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Whistling Gardener Blog

Hang in there baby, Spring is coming - from the Whistling Gardener

There are two main factors that drive plant growth, light and temperature. Ever since December 21st the days have been getting longer and the nights shorter. This will continue to happen until we get to the Summer Solstice in June when the cycle will reverse itself.

I think we can all agree that February has been a stinker of a month this year. Cold, wet, windy and even some snow was about all we could manage this month. This is not the kind of weather that draws us out into our gardens. I for one have had zero motivation to get anything accomplished and while that lack of motivation has immobilized me, Mother Nature has hardly skipped a beat. Here is why.

Dealing with foliar disease, welcome to the Pacific Northwest!

The Puget Sound has a maritime climate with a high relative amount of moisture in the air and mostly mild temperatures. These conditions make for a fabulous growing environment, but they also are ideal for many foliar diseases that can drive gardeners nuts.

We live in a maritime climate and what makes us unique from other parts of the country is the relative amount of moisture in the air and the mostly mild temperatures. These conditions make for a fabulous growing environment for plants but they also are ideal for many foliar diseases that can drive gardeners nuts. Here is what we can do to help mitigate these kinds of problems.

Back from the show and ready to go!

The Whistling Gardener hopes that many of you had a chance to attend the Northwest Flower and Garden show this last week. It is always a highlight of the month for him and a great way to get him into the mood for gardening again.

I would hope that many of you had a chance to attend the Northwest Flower and Garden show this last week. It is always a highlight of the month for me and a great way to get me into the mood for gardening again. It never fails that I don’t come home with some new plant or gadget that I just have to have to make my life complete and this year was no different. Let me introduce you to the M Brace.”

House plants do amazing things, from the Whistling Gardener

Back in the late 60’s when I was finishing up my undergraduate studies house plants were all the rage. In the trade we referred to them as foliage plants and had it not been for the draft and the Vietnam War my path might very well have been through the vast foliage growers of Encinitas California where range after range of greenhouses were packed with ferns, palms, golden pothos, snake plants, philodendrons, Swedish ivy and of course spider plants.

Back in the late 60’s when I was finishing up my undergraduate studies house plants were all the rage. In the trade we referred to them as foliage plants and had it not been for the draft and the Vietnam War my path might very well have been through the vast foliage growers of Encinitas California where range after range of greenhouses were packed with ferns, palms, golden pothos, snake plants, philodendrons, Swedish ivy and of course spider plants.

Time to get back in the groove, from the Whistling Gardener

anuary is typically a time for gardeners to hunker down by the fire and plow through the seed catalogs and dream about the wonderful gardens we are going to grow in the coming spring.

January is typically a time for gardeners to hunker down by the fire and plow through the seed catalogs and dream about the wonderful gardens we are going to grow in the coming spring. It would seem as though nothing much is going on in the yard but I can assure you that any time the mercury gets into the 40’s things are indeed happening. Here are just a few examples:

What's on your Christmas list – Part 1, from the Whistling Gardener

Every gardener has a wish list and I suspect that at the top of that list is probably a greenhouse and then some sort of automatic watering system. Down a little farther might be a fancy tool or a handy item of gardening apparel and finally a few specialty plants and a year’s supply of compost. Here are some items to consider for the gardener in your life.

Every gardener has a wish list and I suspect that at the top of that list is probably a greenhouse and then some sort of automatic watering system. Down a little farther might be a fancy tool or a handy item of gardening apparel and finally a few specialty plants and a year’s supply of compost. Here are some items to consider for the gardener in your life.

December 2013 check list from The Whistling Gardener

One would think that by December there wouldn’t be much left to do in our gardens, and for anyone with a typical northwest low maintenance yard with mostly evergreens and a few deciduous shrubs surrounded by a sea of bark that might be the case. Not so for the rest of us. We are compulsive dedicated gardeners who live for the chance to commune with nature right in our own backyards.

One would think that by December there wouldn’t be much left to do in our gardens, and for anyone with a typical northwest low maintenance yard with mostly evergreens and a few deciduous shrubs surrounded by a sea of bark that might be the case. Not so for the rest of us. We are compulsive dedicated gardeners who live for the chance to commune with nature right in our own backyards.

As a Northwest gardener, what are you thankful for? - from The Whistling Gardener

Well, this week is Thanksgiving, a traditional time for Americans to take time to count their blessing and reflect on the things in their lives that they are truly thankful for. So I was thinking (in gardening terms of course) of some of the things that I really enjoy here in the great northwest. Here’s my list.

Well, this week is Thanksgiving, a traditional time for Americans to take time to count their blessing and reflect on the things in their lives that they are truly thankful for. So I was thinking (in gardening terms of course) of some of the things that I really enjoy here in the great northwest. Here’s my list.

Winter is just another gardening season - The Whistling Gardener

Here we are deep into the fall season and for many of us it might seem like winter is here. We go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. The summer gardening season is certainly winding down but the winter season is just beginning.

Here we are deep into the fall season and for many of us it might seem like winter is here. We go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. (How depressing is that?) Our typical week is a mix of rain and mist or fog with occasional scattered sun breaks. I mowed my lawn yesterday for what may be the last time this year and I finished raking the leaves under most of my trees.

The summer gardening season is certainly winding down but the winter season is just beginning.

Rain Sweet Rain, from the Whistling Gardener

Who would have thought that I would be glad to see it rain in October?  This has been an incredible month for gardening with so many dry days to get out into the yard and prune and plant and generally enjoy our gardens. But when I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of rain drops on the window sill I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief.

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT that I would be glad to see it rain in October?

This has been an incredible month for gardening with so many dry days to get out into the yard and prune and plant and generally enjoy our gardens. And how about that fall color? I don't think I have ever seen such splendid fall color on trees and shrubs and even perennials as I have seen this month and all because of the lack of rain which usually ruins our fall color shows.

But when I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of rain drops on the window sill I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief. This has been an unusually dry month with less than half our normal rainfall and our gardens (and containers especially) have shown signs if stress.

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