Le Jardinet Newsletter

 January 2011

Traditionally, January 1st is a time when we resolve to do things differently - and hopefully better. Some resolutions such as "I won't eat so much chocolate this year" are a complete joke. Life's too short, right? Just eat the good stuff I say. However on more of a horticultural bent, here are a few of my New Year resolutions.

1. I will write down (and remember) the names of all the plants I buy (and remember where I put the list)

2. I will check to see if deer love the plants I want, before I bring them home (the plants, not the deer. The latter already live here).deer

3. I will not mock those clients and friends who forget to water their containers (OK that one will be broken by January know who you are...)

4. I will (try to ) remember that the mantra 'planting in multiples' is not an excuse to buy an arboretum, even if we do have the space.

5. I will accept that I am a plant junky and that there isn't much chance of my managing any of the above  even one week from now. Oh well.


See you at the nurseries. I'll be in the muddy pick up truck towing the large trailer filled to overflowing with trees and plants, with a Pied Piper-style following of deer.

Maybe delivery is a better option?
Indoor Container Garden Design 


I'm definitely a fireside gardener at this time of year with just an occasional trip outside to dig parsnips, dead head pansies and check nothing is dying of drought or neglect! The beauty of indoor container gardening is that you can work on the kitchen counter  keeping yourself and the plants nice and warm. These are quick to make, easy to customize  to your color scheme and a lovely way to bring the outside in - without a jacket and warm scarf!

Calla indoor
Design with Calla lily and miniature cyclamen


1. Choose your container. It has to hold wet soil so if using a basket, line with heavyduty plastic.  Ceramic, wicker, plastic and metal are all suitable materials for indoors.

2. If your container has no drainage holes add an inch of horticultural charcoal to the base of the pot (available from the indoor plant supply section of nurseries)

3. Select an assortment of indoor foliage plants which vary in height and leaf texture, plus one flowering accent plant e.g. orchid or cyclamen. Be sure they all have similar light and water needs; ask the nursery staff for help. Also find a spare plant pot which is the same size as the one your flowering plant is in.

4. Use a lightweight indoor potting mix and a basic granular slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote.

pink cyclamen indoor
Dracaena spikes add height

5. Plant foliage plants and the empty plant pot (don't add the flowering plant yet), and tuck soil carefully in all the nooks and crannies between the plants.

6. Remove the empty pot and slip the accent plant in the space; do not take flowering plant out of its pot.

7. Dress up the soil surface with moss, pebbles or other decorative items.

8. Water carefully! Print this care sheet for guidance. I present a copy of this to clients when I deliver indoor container gardens  as it explains the watering regime.

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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. I was asked recently how I knew so much about gardening.  My reply was simple - I've made lots of mistakes! I'll share the good, the bad and the hilarious to hopefully save you from some of the same blunders.

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  'The Blue Lagoon' which took you on a journey through a lush tropical jungle - right here in Redmond, WA!

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.

In the Nurseries Now!


I am really drawn to yellow flowering plants at this time of year as a welcome antidote to the grey skies and drizzle. Besides the well known Oregon grape shrub varieties (Mahonia sp.) here are a few of my 'sunshine favorites' which bloom in January, most of which are also wonderfully fragrant.


Witchhazel AP
Witchhazel 'Arnold Promise'

Witchhazel 'Arnold promise'

(Hammamelis x intermedia) is a large vase-shaped deciduous shrub which produces masses of fragrant yellow spidery flowers in winter, it does best in full sun but tolerates light shade. The variety 'Pallida' (Hammamelis mollis) is slower growing and has equally bright sulfur-yellow flowers. Place them where they have room to grow and you can enjoy the fragrance.



Winter sweet (Chimonathus praecox) lives up to its name with stop-you-in-your-tracks fragrance from an abundance of dangling yellow cup-shaped flowers. This large shrub (12' x 10') can be pruned up as a small tree. Sun or part shade. The golden leaved variety 'luteus' is even more fragrant than tha species.


Paper bush

Paper bush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) is not a well known shrub, usually available trained as a small tree which I think is best showcased in a container. A member of the Daphne family, this deciduous shrub has equally memorable fragrance from its clusters of yellow flowers. Slightly tender (zone 7b or 8) but in a container it can be tucked into a protected corner.


yellow twig dogwood
Yellow twig dogwood

Yellow twig dogwood (Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea') - OK so it doesn't have yellow flowers but the bright yellow-green stems on this spreading shrub look wonderful when allowed to form thickets. Reaching 6' high, this deciduous plant thrives in heavy clay soils. Not suitable for small gardens!


Winter aconite (Eranthis sp) is one of the first bulbs to bloom in January. It's yellow buttercup flowers are best seen en masse at the edge of a border, under a deciduous tree or naturalized in grass. It easily survives a covering of snow.

Winter aconite
Winter aconite


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My seminars this month.

  • Dynamic Plant Combinations and Early Spring Container Gardening. A one hour PowerPoint presentation followed by a planting demonstration to put into practice what you have learned!

January 21st 9.30-11.30am, Mukilteo. Part of the Snohomish County Master Gardener Speaker Series. Click here for registration and further details.


This promises to be a fun event. Join me!


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Northwest Flower & Garden Show

NWFGS logo

Mark your calendars! Wednesday February 23rd - Sunday February 27th at the Seattle Convention center. Order tickets now to save money and time.


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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 all a healthy, happy and slug-free New Year.

Karen Chapman CPH
Le Jardinet
425 765 3574 
In This Issue
Indoor Container Gardens
My Blog
In the Nurseries Now
My Seminars
Northwest Flower & Garden Show
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Got moles? Read these (often hilarious) ideas for how to get rid of them by Ciscoe Morris.

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