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The season has just begun

The Whistling Gardener talks about some of his favorite perennials coming into bloom this month. Any planting you do this month is going to grow and bloom and be wonderful for 90-100 days.

I find it interesting that every year about this time I start to panic and find myself feeling like I have run out of time to plant any more flowers or veggies or whatever. “What’s the point?” I say to myself, by the time they get established the season will be over.

Then I stop and do the math and realize that first of all, it isn’t even summer yet (Friday the 21st is the official first day of summer, the longest day of the year for us) and as we all know summer doesn’t really start until July 5th in the northwest (after we get soaked watching fireworks on the 4th) and finally, the truth is that the months of August and September are when we usually get our best summer weather.

So, if you add that all up it means that any planting I do this month is going to grow and bloom and be wonderful for 90-100 days and that is plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. So get planting!

Host families needed this July to welcome 34 Spanish students

This summer, 34 students from Spain, aged 14-18, will be coming to our community from July 3 – July 29.

June 13, 2013 update

Most of the 34 students have found host families, but several still need places to stay. Please consider this opportunity for your family to discover a new culture!

This summer, 34 students from Spain, aged 14-18, will be coming to our community from July 3 – July 29. They are coming to improve their English, learn about American culture, as well as share their own culture with you! We know our volunteer host families' lives are busy so, hosting with EHP is the perfect balance. By hosting for only 3 ½ weeks, you will be able to get an introduction to another culture, without having to make a long-term commitment.

Open your heart and home to one of our students for a few short weeks this summer; share your America and make a new life-long friend!

2013 Mill Creek Festival & Street Fair is coming up

The 2013 Mill Creek Festival and Street Fair on Saturday July 14th and Sunday July 15th is a popular, fun, and free event for the whole family to enjoy.

The Mill Creek Festival and Street Fair on Saturday July 13th and Sunday July 14th is a popular, fun event for the whole family to enjoy.

Over 200 local businesses will be participating in the event and more than 50 talented artists will be selling their handcrafted items.

This event is free to the public.

The festival is produced by the Mill Creek Business Association and will be taking place on the weekend of July 13-14.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

Kate Towell modifies her mother-in-law's rhubarb crisp recipe by adding strawberries, switching up the sweeteners and adding a few other ingredients. It turns out fantastic!

Last week I was gifted some amazing rhubarb from a friend at the yoga studio (thanks Beth). I have to admit I had never cooked rhubarb before so I went searching for ideas on how to prepare it. In the end my husband who loves rhubarb crisp called his mom for her recipe. The recipe below is loosely based on hers. I added strawberries, switched up the sweeteners and added a few other ingredients. It turned out fantastic.

Enjoy! And please post your favorite rhubarb recipe.

Time to get "Crabby"

Breeders have done wonders with flowering crabapples so that nowadays there are many varieties to choose from that have nice form, attractive leaves, beautiful flowers and best of all, disease resistance.

Spring in the northwest is often described by what flowering trees happen to be in bloom. For example, “Cherry blossom time” is a familiar term used here as well as all the way on the other coast at our nation’s capitol. We think of Dogwoods as always blooming around Mother’s Day (although the Korean Dogwoods usually bloom around Father’s Day). The ubiquitous purple-leafed flowering plums are always the first trees to bloom in spring, coloring up in early to mid March in a cloud of pink that reminds me of a giant mass of cotton candy. Blooming simultaneously with the cherries are the flowering pears and the Magnolias (often called Tulip Trees). But now that the cherries are about finished (except for a couple varieties) and before the dogwoods open up there are the underutilized crabapples and oh can they be beautiful.

Historically, crabapples have had their issues, the same kind of issues the we find on our fruiting apple trees, namely, diseases like scab and mildew and often as not by the end of summer they could be almost completely defoliated (just like scarlet hawthorns but that is a topic for another column). Over time breeders have done wonders with flowering crabapples so that nowadays there are many varieties to choose from that have nice form, attractive leaves, beautiful flowers (most with fragrance) and best of all, disease resistance.

Left Coast/Right Coast – All roads should head east

Okay, I admit it. People from the Pacific Northwest have managed to keep the region’s attractiveness a secret from the rest of the county.

Mike Gold writes for the News of Mill Creek on a regular basis. He is a retired entrepreneur and describes himself as a, “relatively recent transplant to the West Coast. I have lived (born and raised) in the Northeastern U.S. So these observations are based upon ‘living the dream’ in the Pacific Northwest.

Okay, I admit it. People from the Pacific Northwest have managed to keep the region’s attractiveness a secret from the rest of the county.

Our youngest son moved here with us when we first arrived. He constantly complained that the people were very parochial and it was hard for him to “break into” social groups. I thought about it and concluded - why share all the richness of the region with those who don’t deserve it? There are already enough folks here (and the traffic nightmares confirm it).

Announcing the June 13th Second Thursday Art Walk artists

The Mill Creek Town Center Business Association along with the City of Mill Creek’s Art & Beautification Board is pleased to announce the artists for the June 13th Mill Creek Town Center Second Thursday Art Walk.

The Mill Creek Town Center Business Association along with the City of Mill Creek’s Art & Beautification Board is pleased to announce the artists for the June 13th Mill Creek Town Center Second Thursday Art Walk.

The event will run from 5 to 8 pm on Thursday, June 13, 2013.

Donna Michelson, Mill Creek City Councilmember liaison to the Art & Beautification Board, has been involved in the planning, “The Art & Beautification Board are very excited about the upcoming Art Walk.  This is the second year for this new event and we have added an extra month (June) to make it four months total.”

“The Board members have been working extremely hard to make this very successful and have tried to match up artists with appropriate businesses.”

2013 Movies in the Park - Willis Tucker Park

Enjoy a beautiful summer evening and a fun outdoor movie on Thursday evenings this summer at Willis Tucker Community Park beginning July 11, 2013.

Enjoy a beautiful summer evening and a fun outdoor movie on Thursday evenings this summer at Willis Tucker Community Park beginning July 11, 2013. 

Seating is on grass so bring low-back lawn chairs and blankets for comfort.  Popcorn and soda will be available for purchase.

  • Admission is free, however, donations benefiting Snohomish County Parks will be gratefully accepted. Open seating begins at 7:00 p.m.
  • Pre-movie entertainment provided by Gold Creek Community Church includes bouncy houses, Games on Wheels (video game trailer), Laser Tag, balloon animals, etc.
  • Mill Creek Lions Club will provide snacks, including popcorn, candy, soda, water, etc.
  • The Sno-Isle Library's Bookmobile will be on hand with available books related to the movies shown on screen.

Four things to know about genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

Information on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and and the threats that they pose to the environment, organic farming communities, healthy sustainable food sources, and health.

Lately, I have been hearing and reading a lot about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Maybe you have too? Most recently I read a great article in Experience Life Magazine called “Fankenfood."

Before reading the article I thought I was fairly informed about GMOs and understood the threats that they pose to the environment, organic farming communities and healthy sustainable food sources but I had not considered the extent of GMO’s effects on our health.

The Whistling Gardener: "Good Monday Morning"

What a fabulous weekend. Hope you all made time to work in the yard, getting the lawn mowed and the weeds pulled and the beds prepped to plant all the summer jewels that await you at the garden center.

What a fabulous weekend. Hope you all made time to work in the yard, getting the lawn mowed and the weeds pulled and the beds prepped to plant all the summer jewels that await you at the garden center. This is the month to turn our yards into gardens and summer retreats. Be it flowers or veggies or berries or fruit trees or major landscaping projects, this is the month to get with the program. Call in sick if you need to but find time to whip things into shape.

Left Coast/Right Coast – Public bureaucracies and the barf-bag

Okay, let me say right off, I don’t like bureaucracies. There is just an unnerving aura about them that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Just entering any public office to do business starts my dry heaves. I always carry a barf bag with me.

Mike Gold writes for the News of Mill Creek on a regular basis. He is a retired entrepreneur and describes himself as a, “relatively recent transplant to the West Coast. I have lived (born and raised) in the Northeastern U.S. So these observations are based upon ‘living the dream’ in the Pacific Northwest.”

Okay, let me say right off, I don’t like bureaucracies. There is just an unnerving aura about them that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Just entering any public office to do business starts my dry heaves. I always carry a barf bag with me. Why? Well when you enter their turf, you have surrendered any semblance of power and/or control you have over your life. I imagine it is not unlike your first week of basic training in the military when you are told over and over you are just a “puke,” that your life has no meaning and is worthless unless and until some public official (your drill sergeant) deems you are actually worthy.

How to Build a Better Salad

During the summer season salads are often what is for dinner. Kate Towell shares her never-fail steps to building a better salad, plus three great salad dressing recipes.

It’s official. Summer is here and during the summer season salads are often what is for dinner around our table.

Often I look in the fridge, see what’s on hand and toss it all together with my favorite dressing. Sometimes I build the salad around what types of greens we have or around what we have for leftovers.

I’m not into little side salads that leave you hungry and looking for more. I’m talking about building tasty and totally satisfying meals.

Below are my never-fail steps to building a better salad, plus three great salad dressing recipes. Enjoy!

Left Coast/Right Coast - Traffic and Seattle Drivers

Seattle drivers are among the most “timid” I’ve experienced. Whenever you encounter any possible reason (including potato famine) for slowing down, Seattleites will do so.

Mike Gold writes for the News of Mill Creek on a regular basis. He is a retired entrepreneur and describes himself as a, “relatively recent transplant to the West Coast. I have lived (born and raised) in the Northeastern U.S. So these observations are based upon ‘living the dream’ in the Pacific Northwest.”

As I learned to drive in New York City – then perfected my techniques in Boston, Massachusetts, I can safely say I’ve driven in two of the worst US cities for bad drivers. However, after six years here, I’m not certain that greater Seattle is not in contention for first place. Here is my reason:

Seattle drivers are among the most “timid” I’ve experienced. Whenever you encounter any possible reason (including potato famine) for slowing down, Seattleites will do so.

The Whistling Gardener's Column - Cannas, Bananas and Palms Oh My!

Now that it is almost June it is time to watch out for the bold foliaged, outrageous textured and just plain out-of-context plants that make people’s heads spin and do a double take when they see them.

Now that it is almost June it is time to watch out for the drama queens of the garden. These are the bold foliaged, outrageous textured and just plain out-of-context plants that make people’s heads spin and do a double take when they see them in a northwest garden. They are a big part of creating drama and excitement in our gardens and in my book are indispensable in my summer designs. They are the “thrillers” in the “thriller, filler and spiller combinations” that make any arrangement successful.

There is no fun in playing it safe when it comes to garden design. Pushing the envelope and moving out of our comfort zones is what keeps me interested in gardening. And when it comes to plants, anytime I can find a plant that is so totally different I simply have to find a way to use it in my garden. If it is a hardy plant I will usually work it into one of my beds and if it is tender then it goes into a container that can be moved into a protected area for winter or just tossed out at the end of the season.

Random thoughts for May from The Whistling Gardener

So many plants are coming into bloom that it will make your head spin. The weeds and the bugs are also building up populations and there is pruning to do and fertilizing to complete.

May is such a busy month that it is always hard for me to focus on any single subject. So many plants are coming into bloom that it will make your head spin. The weeds and the bugs are also building up populations and there is pruning to do and fertilizing to complete. So here are some scattered thoughts that I hope will be helpful.

This little cool and wet spell we are experiencing (which is not uncommon for the month of May) is a good reminder for us to get rapidly growing perennials staked before they get completely out of control. Link Stakes and Grow Through Rings are the tools of choice for me but good old bamboo works well too. Get it done now.

Roses are prime for contracting black spot when it is damp like this and mildew and rust aren’t far behind. Fungicides work best as preventatives so get something on your beauties BEFORE you see any diseases. And while you are spraying be sure and hit the hollyhocks and snap dragons which both always get rust sooner or later.

Lilacs are just about finished blooming so this is the time to prune them if you think they are too tall for the spot they are growing in. You should also prune out any dead twigs that succumbed to lilac blight this spring. Actually, all spring blooming shrubs like rhodies and azaleas and heather should all be pruned this month.

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