Herbs for Cooking and Fragrance

May is an ideal time to establish a perennial herb garden in our area. We are usually past the last of the spring frosts and have time to get plants established before the drier summer weather sets in. If you want to grow Mediterranean herbs--rosemary, lavender, sage, and thyme--keep in mind that these herbs want to bask in balmy sunshine so you need to find a protected sunny spot in your garden. They also don't want much water after they get established and definitely don't like to live in soggy soil. Using raised beds, about 4-6" above the natural soil line is often enough to take care of excess moisture. If you have a sunny slope, this is also a great location for herbs. And of course

Leafy Spurge (euphorbia esula)

Native to Europe and temperate Asia, leafy spurge currently is found throughout the world with the exception of Australia. It was probably introduced into the United States as a contaminant in imported grain. Since its introduction, the plant has become a serious management problem, particularly for the north and central plains states. All Oregon infestations have come under yearly control and are being mostly held in check.

Vine Maple-A Wonderful Native Tree for Coastal Gardens

When I first moved to Oregon and encountered the diminutive but fiery vine maple (acer circinatum) I was immediately enchanted. Vine maples really shine in a coastal garden. They are uniquely adapted to our mild temperate climate with the result that it takes only a minimum fall in temperature to extract the dazzling display of red, gold, and yellow color. Once the leaves have dropped, the vine maple continues to provide a winter focal point offering lovely variegated grey and white bark. This is especially striking with trees that have been pruned to showcase multi-trunked structure, somewhat like a crape myrtle. Allow the top of the tree to grown into a spreading leafy canopy. Keep the c

A Little TLC for Fantastic Rhododendrons and Azaleas

Rhododendrons and azaleas herald spring in Oregon. And spring is a good time to give these beautiful shrubs the care they deserve. There are a number of things home gardeners can do to keep rhodies and azaleas long-lived and healthy. As with all health check-ups, start with a physical examination. Look for symptoms of nutrient deficiency, such as pale green or dwarfed leaves, which may indicate a lack of nitrogen. Yellow mottling along the leaf margins may indicate an excess of potassium. If the leaves are smaller and darker green than normal and the tips are dead, your shrub may need phosphorus. Chlorotic leaves may mean there is too much calcium, which can be leached from sidewalks and fou

Sunset Western Garden

The New Sunset Western Garden Book: The Ultimate Gardening Guide Description, 9th Edition, Editors of Sunset Magazine, Oxmoor House, 2012, 767 pgs. ISBN-13: 978-0376039200 The 9th edition of this great 80 year old standard for western gardeners demonstrates that gardening is an ever-changing endeavor. If you're a West Coast gardener, you probably already know this book is one of the must-haves. I don't always purchase the newest edition. I lived with the 3rd edition for over 15 years. But this one is a great update. There are beautiful photos now rather than just the line illustrations. There's also a great plant index. The Plant Finder lists in the front have been revamped, with the old

Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast

Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska, Jim Pojar, A. MacKinnon, and Paul B. Alaback, Lone Pine Pub, Redmond, WA, 2004, 528 pgs. ISBN-13: 9781551055305 This book was recommended by a number of my plant friends when I first arrived in Oregon. I needed some help to identify plants on my property and this book was just the thing. It comes in hardback, but I prefer the paperback version which is very durable and easy to take with me on hikes and travels. The pictures in this book are very useful and include both flowers and foliage which helps with identification during the non-blooming periods. The book focuses on herbaceous flowering plants, but t

The Resilient Gardener

The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times, Reviews, Carol Deppe, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010, 350 pgs. ISBN 13: 9781603580311 This year, my main go-to reference is going to be The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe. This author is local (Corvallis) and she advocates for planting four main crops and keeping ducks for self-reliance in these uncertain times. I have chickens instead of ducks but my aim is to otherwise copy her plan for planting potatoes, corn, beans and squash as my main crops, along with my usual tomatoes and lettuce. I've really enjoyed reading about this woman's experience with gardening, seed saving and how she utilizes her harvest in

Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades

Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, Updated 6th Edition: The Complete Guide to Organic Gardening 6 Updated Edition, Steve Solomon, Sasquatch Books. Seattle, 2013, 356 pgs. ISBN-13: 978-1570618970 Whether you are new to the Oregon Coast or have gardened here for years, Steve Solomon's book will be a much thumbed reference for all types of vegetables. The latest version, a special updated 6th edition, addresses issues of soil, seeds, compost, watering, planting times, harvesting and so much more. Steve Solomon, who founded the Territorial Seed Company, was one of the early advocates of organic gardening and benefits of small-plot vegetable gardening in the Pacific Northwest. The advice is

Celebrate Earth Day April 22, 2017

Earth Friendly Gardening This article is based on a 2103 publication by John Porter, Extension Agent, WVU Extension Service, Charleston, WV Earth Day is an opportunity to consider consider the earth and our place in it. It is a day to reflect on how we can contribute to the health and welfare of our soil, water, wildlife and native flora. There are many simple practices to consider in the garden that will either be beneficial or decrease negative impacts or our direct interaction with nature. Here's a list of 10 simple activities that make up a good sustainable garden plan. 1. Compost Composting vegetative yard wastes and kitchen scraps reduces the amount of wastes added to landfills and

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