Le Jardinet Newsletter

 May 2011

Dust off your flip-flops, find your sunglasses...but keep your snow boot on standby! After all this is Seattle and our weather in only predictable in its unpredictability.


Planting time


Sue 2008 

Wow your friends and impress your neighbors with professionally designed container gardens this season. Hosting a party during the summer months? Book well ahead so we can help you with the planning and make it a party to remember with designs customized to your color scheme and occasion.


Weather willing I am starting to plant up containers on May 11th. If you haven't already scheduled your containers to be refreshed this season NOW is the time to get in touch!  As soon as night temperatures are stable at 50' or above we're good to go. 


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Favorite annuals for the shade


Besides fuchsia and impatiens what can you use in the shade? There are some other great annuals which are 5 star performers and can be planted during May; give them a try.

basket cloes up
'Bonfire' begonia with 'Midnight blue' Torenia

'Bonfire' begonia. I love these so much I've put a request in to the growers for 30 plants just to get me started! Gorgeous red-orange fuchsia like flowers cover these plants until frost, seemingly glowing in the morning sun and a magnet for hummingbirds. I use them at the edges of containers or baskets where they can tumble over the edges. Amazing. 

Torenia 'Midnight blue'. Add this to the begonia above and you have the makiings of a stellar combo. I love this variety for its intense blue flowers but they also come in yellow, mauve and a softer blue. Good edging plants for containers and baskets. They don't need dead heading and bloom non-stop.

Talinum Limon
Bright green Talinum 'Limon' (lower left) shown with 'Rustic orange' coleus


Talinum 'Limon'  is a favorite for its bright yellow-green leaves. Its common name is Jewels of Opar, earning its name from the tiny metallic pink jewel-like seeds which are held high above the fleshy foliage. Grows about 6" wide and high although the seed heads add another 8" or so.


Purple bell vine

Purple bell vine
(Rhodochiton) is a fun annual climber which enjoys full sun but also does well in part shade. In shades of deep rose and purple these bells are sure to get a reaction from visitors. In the nurseries they don't look much at all - just a tangle of dark heart shaped leaves. Don't be fooled! Add them to baskets where they can either trail down or climb up the chains. In containers they can be allowed to trail or looped through other plants to cascade from unexpected places such as  a Japanese maple!
Creeping zinnia 'Sunbini'.
 Photo courtesy of Proven Winners


Creeping zinnia 'Sunbini' (Sanvitalia) is sold as a full sun plant - the tag says so. Don't believe it! They wilt as soon as the afternoon sun touches them. (Even though the tag declares them heat tolerant). Yes they perk right up again afterwards but what's the point? In part shade (morning sun only) they are great performers with oodles of sunny yellow daisies to brighten things up. These are nicely behaved mounding plants  which can mingle in the middle of a group or tumble gently over edges. Spreads to about 12" but just 3-4" high.


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Garden Adventures

Have you read my blog 'Garden Adventures - for thumbs of all colors' recently? If not you've been missing out! It's full of light hearted but informative gardening articles covering a wide range of subjects from using variegated plants to solving drainage problems. 


Last month the most popular post was

(You can click on the title to enjoy it again)


Lee foliage


Don't miss out - sign up today to receive my twice weekly posts automatically by email. (Actually they will probably drop to just once a week during May and June as I plant up a few hundred containers so bear with me!) Just head over to the blog and follow the instructions 'Subscribe by email'. Tell your friends and join me on a fun adventure.


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May Events - lots of great things happening

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


May 7-8th, 9am-3pm Edible Plant Sale. Don't miss the annual food growers extravaganza for the largest selection of summer garden plants in the region. Meridian Park.


May 7th, 9am-3pm. Woodinville Garden Club Plant Sale.Proceeds benefit scholarships, education and beautifying Woodinville. Château St. Michelle winery. Details


May 7th, 8am-5pm. King County Master Gardener Foundation Plants Sale and Learning Fair. Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle, Details


May 14th, 10-11am. Seminar - Gardening with Native Plants by Greg Rabourn. Learn design strategies that provide a home for interesting and beautiful plants, along with food, water, refuge and nesting sites for wildlife. Molbaks


May 28th, 1-2pm Seminar & book signing; Creating a Symphony in the Garden by Ciscoe Morris. Make sure every plant in your garden has time to dazzle and sing. Molbaks

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Basket chains

Are your basket chains rusty? Do they get all tangled up in storage? Is it difficult to hang heavy baskets because you need to take the weight in one hand while you hook the chain with the other, all while balancing precariously on a ladder?


rigid chain
Black rigid chain with swivel

I have the solution! It took me ages but I finally found a source for good quality replacement chains for hanging baskets. These are chains which have been welded to a metal rod so in fact the chain is rigid. That makes hanging the baskets a whole lot easier since you only need one hand. The chains are coated so shouldn't rust and they even have a swivel under the hook so you can turn the baskets for ease of watering or to allow the sun (?!) to reach all the plants.


Since I knew of several clients as well as myself who were in need of these I went ahead and bought plenty. They fit 12,14 or 16" diameter baskets and cost just $8 each + tax. Call or email if you are interested. 


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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.

Happy Spring! 

Karen Chapman CPH
Le Jardinet
425 765 3574 
In This Issue
Planting time
Favorite annuals for the shade
Garden Adventures
May Events
Basket chains
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Harvest guard
Click for details

Be prepared!


Protect your sanity and your plants by keeping a pack of Harvest Guard handy (also known as Reemay, floating row cover and horticultural fleece). Toss it over your plants if a cold snap is forecast and it will provide an extra 2-3' over the ambient temperature. Your tomatoes will thank you!

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