Seduced by Sassafras

Seduced by Sassafras

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Occasionally, somebody asks me that ridiculous question: “What’s your favorite tree?” As if I could choose just one. If pushed to decide, however, I usually find myself saying, “Sassafras.” Sassafras albidum is native from Massachusetts and Michigan in the north to the eastern edge of Oklahoma in the west and to North Florida in the south. It flourishes in the Cincinnati area,… Read more →


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Summer Drought 2016 Winners and Losers

Summer Drought 2016 Winners and Losers

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My garden is a hot mess. I’m pleased to say that the reason I’ve been neglecting it is because I’ve been working on a book with my horticultural hero, Paul Bonine of Xera Plants. The book is tentatively called The Homeowner’s Guide to Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, and it will be released next year by Timber Press. However, the garden. Summer… Read more →


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European Wool Carder Bees: Likable Bullies

European Wool Carder Bees: Likable Bullies

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Nature shows always get you to root for the protagonist, whoever that may be. If the star of the show’s a fox, you’ll find yourself cheering her on to catch the rabbit (although you may have cheered for the rabbit in a previous episode). If the subject’s a skunk, you’ll wish him well as you watch him go about his… Read more →


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Get Landscaping Ideas at the ANLD Designers Garden Tour

Get Landscaping Ideas at the ANLD Designers Garden Tour

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If you’ll be in the Portland area this Saturday, June 18 from 10am to 4pm, mark your calendar for the ANLD’s (Association of Northwest Landscape Designers) 12th Annual Designers Garden Tour to get some great landscaping ideas. Here’s what I saw when I got a sneak peek of these seven fantastic eastside gardens last week. The Wagner garden is a lush… Read more →


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Garden Conservancy Open Days Preview 2016

Garden Conservancy Open Days Preview 2016

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This Saturday, June 11, garden lovers will get to visit five fabulous gardens in the annual Garden Conservancy/HPSO (Hardy Plant Society of Oregon) Open Days Tour. This year’s tour, “Northern Exposure: Glorious Gardens in Clark County,” is situated in the area of Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek Sunday with a couple… Read more →


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Lab Girl: A Book Review

Lab Girl: A Book Review

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Early in her bestselling memoir, Lab Girl, geobiologist Hope Jahren reflects on the countless scientific papers she’s written. These reports, written in the sterile language of academia, don’t allow her the opportunity to express her passion for science or to share the thrilling feeling of discovering something new. She must conceal all feeling when using this professional prose, stifling emotions that… Read more →


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Dove Trees in Bloom (Davidia involucrata)

Dove Trees in Bloom (Davidia involucrata)

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Dove trees are blooming here in the Willamette Valley on this fine late April day (we’re having a heat wave, so they’re a little early), and they’re making a spectacular show. The dove tree, a.k.a. handkerchief tree, ghost tree, laundry tree, or Davidia involucrata, is a rare and exquisite tree with a great story to boot. Once classified in the black gum… Read more →


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Irishman's Cuttings: Easy Plant Propagation

Irishman’s Cuttings: Easy Plant Propagation

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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I thought I’d pot up a few Irishman’s cuttings. This is a super-easy plant propagation method that you can use to make more of some of your favorite perennials, and now is a good time to do it. Irishman’s cuttings are simply cuttings that have a few roots on them already. They’re pretty foolproof… Read more →


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A Gallery of Hellebores for Your Garden

A Gallery of Hellebores for Your Garden

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It’s sprinter—that wonderful season between winter and spring—and the hellebores (a.k.a. Lenten roses) are in bloom! These beloved shade garden stalwarts have undergone a revolution in recent years. Formerly limited to a very narrow color palette, hellebores now soothe our flower-starved late winter eyes with white, pink, violet, crimson, green, lavender, peach, primrose, and purple-black tones. I hit a few garden centers in… Read more →


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The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant: A Book Review

The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant: A Book Review

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Recently, I sat down to take a peek at The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant. It had been recommended to me, and I’d just gotten it from the library, but I had things to do, so I decided to just read a little bit to quell my curiosity. Five hours later, it was 11:30 p.m., and I was debating whether or… Read more →


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