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Robb Rosser

Gardening columnist

Recent Stories

Garden Life: Seasons bring gift of change to garden life

By Robb Rosser December 25, 2014 6 a.m.

One of the greatest gifts the garden has to offer is a seasonal reminder that change is part of life itself. The natural transition from autumn to winter begins with lowering temperatures and shifting weather patterns. The continuing consequences of wind, rain, sleet and snow have an obvious effect on the environment in which we live. Recognizing the effect these changes bring to the garden can be an eye opening experience.

Garden Life: In heart of winter, we know sun will return

By Robb Rosser December 18, 2014 6 a.m.

In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice marks the day of the year with the fewest hours of daylight. North of the Arctic Circle, there is no daylight at this time of year. The winter solstice is the day of the year when the sun is farthest south in the sky. This year that day comes on Dec. 21.

Garden Life: Use winter months to plan new area of garden

By Robb Rosser December 11, 2014 6 a.m.

If you've been thinking about creating a new planting area in your garden, winter is the perfect opportunity to plan, plot and initiate that project. Wintertime is a sort of limbo; a window between the florid metamorphosis of autumn and the tumultuous rebirth of the spring garden. The bare bones of winter allow us a blank page on which to envision our ideas.

Garden Life: View holiday lights as extension of garden

By Robb Rosser December 4, 2014 6 a.m.

They say we become wiser with age. Whether or not that's true, it seems to me we should at least wise up enough to take advantage of life's experiences. What has me pondering this issue is the tradition of decorating our homes for the holidays. As with any home project, this one has a tendency to become much more work and time intensive than we expect it to be. Like so much else in gardening, finding the process that suits you best is often a matter of trial and error.

The Garden Life: Fall palette something to be thankful for

By Robb Rosser November 27, 2014 6 a.m.

The pathways in our garden are strewn with a lovely pattern of overlapping leaves that have fallen from the trees above. Autumn leaves come in a palette of colors unique to the season. The rusty reds, burnt oranges and sun washed yellows of deciduous maple, ash and oak trees scatter under our feet as we walk through the garden on clear autumn afternoons. Take the time to shuffle your feet and cause a stir.

Garden Life: Get a jump on preparing garden for winter

By Robb Rosser November 20, 2014 6 a.m.

I appreciate the fact that daylight savings time starts later than it did a few years ago and will end earlier than it did in the past. Still, the day that the time change went into effect this year brought with it a sense of apprehension. Wait, whoa, hold on. Did the afternoon sun really set before five o'clock in the afternoon? With the time change comes a temporal disturbance and a distinct awareness of the imminent arrival of winter.

The Garden Life: Knowledge always grows for perennial novice

By Robb Rosser November 13, 2014 6 a.m.

In my transition from expansive country gardens to a simpler townhouse lifestyle, I finally found the time to bring a dozen or more boxes of garden books upstairs to my new office space. Just as it is in the garden, one home project leads to another so moving books from boxes to bookshelf was cut short by the discovery of 20-plus years of garden journals. I was surprised to see that I have been gardening in the Northwest for 2½ decades.

Garden Life: You've got to get hands dirty to be a gardener

By Robb Rosser November 6, 2014 6 a.m.

The best way to learn anything, including how to garden, is by doing. You can study and read and go to lectures but at some point you have to get your hands dirty to become a gardener. Modern technology puts information at our fingertips but the masters of any craft still learn the ropes by actually doing what they do so well. Concert pianists play the piano. Painters put paint to canvas. Gardeners garden.

Garden Life: Mistakes vital to a gardener's learning process

By Robb Rosser October 30, 2014 6 a.m.

In a perfect world, a gardener would never buy a plant unless he or she knew exactly where it should be placed in the garden. The right plant in the right place is one criterion for a successful garden. But I live in the real world and know that making mistakes is equally important in the learning process of every gardener.

Garden Life: Shrubs, grasses bring special definition to garden

By Robb Rosser October 23, 2014 6 a.m.

Used individually, shrubs can stand as specimen plants in every season. Camellia sasanqua "Yuletide," with its Christmas red flower petals, yellow anthers and dark green, glossy leaves, will bloom from November through January in a mild year. Late winter brings out the petite blooms of many species of sweetly fragrant sarcococca or Winter Box. In early spring viburnums such as Korean Spice fill the air with their piquant scent.

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