Joy Creek Nursery vs. "Mr. Bear", Plus a Giveaway!

Joy Creek Nursery vs. “Mr. Bear”, Plus a Giveaway!

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Win a $40 gift certificate to Joy Creek Nursery! JCN opens for the 2017 season this Saturday, February 25. (They do mail order, too.) But first, a visit to this amazing nursery in Scappoose, Oregon, 20 miles northwest of Portland. I was invited to Joy Creek recently, along with some of my garden blogger friends, by co-owners Maurice Horn and… Read more →


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Cool Plants at Xera Plants Opening Day 2017

Cool Plants at Xera Plants Opening Day 2017

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Portland has had a horrendous winter. Multiple ice storms, lower than average temperatures, and a single freak snowstorm that dumped nearly a foot of snow have taken a toll, and not just on our spirits. Plants have been heaved out of the ground, broken in two, killed outright by cold. This is good news for nurseries, as people will be… Read more →


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Love Letters to My Garden: A Book Review

Love Letters to My Garden: A Book Review

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Love Letters to My Garden by Barbara Blossom Ashmun is like homemade mac and cheese and apple pie—comfort food reading for a drizzly winter day. In this, her seventh book, Barbara details her 30-year love affair with her garden, sharing stories that all gardeners can relate to, paying tribute to people who have helped her along the way, and marveling… Read more →


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Whipcord Arborvitae: A Cool, Quirky Dwarf Conifer

Whipcord Arborvitae: A Cool, Quirky Dwarf Conifer

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‘Whipcord’ arborvitae (Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’) is a cool, quirky dwarf conifer that has been on my wishlist for quite some time. Instead of the usual flattened sprays of foliage, this lovable mutant form of our native western arborvitae, or western red cedar, sports a mop top of long, skinny, green rat tails. It tops out at around 4 to 5 feet tall… Read more →


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Winter Flowers on New Year's Day

Winter Flowers on New Year’s Day

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Let’s face it, “winter interest” in the garden often amounts to a few somber evergreens, a spray of colorful berries, and some shreddy bark. Honest-to-God winter flowers are rare, and flowers on January first? Well, that’s asking a bit much. Or so I thought. I went to Edgefield McMenamins in Troutdale, Oregon on New Year’s Day to take some “winter interest”… Read more →


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A Visit with Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms Nursery

A Visit with Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms Nursery

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“That’s my favorite tree in the garden,” said Roger Gossler, as we gazed at a dazzling katsura tree in peak fall color at Gossler Farms Nursery in Springfield, Oregon. He said it was a Cercidiphyllum magnificum, not a Cercidiphyllum japonicum, as I had thought. I asked him what the difference was, and he said that C. magnificum stays smaller and has a more arching,… Read more →


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Fothergilla Fall Foliage Fiesta

Fothergilla Fall Foliage Fiesta

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When the crisp, cool days of autumn transform the garden into a fiesta of color, no shrub parties harder than fothergilla. In response to October’s increasingly frosty nights and shorter days, its matte blue-green foliage breaks out in jubilant tones of purple, gold, orange, and crimson, eventually culminating in an orange-red glow. Fothergilla is no slouch in the flower department, either, although… Read more →


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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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