Spring is springing out all over. And those of us who enjoy fresh flowers and produce and would like to have them growing in our own backyards (or on our own back balconies) are asking this very crucial question: What should I be doing in my garden right now? We put the question to our experts.
From Debbie Brandt, Operations Support Manager:
Spring is Sprung!
It’s time to hop in the gas guzzler, drive to the local Big Box Store and stock up on toxic chemicals to kill the weeds, bugs and slugs that threaten your garden. Just kidding.
A Garden for Everyone
Have you been wishing you could have a garden but you don’t have a yard? No worries! If you have a patio or deck, start a container garden! You will need 3 basic ingredients: a container, some potting soil and plants! If you’re starting from scratch, here are a few tips to consider.
Color – decide on several colors to include in your container garden. I’ve learned to avoid including too many colors in one container; instead I prefer to choose 2 or 3 colors that I think complement each other. If I’m planting a large container, I will buy several of the same plants (rather than all different plants).
Variety – I like to include different types of plants in a container: upright plants, trailing plants and medium-height plants. Another way to vary your plant selection is to choose different leaf and flower types, such as broad leaf and thin, needle-like leaves.
Location – when choosing your plants, consider the location of your container: will it be in a sunny spot or a shady spot? Choose your plants according to the location of your container. Plants that prefer shade may shrivel up in the sun; plants that love the sun may not thrive in a shady location.
The most important thing is to choose what you like. When you visit the nursery, browse around and see what plants look good together. Many nurseries have container gardens ready to go – you can copy those plant combinations. Or just buy their container!
Reduce Neighborhood Noise
A few years ago, I got a battery-powered lawn mower. It’s perfect for my West Seattle yard: one charge is more than enough to mow the entire lawn. And it makes a pleasant whirring sound, rather than a roaring gas-motor sound. Last week, the Seattle Times ran a short article by Ciscoe Morris on rechargeable lawn mowers. Scroll down to the 3rd article.
From Cheryll Viele, Compliance Manager:
Right after the first of the year, I start to get very excited about changes I’ll be able to make to my garden. Although I don’t consider myself an expert (certainly not like Ciscoe Morris), I love the time I spend thinking about what I want to plant in my garden and then the actual planting. Of course, before planting there’s the preparation – pulling weeds, mulching, pruning, pulling out old plants, moving plants around: the list goes on and on. I have what most would consider a very eclectic garden, and because I’m also an avid garage sale shopper, I’m always looking for the special treasures I can place throughout my garden.
And oh, the garden sales! I always buy too many plants and then struggle to find places to plant them. For those of you that do garden though, you’ll understand that there’s always a place for that special plant. A great sale I try to attend every year is the FlorAbundance Plant Sale at Magnuson Park. I just Googled it and this year’s sale is on April 25th (Saturday) and April 26th (Sunday). Saturday is the better day so that you don’t miss out on some of the great plants.
My passion is plants of the flowering version – not because I don’t love fresh vegetables out of the garden but more from a time and space standpoint. Although I have a fairly good-sized back yard and front yard, I fill every possible space because I so enjoy the thrill of seeing the plants begin to emerge.
A lesson I learned a long time ago: don’t be afraid to prune. I remember being concerned that if I pruned, I would ruin my plants. Just the opposite, they come back bigger and better (well at least most of the time).
I love hummingbirds in my garden and here are a few plants they love – Crocosmia, Salvia, Butterfly Bush (I know the state of Washington considers this an invasive plant but I think they’re beautiful and I’ve had very good success in controlling them in my garden).
If you have a lot of shade in your garden, Hosta’s are the plant for you. The beauty of this plant never fails to amaze me and there are so many varieties. Unfortunately, the slugs love them too.
I could go on and on but space prevents me from doing so – happy gardening!