What to Plant?

Tomatoes! In Humboldt County! Grafted Tomatoes Beat the Competition

September 12, 2011 8 comments
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Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the title is accurate. And no, I’m not talkin’ about no stinkin’ cherry tomatoes, either. Real, live tomatoes big enough to slice and put in a sandwich! If you live in Humboldt, you know what an achievement this is. Our foggy, cool summers don’t usually allow much of anything in the […]

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Drift Roses, the Dwarf Knockout Relative

August 22, 2011 43 comments
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As an organic landscaper, I’ve long been annoyed by those weakling, disease-prone roses that are pesticide junkies from day one. Yet when roses are done right, the colors, fragrance, and luxuriant flowers are hard to resist. They have that old-fashioned, secret garden-type appeal that makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside. That’s why […]

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Plants for Damp or Wet Shade

June 28, 2011 16 comments
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(Click any photo to view larger.) Gardening in soggy soil can be tough enough without the added challenge of shade. While the usual suspects in such conditions – ferns, iris, astilbe and hosta – are beautiful, if you’re looking for a more interesting or architectural planting, it can be tough to find varieties that will […]

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Deer-Resistant Plantings You Can’t F*** Up

June 22, 2011 8 comments
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Planting for deer can be hard sometimes. You read all the books, buy “deer-resistant” plants, and the buggers still munch everything to the ground and give you that blank-eyed “what? I’m a deer!” stare when you shake your fist at them. No, it doesn’t always go as smoothly as the books would have you believe. […]

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Deer on a Diet: Deer-Resistant Gardening Tips

June 15, 2011 6 comments
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Let’s be clear: gardening with deer can be frustrating. You read all the books, plant all the right plants, and those hungry mowing machines just tear through your new deer-resistant plantings like they’re candy! And then leave poops on your lawn to further taunt you. They’re cute; I’ll give deer that. But they’re creatures of […]

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Variegated Rhododendrons Liven Up the Shade

June 11, 2011 2 comments
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My latest post over at the Christian Science Monitor garden blog Diggin’ It is about my favorite types of variegated rhododendrons. I’m lucky enough to have a rhododendron specialty nursery in my community, so in addition to the horrible, boring rhodies seen in parking lots, we also have access to some exotic varieties with glossy […]

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Gardening Under Redwoods: Dealing With Dry Shade, Acidic Soil, and Root Competition

May 5, 2011 24 comments
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Humboldt County’s known for its majestic redwoods, and many of the gardens that I design and care for have a few towering specimens setting the scene. But lovely though they are, gardening under redwoods presents some serious challenges. Shade For one, redwood trees cast some fairly dense shade. This isn’t such an issue if you […]

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Amy and Gen Tropicanna the Garden: a Giveaway!

March 10, 2011 34 comments
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***Giveaway below*** Outside of the garden, I’m attracted to cool, subdued colors, like purples, blues, blacks and greys. But lately, in the garden? Give me some color! Wild, exuberant color, that shocks the eyes and cheers the soul. So when the kind folks out at Tesselaar Plants offered to send Amy Stewart and I some […]

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Golden Conifers Brighten Up Winter

March 4, 2011 6 comments
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With the winter doldrums in full force, I went to my local rhododendron nursery the other day to pick up spring color for a few jobs. Usually, I’m blown away by the blooming rhodies or the summer-flowering heathers. But this visit, what really struck me was the conifers. Specifically, the golden conifers. They just looked […]

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Ferns for Every Garden

February 1, 2011 11 comments
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As we settle more deeply into winter, I’ve been really noticing the beauty of all the ferns in the landscapes I care for. They’re low-care, often have great winter interest, and seem to go with just about every type of plant or style of planting. The neat thing about ferns is they look great both […]

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