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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Connecting Garden Beds with Color

We all have areas in our garden that pose a significant design challenge. Such is the case with this bijou bed adjacent to our main patio. It is seen from the kitchen windows year-round yet is part of a 5-acre landscape with much larger sweeping borders. Measuring approximately 12 feet square with a central container…

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