Le Jardinet Newsletter

 December 2010
Western hemlock
Our favorite tree; the majestic western hemlock
As a designer I get so wrapped up in designing beautiful patios, pergolas and  artistic plant combinations that I forget that sometimes the beauty of a garden is simply the solitude it affords. To be able to walk the trails through our meadow and woodland on a cold, snowy morning with only the sounds of crunching footsteps to interrupt the  bird song  was a poignant reminder that sometimes Nature is the best designer. All I have to do is slow down long enough to appreciate it.

During this busy season may you find a few moments to savor the simple things.
Winter Care for Container Gardens 


The recent cold snap took many of us by surprise. Here in Duvall we were 'iced' in for four days and my plants are just beginning to thaw out. I had a few SOS emails asking what to do about container gardens at this time of year so here are a few key things to remember.


1. If a freeze is forecast do NOT water the containers.

2. Snow is a good insulator so don't brush it off the plants.

3. Pansies are incredibly resilient! The flowers will be waterlogged and the whole plant will look limp for a while, but you will be amazed at how quickly they bounce back. Don't despair!

winter pansies
Iridescent 'Wine flash' pansies & orange hair sedge (Carex testacea)

4. Continue to cut off mushy flowers and leaves - it keeps the rest of the plants healthy.

5. Containers under the eaves will not be watered by the rain (you'd be amazed at how many folks  forget this small detail!) They will need to be hand watered thoroughly twice a week.

6. When checking to see if containers need to be watered we typically feel the soil surface to determine if it feels damp. Remember that in winter 'cold' can feel damp. Push your finger an inch or so into the soil to more accurately determine moisture levels.

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My Blog
'Garden Adventures - for thumbs of all colors' is full of fun ideas and articles on all aspects of gardening - with a sense of humor. Thanks to all those who have emailed to say how much you are enjoying the posts. Check out the blog tomorrow (Thursday December 2nd) for quick and easy ideas to dress up your container gardens for the holidays.  winter trio

If you haven't been to the blog in a while take a look at some of the archived posts. The most popular feature last month was  'Through a Child's Eyes'. Take a moment to explore our garden with a beautiful little girl called Lilly, age 3.

Don't miss out! Sign up on the blog to receive the posts by email twice a week.  Join in the fun, then share it with friends.

The Winter Garden


Winter is a good time to take a hard look at your garden. Only when the trees are bare of leaves and the perennials have died down do we see the 'bones' of the garden. Evergreen trees and shrubs, the architectural shapes of deciduous plants as well as hardscape elements such as boulders, containers and arbors provide structure and interest when the spring and summer stars have finished. 

winter patio
Raised beds and an archway (and a dog) give winter interest even under a foot of snow


As you look out of your window what do you really see?

V house trim
With no winter interest this house looks bare

If the answer is "very little" then it's time to add a little winter magic to your garden to change that. Winter blooming shrubs and finely textured conifers are a good place to start but there are many more possibilities.


If you're not sure how to go about incorporating a winter garden call or email me to arrange a landscape consultation and together we can brainstorm some ideas to suit your budget. If you feel there is a need for a complete re-design of your landscape in the coming year this would also be a good time to arrange a preliminary design consultation. Scheduling well ahead means that you are at the front of the queue for drawings as well as installation should that be needed. Most designers, myself included are fully booked by May so it's time to plan now and begin your garden dreaming. 

winter front deck
Even a deck benefits from a sculptural tree, containers and seating in winter


Call or email me to begin the adventure of fulfilling those dreams and creating a garden you can enjoy in all seasons.


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Garden Events.

  • Annual Festival of PoinsettiasMolbaks, through December 24th . Music, Kringle, kids activities, 35 varieties of locally grown poinsettias and more.
  • Garden d'Lights   Bellevue Botanical Gardens, through January 1st 2011  5-10pm. Over half a million lights transform these gardens into a magical wonderland. This is now such a popular event that you are advised to purchase tickets in advance on line, even for the 'free' nights.

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Gifts for Gardeners

Need some inspiration? Here are a few suggestions for your gardening friends, or for you to email to Santa!
  • Book; 'Gardening for a Lifetime' by Sydney Eddison. 2010. Timber Press. A great book on gardening wisely as our backs get older! Ways to still enjoy our gardens with strategies and techniques to simplify design and necessary chores. $19.95
  • Gloves. My favorite winter gardening gloves are still the West County waterproof style. Insulated and warm even when soaking wet I keep a pair by the back door for winter trips to the vegetable garden. Available by mail order or in most nurseries.santa garden
  • Propagation supplies. Even if you only have a windowsill it's fun to start your own seeds for lettuce or sweet peas.  Explore your local nurseries for the best selection and ideas or take a look at Charley's Greenhouse Supplies catalog.
  • Subscription to Fine Gardening magazine. Still my favorite publication for all gardeners regardless of level of experience.
  • Membership to the Northwest Horticultural Society. An opportunity to meet fellow gardening enthusiasts, hear excellent seminars from notable speakers and visit fabulous gardens which are not generally open to the public. Profits from fundraising events and membership dues provide generous donations, grants and scholarships including $10,500 to the Miller library after a devastating fire, $2500 to the Seattle Tilth Youth Garden Works, $2500 to the Tacoma Chinese Garden and Reconciliation Garden and $500 to the Seattle Magnusen Park Children's Garden to repair a vandalized whale sculpture. Learn more about gardening and be a part of this wonderful community focused organization.
  • Tools. Green Heron Tools, established in 2008, specialize in high quality agricultural and gardening tools especially for women! Amazing - until now we have had to 'manage' with tools that were simply not built for those of us who are not 6'-2", 180lb and with a hand span of  10"! Great selection of individual tools or gift packs.
  • Gift certificate to Le jardinet! Give your friends the gift of knowledge, ideas and design.

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Share the News
Love these newsletters? Many of you have said that you do. Now it's easy to share them with your friends and family. Either click Forward to a Friend or use the social media links at the top of the page to send via Facebook, Twitter and the like. Encourage them to sign up so they don't miss out on special offers, plant news and local garden events!

Want more? My newsletters are now archived on my website so you can look up seasonal tips, design ideas and photographs from previous editions.
Wishing you and your family 'happy holidays' 
and a slug-free New Year
Karen Chapman CPH
Le Jardinet
425 765 3574 
In This Issue
Winter Container Care
My Blog
The Winter Garden
Garden Events
Gifts for Gardeners
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Hellebore pink frost
Hellebore 'Pink frost'
The best hellebore since 'Ivory Prince' was introduced several years ago. Burgundy and white buds open to light pink blooms which mature to a dusky red. I have seen this in bloom as early as October but typically it is a little later with the flowers lasting several months. Fabulous in the landscape or containers. Part shade.
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