September is a glorious month in the northwest - the days are warm, the nights cool, the shadows long, and the lawns are coming alive again after their dry summer slumber. The garden wakes back up for about six to eight weeks before it shuts down for the winter and it is an excellent time to get some serious gardening done.
It always seems a bit odd to me to be talking about fall and winter gardens when we are still very much into late summer, but “fall is in the air” and now is the time to make some changes in our containers and plant some fall veggies while the soils are still warm and conducive to good root growth.
I love summer tropicals. The drama they create is unsurpassed by anything the northwest has to offer. Take my red Abyssinian bananas for example. I always plant a couple of pots up with a red banana in the center as the focal point of the container.
Forget for a minute that I am a professional horticulturist and have worked in the field for over 50 years… try to think of me as just an ordinary home owner that moved into his house 30 years ago and inherited a rather neglected landscape. This is the story of one of my gardens.
A funny thing happens to me this time of year… As we move from the glory of spring to the doldrums of summer, I often find myself in a state of mild depression. I call it my “gardener’s post-partum depression.”
I think it is fair to say that for a lot of us, our vision of a shady garden area is one that is mostly green with a few varieties of plants such as rhodies, a couple of ferns, and a hosta or two. The thought of a diverse mix of plants with colorful foliage, contrasting textures and even some flowers is a reach. Well, I am here to tell you that nothing could be farther from the truth.
Everybody loves hydrangeas. After the cacophony of spring has passed and all the rhodies and azaleas are out of bloom, hydrangeas pick up the baton and continue with the parade of color in our gardens.
Pruning happens multiple times as does weeding, but the best task of all that gets to happen almost year ‘round is planting.
There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t find some new treasure on the benches in the nursery that I have to take home and try out in my garden. It just so happens that this week that plant is a perennial lobelia.
June is a fabulous month to be gardening in the Northwest. The soils have warmed up adequately and the air temp is very pleasant. There’s lots of daylight, so we can get out after work and still get plenty done.
When I hear the word “dogwood” I am immediately transported back to a time in my life when I was living on the east coast in Virginia serving my country as a trumpet player in the 392nd Army Band. If you have ever lived in that part of the country, then you probably have noticed the similarities between our state and Virginia.
As a garden center owner, I am thrilled to see everyone return for another season, but I always feel compelled to remind everyone that we can plant almost year around in the northwest. Don’t feel like you have to do it all in the next couple of weeks. There is plenty of time.