Le Jardinet Newsletter

  March 2010
Lettuce pot
The wonderful sunshine last month had me digging over my new vegetable garden, planting onion sets, tidying strawberry plants and dreaming of the fresh, organic bounty I shall be able to harvest soon. However I promise you don't need 5 acres to grow your own produce! Container gardening can go beyond a few herbs and strawberries to a large planter box with a trellis for peas and space for lettuce, baby carrots and tomatoes. There is a great catch phrase - "Eat your own zipcode" which encourages us to eat locally. What is more local than your own garden? Don't have the perfect container? Give me a call and I'll help you get started.
Growing Sweet Peas - the English way!
I usually do this in February but better late than never. Growing sweet peas is quick, cheap and easy - and the plants will be much stronger than those from even the best nurseries! The secret is to get a deep root system developed so forget about those shallow seed trays or typical 4" pots. Make your own growing tubes from newspaper.
sweet pea
Roll up several sheets of newspaper to form open ended tubes approximately the same size as a toilet roll tube. Hold the roll in place with either paper clips or staples. Stand several of these tubes in a Rubbermaid container and pack each one with potting soil.
Add 1 seed per tube (I like to soak the seeds overnight first) then water the tubes gently. Place on a sunny windowsill and keep moist but not wet.
When the seedlings emerge, turn the Rubbermaid box daily and insert bamboo skewers as temporary supports for them to cling to.
Here's the best part. When they are ready to plant out you plant the tubes! No need to take the plants out as the newspaper rots down.
A final bit of trivia for which I have no scientific basis whatsoever! There seems to be 'something' in the newspaper ink which stimulates root growth. It is very common in England to line seed trays with newspaper and sure enough those seedlings do seem to develop a remarkably strong root system. I wonder if that is also partly why these newspaper tubes are so effective? I don't know but I'll share my olde English folklore with you anyway!
Have fun.
Dream the Dream....and make it happen
What does a garden mean to you? Is is a peaceful sanctuary for morning coffee? A family friendly space for impromptu ball games and rambunctious dogs? Or perhaps an elegant outdoor room for entertaining friends?
  Identifying your goals is the first step to good landscape design. Turning that vision into your dream garden however takes artistry and a keen eye for design as well as an in depth knowledge of plants
. Is your garden meeting your needs? 
I would be delighted to help you design your perfect garden, whether you need just a consultation to get a fresh perspective or  professionally drawn landscape plans  and installation. Read details of my landscape consultation service and  landscape design service. Be inspired by enjoying my landscape design portfolio on my website.
Let's create something special.
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March Madness!
Ther are so many fun events this month! Here are a few that I thought might be of interest to you.
  • March 6th 9.30am, Molbaks. Top Ten Fruit Trees for the PNW, by Mike Lee from Bailey's nursery.
  •  March 6th 11.30am, Molbaks. Attracting Wildlife into your Garden by my wonderful friend and Molbaks employee Cheryl Anderson.
  • March 7th 11 am - 3 pm., Bellevue Botanical Gardens March Mania Plant Sale. Sharpen your elbows, empty the trunk, grab your purse and RUN!!A reknowned event by the Northwest Perennial Alliance (NPA)
  • March 13th 11am-2pm, Molbaks. Puget Sound Dahlia Association on site to answer all your dahlia questions
  •  March 13th 1pm, Molbaks the Buzz about Gardening with Mason Bees, by Missy Anderson. For adults and kids.
  • March 13th and 14th noon-6pm, Columbia Winery. The Taste of White. Join Molbaks at the winery for a weekend of white wine, music, crafts and speciality food products. $20 at the door.
  • March 13-14, all day, Wells Medina Nursery Giving o' the Green.Preview the best new plants arriving for spring and add your bit o' green to the NPA border at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens by supporting this plant drive.
  • March 21, Sunday, 10 am - 2 pm., Bellevue Botanical Gardens. Potting Up Party. Grab your tools, roll up your sleeves and get dirty! Full details on the NPA website.
Road Trip Anyone?
A day trip is always fun. Add to that a packed nursery with to-die-for plants at very reasonable prices, a fun, down-to-earth owner (Heidi Kaster) and you know it will become a regular outing.
My daughter and I first discovered Dragonfly Farms Nursery, Kingston on our annual visit to the Olympic Music Festival. I have returned MANY times, even on one occasion persuading my husband to stop to collect a 5' Wissels' Saguaro conifer for a very special client. That wouldn't be so unusual until I tell you that the conifer had to come camping with us for the weekend and we were towing the trailer tent at the time!  
Heidi has the knack of finding the unusual and the fabulous. Those of you for whom I have designed gardens will know I often select a unique specimen rather than a more readily available familiar one. Why have a cookie cutter garden when it can be as unique as you are?
Grab the car keys and head to the peninsula. Say hello to Heidi from me. (There is now a trailer tent friendly entrance and exit!!)
March Must-Haves for the Garden


  • Hellebore 'Ivory Prince'. There are many Hellebore varieties old and new but I particularly like this one for its outward facing flowers, attractive leaves and exceptionally long bloom time. About 18" tall, afternoon shade. 
    Hellebore Ivory Prince
  • Clematis 'Avalanche'. This is a stunning variety of spring blooming clematis with a delicate leaf unlike the longer leathery leaves of the more common 'Armandii'. Cascades of white flowers and evergreen in a mild winter.clematis avalanche Sun or part shade. To15'
  • Pieris 'Forest Flame'. I first saw this shrub in Scotland many years ago and it remains one of my favorites for the stunning color of the new growth. Many newer varieties are also available - choose your favorites Try underplanting it with dwarf red riding hood tulips!Pieris Forest Flame To 7' tall, part shade.
Have a wonderful month 
Karen Chapman CPH
Le Jardinet
425 765 3574 
In This Issue
Growing Sweet Peas
Garden Dreams
March Madness Events
Road Trip
March Favorites
 Container mini-makeover


Hyacinths are in bloom and smell AMAZING! Tuck one or two into containers by your front door.Either carefully plant them into the soil or just hide the pot with surrounding leaves.
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A special discount on all AW pottery orders next month.