OOKOW

In early summer, Dichelostemma congestum has a compact ball of long lasting lilac-purple flowers two-to-three inches across on a 24 inch stem with two or three grassy leaves at the base. Its flower looks similar to the head of an Allium. Dichelostemma congestums are native to the west coast and grow naturally in open, grassy areas. It works well as a cut flower, but watch the sap as it can be irritating to some. Since it is a native it is very drought tolerant and actually prefers no summer water. Ookow looks ideal in combination with sun loving grasses and other bulbs.

Sheet Mulching

Sheet mulching is a gardening technique that suppresses weeds and builds fertile soil. In sheet mulching thick layers of organic matter are placed on the ground lasagna style. These layers are then left to decompose ultimately creating a rich planting medium (compost) that is terrific for vegetable gardens and ornamental planting beds. The advantage of sheet mulching over composting in a bin is that the finished compost does not have to be hauled to the actual planting bed. It is created right on top the planting bed. The process can take three to six months so it is best to plan ahead and sheet mulch the season before you want to install your plants. However, it is possible to install some

Color Up Your Winter Garden with Heather

Heathers are some of the easiest plants to grow for year round color and foliage interest. Heather, which commonly is meant to include both Calluna (heather) and Erica (heath), like acid soil similarly to rhododendrons, azaleas, and blueberries. Excellent drainage is critical. If your soil is heavy clay, then it is best to plant in raised beds using a mix of soil, peat, compost, and sand. There are so many varieties of heather, that you will find it challenging to choose among them. Since Ericas bloom in winter and spring, while Callunas bloom in summer and fall, I like to have a mix of the two. Plant heaths and heathers in open areas, up hillsides, or along pathways. They pair especially

The Unexpected Houseplant

What I loved most about The Unexpected Houseplant, Tovah Martin’s smart, stylish book on indoor gardening, is the focus on “real plants.” And therein lays the crux of the “Unexpected” in the title. This is not about nursing a spindly, static, spider plant like the one you had in college. This is actual gardening that shifts with the seasons. Martin preaches the power of plants indoors. A “confessed missionary” touting the emotional and healthful benefits of “intimacy with nature” in our homes, she’s out to convert the indoor gardening skeptic. That would be me. I am not a fan of houseplants. Where others connect with nature in the off-season by tending parlor ferns and wandering vines, my in

Living on The Land: Providing Habitat for Native Pollinators

This publication is part of the Living on the Land series. It provides concise information on how to attract and support native pollinators by creating and maintaining the right habitat, including features like nesting sites, quality food, and shelter from pesticides

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