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Whistling Gardener Blog

"Bonkers over Begonias," by The Whistling Gardener

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside nursery in Marysville. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

I confess, growing up in southern California, I have always had an affection for begonias. My very first purchase, at the young age of eight, was from the county fair and was a rhizomatous variety that I grew for many years. While I have never met a begonia I didn’t like, the number of varieties to choose from is far too numerous to cover in a short column like this, so I am going to focus on three of my favorites that are garden worthy.

"Words of Encouragement," by the Whistling Gardener

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

I know what you all are thinking: “Will spring ever come?” It’s a fair question but I can assure you that spring has already come and we are well on our way to summer but that probably doesn’t make you feel any better.

Beyond a doubt, this has been the worst spring weather I can remember since moving to the northwest 30 years ago. But don’t despair, it’s not as bad as it seems.

"Acer Palmatumitis (Japanese Maple Addiction Syndrome)," The Whistling Gardener’s Column

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

One on my first plant addictions, that began years ago and will never be cured, is an affinity for all things Japanese maple.

I just don’t see how anyone can pass on a maple! Not only are they stunning architectural plant specimens to admire, but they always have outstanding fall color as well.

"What’s Blooming in your Garden?" by the Whistling Gardener

Camellias are blooming! Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

It’s official, spring is now here. This week marks that magic moment when our days finally become longer than our nights.

Of course there is no guarantee that any of these days will actually have the sun shining but it is at least encouraging to know that the potential is there to experience on the average three more minutes of daylight every day from now until the summer solstice, at which time we start losing three minutes a day until we hit the fall equinox when once again the days become shorter than the nights.

"A few things to do," by the Whistling Gardener

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

The last day of February started out cold and frozen with a few snowflakes falling from the sky, but as the day went on the sun came out and it actually felt like a taste of spring for me.

I was working in the garden doing some cleanup and for the first time this year I was whistling and lost in thought as I scurried about with my pruners, rake, and wheelbarrow.

"Signs of Spring," by the Whistling Gardener

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

I know it doesn’t feel like it but spring has arrived despite the cold and wet (dare I say snowy) weather we have been experiencing.

I will be the first to admit that when it is this cold I prefer to stay inside and wait for the sun to come out. But despite my reluctance to go digging in the garden, the season continues to march on, stimulated by the increased day length and occasional sun breaks, few and far in between as they have been.

"It’s show time!" by the Whistling Gardener

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show runs February 22nd through 26th, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Photo courtesy of Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

This week marks the beginning of the 29th annual Northwest Flower and Garden Show which will run Wednesday, February 22nd, through Sunday, February 26th, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

This is a world-class production that is sure to get you in the mood for the upcoming gardening season. Every year I come away with some new ideas, a few new plant purchases, and an overall renewed excitement for gardening.

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