Garden Writers

How to Grow Ramps and Ramsons

Freshly harvested ramps ready for cooking.
Ramps (Allium tricoccum), also called spring onions, are native woodland onions that have gained popularity among chefs and gardeners. The closely related ramsons (Allium ursinum) grow similarly, but they are Eurasian and have different floral characteristics. Both wild onions are grown for their greens and bulbs that taste of garlic and onion, and each makes a fitting addition to spring […]

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Fight Fires with Garden Flowers

This garden features the best drought-resistant, low-fuel-volume flowers for firescapes. (Maureen Gilmer)
You can fight fires with flowers. When landscaping around high-fire-hazard homes, the key is to think about minimizing fire fuel volume, or the amount of burnable material plants provide to oncoming fire. For example, a pine tree has a huge fuel mass, but a sage plant, with it’s lovely lavender-blue flowers, has negligible fuel mass.
To […]

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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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String of Pearls: Living Beads for Hanging Baskets

String of pearls is delicate yet tough, low maintenance and incredibly rewarding.
They are living jewelry no woman can resist, the most coveted house plant, string of pearls. This tender succulent is feminine looking, delicate yet tough, low maintenance and incredibly rewarding. There are two species that can transform traditional or modern spaces, indoors or out. Hang them like living necklaces to bring awe to your home.
Origins
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Best Sauce Tomatoes for Home Gardeners

Serious sauce makers should plant at least eight tomatoes to generate ample tomato harvests. (‘Roma’ tomatoes shown)
All winter long, my family relies on my fresh canned marinara from the garden. Garden-fresh sauce spiked with homegrown basil, oregano, garlic, and peppers tastes nothing like canned commercial sauces. The best sauce starts with great tomatoes. Sauce and paste tomatoes are unique in that they are fleshier, denser, and […]

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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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Seven Mediterranean Food Plants for the Dry Edible Garden

Grapes have been cultivated in the Mediterranean since ancient times.
The dry edible garden is rooted in classical civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea. The Greeks, Romans, and Carthaginians shared their ancient local food crops throughout the western world. Some of the best are grapes, pomegranates, date palms, rosemary, artichokes, cardoons, and figs. All are still vital to contemporary agriculture in deserts and dry places around the world […]

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10 Award-Winning Annual Flowers to Grow from Seed

Well-grown bedding annuals should have strong root systems and lush tops.
Flats of garden flowers are costly, but you can grow a whole garden’s worth with just a handful of seed packets and a few inexpensive supplies. Petunias, geraniums, impatiens, marigolds, and salvias are several of the common annual favorites easily grown from seed. Choosing award-winning varieties will ensure good garden performance and consistent summer color. This […]

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VLOG: How to Grow Amazing Amaryllis Indoors

Learn how to grow beautiful amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.) and keep them from year to year. These winter-blooming favorites are commonly sold during the holidays but will continue to bloom for much longer, with good care. Watch this video to make the most of your amaryllis.

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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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