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Growing and Harvesting Edible Seeds


Poppy seeds, dill seed, fennel seed, coriander, and caraway—it’s like having the makings of an everything bagel in the garden. All of these culinary seeds are costly to buy but easy as pie to grow and collect.
Seeds used for seasoning food are technically considered spices, and like most homegrown things, they taste stronger and better when harvested fresh from the garden. The most common, popular […]

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Beautyberry for Bountiful Fall Color


Branches laden with bright purple berry clusters can be a very pleasant surprise to those unaware of the virtues of beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.).  These berries  provide a bright spot of color, especially in the autumn garden when the color performance of many shrubs is over.
Beautyberry Origins
There are more than a dozen species of Callicarpa, however only a few are readily available to at plant nurseries.  […]

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How and When to Plant Trees

Plant trees in spring as soon as the soil warms.
Springtime is tree planting time. Planting trees early in the season, as soon as the soil warms, gives new trees a whole season to set deep roots and top growth. (This is especially the case with marginally hardy trees.) But tree planting is only as good as your planting method and summer care. Here are seven […]

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Create a Succulent Seascape Rock Garden


Well-chosen and placed succulents in picturesque rock gardens can have an underwater, seafloor appeal. The design key is selecting various dryland treasures with anemone-, coral-, and urchin-like forms and textures in shades of blue green, silver, gold and red. When arranged against a setting of bold rocks, lined with a ripple of pebbles and seashells, the effect is cool and inviting.
I created such a garden […]

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Gravelscape and Green your Front Yard

Gravel can make architectural plants stand out like sculpture. (Image by Maureen Gilmer)
Nowhere are water-needy lawns disappearing as fast as in arid southern California and the American Southwest. This is the proving ground for a lot of alternatives to traditional turfgrass. A big problem is always the front yard, where your property value is rooted in curb appeal. What you do there will have a […]

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Pruning Shrub Roses in Spring

Spring pruning makes shrub roses tidier and prettier.
Pruning shrub roses in spring…exactly what does it mean when a rose is called a ‘shrub rose’? In Taylor’s Dictionary for Gardeners a shrub is defined as “A woody plant that is shorter than a tree and usually has several stems that branch from the base”. This definition would certainly fit many rose types, like floribunda (shrub rose crosses between polyantha and hybrid teas roses.), grandiflora […]

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Flowering Trees with Edible Fruit

Edible crabapples have pretty spring flowers and edible fruit.
Sometimes in our home yards and gardens, we plant primarily for ornamental purposes, but perhaps we overlook the fact that attractive plants can also provide food. The following flowering trees have both attributes. All are easily grown in western Oregon and Washington and garden-worthy, even without their food value.
Serviceberry
Western serviceberry has delicious summer berries.
Amelanchier alnifolia is not exactly […]

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The French Herb Garden


Some classic French herbs are common to American tables, and gardens, while others are less often used and grown. The key elements of the French herb garden let growers mix their own traditional herbal mixes, such as Bouquet Garni, Fines Herbes, and Herbes de Provence. These costly herbal blends are easy to make, and the herbs themselves are effortless and inexpensive to grow.
French cooking is regional, as are the herbs that flavor foods […]

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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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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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