Life in the soil

Yes! There is life down there! It is so complex, even soil scientists have yet to plumb the depth and breadth of all the species and interactions that make the soil work like one living organism. For gardeners, it's important to know that a lively soil feeds your plants. Feeding the life in the soil … Continue reading Life in the soil

A New Art Form: Brush Piles

If a brush pile sounds like an unfinished project waiting to be cleaned up, think again! Brush is a resource for making your yard, garden, or acreage into a shelter for wildlife. If you have some prunings, old tree limbs, logs or storm debris, or blackberry canes, use them in the way nature intended. Make … Continue reading A New Art Form: Brush Piles

Perennially good pruning advice

This just in from Oregon State University Extension agent Neil Bell via an article in a local paper: Pruning is a good thing, if you do it properly and at the right time. What is that time?? Each plant has it's own blooming schedule. The perceptive gardener can learn what that is by doing a … Continue reading Perennially good pruning advice

Native Plants: Are they ornamental enough??

There are lots of reasons to grow native plants among ornamental and edible plants in your garden. Natives are: the best food and habitat for native insects that support native birds and other wildlife important food and nectar sources for charismatic insects like butterflies and their larvae (a little chewing can indicate that you are … Continue reading Native Plants: Are they ornamental enough??

Late Winter Bloomers

Cornelian cherry, Cornus mas is not a cherry, although it has cherry-like fruits. The common name comes from the term "cornel" used in the UK to describe the wood, fruit and plant. According to its Wikipedia entry,  "Cornus mas, 'Male' Cornel, was named so to distinguish it from the true Dogberry, the 'Female' Cornel, C. … Continue reading Late Winter Bloomers

Native Bees Are Better Pollinators: Important For Gardeners and Farmers

Native pollinators, and bees especially, are often overlooked beneficial insects. Research indicates that natives are better than introduced honeybees in SO MANY WAYS!  Learn to take care of your native helpers and you will be rewarded many times over. Many natives are ground-nesters, so make sure to leave undisturbed patches of bare sandy soil - … Continue reading Native Bees Are Better Pollinators: Important For Gardeners and Farmers

What’s Winter For?

From some plants' points of view, winter provides an essential chilling period. In climates with seasonal temperature variations, selection has favored seeds that delay germination until the warmth of spring arrives. Then, in soil still moist from winter rain and snow, tiny plants get a good start before the onset of hot dry weather. Woody … Continue reading What’s Winter For?

Landscapes that work

I've been keeping an eye on this small new landscape in front of an apartment house. Initially I thought it might not stand up through the seasons, but it looked fine spring and summer. Even now it has its good sides: In spring it was pleasant to stand under the cherry blossoms and see them … Continue reading Landscapes that work

Beneficial of the Week 5

If the last several posts on helpful garden residents have piqued your interest, you are now ready to stride confidently into your garden (yes, even in winter) to find and identify the wonderful creatures that await you! Here are some great resources to help you in your search for more diverse and intriguing friends A … Continue reading Beneficial of the Week 5