DESPERATE FOR HELP

I live in Hunters, WA, overlooking Lake Roosevelt.  My garden and front rockery get full sun year round, unfortunately accompanied by winds gusting up to 50mph.  The past few winters, our temperature has only dropped to near zero in the winter, but is known to drop as low as -20 degrees.  On the plus, we are surrounded by over a thousand acres of cow pasture- excellent manure!  I have attached a photo of my garden area.  

This has been my first gardening attempt and I dream of eventually transforming the area into a traditional English (flower) and French (veggie) garden. Very successful with the veggies, and the herb garden in front of the gardening cottage is robust, but would love advice on extremely hardy and lush for the flower area.  Some evergreen height that I could circle in flowers would be wonderful.  Many thanks, Brittany

Hi Brittany ~

We looked at your ultimate goal of having larger gardens, and eventually transforming it into an English Garden.  The first, and maybe most important challenge would be to have a good strong windbreak and protection against deer and elk.  You may not have had any visitors from the woods and pastures yet, but as soon as they find that you’re providing some of their favorite snacks they’ll be your constant companions.

We’re not certain what direction your property is facing, but let’s assume that the house and outbuildings are facing north and south, and that the wind is primarily coming in from the northwest.  The site plan we’ve given you can be changed depending on these factors.  The suggestions are based on a site plan that includes your house, other buildings and the proposed gardens.

A pine windbreak, or other appropriate evergreen trees, to surround the northwest side of your property and would also provide structure.  Washington State University Cooperative Extension has a good website that you might check out.  http://www.treesforyou.org/Selection/Articles/windbreaks.htm

A deciduous border inside the windbreak will provide further protection plus seasonal interest.  Plants might include wild roses, lilacs, Cornus stolonifera (red-trigged dogwood), Symphoricarpos albus (snowberry), and Philadelphus coronarius (mock orange).  The perennial border would go in front of this.  Here you could include asters, helianthus, helenium, phlox, peonies, and grasses.  Experimenting with perennials has always been our focus, both professionally and personally, so have fun with this.

Double Click to Enlarge

You might want to research the practice of crop rotation for your vegetables.  This is the practice of growing different crops in different places each year to control disease and replenish soil nutrients.  Seattle Tilth has some good information on this. seattletilth.org/learn/resources-1/…/croprotation-for-plant-health.

Hope these ideas help.  Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Happy gardening!

Susan, Bob, and Carrie


NWFGS – 2012 – Postcards

(c) Lynne Harrison Photos – don’t copy without appropriate credit

NWFGS – 2012 – Sticks and Stones

We had a fabulous first day at the NW Flower and Garden Show and want to share these pictures of our booth.  This year’s theme for us is Sticks and Stones, so our booth shows how to integrate woven panels into the landscape.  Plants used in our booth included:

  • Pseudopanax discolor
  • Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Country Park Dwarf’
  • Coprosma “Karo’s Red”
  • Corokia cotoneaster
  • Carex
  • Dyckia

And the woven wall included apple, red-twig dogwood, bamboo and willow.  Come and see for yourself!  [Click images in the gallery for a larger view.]  [Update: videos added and pictures showing construction coming soon.]

GREAT EVERGREEN GROUNDCOVER – Blechnum penna-marina

This small-scale hardy fern is very adaptable in the Pacific Northwest and makes a great year-round groundcover.  Blechnum penna-marina, is happy in light shade but will grow in deeper shade as well as full sun if the soil is kept moist.

Blechnum penna-marina

The new foliage emerges bronzy-red, aging to deep green.  The tightly packed fronds slowly spread by creeping rhizomes to form a very effective groundcover.  Its variety B. ‘Cristatum’ is similar and its tips are curiously crested.  In both forms the fertile fronds are reddish brown, thin and upright.

FAMILY NAME:  Blechnaceae

COMMON NAME:  Hardfern, alpine water fern

ORIGIN:  New Zealand, South America

PREFERRED GROWING CONDITIONS:  Moist, shady woodland spot in well-drained, acidic, humus-rich soil. Shade to part shade is perfect but will take full sun in the Pacific NW if kept moist.

MANAGEMENT:  Groom in late winter or early spring.  Remove old fronds as necessary.  Cut well established plants to ground in late winter to fully appreciate the new foliage; recommended only on older clumps that have become ratty or are badly damaged by winter wet or snow cover.

PROPAGATION:  Division in spring; sow spores in late summer

PESTS & DISEASES:  None

COMPANIONS & USES:  Heuchera, ajuga, dwarf polygonatum.  Amongst rocks, in rockeries, niches, and walls.

IDEAL SPACING AT PLANTING TIME FOR FULL COVERAGE IN 2-3 YEARS:  8” on center or less.  It can be a bit slow to spread in the beginning.

FOOT TRAFFIC:  no

B. penna-marina, Little Hard Fern, is an evergreen fern with a Royal Horticulture Society Award of Merit. It’s height and spread in one year are 4” x 5” and in five years will reach 4-6” x 24”+. The foliage is dark green, small, leathery and glossy.  Zone 5-8.

B. penna-marina ‘Cristatum’ is a bit smaller than the species.

JANUARY – Del Webber – Vegetable Gardening

[Important update]

RESCHEDULED for Monday, January 23rd, 7-9 pm in the Douglas Classroom at CUH (the west side of the main parking lot)

Del Webber

Vegetable Gardening and our New Relationship with Food

Monday January 16th, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

NHS Hall Section A, Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St. Seattle, WA 98105 Map
Vee Garden Tower

Vee Garden Tower

The Vee Garden offers convenient container gardening systems and easy vertical garden kits.  It takes 15 square feet of traditional garden space to grow what a Vee Garden kit can produce in an 18″ square footprint. Imagine, your kitchen garden could be just outside the door!

http://www.vee-garden.com