For the Birds

We live in times that should be making us think about our water use. Climate issues are very complex and can leave us feeling overwhelmed. It is very hard for a gardener who wants what is best for the plants to also have to conserve and be water-wise. A simple way for a gardener to help is to learn about the native plants in your region and include them in your home garden. Once established, native plants need less irrigation and do more to support the wildlife in your area. It’s like killing two birds with one stone…or wait, no…

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Sleepy Summer Daze

 The forecast said it would be hot this weekend

I’m keeping things well watered, but that’s it! I’ve been putting in very long work days and then spending weekends in my own yard trying to catch up on pruning and weeding. Last weekend I finished with the mulching and can now (in theory) spend the summer just watering and relaxing.

Work has been very busy. This seems to be a summer full of special events that I’m helping my clients get ready for; garden tours, visiting family and a backyard wedding(!!!). I’ve been putting in extra hours daily to try to meet all of the deadlines. It a good thing it’s summer and the days are long…

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Spotlight in the Garden

The weird and wonderful ways of the world flowed into Gardenkeeping’s garden this last week. I was contacted by the arts editor of the Port Townsend Leader, Chris McDaniels. He asked about setting up a time to interview me for a profile article. I initially couldn’t figure out if it was going to be about my blog or my gardening business. He had been given my name by a client of mine, Suzzanne Stangel.

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My husband built me a special computer for my writing and pictures.

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Smoky and Blue

The Woods a Blaze

There are wildfires burning throughout the western part of the United States. Here in Washington State there have been 470 fires in 2018 so far. I was surprised to find out that every year the fire season officially starts on April 15th with burn restrictions in place on all DNR-protected lands. It turns out that as soon as the spring rains stop, everything starts to dry up and is at risk of catching on fire. This year we had a wet spring but, once May hit, the rain stopped and they began predicting a challenging year for fighting wildfires. Then came the summer.

Summer’s Haze

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I’ve had to cancel work for the week. The air quality has gotten that bad.I tried to work a bit but, it was truly miserable. Last week I was out in it and ended up feeling pretty crummy. When I showed up at work the following Monday, K came out of her house and was amazed that I was there, “We’re not even letting our dog outside today!” That was when I realized how quiet it was Uptown: an eerie air. There were no other people outside and only an occasional car driving by. The smoke had driven everyone inside to hide from its ghostly presence. I said I’d reschedule and then left for home. My head hurt and I felt tired, so, after a bath I went to bed and stayed there.

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The Maple Mysteries

“I think something really amazing just happen.”

I said to myself as I walked through the door after a long day at work. I was shaking and feeling a little crazy after having a smile stuck on my face for the last 30 minutes. David wasn’t visible at first so I went looking for him. When I found him he was busy on the phone. I ran back outside to gaze upon my good fortune.

It was a little while before David came out to see what was up. I looked at him, still smiling, ” I think something really amazing just happened! You have to come and see!”

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Pathways: A Garden Divided “Part One”

What do you picture in your mind when I write the word ‘garden’?

It’s different for everyone. There are those who think of endless beds, full of flowers that are always in bloom. Maybe it’s having plants that surround your house without a lawn in sight. Is it what you grow in containers on a balcony or patio? What about the garden being a view through a window, which I wrote about here (click!). For me a garden is where I can be alone with my plants. I hardly ever visit with anyone there.

What I have learned from working in gardens for 20+ years is that almost no one thinks of people when they think of gardens, but what is a garden if people aren’t considered in the planning and enjoyment of it? From this gardener’s perspective, it can make for a very unwelcoming space, but who wants to hear that from their gardener? This is why I write.

 

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Spring-a-Ding-Ding!

•Ding!•

A bell tolls for spring

We’ve been stuck in a rain cycle for a while now. This week’s forecast was for rain every day, so I was prepared for another rough one. I’m use to the rain routine at work; get on my rain gear, keep tools tucked away and then spray mud off of everything, including myself, when I get home. I still managed to work a full week, but it hasn’t been easy: rain, wind, sun (kind of?) and then a cloudburst or two. We have definitely been swept up by the full swing of spring!

 

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A Thousand Words

It’s not that there’s nothing to say

or even that there’s not much going on.

It’s just that life has gotten a little unpredictable….starting with the holidays. We had a white Christmas, which is unusual for Port Townsend. The odds of it snowing here on Christmas morning are about 7%. The last time that happened was 2008.

Then both of my kids’ birthdays are in December. Basically, the celebrations never stop! It really helps to keep my spirits up. I’m not naturally a holiday person, but my kids have worn me down over the years. I’ve learned to “relax” into it.

 

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Leaf Me Alone

A place to relax and play

A lawn, unlike most areas of the garden, is a good outdoor space for people to be. With that said, I mostly don’t care about lawns and whether they’re perfectly manicured or weed free and green. I just don’t want to give much of my brain space over to “the perfect lawn”. Part of the beauty of a lawn for me is it is a ground cover that requires very little maintenance. My approach is to mow it during the growing season (my kids help a lot with this), let it go dormant in the summer when the rains stop and then mow it a few more times in the fall when it comes back to life with the return of wetter weather. All of this happens over the course of about 6-7 months here in Port Townsend. Compared to the rest of the chores in the garden, this takes very little time and skill for the ground it covers.

 

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A Minute on the Pineapple Express

First of all there is rain…

…lots of rain.

Then come the warm winds.

I’ve spent the last two days working through these meteorlogical conditions raking leaves….

….lots of leaves.

 

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