Last year, someone asked me how I handle the stresses of everyday life. One of my strategies after a particularly hard day is immediately going out in the garden when I get home. However, I have trouble simply sitting and relaxing there. I have to be doing something, like watering, deadheading flowers, scouting for insect pests or hoeing weeds, but I do occasionally pause to listen to chirping birds or watch the gentle honeybees visit the flowers.
When talking about growing plants in containers, I usually emphasize how important it is to use a quality potting mix. Admittedly, this is vague and does not help when trying to decide what potting mix to buy.
When it comes to petunias, I am a sucker for a pretty face. However, while a pretty petunia may pique my interest, I need to know more before I can commit. I need to know if the petunia is heat tolerant and well behaved. Can it be counted on for continuous bloom through the season? Will it get leggy in late summer? Is it self-cleaning, not requiring the removal of spent flowers to keep it blooming?
There are two main types of grassy weeds in home lawns: annual ones that come up from seed each year and perennial ones that persist from year to year, growing from roots and runners that survive the winter. Controlling grassy perennial weeds is a challenge. There are few, if any, chemicals available that will effectively kill the offending weed without harming desirable grasses.
It would be wonderful if weed-free lawns could stay that way forever. However, weeds get their foot in the door when lawns are subjected to stress from the environment or poor management practices, including watering, mowing and fertilization.
Do you plan on growing your own vegetable transplants from seed this year? The keys to success are ordering seed early, using the right potting mix, planting in clean containers, providing adequate light and sowing the seeds at the right time.
From time to time, I have written about the All-America Selections. These are new flower and vegetable varieties that have been judged to be the best performing new varieties for gardeners. All-America Selections is an independent nonprofit organization with the mission of “promoting new garden varieties with superior performance judged in impartial trials in North America.”
When perennial flowers first became trendy, many gardeners had the impression that perennials were low or no-maintenance plants. Since then, we have learned that perennials require regular care to keep them coming back each year.
Fruit trees are a lot of work because of the pruning and spraying needed to keep them healthy and productive. The only reason to grow fruit trees in is because you want the tasty fruit of a variety you cannot get in a grocery store or at a local farmers market.
Gray days, frigid temperatures, rain and snow have me longing for spring. I am anxious for the end of this nasty weather so I can get my yard and garden ready for growing. Pruning, cutting and digging tools are essential to my anticipated cleanup chores.
Supposedly Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again but expecting a different result. I wonder if there is a word for doing something over and over again and expecting the same result? For me, the words are repeated success. This January will be my 37th year training volunteers who want to become Washington State University Extension Master Gardeners.
Now that we have almost closed the book on 2015, let us reflect a bit on the extraordinary weather of this past year. It is no surprise that summer 2015 was the hottest on record in the region, with a total annual precipitation of 3.72 inches. That is not much considering that 9.16 inches of moisture were lost through evapotranspiration during August. Plus, some areas experienced limited irrigation water.
Many Christmas holiday traditions have been adapted from ancient winter celebrations. Not long ago, I was watching a reality TV baking competition. The contestants were tasked with baking yule log cakes. It started me thinking about yule logs.