Just 2 to 3 feet high and not much wider, this well-branched shrub offers huge, fully double white blooms in the less common "lacecap" form, where a ring of large florets surrounds a center of smaller flowers." Ball Horticultural
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What is Flowering Right Now
The garden center is alive with color that, despite the gloom and rain, reminds us that spring is here! Tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, bleeding hearts, flowering cherries and Star Magnolias all help to create a lively atmosphere in your yard this time of year. When things are so gray and wet this time of year, what better way to lift your spirits than to introduce a much needed shot of color?
A great time to choose your fruit trees
A little effort now will bring lots of delicious rewards
For those who are ready to get going in their gardens now is the time to come in and choose some wonderful plants for that delicious harvest. Presently, there are lots of trees, vines and bushes to select from.
Now is the best time to choose what you want since the selection is the best of the year. Most of these plants are easy to grow and will provide you with lots of fruit for many years to come.
If you like that fresh sweet flavor of newly picked cherries, plums or pears there is lots that you can grow in a small city lot without sacrificing all of your landscape. From the basic apple trees to more "exotic" fruits like apricots or plums, the tree fruits give you a bounty hard to match from the smaller shrubs. Want to grow a small orchard but don't know how to proceed? Let us figure out how to set things up for you. Just stop by and we can find the best choices for your particular yard.
If you just want to grow blueberries or raspberries for your fresh picked morning breakfast we'll help you accomplish that too. We have rhubarb strawberries, grapes, and even loganberries now ready to add to your garden.
Winter Birds of the Pacific Northwest
Birds often struggle to get enough to eat in the winter. They rely primarily on wild foods such as fruit on trees and seed heads. However, due to changes in their environment or scarcity in an urban environment, these wild foods are often in short supply and must be supplemented with bird feeders.
Feeding birds is a good way to get them through the harshest parts of the winter months, but ultimately does little to counteract loss of environment. Still, having birds in your yard is a great way to interact with, learn about, and appreciate nature. In addition to feeding birds, planting trees and shrubs that produce fruit or seed, is a great way to create a safe and abundant place for wild birds to congregate and survive the winter.
Here at Magnolia Garden Center, we offer a wide range of products to suit your birding interests. Everything from food and feeders to bird houses and squirrel baffles. Check out our selection Here. Below is a guide to which types of man-made foods birds in the PNW prefer during winter months:
Christmas Trees are Here!
Can you believe that this time of year is here again? December is upon us and Christmas is only a few weeks away! This is a time for warm memories, good food and family. What better way to make your home more inviting this season, than to bring a bit of the beauty of the outdoors inside. A tradition started by the Germans (Prince Albert brought the tradition to England during the Victorian era), evergreen trees and green boughs were a way to symbolize life, even in the depths of winter.
We hold onto this tradition to this day by bringing Christmas trees, wreaths and tree boughs into our home. Not only does the pungent aroma bring on a wave of nostalgia, but the fresh green color enlivens our homes and really makes the holiday season truly come to life. This year we are offering the following Christmas trees: Fraser Fir, Noble Fir and Grand Fir, in sizes ranging from 2.5 feet through 12 feet. We have a tree to fit any room or space available. If you buy a tree stand from Magnolia Garden Center, we will install your stand for free, or for only $5 of you bring in your current stand. If you live in Magnolia and need your tree delivered, its free (delivery charges will apply for delivery to other Seattle neighborhoods).
We also have green boughs for making wreaths (you can make it here on our wreath maker, or you can make it at home), including noble fir, western red cedar, pine and juniper (covered with berries). Ready-made wreaths in 7 different sizes and styles (from plain to fancy) are available, as well as door swags, mantle pieces, garland, mistletoe and poinsettias in many different kinds and sizes. Don't forget to check out our winter wonderland in the gift shop as well. We have everything you need to make this holiday season special.
Now is the time to plant spring bulbs
After a long, dreary winter, colorful spring bulbs are a welcome site. They lift our spirits just as we are starting to fear that winter will never end. Planting bulbs is like planting a little piece of spring. The best part of all is that they are some of the easiest plants to grow. As long as you have good light and good drainage, bulbs grow with little to no maintenance. Any bulb planting must first begin with bulb selection. You must consider what colors you prefer, when each type of bulb will flower, what sizes they will attain, and if you have any pests in the area that might damage or destroy your bulbs.
Bulb gardens tend to look most beautiful and dramatic when they are planted in swaths of color. For example, if you planted an entire bed with red tulips, it would look much more stunning than a bed with a mix of five or six colors. Also consider the height of each bulb when planting. Ideally you want to plant the shorter bulbs in front of taller bulbs so that you get layers of flowers. One neat idea is to choose bulbs with different heights and colors, but within the same hue e.g., various shades of blue. The result would be a texturally rich visual scheme but with a unified hue.
Another thing to consider is that bulbs do not all flower at the same time. Therefore it is possible to extend your bloom period for several months. Choose early bloomers like snowdrops and crocus to get blooms in March. Daffodils and tulips bloom through April and May, while alliums and some fritillarias bloom in late May to June.
Finally, when selecting bulbs, make sure that there are no bulb devouring pests in your yard. Bulb pests include deer, rabbits, squirrels, and voles. Fortunately there are bulbs that are less likely to be attacked. Therefore, if these creatures do live in your immediate vicinity, make sure to choose the following types of bulbs: daffodils, camas, bluebells, glory of the snow, fritillaria, snowdrops, anemone, allium, and crocus. By avoiding planting things like tulips, hyacinths and muscari, you will ultimately save yourself a lot of heart break when these pests attack.
Once you have selected the bulbs you wish to plant, the rest is easy. Simply dig a hole, place some bulb food in there, and drop the bulbs in. The ideal planting depth depends on the size of the bulb. The general rule is to plant three times as deep as the bulb is wide. That means about 4 to 6 inches deep for small bulbs like snowdrops, crocuses, and scillas, and about 8 inches deep for large bulbs like hybrid tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. You can follow the recommended spacing on the packages or place them closer together for a bigger impact. Once they are planted, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show come spring!
Harvest a bounty from your own yard
Wouldn't you like to walk out into your back yard and pick some delicious fresh fruit off your own trees? You'll find lots of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees now in our nursery just waiting to be planted in your yard. Most of these are dwarf or semi-dwarf to provide you with a bountiful harvest on a very manageable tree.
If you want to plant your orchard against a wall or fence, you can get an espaliered tree that will only stick out from your wall a couple of feet. There are combination plants that will produce several varieties of either pears or apples on the same tree. You don't need to plant a separate pollinator tree to get a good harvest! And for those who don't want too many varieties we have self pollinating varieties as well.
We've been bringing in more fruit trees and shrubs in each of the past several years and now you'll find plenty of selection to start or add to your home orchard - including olive trees for the local area and also some tea camellias so you can try brewing your own green or black tea. Visit the nursery page for more information.
New Hydrangeas for Your Garden
Great Star Hydrangea The white flowers open to large wavy star shaped florets that can be up to 4" in width. Flowering starts in mid summer and will last until the first hard frost to give your garden lasting star power. The low maintenance shrub makes a great backdrop in your shade garden and its color blends beautifully with other colors.
Double Delight Hydrangeas Double Delights™ "Wedding Gown combines all of the best traits of modern Hydrangea breeding -- the ability to rebloom, compact size -- into one extraordinary shrub. You've simply got to get it!
Just 2 to 3 feet high and not much wider, this well-branched shrub offers huge, fully double white blooms in the less common "lacecap" form, where a ring of large florets surrounds a center of smaller flowers." Ball Horticultural
Double Delights™ Expressions Hydrangea "A new hydrangea with elegant pink to blue double waterlily-like florets. Young buds glow in paler creamy tones, giving a bicolor effect. Compact plants start blooming late spring and continue until frost. Dense mopheads stay upright, a significant improvement over other rebloomers."Ball Horticultural
Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea A delicious new creation from France. The enormous flower panicles are a blend of vanilla and strawberry, held upright on red stems. They emerge creamy white in mid summer, change to pink and finally to strawberry red. New blooms give the plant a multi-colored effect in late summer and early fall. Excellent for fresh cut and dried flower arrangements.
For more varieties visit our Hydrangea page
Vegetable & Fruit Gardening
Do you want to enjoy fresh, flavorful and healthy homegrown vegetables throughout the summer and into the fall? With a little forethought and planning and just a bit of maintenance, you can reap a bountiful harvest of tasty ripe tomatoes, savory herbs, tangy salads, spicy peppers and many more garden treats. Come on in and get set up to start growing your own delicious food. We feature plenty of tomato starts in season (including 6 varieties of the new grafted tomato plants!) in many varieties to plant out or shelter till it warms up. If you want vegetables to plant out right now, we've got leafy greens such as Petite Rouge or Jericho Romaine, Buttercrunch butter lettuce, Golden Oakleaf lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Chard and many more lettuces or lettuce type plants. For more info click!
Summer colors turn red Fall colors of the Sourwood (Oxydendron arboria)
Start planning now for a garden that shows its beauty all year long. The best gardens are ones that have a plan with plenty of structural plants for year 'round appeal and interest. If you want or need help to accomplish this aspect of gardening let us help you with a basic plan. Just give us a call and we can send a staff member to your home to help with your landscape plans
Planting season is here. Dig it!
Gardening Boots and Shoes Are Here!
We've got lots of cute gardening boots and shoes for you in your garden. Come take a look.
Gorgeous Plants For Your Yard Kopper Kettle Peony (below)
We have many new plants to add to your garden or containers. There is a repeat blooming lilac - Bloomerang. We have the new double flowering lilies. Several dwarf non-invasive Butterfly Bushes - including Blue Chip. A spectacular white PG Hydrangea named Great Star. A pink form of the popular Annabelle Hydrangea - Invincibelle Spirit. And perhaps the most noteworthy - the Itoh Peony, a terrific cross that results in large spectacular flowers on a beautiful plant. Check out the Kopper Kettle, a gorgeous reddish plant even without its spectacular blooms. Click above to see more details on these plants or come in and see them.
Gift Shop We have lots of looks at the Gift Shop. You will find new lines of baby gifts, linens, monogrammed gifts, candles and diffusers, beautiful orchids, and , of course, a great selection of greeting cards from many wonderful designers. Come on in and check out the new lines we are now offering the Magnolia neighborhood.
Have any events coming up that need green ambiance? Or a function in a space that needs more natural decoration? We rent plants for special occasions. From trees to shrubs we can give your event a special touch. Call us for more information or to set up for a specific event.
If you're thinking of redoing your yard this year you'll find our landscape designers can help you with most any project you can imagine. Whether its a complete landscape design or just a quick consultation, Magnolia Garden Center staff can accommodate your needs. See our Landscape Services page to learn more!
We invite you to stop by and enjoy the coolest little garden center in Seattle.
A Normal Spring? February 24, 2012
After several years of winters with some very cold spells (teens and low twenties) we may be about to get something approaching the normal many of us were accustomed to feeling in Seattle. Although the forecast for the next few days indicate we may be about to get some late season snow, the trend has been for normal temperatures for this time of year - highs now tending to be in the low 50s and night times getting down to the high 30s. We have heard lots of reports of the usually dying off annuals surviving through the winter (geraniums, fuchsias, bacopa.) To me one of the more promising sights was of several honeybees hovering around several of the citrus trees we had moved outside early last week. My eternal hope is springing to the conclusion that a normal spring might be coming to Seattle!
An Odd Spring June 11, 2010
This year began with a wonderfully mild winter and early spring, then turned into a record long cool spell with temperatures significantly below normal. Many of us were amazed as flowers started opening even before the winter turned to spring. The fragrant cherry blossoms provided us with a spectacular show in early spring. I remember driving down one of the floral lined streets in Magnolia and seeing a very strange sight: the cherries were dropping petals like pink snow before the larger street trees had leafed out – a surreal cotton candy coating against the barren backdrop of the skeletal branches of winter’s trees.
March was spectacular as gardeners were able to get lots of plants in the ground and do lots of cleanup and preparation for the always anticipated spring-summer season. Record numbers of gardeners visited us in March while record numbers of the earliest plants began their spring ritual. But spring deferred. Rather than the on again-off again rain, sun, warm cold, we settled into a very predictable pattern of below normal temperatures and above normal rainfall. The plants slowed down, the gardeners slowed down.
With the exception of a couple of weeks of dry but still cool weather in May, up until now it’s been below normal temperatures, above normal rain. The latest date it ever has reached 75 degrees was June 9th. It is now June 11th and we have still not been there yet.
We don’t know the seasonal effects on our gardeners, i.e. will they return to do more gardening this year? Will they neglect their March planted containers? Will they replant their vegetable gardens?
We have seen some of the results of the strange weather on the plants however. There were lots of stories of plants that did not leaf anywhere near their usual normal time and some plants began to leaf out and then apparently reconsidered, dropped the early leaves and went back to being bare again. By now most of those plants have grudgingly given in to the gradually moderating climate and are now fully clothed in their spring or summer garb. Now we just have to wait and see if the gardeners will follow suit.
Rose Care February 10, 2009
Winter seems to be waning in Seattle and many of our plants are showing signs of coming out of their winter’s sleep. Just like the plants, lots of us seem to feel something flowing within reminding us to start getting our garden ready for the fast approaching growing season. To be rewarded with gorgeous, fragrant flowers all summer long requires a little effort this time of the year. There are few plants that are as satisfying with the number and quality of flowers as roses. And despite the reputation roses sometimes have for the amount of work they may require, tending to these plants is really pretty simple.
For us in the Northwest the season often starts a little briskly in late February. This is the time to get things in shape for the upcoming season: a little clean-up, a spring pruning, the first feeding of the year and then a little wait until the weather warms up. The easiest way to start is to rake out the old leaves and debris from under the plants. Dispose of all this old material. Unless you have an efficient compost program in operation don’t try to compost this material yourself. There are apt to be lots of fungal spores on the old leaves that could come back to haunt you later in the season so get them out of your yard.
Next up it is time to prune back the old canes to prepare the rose plant for this summer’s blooms. The first step is to briefly assess the current structure of the plant and determine what you want the plant to look like when you are done. How many large canes do you have and how many are you going to want to have when you are done? The actual number is going to depend on the variety and the age and health of the plant. If you decide that you have three good size canes that look healthy and big enough to produce lots of good flowers then you need to figure out how far down to cut them. But the first step is to remove the other canes or branches that you will not be keeping.
My own preference is to start at the top and work my way down the plant. This benefits me in two ways. It allows me to remove most of the small, often thorny branches that otherwise block my access to the parts of the plant that need pruning. And while I may have in mind which canes I think I would like to keep, working around the plant a little often allows me to see if the canes I thought were going to be keepers really deserve to be kept. Sometimes I’ll find damage or disease on one of these canes and I’ll have to change my potential keepers.
Once we’ve thinned out the plant and are ready to get down to making the final major cuts, we need to start paying close attention to how and where each cut is made. The usual goal is to make the rose grow primarily to the outside so we have to prune in such a way as to let the first major shoots grow to the outside. This is done by cutting just above a bud facing in the direction in which we want the shoot to grow. We also try to make all of our final cuts at roughly the same height on the plant. Not only does this leave us with a better looking plant initially, the plant will send out much more even growth from similar heights. (Most plants, including roses, put more energy into growth higher up on the plant. So if we leave one branch much taller than the rest we often get a big strong growth shoot there with weaker growth coming from the lower branches.)
Once the pruning is complete, clean-up the cut debris. Now it is time to give them some early spring sustenance. Using one of the organic or Once-a-Year type fertilizers (Terosa, for example), follow the directions and mix in the proper amount around the base of the plant. You will also want to add some magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) at this time to stimulate new cane growth to help your plant send up new shoots later in the spring. Now top-dress the soil under the plant with two or three inches of good organic compost taking care to leave the ground open within a few inches of the trunk of the plant. Then take your tools, your debris and yourself and go inside and have a warm drink and congratulate yourself. You don’t have to worry about your roses now for a few more months.
For those of you who want to see a closer demonstration of how to prune roses and for more specific information we will be offering three rose pruning and care classes at Magnolia Garden Center. Come on down: Saturday morning at 10:00 AM on February 28, March 14 or March 28. Call 206 284-1161 to reserve space or take your chances and just show up. If you want some hands-on experience bring your pruners. Classes last about one hour.
This spring’s sunny moments, or at least the dry periods between the showers, are offering gardeners fleeting chances to work in their gardens. Still, we are hearing from lots of people with some common problems this year. While not exactly pestilence or plague, insects and diseases are distressing many by their presence. Two problems bothering many gardeners this season are aphids and fungus.
Despite conditions that seemed uncomfortable to us, the winter was generally mild for the insect population. The cold temperatures were just barely into the upper 20s for most of the winter, which is not cold enough to kill off many of our usual insect pests. When we started hearing about aphids in January and February we realized it might be a big aphid year.
Aphids are active here throughout most of the year but conditions usually limit their numbers. These tiny sucking insects feed on the juices of many plants. Usually they find the tender new foliage on which to lay their young and seemingly within a day or two the number of bugs can go from none to thousands. Often these creatures find plants that are already in distress and a large infestation can make matters worse for a stressed plant.
Usually in the home garden attacks of aphids don’t cause much damage and are primarily more a nuisance than a threatening presence. The first most effective approach is to try to wash as many as possible off the plant with a blast of water from the hose. Once the young aphid is dislodged from the plant it rarely is able to reattach itself. For those more inclined to let nature do part of the work, try ladybugs.
Ladybugs are aphid predators. Between the familiar adults and the more voracious ladybug larvae (which look something like a very tiny black and orange spotted alligator!) they can reduce a population of aphids in your yard in a matter of a few weeks. If you need more ladybugs in your yard you can buy containers of 1500 adults to release at home. While many of these will find their way to your neighbor’s, enough should stick around to do the job in your garden.
If this doesn’t work fast enough there are many safe organic sprays available. There is normally no reason to use a harsh chemical spray for aphids. (Next time: Getting fungus under control.)
The winter, er, ah, spring … or wait, is it actually summer??? Well, whatever season it is, it is giving us some problems that seem to be affecting lots of gardens and gardeners – the Fungus is among us! From black spot and mildew on roses to powdery mildew on rhododendrons to leaf spot of lots of other plants, we are seeing lots of it. And it all has the weather in common. Damp days with temperatures in the 50s offer perfect growing conditions for many of our local fungus diseases.
Many of the fungus spores are normally found in the garden soil throughout the region just waiting for the opportunity to grow. That opportunity comes along when a spore finds itself on a moist plant leaf at temperatures in the mid 50-degree range for a span of 5 to 10 hours. For plants like roses growing in Seattle, that usually comes in the summer when the gardener waters in the evening, or when the dew lands on it in the early morning hours and the sun doesn’t dry it off early. This year it is happening in the middle of the day – rain plus daytime temperatures in the 50s equals mildew.
So what can you do? Hope for better weather? Ignore it? Treat it? The treatment will depend on what plant we’re talking about. For many plants, there are sprays available: some safe and organic, some not so much. Often the safer the spray the less effective it is. However, there is a relatively new organic spray (Serenade Disease Control) available. The active ingredient is a bacteria benign to us yet quite toxic to certain fungal diseases. The label lists a wide range of diseases that are effectively controlled by this product. The WSU coop-extension has not yet recommending it for all those diseases but it may as it tests for each.
Another line of products contains either sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or potassium bicarbonate. These compounds, found in RosePharm or Remedy, alter the environment on the leaf surface making it inhospitable for fungal colonies to grow.This year may be more difficult than usual, but practices such as insuring lots of air circulation around problem plants, removing and cleaning up the infected leaves and planting certain plants, such as roses, for the earliest sun exposure to help them dry out in the morning may help slow down the problem.
Between the cold blustery rains, the snow, sleet and thunderstorms we’ve seen paltry few mild and sunny days this year. Spring hasn’t allowed us to stop and smell the flowers. Now that May is here, flower gardening interest is finally starting to build. However, excitement in another category of gardening has been evident since early this year – edible gardening.
Recent concerns about costs and carbon footprints especially related to transportation have turned attention to fresh-from-your-backyard grown food. Across the country there is tremendous attention to “eat local” and “grow your own food”. We have always had a loyal following of gardeners buying organic tomatoes, basil, cucumbers and lettuce. They are asking for French Crisp and Merlot lettuce, prize-winning Momotaro tomatoes, golden beets, Kaffer lime trees (leaves for Thai cooking) and lemongrass.
One of the most rewarding things we see is the excitement the gardeners have while planning their garden and then thinking about the great fresh salads and other dishes they’ll be enjoying in a few weeks. We spend a good part of the next several months salivating over the various foods they talk about preparing.
While some city farmers are pulling out their lawns to install edible garden beds, one needn’t go to that extreme. There are many locals successfully growing crops with good yields in mini-gardens or just containers. The key is matching your crops to your “farm”: whether an entire backyard or a few small pots on your deck.
Here are a few suggestions for the container gardening crowd. For tomatoes in smaller containers select determinate types. These are usually smaller in size and don’t require such a large container to get maximum yield. Leaf crops such as lettuce, romaine, arugula, etc. are great crops for small spaces. Harvest the larger leaves from the outside of the plants for small salads whenever desired. For pepper fans, jalepenos, Anaheims or even Bell’s make great container plants. I plant three pepper plants in each large (18 – 24” wide) pot and grow them in a warm sunny spot. Add a generous amount of compost (Gardener & Bloome makes an absolutely amazing vegetable compost) to your fresh potting soil, water regularly and sit back and sip your mojito (with your freshly picked mint).
Quick recipe: Prepare a wonderfully tasty appetizer by lightly grilling sliced peppers over coals or open flame. Then marinate them in olive oil over coals until tender. Use a variety of peppers for a more spicy taste.
After enduring a long cold winter, we’ve finally had our first taste of summer. Spring seems to have skipped us almost entirely this year. The warm weather enticed many of us outside this past weekend and much to our surprise there is still much blooming spring to enjoy. Masses of flowers and their wafting perfumes intoxicate the senses.
Our Winter Daphne, which started its fragrant bloom back in late January, is still sweetening the yard with its essence somewhere between orange blossom and sweet clove. For those desiring a fragrant gardens this plant is a must have. I think most gardeners would place this among the most beautifully scented of all. Though some seem to find this a difficult plant to grow its requirements are simple. It grows well in partial shade and in our well-drained sandy soil. Just make sure to place it near a walkway so you can be sure to enjoy its enchanting aroma.
The scent of the lilac harkens many back to childhood at Grandma’s. A bouquet will fill any room with an old-fashioned perfume guaranteed to evoke distant memories. Our largest lilac (a variety named Frank Klager) is a rich and deep purple reminiscent of grape juice. Right now a good chunk of our backyard is blanketed with a robe of its royal purple flowers.
We purchased this particular plant for one reason: though it was less than a foot tall it had a blossom on it that was almost half the size of the whole plant! Though I think it may have skipped blooming in its second or third year it has produced significantly more flowers each subsequent year. Like people, individual plants tend to do certain things well. In this instance our plant has always been a great flower producer. This is a lesson one can extrapolate to many other flowering plants. If you want a plant that produces lots of flowers, buy one that has lots of flowers when it is young.
While we have many other fragrant plants sharing their perfumes with us, I find a pair of Rhododendrons of great interest. These two grace one of our shadier garden spots. The first (Rhododendron Puget Sound) is a relatively short but increasingly wide shrub while the second (Rhododendron Loderii King George) is just starting to show signs of just how big it is capable of becoming – there is a specimen at the English Garden at the Ballard Locks that is the size of a small house. Both of these plants force a more intimate encounter to access their floral fragrance from immense trusses of pink flowers: A perfume that truly defines floral essence.
Grow Your Own Berries
A couple of years ago Margaret decided that since I enjoyed blueberries so much (and that they are so good for you) we should grow them in our garden. She brought home a couple of the traditional northern deciduous type plants along with three evergreen “Sunshine Blue” hybrids developed from southern varieties. I have to admit to being skeptical about the whole project. Many years ago we had attempted to grow blueberries with a huge 30-year-old plant we bought from a blueberry farm going out of business. Among other things we learned why farmers usually replace their plants after 15 to 20 years of production! Additionally, I didn’t believe that an evergreen hybrid like this could produce a decent crop of tasty berries and also function as a lovely ornamental plant all winter long.
For the first two seasons I mostly ignored the new berry plants since it is recommended limiting your harvests for the first one or two years. Then early last summer Margaret told me I better check out the new berries and that I might want to take a container with me and pick some. When I finally got around to sampling the crop, I found I needed to go get a second container to pick all the wonderfully sweet berries that were ready for harvest.
During the course of the summer I harvested at least 10 quarts of berries from those plants for wonderful pancakes, waffles and pies. Only a handful came from the “normal” highbush plants while the shorter “Sunshine Blue” produced nearly all the crop. Admittedly the former plants were tucked behind the latter in a shadier spot. But the Sunshine Blue’s yield and taste quality were both great.
Growing these plants is relatively simple and only requires a few things: a mostly sunny spot, adequate water through mid-September and an acid soil (pH 4.5 to 5.5). Many people worry about the acidity but in Seattle our soils tend to be acidic to begin with. Rhododendrons do best in the same pH and see how well they do here. But if you do need to lower the pH it is easily accomplished with a good acidifying fertilizer like an Azalea Rhododendron fertilizer with ammonium sulfate.
It won’t be too long before the warmer days of summer will bring us outdoors for cookouts and patio dining. For many of us, these meals have to include some of our own homegrown fresh produce. What could be more local than your own backyard?
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