Whistling Gardener Blog

"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.

"Perfect Perennials for Summer," by the Whistling Gardener

“Fat Spike” Lavender. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

My life is filled with plants. In the nursery I have thousands of them. In my garden probably hundreds. They range from trees to shrubs to ground covering perennials, bulbs and annuals. I love them all, some more than others, but they all bring me great joy at various times of the year. This time of the year I get the greatest joy from my perennials. Here is why.

"What the heck is a Nativar?," by the Whistling Gardener

Salpiglossis is so stunning this time of year. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Every year we have thousands of new words added to our English dictionary, many of them coming from the techno-geek world of video games and computer jargon.

It isn’t often that the humble gardeners of the world get to make a contribution to our vocabulary but that is exactly what has happened with the creation of the word “nativar.”

"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.