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Robb Rosser

Gardening columnist

Recent Stories

The Garden Life: Naming garden areas can bring focus to design

By Robb Rosser August 28, 2014 6 a.m.

For me, part of the creative process of gardening is to give names to beds, borders and other areas of the garden. A name helps me to focus on an idea and to eventually create a small reality from an internal image. Years ago, I began to call my old garden "Scout's Run" in honor of our noble collie dog, Scout. It has been many years now since Scout passed on and a couple more since he actually ran through the garden. Still, to the end of my residence there his spirit pervaded every morning garden walk.

Garden Life: Maintenance of planters, lawn vital in late summer

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

Just as we need hydration in the hottest days of summer, all container plants need special attention in hot, dry weather. This is especially true at the end of summer after the planters have given us months of color performance. Most important is to assure each container enough water to keep the soil moist to within an inch of ground level. This may mean daily watering if temperatures stay high, especially any planters fully exposed to the elements.

The Garden Life: Foundational plants key to year-round beauty

By Robb Rosser August 14, 2014 6 a.m.

In the last few weeks, I've had the pleasure of visiting a few neighborhoods new to me in the Vancouver area. I see a common thread in the most intriguing local gardens. The key element that draws my interest is the use of a distinct mix of trees, shrubs, vines and other woody plants to provide a solid, year-round framework.

The Garden Life: Change is inevitable, in the garden and in life

By Robb Rosser August 7, 2014 6 a.m.

I have taken a leap and made the move from Scout's Run, my garden home of 24 years. My new garden space is a small patio nestled in front of a modest townhouse. Caught up in the whirlwind of moving, the month of July raced by as I tried my best to keep the garden well watered, weeds pulled and flowers deadheaded despite the fact that I had little time or mind for anything but planning and packing for the move of a lifetime.

The Garden Life: Iris should be divided to keep them looking stately

By Robb Rosser July 31, 2014 6 a.m.

Gardeners love the stately iris, immortalized in the classic design of the "fleur de lis." The distinct shape of the flower is used in garden ornament all over the world. The Japanese and bearded irises are two of the most popular garden forms. After flowering, if the rhizomes have stopped producing abundant flowers and have become congested, it's time to divide and replant border irises. Before you take the iris out of the ground, have a good look at the planting depth of those irises that bloomed best in your garden.

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?

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