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Robb Rosser

Gardening columnist

Recent Stories

Garden Life: April the perfect time for adding plants to garden

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

Perennials are plants that return to our gardens each year for a period of three or more years. Perennials endure, often recovering from a winter completely hidden beneath the soil. Some manage to hold on to a structure of leaf, branch or stem throughout the winter. When spring comes, trim away tattered foliage. Certain plants, such as the leafy epimedium and many ornamental grasses, respond to cutting back all spent foliage. New growth emerges fresh and vibrant.

Garden Life: Becoming gardener requires transformation

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

For most of us, gardening is not the daily work we do that puts money in our pockets. When someone asks us what we do, they are usually looking for a job title to attach to our persona. Most of us "work for a living" but we "become gardeners" before or after work or on the weekends. It's interesting that during the time we spend working in the garden, the word work takes on a different meaning. In this case, we lose any feeling of drudgery and put our whole heart into the effort.

The Garden Life: Heucheras offer gardeners array of colors, choices

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.

The Garden Life: N.W. weather gives gardens what they need

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.

The Garden Life: Spring-flowering plants offer lots of variety

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.

The Garden Life: Spring is here, but don't plant just yet

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.

The Garden Life: Garden shows present world of possibilities

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?

The Garden Life: Now is the time to plan for next spring's bulbs

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.

The Garden Life: Evergreens bring intriguing shapes to garden

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.

The Garden Life: Journal helps keep track of garden chores

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.

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