Pollinator Gardening

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 […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »

Winter Garden Plants for Wildlife

Mockingbird and beautyberryMockingbirds eat beauty berries as well as many other fruits of winter.
 
The winter garden is not dead and desolate. Fruits of summer and fall still linger on stems, providing vital food to wildlife in the depths of winter. More often than not, these plants also offer seasonal interest, making them win-win additions to our landscapes.
Winter Seeds for Wildlife
It’s all about seeds and berries when it comes to forage for winter birds. For […]

Read More »

Effortless Garden Asters

Clouds of asters decorate the fall gardens at Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA.
Late-summer fields and meadows dotted with clouds of soft purple, violet, and white daisies are the surest seasonal sign that fall is here. These welcoming, cool-hued composites counter the warm oranges, yellows and burnished shades of goldenrods, perennial sunflowers, and black-eyed Susans. Garden-variety asters are even prettier, crowned in blooms that may venture into […]

Read More »

Everblooming Bedding Plants for Heat and Drought

ZTwo Zinnias, ‘Macarenia’ and ‘Mazurkia’ , comprise the bright, heat-wise Sasiando Mix. (Photo care of National Garden Bureau)
Finding garden flowers that bloom effortlessly through the hot, dry summer months can be a challenge for those new to gardening. So many popular bedding plants are tender and water needy. Impatiens, coleus, dahlias and even petunias will quickly flag when the heat and drought ramps up. But, have no fear. Lots of bedding plants will make […]

Read More »

A to Z Natural & Organic Rose Care

TakeItEasy_1The new rose Take it Easy™ is highly disease resistant and a great choice for organic rose growing. (Photo Courtesy of © Weeks Roses)
Roses have a bad rap when it comes to pests and diseases—causing ecologically minded gardeners to avoid growing these seemingly needy, unsustainable garden beauties. But this need not be so. With the dawn of more resilient rose varieties and better rose-care products, it is easier than ever to successfully grow roses […]

Read More »

Autumn Sage for All Seasons

habitAutumn sage matures into a large plant that reaches three feet in height and width.
 
When nature gives you lemons, it’s time to make lemonade.  There’s nothing more powerful than drought to bring some really great plants front and center.  In lieu of thirsty annuals this year, plant water-conserving perennials that live long and bloom even longer.  There is no better choice than a rugged Texas native called Autumn sage (Salvia greggii), which has become the […]

Read More »

Landscape Lessons from a Fremontia

fremontia blossomDifferent flannelbush species are endemic to different California climate zones, from the West Coast foothills to the eastern mountain ranges.
For almost twenty years I lived on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada where the flora was rich in the most outstanding native flowering shrub species for drought resistant landscapes. The most valuable observation was seeing where they chose to grow in the wild.  When you study the habitat of any plant closely enough, […]

Read More »

Which Winter Witch Hazel Should You Grow?

The coppery flowers of Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' are very fragrant and pretty. (image by Jessie Keith)The coppery flowers of Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ are very fragrant and pretty. (Image by Jessie Keith)
Take a random survey of 10 neighbors and asked the question: “When you hear the words ‘witch hazel’, what do you think of?” For most, the answer will not be a plant. They will probably say something like: “That stuff you find […]

Read More »