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The Best Reblooming Clematis

When visiting older established gardens, if there is a border garden, it will probably contain at least one of these three plants: peony, bearded iris, and clematis. These are often considered old-fashioned plants because they have been regularly planted in gardens for so many years. All three of these plants are generally considered reliable spring bloomers and once blooming. The bloom period can be […]

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Outstanding Cannas

Every summer I plant my favorite Canna standby, ‘Striata’. It is the perfect floral backdrop for other bright garden flowers. (Image by Jessie Keith)
Cannas are summer-garden workhorses. They grow lushly in the hottest months, only requiring regular water, partial sun, and maybe a hit of slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the season. Their leaves are bold and lovely, their tropical flowers come in lots […]

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Spring Flowering Trees with Edible Fruit

Edible crabapples are larger and great for canning. (Image by JMiall)
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
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Spring Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden 2022


Spring is here! Officially it was March 20th, but I knew it was spring as soon as I saw the daffodils emerge. The hellebores have been glorious this year, but as their late-winter flowers slowly fade, new colors appear in the garden. The red stems of the peonies have started to peek out after being dormant all winter, the early […]

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Native Spring Flowering Trees For Bees


When flowering trees bloom, they are a boon for pollinators, particularly bees of all sorts. They bloom en masse for a week or more, offering a lot of essential food with little forage. There are no better plants to boost these essential pollinators in the garden, and the native trees here feed for both our honeybee friends as well as native bees.
Spring Flowering Trees […]

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Favorite Flowering Ground Covers

‘Shell’Pink’ and ‘Orchid Frost’ lamiums look lovely side-by-side.
If you have a garden area that needs filling in, whether along a slope, between plants, or beside stone steps or rocky retaining walls, there are many beautiful perennial groundcovers for the job. They range from ones that do well in hot, dry areas to others that like moist shade.  I have chosen groundcovers that have beautiful leaves […]

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Native Violets For The Garden

Halberd-leaf yellow violet (top right), Canadian violet (bottom right), Labrador violet (bottom left), and bird’s foot violet (top left)
Last spring I visited the Smokey Mountain National Park during high wildflower season, and I was struck by all of the unusual, beautiful native violets there.  All had a delicate beauty suited to woodland and shade gardens. I started looking for garden center availability and was struck […]

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Growing Perennials From Seed

Coneflowers, catmint, rudbeckia, and butterfly weed (top left, clockwise) are all easy to start from seed.
Spring will be here before you know it, and this means it is time to buy this year’s perennials, whether old favorites or new ones you haven’t tried before.  The problem is how much they cost. To plant a modest new bed of perennials, you can expect to pay over […]

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Favorite Old & New Salvias For Flower Gardens

The red and white ‘Hot Lips’ is heat-tolerant and beautiful.
It would be difficult to come up with a group of plants that can add as much to the garden, in so many ways, as the flowering sages in the genus Salvia. Their colorful, two-lipped blooms are lovely and the many garden representatives have diverse growth habits, flower colors, fragrance (usually in the leaves), as well […]

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African Violet Care 101


It is that time of year when I start feeling desperate for flowers. Christmas, with all the decorations and lights, is past, and there are three whole months until April, with its early daffodils and crocus. So what is a perfect, ever-blooming houseplant, to brighten things up at this time of year?  The answer is African violets, and they are easier to grow than […]

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