Before & After: Creating an Inviting Entry Garden

Who needs a sign that says "KEEP OUT!" when your front garden requires a machete to reach the door? As I carefully navigated my way past the mature stand of bamboo, keeping a watchful eye out for any lurking pandas, I could understand why I had been called to this lovely home in Redmond, Washington.…

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The New Forsythias

My dog-eared  copy of Dr. Hessayon's book Trees & Shrubs (1983 edition) states that "Gardens are brightened each March and April by the masses of yellow flowers on the leafless branches [of forsythia]." It then goes on to warn of its two enemies; birds who eat the buds and gardeners who hack the shrub to…

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Bringing Sunshine to Winter Days

There are only so many grey days I can take. Seattle isn't exactly known for its winter sunshine, but after several days of relentless freezing fog I'd had enough. I even went to the lake for a swim – usually a panacea for all things grey, and while it was wonderful in its zingy 'now-I-know-I'm-alive'…

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New(er) Shrubs That Still Perform

It generally takes a few years to assess new shrubs. For example, the habit can initially be nicely compact yet after a few seasons they may resemble a gangly teenager. Or what you thought was going to be a low maintenance, drought tolerant, and deer-resistant specimen proved to be a demanding primadonna. As the gardening…

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Best Flowering Groundcovers for Full Sun

The term "groundcover" was new to me when we moved to the USA over 25 years ago. My English gardens never had any bare earth showing, every conceivable space both horizontally and vertically being planted in casual layers of annuals, perennials, edibles, shrubs, and more. There was no additional earth that needed to be covered!…

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