What’s a Rain Garden? FAQs for the Northwest Gardener

by Janaki Kilgore of Wonder-Flora Landscape Design

As inspired by our upcoming Rain Gardens 101 class this Saturday, July 25 at 9am, Janaki Kilgore of Wonder-Flora Landscape Design gives a FAQ for the Northwest Gardener on what rain gardens can do for you. Call (360)676-5480 to register or online here.

Photo Cred: Wonder-Flora Landscape Design

Photo Cred: Wonder-Flora Landscape Design

What are rain gardens and swales?
They are landscape features designed to direct rainfall, allowing it to soak into the ground and grow plants

Why build rain gardens?
Plants and soil work together to filter and store stormwater before it can quickly wash away, reducing pollutants flowing into our waterways

Locate rain gardens below where rainfall flows off roofs, driveways and other impervious surfaces and at least ten feet from buildings

How to do it?

  • Make a plan: choose the site, test the soil percolation, determine rain garden size
  • Work when the soil is dry and avoid compaction!
  • Use earth moving equipment or digging forks and shovels to shape the land
  • Mix sand and compost into native soil, or replace with ‘ bioretention’ soil
  • Conveyance systems direct water flow, rocks stabilize the inflow and outflow
  • Right Plant, Right Place: Choose plants for moisture, drought tolerance, sun or shade
  • Mulch. Weed. Water for the first year or two. No chemicals, please!
Model Rain Garden

Model Rain Garden


  • Directing stormwater to where we need it – in the garden!
  • Creating function and interest with changes in topography
  • The layered landscape: Bulbs, groundcovers, annuals, perennials, shrubs, tree canopy


  • Healthy soils and thriving plants
  • Creating micro-climates for moisture loving plants and for plants needing fast drainage
  • Weed suppression, low maintenance and low water use landscapes
  • Stormwater management and biofiltration= less pollution in our creeks, rivers and bay
  • Welcoming wildlife: the birds and all the beneficial biology
  • Four seasons of beauty!

Resources for a successful project: www.wastormwatercenter.org

For more information on rain gardening and Wonder-Flora Landscape Design, visit Janaki’s website here.


February Mid-Winter Photo Contest


Hey Snap Happy Garden Photographers!

Every season, we provide a photo contest for gardeners to submit pictures of their garden. As a year-round garden store, winter is an exciting time for us. Soil beds are being prepped, seeds are being planted, hellebores and primroses are popping color into planters and garden beds.

There’s no theme, just have fun! Photos can include outdoor garden beds, planters and other wintertime wonders.

Submission deadline is Monday, Feb. 16th. First-prize winner will receive a $20 gift certificate to our store! (Perhaps a new pair of gloves, another row of primroses, etc.)

The Low Down (or the Rules):

  • No experience or skill necessary
  • One photo per submitter (only one submission please)
  • Make sure the photo is in .jpeg or .png format
  • Send to Audra at audra@garden-spot.com
  • Include your name, number, and email with your submission

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Audra with the email provided.

Good luck and happy snapping!

Mid-Fall Photo Contest


Hey Snap Happy Gardeners!

It’s that time of the season for our Mid-Fall Photo Contest and we’re looking for anything outdoors that promotes this time of year: pumpkins, gourds, decorated porches, autumn gardens, seasonal containers, harvested veggies, etc.

If it feels like fall, then it looks like fall!

This contest will run for two weeks from October 23rd through November 6th (for those who want some Thanksgiving instead of Halloween themed submissions, although both are accepted for submission).

First prize receives a $20 gift certificate to our store!

The Low Down (or the Rules):

  • No experience or skill necessary!
  • One photo per submitter (only one submission please)
  • Make sure the photo in .jpeg format
  • Send to Audra at audra@garden-spot.com
  • Include your name, number, and email with your submission

Here’s the link to our Mid-Summer Photo Contest submissions for inspiration:


Have fun everyone! We can’t wait to see what your autumn has unfolded!

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Audra at the email address provided above.

Connecting Gardeners to Yoga

DSC_0270“[Anyone] can learn a few moves everyday, before and after working in the garden, and gain some habits,” says Jeanell Innerarity of Dream Bold Bodyworks.

I had the opportunity to visit Jeanell in her office to discuss yoga and how it benefits us gardeners who work long hours in the yard with all those body aches and pains from weeding, planting, sowing, etc.

Jeanell is instructing our new, upcoming class, Yoga for Gardeners this Saturday, September 6th at 10 am. Available to all ages, no mats are needed to enjoy this free beginners’ class! Time to bust out those yoga pants! With tennis shoes, of course.

In addition to being a LMP, Jeanell has been practicing yoga for over 15 years and teaching it for seven. She specifies herself in a yoga style called Embodyoga, which focuses on developmental patterns, such as primal brain movements, and core organ support.

With a B.S. in Environmental Studies, Jeanell also has worked in sustainable agriculture with farmers. This experience has lead her to a lifelong joy of yoga.

“People kept asking me to do yoga,” she says, “so I thought I was not a farmer doing yoga, but a yoga teacher farming.”


 “Farming is incredibly hard on the body. Sustainable agriculture is not sustainable for the workers themselves.”

For gardeners, Jeanell also sees similar wear and tear over time with inflammation. 

The most common imbalances she’s seen over the years for outdoor gardeners are:

  • Lower back
  • Wrists and hands
  • Rotator cuffs, or shoulders
  • Knees

“It’s important for people to be aware that things build up over time,” Jeanell says. “Our bodies learn patterns and yoga helps restore your full range and ability.”

Her class will mainly focus on sitting and standing poses that your whole body will benefit from, such as learning and relearning body mechanics.

For example, she will explain how to lift heavy objects by rooting two feet to the ground by using feeling and balance throughout the body. And show us how to open up our shoulders, since our backs naturally curl us forward. No wonder it’s hard to sit straight! 

“You do everything equally on both sides to eventual be balanced and not over wearing one thing or the other,” she says.


There’s a wide range of yoga styles and classes, such as for kids or prenatal women or people with physical or mental requirements. Yoga is unlimited in its ability to cater to variety of individuals.

“[Yoga’s] there for absolutely anybody,” Jeanell says. “Yoga gives support. You can trust it. You can feel your body. Nothing can take you for surprise.”

For anyone who would like to sign up for our class this Saturday, visit or call us at the store at (360)676-5480 or register online here.

After the class, Jeanell will also be available for a Q&A for anyone interested in learning more about yoga and its rooted connection with gardeners.

Also, check out this article 18 Convincing Reasons to Give Yoga Another Try by Abigail Wise of the Huffington Post. It expresses what yoga achieves for anyone who practices!

Painting Pumpkins and our Facebook “Photo of the Week”

welcome pumpkin

It’s no secret that we really have fun with Halloween here at the Garden Spot. Just one look at our cheerful pumpkin signs outside the store, and you can see our Halloween ‘spirit’. (yes that pun was totally intended) This week on our blog we shared how to grow garlic for those of you who need some help repelling vampires and other beasties this Halloween.

boo pumpkin

Another time-honored safeguard is the jack-o-lantern. A tradition that originated in Ireland and Scotland, carved turnips or potatoes were placed in windows or near doors to frighten away evil spirits. (Read more here) We got into the spirit of things this week, and painted up some pumpkins to ‘guard’ our nursery this month.

gold pumpkin

It’s quite a creative crew here at the Spot, and as you can see we decided to go glam with some of our pumpkins.


Everyone had a great time with this, and we hope to make this a new tradition and paint more pumpkins next year. What about you and your family? What sort of Halloween traditions do you enjoy?

This week we had some ghoul-ish-ly gorgeous photos posted on our Facebook page. This week’s winner is Krys Kirkwood.

voodoo lilyWe couldn’t resist this sinister, lush purple Voodoo Lily. Very much in the spirit of October, nicely done Krys!

You could be the winner next week. To enter, just post your favorite garden pictures to our Facebook page. Happy Haunting!

Susy Hymas: Teacher, Foodie and Master Preserver


We’re very excited to say that Susy Hymas, Master Food Preserver, will be teaching a class on the Basics of Canning this coming Saturday, September 7th.

Formerly the coordinator of Whatcom County’s Master Food Preserver program, Susy owns her own business, ‘Daylight Harvest Foods‘. She teaches classes on food preservation, locally and in surrounding counties, as well as nutritional classes at Bellingham Technical College. Susy says that she enjoys meeting people who are excited to learn and being able to share what she knows about food.


We asked Susy what got her started canning. She says in part, it’s her food culture. She grew up eating her grandmother’s canned goods, and later on, inherited her canning equipment.

I’m just a foodie who likes to preserve the harvest” Susy told us. She sees canning and preserving as a way to eat more locally. And wouldn’t we all like to do that?

If you want to join in on the fun this Saturday, call our store to register: 360-676-5480. Class fee is $5.



Rain Showers, Roses and “Photo of the Week” on Facebook

Hello friends! Wasn’t the rain yesterday lovely? We were very happy to be inside cleaning plants, repairing tools and other indoor garden tasks. We knew our gardens were enjoying the brief rainy spell immensely. How does your garden look today?

This week our “Photo of the Week” contest continues on Facebook. And what a week it was! We had some beautiful photos and gardens posted to our Facebook page. It was very tough to pick!

Want to join the fun next week? Here’s how it works: You post photos of your garden, projects and containers to our Facebook page. Every week we will choose a winner who will receive a gift planter.

It’s that simple!

So if you didn’t post anything this week or even if you did, be sure to get your photos posted for next week’s contest. Here’s the winning photo this week:

Becky Brownlie


Becky Brownlie’s relaxing space really enchanted our staff. The gorgeous perennials, grasses and shrubs in a stunning mix of textures and colors caught our eye. And who could resist that butter-yellow rose in the foreground? We’d like to kick back in that chair one summer afternoon ourselves!

Thanks to everyone for sharing their fabulous garden pics, and keep ’em coming!

You could win next week, just post your fun gardening photos to our Facebook page