Native Plants 101: Western Sword Fern

Sword ferns (Polystichum munitum) are the workhorses of the native plant garden. Like many creatures and plants that are common and abundant, we often forget to appreciate the subtle beauty and utility of these large, helpful, ecologically important, and undemanding ferns. In suburban, rural, and wildland area of Puget Sound, these ferns are extremely important … Continue reading Native Plants 101: Western Sword Fern

Native Plants 101: Basic Growing Information

Growing Native Plants   Native plants are best for native insects, pollinators, birds, and local wildlife. Plants and animals evolved together, so the ones that are native are always the best for local wildlife. Mix them in with your ornamentals, and you will have a diverse landscape teeming with healthy life! You will have more … Continue reading Native Plants 101: Basic Growing Information

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

Garden Planning Time…

In this time of dark winter retreat, it is so much fun to imagine additions to the garden. It's also a good time to locate plants, so they will be available to plant in late winter or early spring for an easy transition to their new landscape life. When I contemplate plants for purchase, I … Continue reading Garden Planning Time…

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

Beneficial of the Week 4

It's fungi season in the Pacific Northwest! Although we will be fighting mildew and other fungal invasions for the next eight months or so, the benefits of fungi are so numerous, it's hard to know where to start. Some fun facts from Ecology for Gardeners by Carroll and Salt (2004), and Life in the Soil … Continue reading Beneficial of the Week 4

Beneficial Organism of the Week 3

Keeping you entertained and surprised by the beneficial organisms around you, this week it is: How can this be beneficial to us?? Yellowjackets are ferocious and irritating. What possible use could they be? Yellowjackets are ferocious. I was not too bothered by them until I made the mistake of approaching a nest too closely. Yikes. … Continue reading Beneficial Organism of the Week 3

Beneficial Organism of the Week 2

This week it's a bird, and you might be surprised that it's a non-native, obnoxious one: STARLINGS! Mostly starlings are considered pests, ever since that guy that thought it was a good idea to import every animal Shakespeare mentioned into North America did, in fact, import them. But one good thing about flocks of starlings … Continue reading Beneficial Organism of the Week 2

Beneficial Organism of the Week

Starting a new theme here: Garden Beneficials.  I would say "beneficial insects" but so many organisms that keep us alive and healthy are from other orders. You'll see as we get further into this! Here are this week's guests of honor These two tiny millipedes are front-line shredders, so you find them in leaf litter. … Continue reading Beneficial Organism of the Week

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I see this plant in so many gardens  - do you know what it is? This plant is  possibly the most cryptic and devious noxious weed we have in western Oregon and Washington. I looks so deceptively like it belongs wherever it happens to be - even at the base of a big tree (which … Continue reading Should I Stay or Should I Go?