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Robb Rosser

Gardening columnist

Recent Stories

Garden Life: Control the urge to add every new plant that captures your fancy

By Robb Rosser July 24, 2014 6 a.m.

Along with our gardening enthusiasm, visitors to Southwest Washington are impressed by the vigor and bounty of our plant collections. Few places in the world are blessed with an environment in which so many types of plants grow and thrive. The nursery industry acknowledges our interest in an ever expanding plant palette and fans our desire by producing more and better varieties of plants with longer bloom and more striking foliage.

The Garden Life: Working with nature helps enrich your gardening vision

By Robb Rosser July 17, 2014 6 a.m.

I spent some time last week with a group of gardening friends. We talked about a million and one things, all concerning the act of gardening. What I found fascinating about the conversation was that we all love to garden but each person had a different slant on the topic of working in the garden.

The Garden Life: Summer in full bloom in gardens

By Robb Rosser July 10, 2014 6 a.m.

July arrived with a welcome blast of blazing hot sunshine. I am rarely thrilled to have to water pots and planters but this sustained period of bright sunlight is worth that necessary chore. From the look of things, the trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals are equally excited about the return of warm weather. I cannot remember seeing the plants in my garden take such a dramatic leap in foliage and flower production in such a short span of time. Finally, we can welcome summer to the garden.

The Garden Life: Natural gardening practices more sustainable

By Robb Rosser July 3, 2014 6 a.m.

For many who garden, the concept of gardening naturally, holistically or organically is one of our greatest challenges. Each new generation approaches the issues of the modern world from a unique view point. While some long time gardeners feel intimidated by the idea of eliminating all non-organic techniques, those who begin gardening in today's world will likely feel that the use of sustainable gardening practices is the best choice they can make.

The Garden Life: Garden is no place for a perfectionist

By Robb Rosser June 26, 2014 6 a.m.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that a perfectionist should not be a gardener. Gardening might drive a perfectionist mad, even if he or she had a team of hired help doing all the weeding, pruning and hoeing. Even if a garden is nothing more than formal clipped boxwood and crushed gravel pathways, we still have to contend with moles and blowing autumn leaves and moss. If you can't see the beauty in a lush carpet of emerald green moss, how will you handle patches of dead lawn at the foot of a Douglas fir tree?

The Garden Life: Balance planning, spontaneity with garden tasks

By Robb Rosser June 19, 2014 6 a.m.

At this time of year, as spring becomes summer, we find ourselves with an endless list of garden chores. There's always the need to deadhead spent flowering plants and to fertilize perennials and roses. All healthy plant material removed from the garden can be added to the compost pile. Broadleaf evergreen shrubs will appreciate a shot of fertilizer as soon as they are finished flowering for the season. Here in Southwest Washington, there are products specifically made for the nutrient requirements of our acid-loving plants such as azaleas, camellias, and rhododendron.

The Garden Life: Don't be afraid to explore evolving interests

By Robb Rosser June 12, 2014 6 a.m.

So many plants, so little time and only one garden; what a dilemma. There was a time when I thought that my garden would one day be filled to the brim with plants and I would be finished adding new ones. That was before the plant propagators started every garden year with a catalog featuring half a dozen new cultivars of every shrub, tree and perennial. It's likely I might never be finished.

Garden Life: State of perfection in the garden is elusive

By Robb Rosser June 5, 2014 6 a.m.

These days, perfection has become the catch word to describe the least we should expect of ourselves. TV and magazines tout the perfect house, car, bottled water and, yes, the perfect life. As if that's not enough, gardeners are bombarded with the concept of perfection in the garden. It's as if the measure of your landscaping is nothing if it's not comparable to a Hollywood movie set.

The Garden Life: Pots, planters complement garden

By Robb Rosser May 29, 2014 6 a.m.

The scent of summer lilies is so persistent that I was once accused of smelling like Tom Pouce when I returned home after an evening stroll through a garden. In case you're wondering, Lilium "Tom Pouce" has large, fragrant rose-pink flowers with a lemon-yellow stripe. Tom blooms late in the lily season and is named for the Dutch pastry with pink icing on top and a butter cream filling. There is nothing comparable to the scent of oriental lilies but I'm still flattered by that delectable comparison.

The Garden Life: Work is never done in ever-changing garden

By Robb Rosser May 21, 2014 6 a.m.

Gardening is not a static endeavor. The plant material we work with is changing even as we shape the direction of its growth. We mow our lawn with the expectation that it will immediately begin to grow again. When we put a tree in the ground, our work is just beginning. All new plants need water, fresh air, sunlight and nutrition to flourish. It is part of the gardener's job to see that our plants get what they need

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