Le Jardinet Newsletter

 March 2011
pink rhodie
Imagine the possibilities

Are you itching to get out into the garden? I can't believe I was tidying strawberry plants in a T-shirt last weekend yet today the garden is blanketed with snow (again)! Still I can dream, scheme and write lists of all the things I want to accomplish this year. In this newsletter I've included lots of suggestions for new plants as well as local events where you can learn from the experts.


Got the ideas but don't know how to accomplish them (or fit in all those plants you have to buy)? Get in touch and I'll help you make a plan. I've even included a coupon off my design service for this month! Details of both my consultation and design services are in the Quick Links.

In the Nurseries Now

Wissels' saguaro
False cypress 'Wissel's saguaro' has an incredible sculptural quality 
Photo credit


March is a great time to go on a treasure hunt at the nurseries. Buyers have spent the winter poring over plant lists to select the latest and greatest for us. Conifers figure high on their priorities because they look good all year. Nurseries also focus on bringing in unusual varieties which are suitable both for containers and the landscape.


Many of you know that my favorite conifer for tight spaces is the false cypress (Chamaecyparis l.) 'Wissel's Saguaro' with its rich blue green foliage and huggable shape. Well for those of you in the Seattle area Molbaks has managed to find some! They are GREAT value at just $19.99 for a 1 gallon size. Head over there quickly before they all go. Use them in containers, narrow side yards or as punctuation points in the larger landscapes. Mine grow 8-10" per year but stay less than 2' wide. 


THorsens weeping hemlock
Thorsen's weeping hemlock

Another dwarf conifer to look for is the Thorsen's weeping hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). This is staked to a specific height (typically 4-6') then allowed to drape beautifully onto the ground like a pool of green silk. Imagine this planted solo in a  wide, shallow bowl, perhaps in a matte black where it can be allowed to tumble gently over the edge like an oversized bonsai. Very striking.


Camellias begin to bloom later this month (Camellia japonica varieties) so you can be sure the nurseries will have plenty to tempt you with in shades of pink, white and red. I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite but perhaps 'Nuccio's Gem' makes the cut with its perfect rosettes of white petals. It grows to a tidy 6-8' mound and is truly breathtaking especially when underplanted with a dwarf variegated Pieris such as 'Little Heath'. 


Magnolia stellata
Typically growing to just 10' this Magnolia is well suited to the smaller garden.

The large fuzzy white buds of deciduous magnolias are attractive in themselves looking like pussy willow on steroids. The real draw of course is the large goblet shaped flowers of the Japanese magnolias (Magnolia soulangiana) or the white starry blooms of the star magnolia (Magnolia stellata). Set against a clear blue sky they are breathtaking.


Clear out the trunk of your car and go shopping!


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My Seminars


King County Master Gardener Foundation, Woodinville, WA
April 20th 10.30-12.00pm  
Secrets to Success with Containers. Take your container garden designs to the next level as I share tips on how to create artistic combinations for both sun and shade. After planting two unique designs, I will also demonstrate the best methods for container drip irrigation to keep your pots looking fabulous even when you're on vacation. For registration and further details click here or contact Karen Hausrath .Open to the public


Molbaks Nursery, Woodinville, WA

April 30th 10.00-11.00am Designing Garden Memories. Gardens should be experienced, not just observed. Learn how to design a memorable garden journey with ideas for entrances, pathways, garden 'moments' along the way and destinations which lure you deeper into the landscape. Using beautiful photographs you'll gain confidence whether you need to add interest and a new look to existing gardens or start from scratch, no matter how large or small your space.1 hour PowerPoint presentation. Open to the public. Free. Directions.

Growing Sweet Peas

sweet pea


Who doesn't love sweet peas? When we first moved to the Seattle area in 1996 one of our first trips was to the famous Pike Place Market, renowned for its displays of fresh seafood, produce and flowers. As I walked down the aisles I came across an unforgettable display of sweet peas. That was the first and only time I have been homesick for England. They were a poignant reminder of all the gardens I had enjoyed both as a child and adult yet for those first few months we were living in an apartment without so much as a sunny balcony.


Thankfully we have enjoyed a garden (and sweet peas) ever since and I always grow them myself from seed. If you'd like to try yourself this year I have posted a simple, old fashioned method on my blog. Part 1 is about how to prepare and sow the seed. Read it here.


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March Events

For those living in the Seattle area here are a few great seminars and workshops that you might enjoy. 


March 5th 8am-3pm Growing Groceries Learning Fair. Monroe High School 17001 Tester Rd, Monroe, WA. Includes information on urban chicken rearing, veggies 101, composting, seed starting and small space vertical gardening. Register here


March 10th 10.30-12pm Edible Garden Design by Colin McCrate from the Seattle Urban Farm Co. Part of the King County Master Gardener Foundation continuing education series. Details, directions and registration


March 12th 10-11am The Buzz about Mason Bees, Molbaks nursery, Woodinville, WA by Missy Anderson. Learn more about these fascinating pollinators and how you can increase your orchard fruit production. (This is something I'm trying for the first time this year). Directions


March 19th 12.30-1.30pm. Increasing your Curb Appeal; adding value and interest to your home and yard. Molbaks nursery, Woodinville, WA. A joint presentation by Julie Billett, Managing Broker at Windermere Real Estate, and Julie Allyne, owner of PlantWorks Unlimited. Directions. 


March 24th 10.30-12pm Designing dramatic, water-thrifty gardens with landscape designer Phil Wood. Part of the King County Master Gardener Foundation continuing education series. Details, directions and registration 


March 27th 1-2pm. Spring Tips for Lawn Care and controlling moss and moles Molbaks nursery, Woodinville, WA by Ladd Smith, co-owner of In Harmony. Directions


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Garden Adventures - join me

If you haven't been to my blog in a while you're missing out! Last month the most popular articles (besides those about the Northwest Flower & Garden Show) were  'Adding Sparkle with Variegated Plants'  and 'Top 5 Cool New Plants'. You'll be writing up your garden shopping list for sure!

Cercis rising sun
Just one of the cool plants featured!


This month I have more fun features planned including an article on using blue foliage in your landscape. Don't miss out; head over to the blog and sign up to receive these posts automatically (on the blog home page click 'subscribe by email'). They are published just twice a week so you won't be bombarded!


Visit my blog 



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Outdoor Living Extravaganza - nationwide

The Seattle date is almost here; March 18th 8am-4pm at the Newcastle Golf Club, WA. Just a few tickets left; get yours today!

PW event logo
Click on logo to register for ALL cities

Details of the Seattle event here


Good food, great seminars, fun goodie bags - see you there!


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Share the News
Love these newsletters? Want to tell your friends about some of the fun events or share some of my design ideas? Either click  or use the social media links at the top of the page to send via Facebook, Twitter and the like. Encourage friends and family 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 and photographs from previous editions.

"Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"-- Robin Williams

Karen Chapman CPH
Le Jardinet
425 765 3574 
In This Issue
In the Nurseries Now
My seminars
Growing Sweet Peas
March Events
Special Event
Share with Friends


 If your Rhodies and Azaleas have been sulking for the past year or so, some organic fertilizer specifically for these acid loving plants could be just the pick-me-up they need. Spread it around the roots as directed in March or early April to help promote lots of blooms and strong growth. 

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couponMarch Madness!


$10 off any landscape design consultation during March 2011.

Offer Expires: 3/31/11. May not be combined with any other offer.