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Gardening Articles

Fall Fun on the Front Porch (Fall Porch Decorating) Published in Blue City Monthly, October 2014
By Linda Roe

Once the fall chores are done in the garden, it’s time for a little fun! Now let’s decorate your favorite outside coffee and wine spot. With a little planning ahead, and a whole lot of fun with leaves, pumpkins and pansies– you can carry the porch from Halloween through Christmas. Dump all your tired annuals, replace the soil and clean up the area. Now clean the door, windows, walkway and steps well. With everything clean, you now have a fresh palate to paint your fall picture.

September Sedums (Succulent Gardening) Published in Blue City Monthly, September 2014
By Linda Roe

Fall brings crispness to the air, the days may be warm, but the nights are cooler. Leaves begin to show a hint of color in the green, most of our summer perennials have gone to seed, and our annuals are spent. But wait! One of the most reliable, low maintenance, drought tolerant, ‘go to’ plants is about ready to bloom! Our plant is a group of succulent perennials known as the sedums.

Drinks All Around (Water-Wise Gardening) Published in Blue City Monthly, August 2014
By Linda Roe

We seldom think much about watering our garden here in wet Puget Sound. We get complacent. Then we are caught off guard when that stretch of hot July weather hits us. We come home from work to find wilting plants, and frantically round up our hoses and dig around the yard bin to find our sprinklers, only to find gaskets missing, hoses leaking and rusted sprinkler heads. Frustration!

To ‘Bee’ or Not to ‘Bee’ (Bee Friendly Gardening) Published in Blue City Monthly, July 2014
By Linda Roe

There is something intoxicating about walking through a fragrant and blooming garden alive with the sound of bees. A gardener is drawn to the color and fragrance of a blooming garden, but to a bee this is a banquet bouquet. Bees are an important part of a flower garden, but absolutely essential to a veggie and fruit garden. By buzzing busily about collecting nectar, bees carry the pollen from flower to flower ensuring pollination and therefore fruiting.

Rock On (Rock Gardening) Published in Blue City Monthly, May 2014
By Linda Roe

Bright and colorful! Some of the first of the spring flowers to bloom are the so-called rockery plants. You see them spilling over a bank, lining steps, and tucked into old retaining walls. ‘Rockery plants’ is a loose term and can apply to any low growing, mounding or spreading plant. They can be dwarf conifers, tiny shrubs, perennials annuals or even bulbs.

Bodacious Berries (Growing Your Own Berry Crop) Published in Blue City Monthly, April 2014
By Linda Roe

It is exciting to wake up on a sunny summer morning, quickly run outside in your bathrobe, and return with a handful of sweet berry goodness to top off your bowl of dry cereal and milk. Berries are everyone’s favorite edible to grow and berries deliver a lot of flavor for only a little work. Would you like to grow some?

The Garden in the Slow Lane (Autumn Gardening) October 2013 By Linda Roe

The freezer is full, the apples picked, and the tomatoes canned. The winter crops are planted. The bags of bulbs sit on the porch waiting. It is fall and the garden year moves into the slow lane. There is still a lot to do, of course, but take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy your time outside while the sun shines.

Decorating Your Garden August 2013 By Linda Roe

The lazy days of late summer will usually find gardeners relaxing on the back deck instead of working hard in the garden. Keeping the flowers watered and the veggies harvested is more than enough to do. Sometimes, though, as you sit and admire (or eat), your hard work, you may feel there is something missing. Maybe it’s time to think about adding some garden art.

Among the Wildflowers originally published in The Journal July 2012, updated July 2013
By Linda Roe

“You belong among the wildflowers” is a line from an old Tom Petty song I frequently find myself humming on a summer hike. Every gardener needs a day off, and where better to spend it than in nature’s flower garden?

A Passion for Plants June 2013 By Linda Roe

A question posed to me recently asked “What is the ultimate gardeners’ garden?” I got to thinking about my garden and my gardening friends, customers and coworkers gardens. They are all so different and yet, we, and our gardens have a few things in common. These are not the glossy magazine cover gardens. Our gardens are the 99% gardens, maintained without help, except for maybe a drafted spouse, or a cash strapped teenager.


A Riot of Color May 2013 By Linda Roe

The first really warm days of spring bring gardeners in search of bright flowers to add that glow of sunshine to their gardens. We’ve had it with gray and we’re tired of green. We want red, we want yellow, we want orange, blue, purple, pink and even white! We want that ‘riot of color’, and we want it, like the sun, to last all summer. We want annuals.

Hangin’ with the Hummingbirds originally published in The Journal 7-6-2010 updated May 2013
By Linda Roe

Zeeerrr!! A blur of wings and sound flies past your ear. Before your brain registers what your eyes have seen, she’s gone, heading for a sweet meal or defending her buffet table from any interlopers.

Keeping it Fun published in The Journal 03-13 (Final Issue)By Linda Roe

The term ‘low maintenance’ is a siren song for most gardeners. Beautiful gardens, less work. So what is a low maintenance garden? Low maintenance does not mean ‘no maintenance’, but how we fill our gardening desires and still have time for the rest of our life.

Back to Basic Botany published in The Journal 02-13 By Linda Roe

A tree grows at the rate of six inches a year. If a nail is pounded into the trunk five feet above the ground, how high will the nail be in 10 years? Some variation of this question will usually show up on a beginning horticulture student’s first quiz. Did you get it? By the end of this article, you will. To be a better gardener, it is good to know a bit of basic botany.

Fall Back into the Flower Garden published in The Journal 11-12 By Linda Roe

Fall is here! The leaves are falling and the rain is back. Our overcast days and damp soil provide gardeners with an excellent opportunity to plan and plant for next year. This is the time to divide perennials, move shrubs, and prepare hanging basket fuchsias and geraniums for overwintering.

Hair of Mother Earth published in The Journal 10-12 By Linda Roe

It has been said that grass is the “hair of mother earth.” When you think about a big globe with grass blowing in the wind, it fits. Lawn grass is the usual green outdoor carpeting we plant around our home and between our flower beds. Ornamental grasses, the varied grasses we plant in our garden, are more hair-like. Loose and blowing in the breeze, they add an element of wildness to even the most formal gardens.
 
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained published in The Journal 9-12 By Linda Roe

Planting a winter vegetable garden is a gardener’s version of the stock market. It may, or may not, pay off. I always consider my twenty dollar investment of seeds and starts ‘venture capital’. Whether I see a produce profit, all depends on our winter weather.
In planning for a fall /winter crop there are a few things to consider before the first seed goes into the ground.

A Cast of Shady Characters published in The Journal 8-12 By Linda Roe

When the sun gets hot, we gardeners often seek the shady areas of our yard. Oft forgotten the rest of the year, we now notice how boring it is.

An Ounce of Prevention published in The Journal 6-12 By Linda Roe

It has been said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so I’m going to address some common fruit and vegetable cultivation problems. It is hard when someone brings a ruined crop to me, looking for help when it’s a problem that could have been prevented earlier. Start now so you can enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor later.


Long Live The Queen published in The Journal 03-12 By Linda Roe

In one of my earliest memories, my mother and I are standing under a white rose arbor, a climbing pink rose blooming profusely over the top of us. I remember little of the house, or rest of the yard, only the rose. Why is it, that of all the garden flowers, roses are the ones that draw us to the garden first? Is it the color, the scent, or just the romantic mystique of the rose? Roses are indeed the queen of flowers.

The Gardener’s New Year published in The Journal 2-12 By Linda Roe

The official new year begins on Jan. 1, but for gardeners, the unofficial new year begins with the Northwest Flower & Garden Show held Feb. 8–12. Newbies and experienced gardeners alike flock to this gardening extravaganza, where there are so many overthe-top displays and cool plants that a gardener can be happily overwhelmed with gardening possibilities. As a Flower & Garden Show junkie since 1990, I have learned about which ideas to take home and try, and which to just enjoy at the show.


Cheerful Winter Bloomers published in The Journal 11-11
By Linda Roe
The year I learned to appreciate winter-blooming flowers was the year my father died. Walking the grounds of Evergreen Hospice with my mother and smelling the faint, sweet scent coming from the soft pink flowers of Viburnum “Pink Dawn” offered a note of cheerfulness to gray, gloomy time.


Fall Fire published in The Journal 10-11
By Linda Roe
Fall has always been my favorite time of year. The weather is good (usually) and the tomatoes get ripe (finally). Time just seems to slow down a bit. It’s fun to be out in the garden this time of year, cleaning, weeding, and planting spring-blooming bulbs. Flowers turn to seeds and berries, and leafy green turns to fall fire.


Covering Ground published in The Journal 9-11
By Linda Roe
Ground cover is a relatively new concept in gardening. One hundred and fifty years ago, an English gardener would have given you a blank stare when your spoke about ground cover. Nor would he have understood the phrase “low-maintenance weed control.”


Butterfly Days published in The Journal 8-11
By Linda Roe
The days of August may be referred to as the dog days of summer, but I like to think of them as the butterfly days. Maybe it’s because so many nectar rich butterfly attracting plants are in bloom. Maybe it’s because there are more lazy days to sit and notice the grden happenings.


Restless Natives published in The Journal 7-11, updated June 2013
By Linda Roe
Summer is here and it’s time to go play outside! Some of us, like me, choose the mountains as our playground, while others choose to play in or on the water. Wherever you choose to play, take along a good field guide and get to know some of our beautiful Northwest native plants. Gardeners will find there are many natives that are truly garden worthy.

It’s Not Too Late published in The Journal 6-7-11
By Linda Roe

Years ago, I remember looking out my window one June. It was cold and wet, just like this year. My vegetable garden was muddy, weedy and still unplanted. I wondered if it was even worth the bother. Gardeners are optimistic, so of course…

Big Old Rhododendron published in The Journal 5-2011

By Linda Roe
There’s nothing that says Pacific Northwest like a big old rhododendron, leaves shiny and dripping with raindrops.

Gardener’s Gold & Other Goodies published in The Journal 4-2011

By Linda Roe
Years ago, while attending a fundraising auction for my children’s band trip, I bought a 10-yard load of compost donated by a local dairy. My kids couldn’t believe that, of all the cool stuff to bid on … compost? But I knew I had gold, gardener’s gold. Why all the excitement? It’s because compost does many wonderful things for your soil and plants.

Passionate About Proper Pruning published in The Journal 3-2011

By Linda Roe
Early spring is the time of year when gardeners seem to feel the need to gather anything with sharp blades and go outside to “prune”. But wait! Before heading out and taking blade to branch know why and to what purpose.

Winter Tweets published in The Journal 2-1-11

By Linda Roe
Snowbirds, to me are not retired people in big RVs headed south on I-5. Snowbirds to me are the little black headed Juncos pecking away at the seed heads of my dead perennials or the little song sparrows’ sitting in a snow covered bush, feathers plumped against the cold.

Spring Sunshine published in The Journal 10-5-10
By Linda Roe
Anyone who lives in Western Washington for more than two months, quickly figures out our cool, wet weather patterns and regional color palette of greens and grays. Even Washington natives like me, who love the beauty and appreciate the climate, have been known to whine and complain about the weather in the spring. The solution to our spring whine is not to move to California, but to plan ahead and plant spring bulbs now.

 

Late Bloomers published in The Journal 9-2010
By Linda Roe
Many of the fall blooming perennials are like gawky teenagers taking up space in our summer flower gardens all season not doing much of anything. Suddenly there they are around Labor Day, arising over our tired summer flowers like a phoenix!

 
The Dahlia Days of Summer published in The Journal 8-3-2010

By Linda Roe
My friend Susan had never given growing dahlias a second thought until she saw them displayed in a vase at a flower show. As a floral designer, she was instantly smitten! She was impressed by the huge variety of colors, shapes and sizes including little pompoms, pink and white frilly petals and wow, the big dinner plate blooms. So many choices!!

 

Container Gardens: Easy & Elegant published in The Journal 6-2010

By Maria Fox

You’ve seen them — those fabulous container gardens brimming with a fountain of vibrant colors and textures. And how about those amazing hanging baskets, cascading

 
Want to Grow Veggies? Join the Craze published in The Journal 5-2010
By Maria Fox

There’s a real satisfaction to sitting down for a meal of home grown fare. Home garden veggies taste better than those commercially marketed, the nutritional value is multiplied significantly; not to mention the savings. A $2 pack of lettuce seeds will pay for itself 10 times over in savings at the grocery store checkout. Even better, beyond the culinary, nutritional and economic benefits of growing at home, another wonderful discovery is being made: vegetable gardening is fun!

 

Greener Grass? Not Always a Good Thing published in The Journal 4-2010

By Maria Fox and Sue Backman
Have you noticed a green hue across the lawn? Look Closely it may not be the aura of new healthy grass. “The Green Creeper,” lawn moss…

 

I Beg Your Pardon – You Say You Want to Plant a Rose Garden? published in The Journal 3-2-2010
(Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself!)

By Jenny Jorgensen
If you have been thinking about planting some roses in your garden, NOW is the perfect time to take action. If you’ve been “on the fence” you should know that the roses of today have come a long way.

 

Autumn Gardening published in The Journal 9-2009

By Jenny Jorgensen
Summer may be coming to an end, but fall brings with it a new season of opportunity.

 

Winter Outdoor Check-list

It’s not just about the plants
There is always plenty of work to be done preparing your plants, trees and shrubs for the winter weather. After all, proper care in the colder months not only protects the landscape we’ve worked hard to create, but promotes increased health in the next growing season.

 

Make Your Garden Vision a Reality published in The Journal 8-2009

By Linda Roe
Every gardener has a personal vision of the perfect garden, the garden of the mind’s eye. Is yours a garden bursting with color, alive with hummingbirds, butterflies and bees? Then to make this vision happen, it is time to get your hand dirty and plant some hardy perennials.

 

Successful Planting Tips published in The Journal 7-2009

By Maria Fox
Healthy, beautiful plantings don’t just happen. In any endeavor, information and initiative are key to achieving successful results. Planting is no exception.

 

Garden Casualties from a Cold Winter published in The Journal 6-2009

By Maria Fox
Rather than fretting over your losses, think of proper care as the best insurance to keep your garden alive and going strong.

 
The Blooming Annual: A Gardener’s Favorite published in The Journal 5-2009

By Maria Fox
Topping the list of plant cravings from a long winter and a blustery spring is the ever enduring and ever endearing: blooming annual. No gardener can resist them.

 
Groceries from the Garden published in The Journal 4-2009

By Jenny Jorgensen
Imagine you are planning an event, a dinner party or barbecue and all you need to do for fresh produce is step outside into your garden and fill up your shopping basket with all your favorite ingredients. This can really happen and your menu choices can be endless. Your recipes can be ingenious. Your guests will be amazed.

 

The Maple: an expert’s top five picks published in The Journal 6-3-2008

By Maria Fox
Would spring be as beautiful without the appearance of the tender new leaves of the maple?

 

Container Gardens – Simple and Perfect published in The Journal 5-2008

By Maria Fox
Planting spectacular container gardens is simply a matter of combining two elements: great plant material and quality soil and amenities- our beautiful Northwest summer will take care of the rest. When choosing plant material, look for a combination of different growing characteristics. Select plants that grow upright in a compact area, like geraniums or heliotrope and those that cascade down the side of the pot. Add in some trailing foliage, like sweet potato vine or vinca to create contrast with your flowering varieties.

 


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