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Bold Aroids for Big Summer Color

The colorful, pink, red, and green leaves of ‘Caroline Whorton’ will brighten up any shade bed.
Summer is almost upon us, so it is time to start thinking about what beautiful plants we want to fill our gardens and containers with this year. Usually, I think of flowers, but I am also going to get some beautiful aroids for foliage as well.  All are tropical members […]

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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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Beyond Your Average Dogwood

‘Satomi’ is a classic pink Korean dogwood to try.
The diversity of dogwoods (Cornus spp.) goes way beyond the common eastern flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), which is much-loved but prone to serious diseases. The list of comely Cornus contains so many selections that it can be difficult to know what to choose. My list of favorites may help you narrow down your choices.
In my own neighborhood, […]

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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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Winter Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden- 2022

January is a good time to remove old Helleborus leaves, just be sure not to accidentally snip flower stems.
December was a month of trying to get my winter garden tasks all done before the end of the year. Here it is January, and I have not completed all my December tasks. Getting everything done is something that I have never been […]

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