Prune it right

February 24, 2015

It looks like we are having a very early spring this year. Many of us will not be gardening and pruning early enough to keep up with the “El Niño” conditions.

Usually, February is a good time to dig and move plants, prune fruit trees and roses, cut back ornamental grasses, and just get ready for the growing season. This year, most plants are way ahead of schedule.

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It’s not my yard

January 27, 2015

I have a question. Are the deer living in our yards, or are we living in theirs? About a year and a half ago I asked this question in a column about deer. I just reread that column, and my thoughts have changed. I used to complain, because they seemed to go for my most prized plants. Now, I see them more as part of the landscape rather than a challenge to it. Low maintenance, sustainability and an environmentally sensitive garden are important. I’m growing lots of natives and feel good when I share those plants with the deer.

If you are trying to grow roses, perennials and amazing flowers in suburbia without a fence, your plants are in harm’s way. You might detest the deer and if so, you are looking for plants they don’t like. We can’t remember everything they like and don’t like, so it’s best to know just the generalities. Here are a few: Read more

Master gardener’s corner — Bugged or elated?

September 23, 2014

I was down at Boehm’s the other day. The weather was gray but warm, and I was feeling a little flat.

When I got out of my car I sniffed the air to see if I could find the wonderful scent of chocolate. I couldn’t. I couldn’t because the smell of a fantastic rose overcame everything. It flooded the parking lot, the air and me. It was terrific. I was uplifted just by that smell.

The sense of smell is very strong and capable of bringing back images and memories that we think are lost, including childhood experiences or maybe a fantastic meal. A nice memory can lift your mood and change a cloudy day into a sunny one. I’m not sure if you can overload your senses or not, but it would be fun to try.

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Ciscoe Says — Master gardener Ciscoe Morris helps the Issaquah Grange celebrate its 80th anniversary

September 16, 2014

By Greg Farrar Ciscoe Morris prepares to give away a potted flower as he gives a gardening talk and takes questions Sept. 6 at Grange Supply, during the farm and garden supply store’s 80th anniversary party.

Photos by Greg Farrar
Ciscoe Morris prepares to give away a potted flower as he gives a gardening talk and takes questions Sept. 6 at Grange Supply, during the farm and garden supply store’s 80th anniversary party.

The popular Western Washington horticulture guru gave away several plants and a copy of his 2006 book, ‘Ask Ciscoe: Oh, la, la! Your Gardening Questions Answered,’ filled with answers to 400 frequent or unusual plant problems.

The popular Western Washington horticulture guru gave away several plants and a copy of his 2006 book, ‘Ask Ciscoe: Oh, la, la! Your Gardening Questions Answered,’ filled with answers to 400 frequent or unusual plant problems.

A local audience member brought a spotted rhododendron leaf in a sandwich bag, which Morris diagnosed to be suffering from drought.

A local audience member brought a spotted rhododendron leaf in a sandwich bag, which Morris diagnosed to be suffering from drought.

Grange Supply celebrates 80 years

September 2, 2014

Master Gardener Ciscoe Morris to appear

A longtime Issaquah institution is celebrating its 80th anniversary with a day full of free food, giveaways and a visit from a Pacific Northwest gardening icon.

Issaquah History Museums 72.021.014.158B Children wait in line outside the Issaquah Valley Grange Mercantile building on Front Street North in preparation for walking in the 1937 Labor Day Parade.

Issaquah History Museums 72.021.014.158B
Children wait in line outside the Issaquah Valley Grange Mercantile building on Front Street North in preparation for walking in the 1937 Labor Day Parade.

Grange Supply has been in business since 1934, starting as a Renton-area diesel pump before relocating to Issaquah in 1943 and expanding into the all-things-gardening, farming and pets outpost it is today.

The store will celebrate its eight decades of operation from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 6.

“Eighty is a big milestone, so it would be great to celebrate with our community. We are so grateful to them for sticking with us so long,” said Alex Prus, who handles marketing at Grange Supply.

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Savor the summer in your garden

September 2, 2014

In going through my Issaquah Press files, I found an article from August 2009 that expressed my exact, same feelings this year. This summer must be a repeat of the one in 2009.

Spring in Issaquah is always cool and wet, right? In summer, we have high temperatures in the 70s, right? And we see cloud cover day after day after day, right? Not this year. This year, the sun, the temperatures and the days without rain have just blown us all away.

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Think green with Eastside gardening program

August 12, 2014

NEW — 9 a.m. Aug. 12, 2014

Dust off the gardening gloves and keep those dinner scraps as you learn how to transform food and yard waste into compost and get tips to safely eliminate garden pests in the Master Recycler Composter-Eastside program.

Applications, available here, are due by 5 p.m. Aug. 15.

Email your completed application to Maren Neldam at marenneldam@seattletilth.org with the subject line MRC Eastside Application.

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Grange Supply celebrates 80th anniversary

August 10, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 10, 2014

Grange Supply, 145 N.E. Gilman Blvd., will celebrate its 80th anniversary Sept. 6 with food, prizes and a visit from Master Gardener Ciscoe Morris.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes free hot dogs and popcorn.

Those in attendance can spin a wheel to win prizes.

Morris will speak and answer questions about gardening at 1 p.m.

Embrace the artistic you in your garden

July 29, 2014

A few years ago, a friend of mine from the East Coast visited her son in Seattle. She is a professional floral designer with an eye for the artistic, as opposed to the scientific.

We decided it would be fun to visit a nursery together and check out the plants. We each grabbed a cart and started out across the colorful, lush, potted landscape. She started filling her cart with everything colorful and beautiful. I was interested in odd specimens and natives that fit the peculiar conditions in my yard. We went our separate ways for a while, searching and looking at each and every morsel.

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The birds and the bees revisited

June 24, 2014

Most of us think flowers are pretty just in order to decorate the world. Wrong! Flowers are pretty so that they can procreate, so they can have babies and make more flowers.

Beauty creates sexual attraction in flowers as well as in human beings. We think we are alone in the ability to appreciate beauty. Wrong again! The birds and even the lowly insects, the targets of fly swatters, have an eye for color, pattern, shapes, movement, smells and all things that we attribute to the term “beautiful.”

Plants reproduce in two ways: by wind and by pollinators. Wind-pollinated flowers are plain, like grains of grass. They start out pale green and turn to a very bland hay color when ripe. We don’t pick them and put them in vases, and bugs don’t like them either. What these flowers like is wind, wind that blows their pollen around and doesn’t care what they look or smell like. These plain flowers don’t waste any effort trying to be beautiful.

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