September 22, 2015
NEW — 4:31 p.m. Sept. 22, 2015
Our natural environment plays a huge part in our lives in the Northwest. We love the indoor/outdoor connections and livability during most of the year. The reliability of the plants, the seasons and the views in most neighborhoods has created a basis for our thinking and our lifestyle.
I was at Sammamish City Hall the other day, and the planners were talking about concerns over our native plants. They and many of us are wondering if our natives are going to be able to survive the summer droughts that are coming earlier every year.
August 25, 2015
NEW — 6:05 p.m. Aug. 25, 2015
Are we human beings the only ones who don’t understand the weather, the season or the environment? With the odd frost times, the warm winters, the lack of snow and rain, we don’t know what to expect. Is it global warming or just El Niño?
August is usually the time of year around here when we can’t tell indoors from outdoors. In past years we were excited, because the soil was finally warm, the plants seemed happy and we could go barefoot without that cold, damp feeling underfoot. This year, it’s different.
June 25, 2015
In April, I wrote about the beautiful spring we were having. It was dry and sunny for so many days. It didn’t dawn on me that in April we might have to water.
I have never watered that early, usually not until June. My yard doesn’t use much water; it’s mostly natives with a few special plants and containers that need spot watering.
April 28, 2015
This spring’s weather is beautiful, one of the best we’ve had.
Either that or I’m just in a good mood right now. But it does remind me of past springs with nice memories of my childhood yard and in particular, our tool shed. It wasn’t a real shed; it was part of our big, old garage that was built for carriages in 1908. It had a hayloft upstairs and little paned windows for light, rather like an Andrew Wyeth painting.
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.
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
December 16, 2014
It’s December. I was sitting by the window looking at my deck this morning. I had set a pot of mums from the supermarket out there, because it was warm and I thought they would like it.
The shocking color of the red and yellow mums against the weathered browns, mossy greens and gray twigs was startling. The flowers didn’t fit with the otherwise perfect Northwest scene that I am used to.
November 26, 2014
Did you ever think the ickiest, slimiest creature in your yard might be beneficial? I have to admit I thought the slug’s negative points far outweighed anything positive. But I found out that the brown, slimy critter that eats your best plants, hides on the handles of your recycle bin and even climbs up your windows just might deserve some latitude.
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.
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.