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Tough Garden Yuccas      

Adam’s needle (Yucca filamentosa) is an adaptable, bold landscape plant!
“This flower was made for the moon, as the Heliotrope is for the sun…and refuses to display her beauty in any other light.”  This lovely Victorian quote, taken from the 1878 edition of Vicks Monthly Magazine, set off a fad for yucca plants.  Though they flower in the sun, their blossoms become fragrant at dusk, […]

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4-Layer Easy Rock Garden Design

Created on a slight incline, this beautiful western rock garden featuring aloes, cacti, and local stones and cobble.
Alpine succulents from the Atlas Mountains flooded into 17th-century England where the climate and soils were totally unsuitable for growing them.  This created a learning curve for English gardeners. Daily summer rains and great soil explains why their gardens are so fabulous, but succulents need high sun, fast draining […]

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Get an Edge on Porous Paving

Short, dense perennials are the ultimate edge plants to tidy up after repairs to eroding edges.
Artists learn early on that the most important parts of a line are the beginning and end points.  The quality of the start and end define the line’s value. No matter how light the line weight is between the two points, the line continuum will stay intact because the viewer will naturally […]

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Cultivate Beneficial Insects in the Garden

Ladybug adults and larvae (orange and black) waging war on black aphids!
 
Your garden is a battlefield with more life and death drama than the Serengeti during wildlife migrations.  Among your beautiful plants and flowers there is that age-old war playing out every day as the insect world fights over who eats what.  Some insects are pests that eat your plants – they are garden prey.  Other […]

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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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Five Best Ways to Save Water in the Garden

Roof rainwater trickles into a classic garden rain barrel.
Smart gardeners prepare for summer dry spells and drought. A little water can go a long way, if you plan ahead with effective water conservation techniques. Implement one (or more) of our five ways to save water in the garden, and not only will your plants grow better in dry weather, you will spend less time and money […]

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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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Blooms in the Ice: The Joy of Late Winter Bulbs

Snowdrops break through ice of a forest floor in February.
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 had emerged and asked if they […]

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Growing California Christmasberry

fruit foliageLarge sprays of bright red berry-like fruits mature in time for holiday decorating.
In my old High Sierra home, I decorated with my own native Christmasberry (Heteromeles arbutifolia, USDA Zone 8) fruit every winter for nearly 20 years. Also called California toyon, this shrub produces large sprays of bright red fruits that are so seasonally welcome, I wondered why it was not more popular in landscaping.
Christmasberry makes […]

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