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

January 28, 2014 6 comments

(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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New Hellebore Flowers Hold Their Heads High

April 17, 2012 4 comments

I’m a big fan of hellebores, since in my rainy climate so many flowers are dashed to the ground at the first rough rain shower. Plus, some types of flower and color just don’t stand out boldly enough to be visible from a window. Hellebores are tough as nails and shine brightly in the winter […]

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Bored of Your Winter View?

January 25, 2012 1 comment

Perk things up this winter by adding some winter-interest plants, attracting birds, and creating colorful containers out of cut stems and evergreen boughs. That’s my advice over at Landscaping Network, where I talk about some superstar plants and some non-intuitive ways of bringing birds to your winter garden. A special tip o’ the nib to […]

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Fall Garden Tasks in the Pacific Northwest

September 26, 2011 9 comments

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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Golden Conifers Brighten Up Winter

March 4, 2011 6 comments

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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Plants to Love: Gaultheria mucronata or Prickly Heath

February 25, 2011 3 comments

Like the barely-fragrant Stinking Hellebore, Gaultheria (formerly Pernettya) mucronata has been given a somewhat undeserved and unfortunate common name, probably by some delicate-skinned maiden who’d never heard of gardening gloves.

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Hellebore Pruning: How-To and A Cautionary Tale

February 18, 2011 25 comments

There are two schools of thought on pruning Lenten rose, or Helleborus orientalis. One side says to prune off the old foliage to the very base just as the Hellebore is starting to flower. The bloom spikes start coming up in the center of the plant, and the old foliage lays down obediently: If you […]

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Staying Warm While Winter Gardening

November 23, 2010 7 comments

It’s gettin’ cold out there, yet in my coastal climate, we garden all year round. After getting frostbitten toes one particularly nasty winter, I did some research to figure out how I could work outside even when it is C-H-I-L-L-Y out there! I share my tips in this video: Things mentioned in the video: Toasti-Toes […]

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Pruning Miscanthus Grass: How to Cut Back Big Ornamental Grasses

January 27, 2010 10 comments

Ready to prune your Miscanthus Grass? This is the time of year to do it! Ornamental grasses start shedding little grass bits everywhere in January, and with every windy storm they become increasingly messy until in early March you have a bunch of grass sticks still upright and grass leaves piled up everywhere in your […]

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Brrr! What NOT to Prune in Winter

January 17, 2010 7 comments

Right now it’s major big time pruning season here in Northern Cali. I’m cutting back hardy perennials, roses, fruit and other dormant trees and ornamental grasses. But there are a few things I’m leaving alone for the time being. A lot of my favorite plants are frost-tender and can be killed by a stern frost […]

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