Whistling Gardener Blog

"Surviving the Deep Freeze," by the Whistling Gardener

Pretty primroses are a needed burst of colorful happiness on these winter days. Photo courtesy of Sunnnyside Nursery.

By the time you read this column it will probably be raining and the cold dry spell of late December and early January will be behind us.

According to the weather gurus, this was the coldest winter since 2013 with temperatures dipping into the mid-teens in most areas during the night and staying at or below freezing during the day for over a week.

"The Importance of AWE," by the Whistling Gardener

New growth and frost, what an interesting combo. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

I recently read an article by Jessica Hullinger in “The Week” about the importance of experiencing “AWE” in our lives.

To quote Ms. Hullinger: “I'm a nature nerd and an awe junkie. Regular injections of natural beauty help keep me afloat in a world that would otherwise drag me down. I need brushes with wonder to maintain my sanity. I need that swelling in my chest and goosebumps down my spine, that tear-jerking act of kindness, or brilliant full moon, or stirring speech. Awe and wonder just make me feel good.

"A New Season and a New To Do List," by the Whistling Gardener

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

Okay, here we go. Out with 2016 and in with a whole new gardening season and hopefully a whole new attitude about life.

First off, we are over the hump which loosely translated means that we have passed the shortest day of the year and things will only get better from this point on (I am talking about the garden, can’t promise anything as to the rest of your life).

"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.