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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.

May news from the Mill Creek Garden Club

The Mill Creek Garden Club thanks local residents for purchasing their flower baskets, and talks about the success of the garage sale, what's coming up this summer, and the installation of new officers.

The Mill Creek Garden Club thanks local residents for purchasing their flower baskets, and talks about the success of the garage sale, what's coming up this summer, and the installation of new officers.

We sold our Bloomers....every last one! Thanks to all who purchased our flowery baskets. By doing so, you helped schools in our area through our Giving Through Gardening Grants program. Bravo!

Who's our star, star, star of the quarter.....Julie Jacobson! Julie received our "Round of Applause" award for her super work ethic and her dedication to the MC Garden Club. Chairing our recent Garage Sale (made over $1000 for our Giving Through Grants program) Julie also earned the "most organized person ever" title. Way to go, Julie!! Cheers!

Shelly Johnson, Excursions Chair, is enticing us with a tour of the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery gardens on July 25th. Ann Hunt, Grounds Coordinator and Master Gardener will be our tour guide. If you wish, wine tasting will follow with a trip through the gift shop. Contact a member for an invitation. Come have fun with us!! And watch out for that peacock!

Cheers and applause galore on May 14th as our new officers were installed. President: Lila Johnson; 1st VP, Michael Crawford; 2nd VP, Lisa Gerould; Secretary, Linda Lunt; Treasurer, Mary Carlson. This bunch of tulips along with our many "chairs and committee heads" is already planning surprises for next fall including a razzle-dazzle, super-duper "30 Year Anniversary Party" celebration.

5 Steps to the Perfect Green Smoothie

Kate believes drinking green smoothies daily helps people to lose weight, increase energy and kick cravings.

This weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the 2nd Annual Celebration of Food Festival. Thousands of people turned out to learn about the benefits of eating real, how to grow their own food, support local farmers and enjoy delicious samples! I was so impressed with the presenters, booths and attendees. I was thrilled to see so many people supporting and interested in the movement to create whole health with real foods.

At my booth we talked about Green Smoothie Basics. I enjoyed great conversations with folks at the festival about the powerful benefits of green smoothies and how drinking smoothies daily helped them to lose weight, increase energy and kick cravings. Everyone from teens to grandparents were telling me how much they loved making green smoothies.

2013 Mill Creek Town Center Summer Concert Series

The Mill Creek Town Center Business Association will again host a free weekly summer concert series sponsored by North Creek Roofing and other local businesses and organizations every Wednesday from July 4th – August 29th.

Back by popular demand, the Mill Creek Town Center Business Association will again host a weekly summer concert series sponsored by North Creek Roofing and other local businesses and organizations.

Thanks to the generosity of these businesses, the live concerts are FREE to the public and will run every Wednesday from July 4th – August 29th, from 6:00-8:00pm at The FORUM at Creekside Village, 151st St SE & Main Street, Mill Creek.

The Mill Creek Town Center Concert Series is a popular, family friendly community event, enjoyed by all ages. Each week offers something different and fun for the whole family.

The Whistling Gardener's Blog - "Stake Now or Forever Hold Your Peas"

It is time to draw the line in the garden as to how far we are going to let our plants sprawl or flop BEFORE they get out of hand because before we know it, the delphiniums are 5 feet tall, and the sweet peas are all over the place.

Okay, it's a little corny but a good introduction into staking and tying and otherwise containing our too tall and too rambunctious plants in our gardens.

It is time to draw the line in the garden as to how far we are going to let our plants sprawl or flop BEFORE they get out of hand because before we know it, the delphiniums are 5 feet tall, the sweet peas are all over the place, and the peonies are in full bloom. One little rain storm is all it takes to knock them all to the ground and once they are down it seems like they will never straighten up again.

Mill Creek Women's Club is given special recognition at YWCA Inspire Luncheon

The first YWCA Inspire Luncheon held in Snohomish County was in 1999 and raised $52,120. This year's Snohomish County Luncheon raised a total of $122,500.

The YWCA celebrated the 25th year of their Inspire Luncheons this year with events in Seattle, Bellevue and Everett. These luncheons are an opportunity for guests to connect with others and celebrate the achievements of the YWCA in supporting and empowering women and families.

The first YWCA Inspire Luncheon held in Snohomish County was in 1999 and raised $52,120. This year's Snohomish County Luncheon raised a total of $122,500.

More than 40 members of the Mill Creek Women's Club attended this year's luncheon at Comcast Arena in Everett on May 9th. The Women's Club was given special recognition for supporting the YWCA with generous cash donations and by volunteering many hours of their time each and every week to support Pathways for Women.

In 2012 the women's club raised over $17,000 at their annual auction to support the YWCA Pathways for Women. This program reaches over 1,000 women each year in Snohomish County, helping them to help themselves and their families become independent. It provides emergency shelter as a safe haven for women and their children and helps families that have become homeless to rebuild their lives.

Left Coast/Right Coast – Observations on sports and waterfalls

The Mariners and the Seahawks: For some reason, professional football seems to have taken the place of professional baseball in defining part of who a city is. Growing up in New York City, it was the Brooklyn Dodgers or the New York Yankees who defined the essence of being from New York.

The Mariners and the Seahawks: For some reason, professional football seems to have taken the place of professional baseball in defining part of who a city is. Growing up in New York City, it was the Brooklyn Dodgers (when they were still playing at the old Ebbits Field in Brooklyn, or the New York Yankees who defined the essence of being from New York. Kids lived or died on the daily batting averages of their heroes. Mickey Mantle was one of my childhood heroes.

In the movie “A Bronx Tale” (written by Chazz Palminteri – who also plays Sonny, the lead mobster character) Sonny is talking to the young kid he takes under his wing. The kid, nicknamed “C” by Sonny, is talking about how great Mickey Mantle is.

Sonny told C, “What’s so great about Mickey Mantle. He doesn’t care about you or your family. If your father lost his job, see if Mickey Mantle will write a check to your family.”

Poor C, you could see the idolatry drain out of his face as he realized that sports heroes were just well paid people who wouldn’t or couldn’t really help the ordinary working folk. But let your team get into the Super Bowl or the World Series and suddenly the entire city comes together and becomes one with the team.

The Whistling Gardener's Blog - Don't Panic!

This weekly column is being reproduced with the permission of Steve Smith, The Whistling Gardener, and owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. Don’t panic about being too late with your plantings.

That’s right fellow gardeners, don’t panic about being too late with your veggie and flower plantings. It’s only early May and we did have a frost on May 1st so just because it is all of a sudden sunny and in the mid 70’s does not mean that it will be summer next week.

Something to also keep in mind is that due to the wetter and cooler than normal April that we just finished growers do not instantly have product for a sunny May day. Crops grew slower in April and didn’t move out to the retailers as fast so growers were tight on space for the next crop which put them behind schedule. As gardeners we sometimes forget that not everything can be ready to buy when we decide that today is the day to work in the garden. It all takes time and you simply can’t rush Mother Nature.

Musings Artist Inspired closing their business

Musings Artist Inspired closing

We are sorry to announce that, due to unexpected circumstances beyond their control, our friends at Musings Artist Inspired in the Mill Creek Town Center will be closing their doors in early June.

Fellow artists and friends Marcia Beck and Leigh Anne Weller opened Musings in 2007 and provided a location for local and regional artists to showcase and sell their artwork. They  offered a unique shopping experience for their loyal customers.

All local artist work will be available for sale at Musings until the last week of May.

Starting Thursday, May 2nd, select merchandise will be on sale and all sales will be final.

Mike Gold’s Blog - Left Coast/Right Coast

Mike Gold is a retired entrepreneur providing his views on the Northwest. Photo credit: Mike Gold.

Fly over country: I am 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.

The majority of east coast residents, especially those who haven’t travelled much beyond where they were raised, don’t know that there is much of anything beyond Chicago (and that’s giving them some credit). After all, Chicago’s Northwestern University, founded in the 19th century, was at that time the far-reaching “western terminus of the United States,” hence its name.

So what? Well, for starters, people like me when they arrive here are quite surprised at what is here. For example, the University of Washington is in the top 5 U.S. universities in receiving federal funding for research. It is internationally renown for work in the medical field. Some of the leading edge medical research in cancer detection and treatment and the related pharmacology is done right here. Who would have thought?

Spring Clean Your Pantry in 3 Simple Steps

As part of a good spring cleaning routine don't forget your pantry. Here are three simple steps to a clean pantry and three ingredients to toss, without exception.

It’s that time of year.  Open the windows, roll up your sleeves and dig in. Many of us take the time each spring to eliminate old paperwork, magazines and clothes that we no longer need or use. My mantra as I begin the task of spring cleaning is a quote I read by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” As part of a good spring cleaning routine don't forget your pantry. Here are three simple steps to a clean pantry and three ingredients to toss, without exception.     

The Whistling Gardener's May Check List

The Whistling Gardener's May checklist.

WELL, I THINK IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT SPRING HAS SPRUNG. I am now mowing my lawn twice a week (but only because I like to keep it very short), watering my containers several times a week (these are pots with permanent plantings that tend to shed the rain), the frogs are making a ruckus every evening and the robins are at it every morning around 5am or earlier. Why on earth do robins have to start chirping so damn early in the morning anyway? Yes, spring is in full swing and it’s time to get serious in the garden. Here are my key points for this month.

LATE WINTER AND EARLY SPRING BLOOMING PLANTS—Flowering shrubs like Forsythia, Pieris, Winter Heather and early rhodies and azaleas should be pruned back now to control and shape the new growth. Candy tuft, Aubretia, creeping phlox and just about anything that will finish blooming this month needs to be cut back and groomed when the flowers fade. This small task will reap huge dividends by keeping your plants compact and tidy and covered with new blooms next season. Left undone you will end up with scraggly and overgrown specimens that after a few years you will want to rip out and replace. It is also smart to fertilize after pruning to support the new growth.

Chateau Ste. Michelle announces 2013 summer concert series

Chateau Ste. Michelle invites you to share a part of your summer with them. Enjoy the fresh air, delicious wine, and perhaps a picnic dinner while listening to the vibrant sounds of live music from your favorite band.

Chateau Ste. Michelle invites you to share a part of your summer with them. Enjoy the fresh air, delicious wine, and perhaps a picnic dinner while listening to the vibrant sounds of live music from your favorite band.

Hosting live performances since 1984, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Summer Concert Series stands as one of the Pacific Northwest’s great music venues. The annual series features a diverse line-up of top jazz, rock, blues and contemporary artists that are drawn to the intimate Amphitheatre setting.

Tickets are sold in the Chateau or through Ticketmaster at face value only. For Ticketmaster, visit any Tickectmaster outlet or call 800.745.3000. The winery is not responsible for tickets or ticket packages sold through other vendors or programs.

Tickets go on sale Saturday 27th, April at 10:00am.

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