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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.

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.

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