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Whistling Gardener Blog

"Become a Pollinator Partner," by the Whistling Gardener

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

I think most gardeners are aware that bees are in decline. Beekeepers in particular have seen high percentage losses due to something called Colony Collapse Disorder, which is not a new problem but one that seems to be increasing. The causes of this disorder are under investigation at the federal and state levels, as well as internationally, and there are several factors at work.

"Everything is coming up roses (and berries)," by the Whistling Gardener

English Rose "Golden Celebration.”  Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Everything is coming up roses (and berries). This title might sound strange to you in that we don’t usually think of these two plants in the same sentence but both of them are on my radar screen, roses because they are blooming and we have a class coming up and berries because of a new introduction I want to talk about.

"Two 'can’t miss' plants for our gardens," by the Whistling Gardener

The red, orange or yellow three inch long tubular flowers of “Summer Jazz” Trumpet Vine are a magnet for bees and hummers. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Trying to decide which fabulous plant I want to pontificate about this week is as difficult as going into Baskin Robins and choosing an ice cream flavor. I love them all! So this week I am focusing on just two new introductions, one for sun and one for shade. Both have outstanding qualities that make them garden worthy.

"Something new to try this month," by the Whistling Gardener

Yacon is a new vegetable from Bolivia.  Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

There is always so much happening in the month of May that I am never sure what to focus on for this column.

As I looked around the nursery two items came to mind that I think you will find interesting. One is a new vegetable from Bolivia called Yacon and the other is a very effective fertilizer for flowers and veggies that combines the best of synthetic and natural ingredients for a complete plant food.

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

Here we are in high gear with the “petal to the metal,” so to speak. All of us are trying to cram a year’s worth of gardening into one month and it doesn’t seem to work very well

Here we are in high gear with the “petal to the metal,” so to speak. All of us are trying to cram a year’s worth of gardening into one month and it doesn’t seem to work very well, does it? It’s important to remember that gardening is more of a marathon than a sprint and we will enjoy it a whole lot more if we spread out the work over the entire year. Here are some things to consider this month.

"Spring has come early to the Northwest," by the Whistling Gardener

Spring has arrived fast and furious in the Northwest. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Indeed, spring has sprung about two weeks in the Northwest (or more) earlier than most of us are accustomed to. Dogwoods are in full bloom, something that usually doesn’t happen until Mother’s Day. Our roses have set buds and could be blooming as early as the first or second week of May, a full two to three weeks ahead of schedule.

"Boring yard busters for April," by the Whistling Gardener

This gorgeous tree peony opened up for the sunshine! Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

One would think that having an attractive garden in the months of April and May would be a piece of cake. We have a gazillion options for adding interest across the whole gamut of plant types from annuals and perennials to shrubs and trees.

But if your garden is not absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in these spring months then you probably need to spend more time at the garden center.

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