By Robb Rosser April 10, 2014 6 a.m.
Ready or not, a host of new perennials have stormed the garden world and are vying with the old standbys for our attention. If you're like me, you came into the spring season with a list of plants to add to the new spring garden. Since heucheras have done so well in my garden in the past, I've been looking forward to adding a few more selections to this year's garden. With the proliferation of new plant material on the market, I'm beginning to doubt my own ability to keep up with a burgeoning supply of new introductions. Then again, I rarely balk at such an intriguing challenge.
By Robb Rosser April 3, 2014 6 a.m.
I had a chance to join a group of local writers in the past few months. It was fascinating to spend time in a group with the singular desire to share ideas through writing. Yet, every one of us had a different approach to bringing our personal work to life. Although I have been sharing my daily exploits in the garden with The Columbian readers for 14 years now, it is rare for me to sit face to face with other writers as they read through some of my favorite garden columns from the past.
By Robb Rosser March 27, 2014 6 a.m.
March, April and May are the months when most spring-flowering bulbs appear. The large narcissus group flowers from early to midspring. Most of the bright yellow, cream, orange and salmon narcissi with large trumpets are commonly called daffodils. They can be left undisturbed for many years in perennial borders or naturalized in grassy areas. King Alfred stands straight and regal in the garden bed, head and shoulders above the other daffodils.
By Robb Rosser March 20, 2014 6 a.m.
Mid-March heralds spring's arrival and the perfect time to begin planting. Nurseries, home improvement centers and even the local grocery stores are bringing new plants in every day to add to our early spring gardens. In past years we had to worry about muddy soil or partially frozen ground this early in the season. Recent temperatures have been hovering around 50 degrees. On a day when the air temperature is above freezing and the soil is workable, we can begin to plant hardy ornamentals, roses, vines, trees and shrubs.
By Robb Rosser March 13, 2014 6 a.m.
I come into the month of March spellbound, once again. In February, three of the largest garden-oriented events in the Pacific Northwest drew capacity crowds by conjuring up spring from the remnants of late winter. Daffodils, tulips and alliums bloomed weeks ahead of schedule. Bare-branched cherry trees and late-season magnolias broke into full flower. Who wouldn't be bewitched by the heady scent of Winter Daphne heralding the arrival of spring?
By Robb Rosser March 6, 2014 6 a.m.
As wonderful as spring-blooming bulbs can be in the garden, there is a side to using them successfully that leaves many gardeners dazed and confused. All bulbs are essentially easy to grow. Planted in mid- to late autumn, they bloom right on schedule without any further effort on the part of the gardener. However, the challenge is to plan ahead now for planting in September. This is the key to creating the garden you've been dreaming of when spring returns in March.
By Robb Rosser February 27, 2014 6 a.m.
When it comes to choosing plants for the winter garden, nothing lends texture, volume and visual depth to a planting design than evergreens. Winter is the time of year to evaluate the garden and decide if and where an evergreen can add interest to the season. Conifers are cone-bearing trees and shrubs including pine, fir and spruce. Rhododendron and winter-hardy cotoneaster are classic Northwest evergreen shrubs and make good all-season groundcovers for large garden spaces. Multiple evergreen trees form excellent living walls and backdrops for a large garden.
By Robb Rosser February 20, 2014 6 a.m.
Mid-February to early March is the time to prune most deciduous trees and shrubs including fruit, flowering and shade trees. As always, I remind you not to prune any spring-blooming plants at this time. If you do, you will be removing this year's flowers. Spring bloomers flower early in the season and include shrubs such as quince, forsythia and spirea. They flower on the previous year's growth.
By Robb Rosser February 13, 2014 6 a.m.
Northwest gardeners love to grow roses. This is not to say we don't curse their faults as vehemently as we praise their attributes. Gardeners know from experience what a "pain in the garden" roses can be. I have made numerous pronouncements that I will never plant another rose in my garden, and I have removed any roses that do not thrive on low maintenance.
By Robb Rosser February 6, 2014 6 a.m.
Spring will soon be in the air and the Northwest gardener needs no further encouragement to begin another season of gardening. Soon, primroses, pansies, daffodils and tulips in six packs, 4-inch pots or 1-gallon containers will fill the tables outside the entry door of every nursery in town. More plants arrive every day. There will be pots of herbaceous perennials including cranesbill geraniums and candy tuft (Iberis sempervirens). Today, I eye-balled a common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), which will one day flaunt heavenly scented flower clusters in purple, pink and white.