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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Something Old Blooms Something New

For years now we’ve called it the Pinwheel Tree.

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It’s a rhododendron that grows from a single trunk with large oblong leaves that flap in the breeze. The visual effect is like a pinwheel that, if it started to spin, could lift itself up and hover in the air. Actually, now that I think about it, calling it the Helicopter Tree would’ve made more sense.

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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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Mirrors, Moss and Miniatures

I knew it was there and I had always meant to go.

Plans were made but, mother nature intervened each time with bouts of nasty weather. One time it even snowed! I couldn’t seem to make it to Bloedel Reserve, a botanical garden on Bainbridge Island. Another time I made plans to go there for my birthday. We rented a room so the day could be spent at the reserve before going to dinner at Mossback, a favorite restaurant of mine in Kingston. As we drove toward Bainbridge Island, the sky darkened and raindrops began to fall. It rain hard for the next two days. We went straight to the restaurant where we spent about four hours eating and drinking in their Rabbit Hole cocktail lounge. A good time but, let me tell ya, it was no walk in the park!

The years passed and thoughts of going to Bloedel faded.

 

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Stranger in the Night

The day is done

It’s time to go inside because it’s getting dark and cold. You’ve seen how the fading light can change a garden: those flowers that cheered you up in the daytime begin to look watchful, that tree you like to sit beneath becomes animated and the path that invited you in is now just a warning that asks, “Should you be here?” This place feels so different as the night spreads its shadow.020_20539881418046236450.jpg

 

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Rhubarb’s Many Happy Returns

It seems odd to write about rhubarb as summer draws to a close.

Rhubarb is one of the first vegetables to be harvested in the spring.* 20180805_120622158844458296092871.jpgIt’s an herbaceous perennial that comes back to life from rhizomes every spring. The timing is perfect for it to be paired with another perennial favorite, strawberries! I can’t think of anything else that marks the start of summer like strawberry-rhubarb pie. Unfortunately, that time came and went quickly this year and I never made that pie. I ended up putting all of my effort into something less fleeting; jam. I made strawberry and strawberry-rhubarb jam.

*That’s right, it’s a vegetable! The courts were able to declare it a fruit back in the 1940’s because of its culinary association with cobblers and pies, but it was mainly done to help businesses who imported the stalks from having to pay taxes!

The jam was good to make but, I did miss getting to bake. Here’s a Gardenkeeping secret confession: I love to bake as much as I love to garden! The only problem with baking is that, if you’re not careful, everyone gets chunky around the middle. It’s definitely not a victimless pastime. So, please, please be careful if you find yourself alone in a kitchen with flour, sugar, butter…!

 

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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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“Light…Wind…Action!”

The time is late July.

The sun is heating up the land and the sea and, as it sits overhead, the directness of its rays reach down and hold you in place. If asked what you’re doing the answer better be, “Not much.” It’s obvious you’re not getting anything done today. Just admit it.

 

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