A little about me:
In 2006, I built a garden consisting
of two 7' x 7' raised beds for my annual vegetables & herbs, a 3' x 20' perennial vegetable garden along the fence line,
and several flower beds throughout the yard. I also tend to keep several pots surrounding the garden, as I never seem
to have qite enough room in the garden. I do try to grow as organically as possible. The garden has been very
successful for a variety of annuals such as lettuce (being a cold weather crop, this grows well nearly year round,
and there are so many kinds!) zucchinis, tomatoes, carrots, onion sets, and my personal favorite - cucumbers (they taste entirely
different straight from the vine!) just to name a few. I have asparagus (although not enough for a meal yet...)
rhubarb, and artichokes in my perennial bed. I like to fill all around them with gladiolas and other tall flowers for
my peas to climb. I stained and finished a wood bench & tables, added a painted trellis, gravel walkways, and I
recently added a toilet planter in the corner. I now have my very own little sanctuary right here in my back yard.
Quite an improvement from when there was remodeling debris everywhere! That is now all confined behind a fence where
I can't see it behind my garden, and although it doesn't give my husband much room left to work with - when the wife is happy,
everyone is happy!
Need specific plant ideas? www.ProvenWinners.com has a great plant search tool that narrows down your results based on specific things like shade or sun,
hanging, etc.. It then shows you pictures and details about each plant to help narrow down your search even further
- before making that trip to the greenhouse. No more struggling to read those tiny plant labels in the
And check this out: www.Learn2Grow.com has information on everything from plant care and instruction, to a landscape design tool!
Kind of fun...and a wealth of information.
of Thumb for Pruning Flowering Shrubs
Pruning is a source of confusion and worry to many gardeners. How and when to prune are two of
the most common questions asked of gardening experts. Luckily a few simple guidelines provide good advice for growing
most types of flowering shrubs.
Rule of Thumb Number
One: Don’t Prune. Many gardeners labor under the belief that they must prune regularly to keep their
shrubs in good condition. Not true. Most shrubs need only one significant pruning session a year and many don’t
even need that. Pruning common shrubs like lilacs, forsythia and burning bush into tight mounds is not only unnecessary
but isn’t that great for the plants, either. Many flowering shrubs will look their best when allowed to grow in
their natural form or habit. Frequent shearing encourages lots of surface branching, possibly resulting in an unhealthy
structure and reduced flowering. If you really want a tightly sheared look in your garden, choose a plant that is suited
to it, such as boxwood.
Rule of Thumb Number Two: Prune Spring Flowering
Shrubs After Flowering.
Plants that bloom in early spring
usually produce their flower buds the year before. The buds over-winter on the previous year’s growth and open
in spring. If you prune these spring bloomers in fall or winter you’ll remove the flower buds and won’t
have flowers that year. The plants will be ok, but you’ll miss a year of blooms. Most of these plants don’t
need heavy pruning every year, just some selective thinning of branches to give them a nice shape.
Rule of Thumb Number Three: Prune Summer Flowering Shrubs In Late Winter or Early Spring.
Many summer flowering shrubs bloom on the current year’s growth. Pruning them back in later winter encourages
them to produce lots of new growth that summer and will result in more flowers. Don’t be afraid to cut fast growing
plants, such as buddleia or caryopteris, down to as little as 10-12” tall. The exception to this rule is Hydrangeas.
See Rule Number Four for more on that.
Rule of Thumb Number Four:
Hydrangeas. Hydrangeas alone account for at least half the pruning questions
in gardening advice forums. Some bloom on ‘old wood’ (see Rule Number Two) while others bloom on ‘new
wood’ (Rule Number Three.) You’ll need to identify what kind of hydrangea you have and follow the appropriate
rule. Hydrangea macrophylla, the ones with big blue or pink flowers, and Hydrangea quercifolia, oakleaf
hydrangeas, both bloom on old wood. The little pruning they need should be done immediately after flowering. Hydrangea
paniculata, which have white, conical flowers, and Hydrangea arborescens, such as ‘Annabelle’, bloom
on new wood. They’ll produce better flowers if cut back in late winter.Rule of Thumb
Number Five: It’s OK to Trim Anytime. Really.
Gardeners are often confronted with stray shoots
and branches in late summer and worry about removing them. Go ahead and cut them back. The plant won’t be
damaged by removing a branch or two.
In summary, relax. Your
landscape plants don’t need as much pruning as you may think. If you’d rather go to the beach than shear
back your landscape plants, go right ahead. The only potentially tricky part of pruning is determining when to trim
a particular plant. For a quick review, prune summer bloomers in late winter and spring bloomers right after flowering
– just check the hydrangea rule before you trim them. Stray or broken branches can be trimmed back any time.
If you do make a mistake, plants are very forgiving. You may miss a season of flowers but the plant will recover for
the next year.
A GARDENING RELATED QUESTION OF ANY KIND - ASK THESE GUYS ANYTHING, ANYTIME!!!
help@GardenHotline.org ; www.GardenHotline.org
TIP: The USDA has released
an updated version of the Plant Hardiness Zone Map, with adjusted zones and more helpful online features.
The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America
into 11 separate zones; each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a
hardiness zone in a catalog or plant description, chances are it refers to the USDA map. To find your USDA Hardiness Zone,
go to http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
"Grow smart, Grow safe!"
A consumer guide to lawn and garden products - 600 pest controls and fertilizers reviewed for health and environmental
This link puts this information at your fingertips, as well as a downloadable guide: http://www.lhwmp.org/home/gsgs/
USE RAIN BARRELS TO CONSERVE WATER! see: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20405190,00.html?xid=grnewsletter-110706-rain-barrels
**WE NOW ARE CERTIFIED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE'S "RAIN WISE" PROGRAM TO INSTALL
CISTERNS & RAIN BARRELS, AS WELL AS RAIN GARDENS!!! **
See our listing: https://rainwise.seattle.gov/city/seattle/vendors#p-v=1&per-v=10&h-v=2701408005&sort-v=alpha&s-v=vs15
about Seattle's Residential RainWise Program, as well as general information on conservation and gardening/landscaping:
For Plant Identification, Rainwater Management, Landscaping
and Green Roof Info.: http://www.seattle.gov/util/About_SPU/Drainage_&_Sewer_System/GreenStormwaterInfrastructure/ResourcesforResidents/index.htm
Just let us know if you would like help with your yard.
How about "elevating
your gardening game" by having raised garden beds similar to mine?
About raised garden beds: Advantages include:
- Less stooping when planting, weeding and harvesting.
- Depending on the style of garden bed, you can sit on the edge as you work.
- You can control soil
quality well, mixing exactly the types of soils and materials that you want and not relying on what the good Earth gives.
- Garden beds look good,
giving your gardens a tidy appearance.
Just give us a call, and we will help you design & install something that fits both you and your
space. It's what I love to do!
average, women use 5 products to clean their homes during the week. But you don’t need an arsenal of cleaners to do
the job, so save yourself a dime by skipping those toxic cleaners... The Basic Ten Green Cleaning Products
Here are "The Basic
Ten" products you can use to clean just about anything, courtesy of GreenAmerica.org:
1) White vinegar: An antifungal that also kills germs and bacteria.
2) Baking soda: Eliminates odors and works as a gentle scouring powder.
Borax: Borax, the common name for the natural mineral compound sodium borate, eliminates odors, removes dirt, and acts
as an antifungal and possible disinfectant. Use with care around children and pets, as it can be toxic if swallowed.
4) Hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration): A great nontoxic bleach and stain remover, as well as a
5) Club soda (fresh): A stain remover and polisher.
Lemon juice: A pleasant-smelling nontoxic bleach, grease-cutter, and stain remover.
Liquid castile soap: An all-purpose cleaner, grease-cutter, and disinfectant. “Castile” means
the soap is vegetable-based, not animal-fat-based.
8) Corn meal: Great at picking up carpet
spills. (I did not know this!)
9) Olive oil: Makes a wonderful furniture polish.
10) Pure essential oils: Adding all-natural, organic essential oils to your cleaning concoctions
can add wonderful scents to your housekeeping endeavors. Some—such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass,
and tea tree oils—also may have antibacterial, antifungal, or insect-repelling properties.
Take Small Steps Over Time to Transition Your Home into a Green One
The thought of transitioning your home into a green home may sound daunting or even expensive.
Instead of trying to do it all at once, develop a strategic plan that you and your family can implement over a period of time.
Set goals along the way and make small but significant changes as you can.