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The Spiral Goes Viral: Topiary in the Suburbs

The Spiral Goes Viral: Topiary in the Suburbs

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Before I realized that horticulture was my true calling, I was a sociology student with plans to become a professor of sociology. Then I discovered my love for plants. I left grad school after getting my master’s degree and took an entry level job at a nursery. There haven’t been many times when my old world and new world have met,… Read more →


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Into the Woods

Into the Woods

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I finally got around to reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. That’s right—yesterday was a beautiful rare sunny day in early November, and I was sitting on the couch reading a book about how people don’t go outside anymore. So I was inspired to go to nearby Powell Butte Nature Park and… Read more →


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12 Unusual Plants at McMenamins Edgefield

12 Unusual Plants at McMenamins Edgefield

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McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale, Oregon is a former poor farm turned restaurant/hotel/brewery/winery/theater/golf course. Heck, they even have a glass-blowing studio. Of course, my favorite attraction is the incredible landscaping! Here are a dozen interesting and unusual plants I saw there this year while exploring the grounds (in chronological order, more or less). Pretty sure I killed this as a houseplant… Read more →


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12 Best Websites for Plant Descriptions

12 Best Websites for Plant Descriptions

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I write a lot of plant descriptions. It used to be a slow, tedious process, but over time I’ve learned exactly where to go to find the information I need, and that has made my job a lot easier. Allow me to share some of my favorite web sources for plant information: Missouri Botanic Garden Plant Finder If you do… Read more →


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Understanding Roots by Robert Kourik--You Need This Book

Understanding Roots by Robert Kourik–You Need This Book

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Maybe I shouldn’t review a book when I’m hungry, but I found Robert Kourik’s new book Understanding Roots to be one of those meaty kinds of books you can really sink your teeth into, with lots of delicious morsels along the way. For example, I learned: In loose soil, carrot roots can go down 7 ft. One cubic inch of soil can… Read more →


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Garden Conservancy Open Day Sneak Peek

Garden Conservancy Open Day Sneak Peek

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Saturday, August 29 is the date to mark on your calendar for the Garden Conservancy Portland Open Day. In conjunction with the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, the Garden Conservancy will be opening five private gardens in the Beaverton area to ticket holders. You can find out more information here and at the end of this post. I got to… Read more →


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Candy Lilies: Why I Love 'em, How to Grow 'em

Candy Lilies: Why I Love ’em, How to Grow ’em

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Candy lilies (Iris ×norrisii) are fun, easy-to-grow, underused perennials that bloom in gumdrop colors. I grew them in my garden in Kentucky and became smitten; now that I’m settled into a new garden in Portland, Oregon, I’m ready to turn that romance into a full-fledged obsession. They’ll grow pretty much anywhere, asking only for full sun, soil with decent drainage, and… Read more →


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Arctotis fastuosa 'Zulu Prince' Cape Daisy

Arctotis fastuosa ‘Zulu Prince’ Cape Daisy

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How many times have I seen ‘Zulu Prince’ Cape daisy at the back of a seed catalog and thought, “Hmm, I should try that sometime”? But I always pass it up. Well, this year I tried it, and it’s a great little annual. I ordered this plant as Venidium fastuosum from Pinetree Garden Seeds, but after digging around on the interwebs, I… Read more →


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Borage as a Butterfly Host Plant

Borage as a Butterfly Host Plant

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By growing borage (Borago officinalis), I’ve been feeding butterflies all along and didn’t realize it. I love Portland, but I’ve been lamenting its scarcity of butterflies since moving here two years ago. Back in the Ohio Valley, I raised monarchs, viceroys, tiger swallowtails, zebra swallowtails (my favorite), giant swallowtails, spicebush swallowtails, pipevine swallowtails, red-spotted purples, and American ladies from eggs… Read more →


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Euphorbia stricta 'Golden Foam'

Euphorbia stricta ‘Golden Foam’

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*UPDATE* 09/08/16  Unfortunately, ‘Golden Foam’ set a million seeds, of which about 110% germinated in my garden (and lawn). I will be pulling seedlings for the rest of my days. Plant this thing at your own risk.—AC I’ve been admiring Euphorbia stricta ‘Golden Foam’ in my garden all season, and it’s about time I paid it some respect. I got this… Read more →


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