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Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica): Love This Tree or Buyer's Remorse?

Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica): Love This Tree or Buyer’s Remorse?

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I’m a slow shopper. It takes me ten minutes to pick out five apples at the grocery store. Now I’m trying to choose a tree for the parking strip, and that’s a major decision. I’ll have to live with it every day, you know? Persian ironwood, or Persian parrotia (Parrotia persica), is on my shortlist, and I’m weighing the pros… Read more →


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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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