Whistling Gardener Blog

"Shifting Gears," by the Whistling Gardener

Colorful conifers are great this time of year. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Despite the fact that you and I both know there are still serious gardening chores to accomplish before the end of the year, the truth is that our thoughts are turning to the holidays and decorating.

It actually started last month for Halloween with inflated ghosts and witches, haunted houses, lights and of course corn stalks, bales of straw and pumpkins.

Next up is Thanksgiving, which is mostly a harvest theme and then it’s onto the Christmas season with wreaths, swags and holly berries.

"Pruning made easy – It’s time we all understood how to do it," by the Whistling Gardener

Heuchera Cinnamon Curls. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

There is no task in gardening that generates more anxiety then pruning. Simply put, the real secret to proper pruning is in understanding how a plant will react to the cut you make on a branch. “Where” you make that cut, and to a lesser degree “when,” will determine how the plant will respond.

"The Magic of Fall Colors," by the Whistling Gardener

This “Waterfall" maple is stunning right now. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Albert Camus, the French philosopher that developed Absurdism once said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

While Albert didn’t attach any meaning to this annual event (since according to him everything is meaningless) at least he recognized that fall color is a pleasant experience that reminds us of the flowers of spring.

"My October To Do List," by the Whistling Gardener

Fall is for Planting. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Fall is officially here and what a glorious one it has been so far. There has been just enough rain to green up the lawns and enough sun in between to keep the ground workable and the plants growing. The forecast for October sounds like it may be similar so that should give us another 30 days of good gardening weather before we get serious about “putting the garden to bed.”

"Where there’s Smoke there’s Fire," by the Whistling Gardener

This "Tiger Eyes" Staghorn Sumac is paving the way for the changing leaves of fall. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Keeping our landscapes changing is so critical to keeping our interest in gardening. With change, there’s the anticipation of something new and exciting. With change, our garden compositions take on whole new personalities. And with change, we find opportunities to experience our gardens in ways we may not have originally conceived.

"Fall is for Planting – Carpe Diem," by The Whistling Gardener

The fall season is a great time for planting in the yard. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

I know that some of you might think that I just pontificate to amuse myself and that I am mostly full of BS (and that might be true occasionally) but in this case I need to tell you that the fall season is a darn good time to work in the yard and plant new stuff and move around old stuff. The reason fall is such a good time to plant is because the weather is much like spring. The day lengths are about the same and the night and day temperature fluctuations are similar. These are good growing conditions if you are a plant.

"Replanting Containers for Winter Interest," by The Whistling Gardener

Just say “NO” to looking at boring pots of dirt all winter and fill them with hardy and interesting plants. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Judging from the attendance for our fall container class last week (over 90) it is encouraging to know that many northwest gardeners are just saying “NO” to looking at boring pots of dirt all winter and instead are filling them with hardy and interesting plants that will look fabulous all winter long.

"Back to (Gardening) School – Fall Semester is beginning," by the Whistling Gardener

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

Summer is just about over and the kids are all going back to school. And guess what? It’s time for gardeners to go back to school too! While I realize that many of us are tired of mowing the lawn and dragging the hose all over the place, fall is a great opportunity for us to catch our second wind and take advantage of very favorable weather patterns for establishing new plantings.

"The magic of water," by the Whistling Gardener

Water can work wonders in the garden and considering the benefits it brings us it is truly a bargain. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

A couple of weeks ago the missus and I were traveling down Highway 97 in Eastern Oregon on our way to Crater Lake. That area of Oregon is high desert and is dry and desolate unless you are lucky enough to have irrigation. For those landowners that are in an irrigation district it is the difference between night and day. Farmers can grow onions, potatoes, alfalfa, seed crops and sugar beets all because they can water the soil.