Mike Darcy

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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Preparing the Garden for a Hot Summer

Lantana, colorsAn excellent summer bloomer for heat is Lantana camera.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have had record high temperatures already this spring. When the temperature is 100° F in spring, it is HOT!  Not that our weather pattern is ever predictable, but this year it seems to be even less consistent. With our mild winter temperatures, record rain, and a summer forecast as being hot and dry, our plants may suffer without […]

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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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