Le Jardinet Newsletter

 September 2010
 I'm beginning to think I ought to write a blog called 'The Lazy Gardener'; I'm sure there would be a large following simply because we're all....well, lazy! Or at least we prefer to choose how we spend our time in the garden; digging up weeds or drinking wine for example.
Well in this months newsletter I have suggested a few ways to cut down on the gardening chores. My Dad used to say his favorite type of  garden was concrete (he had the job of cutting the lawn) so maybe I should dedicate this edition to all those who share his pain - and his sense of humor!
Container Garden Care & Replanting
As summer fades into fall remember to keep up with the simple container care routine.

1. Remove dead leaves and flowers,
2. Revive your plants by watering thoroughly at least every other day unless it has rained hard. (Hopefully they won't actually need full resuscitation, just a little refreshment!)
3. Restore plant health; keep up with the slug bait.
Late September is the time to start thinking about replanting for the fall and winter season. By then the days are cooler but the soil is still warm enough to promote strong root growth - essential for improving the plants winter hardiness. Spring bulbs such as miniature daffodils are also available at that time and can be tucked into containers for a welcome splash of color in February.
I am accepting advance bookings for September and October container planting so call or email to schedule your transformations and take advantage of this months coupon!

LowermaintenanceLow(er) maintenance gardening
I am  often asked to advise homeowners on how to make their gardens easier to manage. Busy families just don't have the extra hours needed for weeding, watering and pruning and those of us who remember the Beatles have to admit that our backs aren't as young as they used to be (even if our brain begs to differ!) So what are the features to look for when planning to make your garden somewhere to relax in rather than  work? Here are a few of my criteria;
1. Use more trees and shrubs and less perennials to cut down on the fall clean up.
Abelia 'Kaleidoscope'
2. Select disease resistant varieties.
3. Leave the primadonnas in the nurseries and only use plants which can withstand a forgetful waterer, the occasional dog or baseball and erratic temperatures.
4. No self seeders, no floppy plants that need staking, no rampant thugs that want to take over and no flowers that have to be deadheaded every other day .
5. Amend your soil annually with a couple of inches of compost. Sound like hard work? Not really, but healthy soil = healthy plants= less stress for them = less work for you!
6. Install an automatic watering system.
7. Reduce or eliminate the lawn.
Callicarpa 'Profusion'
Not sure where to start? A simple landscape consultation may be all you need to get ideas and learn which plants should be replaced. Or I would be happy to explore drawing up a completely new landscape design for you to either implement yourself or with professional assistance. It's time to enjoy your garden, not be a slave to it!
Garden Humor for the Grass Challenged!
Lawn care is one of the most time intensive chores in the garden, which is why it was included in my article on reducing garden maintenance. We have 5 acres which ranges from 50/50 grass and weeds (some prettier than others), to "wild meadow" (a euphemism for 6' tall, bamboo like reed canary grass; one of the most invasive grasses I have ever come across), and 50/50 weeds and blackberries. The first selection gets mown more regularly and has the border edges trimmed - occasionally. The rest has to fend for itself but I can truthfully say it provides a varied wildlife habitat from tree frogs to a black bear (who likes melons and blackberries apparently).
Here is another viewpoint which really made me laugh and should certainly make us all think!  
Plant of the Month.
 Rhus tiger eyesHere in the PNW there is a very strange tradition of putting smelly cabbages in pots by your front door and calling it 'fall decorating'. Call me British but I just don't get it! Why would you want your porch to smell like yesterdays dinner?
Go for great color and texture without the 'perfume' and try Sumac 'Tiger Eyes' (Rhus typhina) instead. It offers felted stems like deer antlers, and chartreuse lacy  leaves which smolder in fiery hues as the temperatures drop....... and it doesn't smell like a compost heap.

Garden Events; lots to choose from.
  • September 11th, 1-2pm Molbaks. Meet fun loving Ciscoe Morris as he shares his favorite plant picks for the fall. A great guy who never takes himself or life too seriously and shares his wealth of knowledge freely. Free
  • September 11th, 10-2pm Bellevue Botanical Garden. Fall Plant Sale. $ to $$$$; it's up to you!
  • September 18th, 10-11.30am, Molbaks 'Plant Now for Spring & Summer WOW' by my good friend and former Molbaks manager Peggy Campbell. With a focus on water-wise selections. Free
  • September 19th, 1pm Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle. "Bring It Home: Unpack those ideas from garden travels and use them at home." with well known local author Marty Wingate. $10
  • September 25th, 10-11am, Molbaks. Trouble free trees and shrubs.  Seminar with KC Master Gardener Holly Kennell. Free
Plant Terminology Demystified

"A favorite of birds" means to avoid planting near cars, sidewalks, or clotheslines.

"Grows more beautiful each year" means "Looks like roadkill for the foreseeable future."

"Zone 5 with protection" is a variation on the phrase "Russian roulette."

"May require support" means your daughter's engineering degree will finally pay off.

"Moisture-loving" plants are ideal for landscaping all your bogs and swamps.

"Carefree" refers more to the plant's attitude than to your workload.

"Vigorous" is code for "has a Napoleonic compulsion to take over the world."

"Grandma's Favorite" -- until she discovered free-flowering, disease-resistant hybrids.

Gardening & laughing are two of the best things in life.  ~David Hobson, The Mad Gardener
I hope I've encouraged you in both!

Karen Chapman CPH
Le Jardinet
425 765 3574 
In This Issue
Container Care
Low Maintenance Gardening
Garden Humor
Plant of the Month
Garden Events
Plant Terminology
 Towards the end of the month lift and divide perennials such as daylilies, Siberian iris and hostas. A good sharp THWACK with a spade usually does the trick. Email me if you would like more precise details..
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Imagination goes here
 for your support of the special garden tour last month at the home of my good friends Tina Dixon and Paul Stredwick. With your help they were able to raise over $10,000 for Hopelink.
all container re-planting appointments booked this month and completed before October 31st.
Not valid for new containers 
 or those which I have not planted previously.
Expires September 30th 2010