By Robb Rosser March 26, 2015 6 a.m.
This would be a good time to begin making entries in a garden journal if you haven't already started one. Keep a running list of plants as you buy them. I add them to my notebook/journal by date of purchase. I know fellow gardeners who keep their journals on a computer, which allows them to view their collection in alphabetical order. Choose any method that works best for you. Think of keeping a journal as one of the simplest and most useful chores you will ever have to do.
By Robb Rosser March 19, 2015 6 a.m.
Signs of spring fill the garden, and these in turn fill the gardener with renewed energy to get the garden year underway. If you're a Northwest gardener with a bit of garden time under your belt, you know that just because the calendar says it's spring, does not make our moody weather comply. Although it's hard to argue with the string of clear, sunny, warm days we keep having between skimpy bits of rain, prudence reminds us that there's still officially one day left of winter.
By Robb Rosser March 12, 2015 6 a.m.
Once my thoughts turn to spring I start searching the garden for every emerging sign of the upcoming season. Established clumps of early snowdrops surprised me a month ago with their obvious vigor. One day they had barely begun to poke exploratory fingers of foliage up from the surface of the soil. A day or two later they were standing up straight, waving a cluster of bone white flowers as delicate as Tiffany lamps from delicate, arching stems.
By Robb Rosser March 5, 2015 6 a.m.
In my youth, all references to spring fever seemed to hint at love. Nowadays, I can't seem to get my mind out of the garden. In many ways the feeling is still the same: It' a bit edgy; a kind of restlessness. This feeling is commonly associated with the onset of spring. We want something to happen but we're not quite ready for the heady pace of events once we venture into the garden.
By Robb Rosser February 26, 2015 6 a.m.
If you want to win the war against weeds, begin now. The advice I hear most often in the name of weed control is to start removing weeds as soon as they appear in the garden. Unfortunately, weeding is not our highest personal priority in early spring. Our thoughts are focused on emerging bulbs and perennials. We are in the mood to add new plants to the garden, not to grub around for old weeds.
By Robb Rosser February 19, 2015 6 a.m.
Late winter or early spring, before buds break from bare tree branches, is the time to prune most deciduous trees and shrubs. This includes fruit, flowering and shade trees. Trees have a unique healing process. Unlike our skin wounds, where skin cells regenerate to heal skin tissue, trees work to "wall off" or compartmentalize their wounds. That process of forming callus tissue forms quickly at this time of year.
By Robb Rosser February 12, 2015 6 a.m.
Much of the plant show at this time of year is low-key, more for the gardener than for someone who is visiting the garden. This may not have been the original motive of planting for winter interest. Most gardeners who take the step of adding winter plants to the garden do so with the intention of giving visitors something to see during the bleakest time of year.
By Robb Rosser February 5, 2015 6 a.m.
The clarity of winter brings out the skeleton of your garden. In garden design terms, the bones. Paths, walks, hedges and walls are elements that provide background and form for your planting plan and must stand on their own merits. A cedar trellis or metal sculpture may be the only vertical element standing in a winter flower border. The bare branches of a dogwood tree may be the only feature in a sea of lawn. It is part of your overall garden plan to make sure that each element has the stature to stand alone.
By Robb Rosser January 29, 2015 6 a.m.
There are several times each year when a gardener should envision their garden in a completely different season. In autumn, we plan for the arrival of spring bulbs and plant them in the garden according to that vision. In spring, we often speculate on plants that will carry us into late summer. Winter is a good time to imagine what your garden might look like a full year from now. It's best to keep track of these ideas by forming a plan.
By Robb Rosser January 22, 2015 6 a.m.
You can continue winter pruning deciduous shrubs and trees through January and February.