Fall Planting, Pacific Northwest

blueberriesAutumn is an excellent time to think about adding to your homes landscape. While vegetable gardens are transitioning to fall crop, Autumn is a great time to plant shrubs and perennials - the soil is still warm, while the cool temperatures and rain provide perfect growing conditions that support root growth. Plants will thrive come spring! I just found out that neighborhood nursery, Swanson's in Ballard is having an amazing sale on trees, shrubs and perennials just now - 30% off until September 30th. They have a large selection of blueberry bushes and some gorgeous low-growing native flowering plants, like these gorgeous hellebores. And check out this stunning online "August Lookbook" of plants. It is one of THE MOST GORGEOUS WEBSITES I've ever seen & will make you want to plant. Immediately. Not only are the pics amazing, each plant has a bio and short tips on growing in the Pacific Northwest.

Merlin HelleboreFurther, the smart garden folks over at Swanson's Nursery created all of these faux garden situations like the "Parking Strip Project" I highlighted on my Instagram a few weeks ago  or a "Rockery Garden" all of which give you some great ideas on how to transform your property. They are SO brilliant, you must check them out. There's more info on these on Digging Deeper, Swanson's blog.

And YES, I know this sounds like a crazy advertisement, but honestly…..get thee to the nursery, take advantage of these great prices and immediately improve your home (not to mention increase your property value) and the environment, as well. It's a smart deal at a smart time and I repeat - it ENDS on September 30th. And don't forget to let me know what you decide to plant!!!

 

PLANT SPOTLIGHT :: Salvia

Black & Blue SalviaI've been growing food for people in their backyards since 2004 and while my breadth of knowledge for edibles is deep, I've only just scratched the surface of all other plants. Landscape plants, bushes, annual flowers and trees remain a mystery to me. Solution? Write a column! Introducing PLANT SPOTLIGHT.

Salvia's are a large genus of plants that include all sage. Everything from the commonly known varieties, like Common Sage (aka Salvia Officinalis) that we use to cook with, to more showy ornamental plants like this Salvia Black & Blue. Woody and fragrant, salvia's add both color and productivity to any garden. Most importantly, perhaps, they are powerful pollinator magnets - attracting hummingbirds and insects to the garden. With blooms ranging from red to purple and heavily scented leaves, salvias are a hardy plant and will last for years in your garden. (Note that for hard winters, you must definitely mulch!)

I've grown Tangerine Sage in my gardens for years and love it. It does well in a large pot on my patio and absolutely explodes if given the space in a garden bed. I use the leaves in sun tea infusions or add them to tomato salads. Plus, the blooms can't be beat for attracting hummingbirds to a space.

All plants have different growing needs, but salvias do well in full sun or partly shaded areas of the garden. They are off-putting to most pests, so you shouldn't have to worry about deer or bunnies. And they are drought tolerant, so a great choice for any apartment dwellers that are adding containers (which tend to dry out quickly) or a garden bed that does not have regular irrigation.

Swanson's Nursery put together this amazing collection of salvia plants - a great resource for anyone wanting to add herbs, color and attract pollinators to the garden. In honor of National Pollinator Week, let me also add that an edible garden is only prolific when insects, bugs and birds spend time there. These pollinators play crucial roles in our ecosystem and help to disperse pollen and seed. While bees are most easily thought of as pollinators, flies, butterflies, beetles, moths and even bats are help this natural lifecycle. With a foundational role in our ecosystem, it is thought that pollinators contribute to 80% of the planet's plant life. So, it is VERY IMPORTANT that we all do our part and support this process. Swanson's also put together a great pollinator resource, for a quick reference tool. If you live in the city, go nab yourself a plant today!

And if you need MORE help, don't forget to check out Swanson's Grow With Us Project - they offer advice and give you a discount on plants. Total win. AND, and, and……stay tuned for details on a great promotional give away they are hosting next week! We are collecting awesome garden ideas on Pinterest and would love to hear from YOU. I'll have details here - stay tuned.

All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. This is a sponsored post. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Pruning in March - How To Correctly Trim Your Trees

rhodieMichelle Meyer is my garden co-hort, and she's got GREAT tips for pruning here and below. Pruning

I get lots and lots of questions about pruning trees and shrubs. There is no single rule for what should be pruned and when, but I just want to remind you that, in general, there are very few reasons to prune. There are so many more useful ways to spend time in the garden, so let’s talk about why you shouldn’t be spending a lot of time pruning.

First: Right plant, right place. Before you plant, carefully consider what the full size of the plant you’ve chosen will be. Plants in our area can grow to their full size in just a few years. If you already have a plant in the ground that is too big for its spot, take it out. There are so many lovely plants to choose from, there is no reason to wrestle with one that is too big for the space.

Next: When you prune a plant by topping or shaping it, what you’re really doing is stimulating its growth. Prune the top of a plant that naturally wants to grow tall and it will end up growing wide, wide, wide and thick with water shoots/suckers. It does not honor the plant and its natural beauty to try to make it conform to artificial dimensions.....READ MORE