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Spring Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden


Amidst these very troubling and upsetting times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I appreciate my garden even more. It is a refuge where I can go and clear my mind of all the chaos around me and feel some calmness. I can see the hummingbirds going for a meal in the flowers of Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), and then fly […]

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How to Amend Clay Soils


One of the garden necessities that should never be overlooked is having the right soil for the right plant, which often means having good, fertile loam. For our plants to perform at their very best, it is our job to give them the best soil we can, but clay soils can make this a challenge. The best time to thoroughly amend the soil for […]

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Late-Winter Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden

Clean off any debris that has collected on the lawn over the winter.
Take a Garden Stroll
With a steaming cup of coffee in my hand, I walk out into my garden this February morning and delight in seeing the nodding, bell-shaped white flowers of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) (Click here to learn more about other early spring bulbs like snowdrops). I have a […]

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Award-Winning Flowers for 2020

Echinacea Sombrero® Baja Burgundy (Image by AAS Winners)
The beginning of the year is always filled with award shows to highlight the best-of-the-best. In the entertainment industry, there are the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, and Tony Awards. In the horticultural world, there are All-America Selections, Fleuroselect, RHS Award of Garden Merit (UK), and other more regional awards for the best-of-the-best garden plants. Plant introductions that receive awards […]

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Colorful Flowering Kalanchoe for Winter Cheer


Do you seek a cheerful holiday plant that will look good in your home all season long? One of the best is the succulent flowering kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11). Unlike the top-selling poinsettia, it is tough, easy to grow, and always looks good.
Garden sticklers (like me) like plant names to be pronounced correctly, and kalanchoe is not exactly an easy name […]

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Favorite Oregon Grapes for Landscape and Garden

A well-established Oregon grape looks spectacular in full fruit.

It was not too many years ago that gardeners often thought of Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium, syn. Berberis aquifolium) as primarily a woodland plant that did not belong in the ornamental garden. This Pacific Northwest native, which is the state flower […]

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Overwintering Outdoor Ceramic Containers


With 150+ potted containers throughout my garden, it is important that I overwinter them well. Living on the relatively mild western slope of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, our winters do not compare with those in colder parts of the country, but we do get freezing temperatures. Almost every winter, we will have some nights when the temperatures dip into the low 20’s and sometimes into […]

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Bold Grasses for the Fall Garden

Pennisetum ‘Jade Princess’ is a spectacular variety with huge, showy plumes.

With many summer-flowering annuals beginning to fade, autumn is the season when many ornamental grasses take center stage. I do not want to dismiss those ornamental grasses that look quite good in the garden during the summer, and some […]

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Ginkgos Large and Small


In Portland, Oregon, Ginkgo biloba trees line the streets in an area called Park Blocks. These magnificent trees were planted years ago and today reach a height of perhaps 100 feet.  The Ginkgo is an excellent choice for a large street tree when taking into consideration the ultimate growth expected.  (Large tree lawns are a must.) They do not seem to be bothered by […]

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My Favorite Summer Flowering Trees



With the proliferation of spring-flowering shrubs and trees, sometimes the trees that flower in the summer can be overlooked.  This is too bad because there is quite a selection of summer flowering trees from which to choose.  Many people visiting our garden are often surprised to see the […]

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