Le Jardinet Newsletter

  April 2010
Epimedium rubrum
Somehow spring seems to WOW us with color every year. Take a few moments to walk around your garden and look more closely at the incredible beauty of nature. Whether it is the striking patterns and color of new foliage such as the Epimedium (Bishops Hat) above, the electric blue of bluebells or the array of tulip colors, it does us good to slow down and appreciate the season.
Get ready.....
 It all starts with the right container.


cascataAre you still using the same pots you bought 10 years ago? Selecting the right containers takes many things into consideration; the architectural style of the home, surrounding colors, scale and location to name just a few. We often move house and continue using the same containers out of habit without really assessing whether they still enhance the home and suit their purpose.PotteryPottery If this sounds familiar there is a great opportunity for you this month. I am offering 10% off all orders from AW pottery over $100. They are the best manufacturer and supplier of containers I know with an extensive selection of styles, colors, sizes and shapes to choose from. I would be happy to help you find the perfect container or if you know what you're looking for browse their website and let me know what interests you. Take advantage of the discount this month and you'll be ready for the new season!
The question I am asked most often in April is "can I plant up my containers yet?" The short answer is NO, but let me explain. Most of our favorite summer annuals need temperatures no lower than 50' and the really delicate plants such as Colocasia and Bromeliads need at least 55'. Traditionally Mothers Day (May 15th) marks the transition at which our NIGHT temperatures are stable at 50'. June is usually the earliest for the more tropical plants.
Katsura Abelia 
Don't despair! If your containers are looking past their best I would be happy to come and prepare them for re-planting. Just tidying things up can make a huge difference. It also gives me an opportunity to assess what will be needed this season to work my magic and prepare the estimate for you. With that taken care of we can schedule a tentative replanting date. Of course if you are still enjoying your containers that can all be done when you are ready for them to be refreshed.
So don't be tempted by the colorful displays in the nurseries right now unless you have a greenhouse. For those plants to thrive, you'll need to be patient just a little while longer.
You don't need a dedicated vegetable garden or even container to enjoy your own produce. Here are a few ideas to help you integrate your favorite fruits, herbs and veggies into your garden;
  • Plant a hanging basket of cherry tomatoes. Include marigolds for natural pest control and extra color.
  • Sungold Cherry Tomato
    Sungold tomato
    Blueberry borders; we are no longer restricted to 5' tall bushes. There are some great dwarf varieties such as 'Top Hat' which is a compact 2' tall bush; perfect for a centerpiece in mixed containers. Since it is self pollinating you don't even need more than one bush (although the yield will be higher if you have another variety nearby). Wouldn't it be fun as a boxwood replacement around an English garden? Or try the evergreen variety 'Sunshine Blue'. With pink flowers, a huge crop of rich blue berries per plant, red fall color (even though the leaves remain on the bush) and being self pollinating it is a winner. It grows to about 3' tall and wide so would be perfect amidst perennials or used to edge a larger border.
  • Alpine Strawberries; these do not have runners so are easier to care for than the more typical strawberry. Lots of varieties are available including one called Pineapple Crush! Add one or two to your flowering container gardens as a trailer.
  • Alpine Strawberry
    Alpine strawberry
    Parsley and lettuce make great container plants and don't have to be in an exclusive edible pot. Their texture and color will add a new dimension to the design.
  • Columnar apple trees; These are dramatic centerpieces for larger containers or vertical accents in narrow side gardens. The variety North Pole does well in the PNW. Flowers, fragrance, fruit and winter structure; what more could you ask?
My seminars

 There are two seminars left on my schedule before I devote myself full time to designing your container gardens! Both are by invitation but the organizers are wonderful and would make you most welcome.


Unit #79 Washington Park Arboretum, Mercer Island.

Wednesday April 14th 11-noon. The Art of Elegance. Learn how to create sophisticated container gardens by the careful use of color echoes, form and texture. While demonstrating the planting of two unique designs I will share tips and ideas to bring out the artist in you. For further details contact MaryAnn Trombold


Seattle Rose Society, Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle

Wednesday May 18th 7.30pm. BEYOND THE ROSE GARDEN; meeting new neighbors. Join me as I share experience and tips to help you create artistic companion plantings for roses. Be inspired as you learn the design tricks behind successful combinations. For further details contact John Harmeling

Nostalgic favorites
Do you have plants which evoke special memories? My Mum refers to her garden as a 'Memory Garden' as it is full of special cuttings and plants from friends and family . When she can't remember the variety name of a particular plant she refers to it as "Ethel" or "Mr. Howarth" for example!Here are a few of my nostalgic favorites and why they are special to me.
  • English Bluebells (Scilla non-scripta).
    Hosta Sagae & English Bluebells


    Not to be confused with Spanish bluebells, these are fragrant and the bells are just on one side of the stem. They form carpets of blue in English deciduous woodlands but my greatest memory is of them surrounding my Grandad's greenhouse by the hundred. I have just planted a clump of my own next to a huge tree stump by my new greenhouse.
  • Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis). This was first given to me by an elderly neighbor and quickly became a favorite with my daughter Katie who was about two at the time.
    Bleeding heart
    When we moved to the USA in 1996 she saw it at Molbaks and now insists I have to grow it in my garden.
  • Horse chestnuts or Conker trees (Aesculus genus). These are  huge, parkland trees common throughout Europe. Every fall I used to take the children hunting for 'Conkers' (the fruit); At 21 and 18 they still like to find them! (I'm trying to find a patch of dry land on our property to plant one for our future grandchildren....)
Have you noticed how many memories are associated with childhood; either my own or my childrens? I hope I have inspired you to plant your own special Memory Garden. 
So get ready, steady.....and we can GO next month! 
Karen Chapman CPH
Le Jardinet
425 765 3574 
In This Issue
Get Ready....
My seminars
Nostalgic favorites
Abelia kaleidoscope 
Fertilize Azaleas, Rhodies and Camellias as they finish blooming.
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Valid on orders placed April 1st-30th 2010