Garden Maintenance

Tired of Spraying? You Might Just Need a Dose of CTFD

June 26, 2014 4 comments
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New gardeners, like new parents, tend to be a bit overprotective of their charges. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking a fancy new shrub from the garden store, or our firstborn little darling – too much hovering can lead to, well, not-so-great results. There’s a new parenting trend floating around the internet called “Calm the […]

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Stop! Don’t Prune That Grass (How to Prune Ornamental Grasses Right)

January 28, 2014 8 comments
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(Article originally appeared in Fine Gardening Magazine) Most of us know what to do with our big grasses that go dormant each winter: Grab a bungee cord, tie the grass up, and use an electric hedge trimmer to buzz the column of foliage to the ground. But what about those tricky grasses that are evergreen […]

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Guest Post: Want Happy Plants? Feed the Microbes!

February 23, 2012 10 comments
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Five Ways To Improve The Health And Diversity Of Your Soil Food Web: A guest post by Phil Nauta, The Smiling Gardener. Most of the work in our gardens is done by the “soil food web.” If you’re not familiar with this term, it refers to the inhabitants of the soil, including plants and animals, […]

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Thick Rind on Meyer Lemons: How to Fix It

February 12, 2012 3 comments
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The reason all of us foodie gardeners grow Meyer lemons is that their thin skins and delectable flavor surpass the acidic pulp and thick white rind of the grocery store Eureka or Lisbon lemons. Yet there are two common garden conditions that make Meyer lemons taste more acidic, develop thick bumpy white rinds, and have […]

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How Small Can I Prune My Shrub or Tree? A Rule of Thumb

November 15, 2011 15 comments
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This is a question most of us pros have come to dread. Not because we dislike answering questions, but because the subtext is so often, “I want a particular tree, but I don’t have room for it. May I have your professional go-ahead to hack the holy hell out of it to keep it to […]

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What’s Wrong With My Fern? Brown Leaves on Ferns

November 1, 2011 4 comments
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Does your fern have shriveled, brown fronds or a bleached, discolored appearance? We know that people are susceptible to sunburn, but we don’t think of plants as being able to get sunburned as well. It’s a common problem. When shade-loving plants like ferns are put into a sunny situation, their fronds shrivel around the edges, […]

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Fall Garden Tasks in the Pacific Northwest

September 26, 2011 9 comments
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This time of year, my landscape maintenance company is busy as anything, pruning and helping all the gardens recover from months of wild blooming abandon. While a lot of what we’re doing right now is pruning to keep things at the right size in relation to their surroundings (we don’t want the plants leaning boorishly […]

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Lawn Hacks for Organic Gardening Geeks

August 23, 2011 26 comments
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Lawn care, at first glance, seems pretty straightforward. Mow, water, apply various bagged items, and take the time to frolic playfully on your fancypants expanse of greenery. But after owning a lawn for any period of time, most of us start to ponder the deeper questions surrounding lawn. Questions like, “dang, why does my water […]

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The Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower

August 18, 2011 302 comments
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This review is of the premium StaySharp Max reel mower. There are also two budget models available that have different features. Read a comparison of the three mowers in the Fiskars StaySharp line here. Lately, I’ve been realizing just how much I hate mowing my lawn with my old gas mower. It’s stinky, it’s noisy, […]

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Prune Your Hellebores: A Public Service Announcement

August 14, 2011 3 comments
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Lenten roses, Helleborus orientalis, are gorgeous in winter. They’re gorgeous in spring, too. But if you don’t deadhead them once they’re done blooming, they stop being gorgeous and start looking ratty. Then, they turn into spawning hellcats, dropping masses of seeds that sprout into masses of tiny, slow-growing, hard-to-remove seedlings that, yes, could theoretically turn […]

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