In My Garden

10 Brilliant Tips for Growing Vegetables and Berries at Home

10 Brilliant Tips for Growing Vegetables and Berries at Home

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When I was planning my first vegetable garden, I had a romantic vision of how it would go. I would sit on the back porch with a bowl full of peas, fresh from the garden. With great pride, I’d look out at neat rows of lettuce, carrots, beets, parsnips, herbs, and potatoes, shelling the tender peas into a clean bowl…. 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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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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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 *UPDATE* 04/08/17 ‘Golden Foam’ is my kudzu. I hate it with a white-hot passion. What really troubles me is that it will surely… Read more →


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Daylily Salad Days

Daylily Salad Days

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Did you know that common orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) flowers are edible? They’re good, too—mild-tasting with a hint of sweetness. And they make the prettiest salad toppers. I am NOT talking about any other kind of plant called a “lily,” such as lily-of-the-valley or Easter lilies, which are poisonous (to people and to cats). As for the edibility of other species… Read more →


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What's That White Stuff on My Crape Myrtle?

What’s That White Stuff on My Crape Myrtle?

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So the other day I noticed my Tonto crape myrtle had this crusty white stuff on it. Not powdery mildew, which sometimes appears later in the year on crape myrtles. Mildew looks like white film on the leaf’s surface. Mine had white stuff on the tips of the leaves. My first thought was woolly aphids or cottony scale, but it… Read more →


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Backyard Landscaping Ideas and Before-and-After Photos

Backyard Landscaping Ideas and Before-and-After Photos

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Your backyard should be your sanctuary, your playground, your own intimate connection to natural beauty and the rhythms of life. When we bought our current house a year ago, it wasn’t any of those things. Years of neglect had left the backyard in a sorry state. The lawn was lumpy and compacted. The only tree, a 50-plus year old Norway… Read more →


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