Soil Solutions

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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The Well-Prepared Parterre Potager

villandry 1The grand French Chateau de Villandry Ornamental Parterre Garden is in the foreground with the Ornamental Kitchen Garden in the background.
As with most things French, even vegetable gardens can be decidedly beautiful.  What makes them so special are parterre potagers, a practice of creating symmetrical, geometric patterns with beds of vegetables of different colors and textures. Within the geometric beds, which are often lined with […]

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Blueberries for Western and Southern Gardens

tableNew, heat-tolerant blueberries should be enjoyed in more gardens south of the Mason Dixon Line and in the Southwest
Forget that blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) are just a crop for the far north, because that’s changed.  Modern selection and breeding has resulted in a range of hybrids and varieties that extend blueberries into almost every growing zone.  What makes this such a great opportunity is that blueberries are […]

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5 Sustainable Ways Your Garden Can Help the Earth

IMG_0757Creating a Certified Wildlife Garden is one of many ways to garden sustainably.
By default, gardens help the Earth by providing vital green space, but there are smart ways to boost a garden’s overall value—environmentally, socially, and economically. Some steps are small. For example, growing your own food organically takes little effort and offers big rewards with fresh, low-cost produce. Composting your own food scraps […]

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Sun Gro’s Quality Program

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Gardeners experience success with Black Gold® because its parent brand, Sun Gro Horticulture, is dedicated to producing premium products for its customers. To achieve this, Sun Gro created a Quality Program designed to produce and deliver a consistently high-quality, uniform product. As North America’s largest professional mix supplier, Sun Gro uses the same equipment and processes to produce its retail brands, such as Black Gold®.
Sun Gro Quality Program
The first step of the Sun Gro […]

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Smart Tips for Growing African Violets

African VioletsAfrican violets are popular for their colorful, ever-blooming flowers and compact size. (Image by Jessie Keith)
I once heard someone say that the African violet was “America’s Favorite Houseplant”.  While I do not know if this is true, it has certainly been a house plant staple for years.  The compact pretty plants bloom throughout the year with flowers that come in a multitude of colors. They […]

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Growing Lemons, Oranges, and Other Citrus Indoors

Citrus aurantiifolia var. myrtifoliaMature Chinotto Sour Orange (Citrus x aurantium ‘Chinotto’) Fruits.
From the seventeenth to nineteenth century European aristocrats in the north grew citrus and other tender fruits in specialty greenhouses called orangeries. By the early Renaissance, pane glass could be sufficiently produced for the creation of greenhouses large enough to hold tropical and subtropical fruit trees. These glass houses were status symbols, in […]

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Made Flowers Grow in a War-Zone

WAr Zone2Two-tiered planter
I deploy to Afghanistan often, and I’ve spent the last three summers here. (I miss JULY 4th so freaking much…) That aside, this time around, I was intent on growing some flowers to break up the monotony and ugliness of white rock, dust, cement t-wall barriers, and barbed wire. Kind of hard to do when there’s no dirt around.
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Mike Darcy’s Favorite Fall Trees and Flowers

Stewartia, fall color, J. Eves 2014Stewartia pseudocamellia fall color
The fall season is upon us and what a glorious time of year it is. As I walk around my neighborhood, and drive around Portland, the many deciduous trees are turning brilliant shades of color. The more brilliant they are, the better.
Favorite Fall Trees
Stewartia pseudocamellia seed pods, L Foltz 2014 Read More »

Peat Moss: Nature’s Gift to Gardeners

BGPeatMoss2.2cu Front-WEBHealthy soil is the key to vigorous garden plants and lawns. It is good insurance to protect your garden investment. So, how can you best prepare your soil? Use Black Gold® Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss and Peat Moss Plus. Both are made with pure, sustainably harvested Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, with the Peat Moss Plus having an additional organic wetting agent to aid in re-wetting […]

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