively mild winter and I cannot remember when we’ve had so few frosts.  Like many other gardeners, I always have some tender perennial container plants that need winter protection, and I haul them in and out of my garage depending on the temperatures.  This winter they have been out more than they […]

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Preparing Broadleaf Evergreens for Drought

Sarcococca - CopyWith good care and moisture, broadleaf evergreens with thrive even in the toughest drought times.
In the summer of 2015, the Pacific Northwest experienced one of the longest periods of no measurable rainfall as well as some of the highest temperatures ever recorded. It started in July, then August, then September and continued into October. Gardeners were struggling to maintain their gardens with the unseasonable dry periods and temperatures in the 90s. […]

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Plants of the Winter Garden

chimonanthusflowersice1-16aThe fragrant flowers of wintersweet can withstand even the harsh winter weather.
In the Pacific Northwest, the garden in winter can be a bit bleak. I know mine certainly is. However, the more I talk to other gardeners and visit other gardens at this time of year, the more color I see. Often the color is not from flowers, but from bark, foliage and stems.
For the last few years, I am been striving to add […]

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Holiday Decorating from the Garden

The berries of heavenly bamboo look great outdoors or cut and brought indoors.The berries of heavenly bamboo look great outdoors or cut and brought indoors.
While this may be winter (not official until December 22, but most gardeners would say this is winter), there are so many things we can harvest from our gardens to decorate our homes to help celebrate the holidays.  We have had several inches of rain in just the past few […]

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Native American Plants of the Pacific Northwest

Not only are the bulbs of Camassia quamash edible, the plants are beautiful and highly garden worthy. (photo by Walter Siegmund)
History seems to indicate that Native Americans living on the west side of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington did not rely heavily on a system of agriculture. They simply did not need to. With the ocean, rivers, streams and forests, there was an abundance of food and they generally did not ‘garden’. […]

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Kids Gardening Fun in Fall

Nick & compostKids love to learn about composting and the importance of worms in the garden.
As gardeners, I believe that one of the most important things we can do is to encourage young children to garden. With our urban society, many kids have no connection to the earth, and in many cases gardening is foreign to them. Luckily many communities offer community garden plots, but these generally tend to be used by adults, and […]

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Pacific Northwest Drought Takes Its Toll

Mike Darcy's garden in happier days.Mike Darcy’s garden in happier days.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have had a summer with some of the highest temperatures and least rainfall on record. I believe that we have had more days with temperatures over 90 degrees F since weather temperatures have been recorded. While gardeners here often say we are in a zone of “winter wet and summer dry”, we certainly do not expect the summers […]

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Summer Garden Pruning and Deadheading

Rhododendron 'Scintillation' (Dexter Hybrid)2 JaKMPMOnce Rhododendron flowers have died, remove them from the base to stop seed development.
While we don’t often think of summer as a time of year to prune, it is actually a good time for some general maintenance pruning on some trees and shrubs.  If your rhododendrons have not been deadheaded, it should be done as soon as possible.  I have to smile to myself when I use the word ‘deadhead’ […]

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