‘Winter Walks’ Sehome Hill Arboretum

winterwalks

Today marks the second installment of our new series, ‘Winter Walks’.  As gardeners, we feel that our best inspiration often comes from walks like these. We hope these posts will lift your spirits during the grey days of winter, and maybe even give you a few ideas for your garden in the coming year.

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This week we took a jaunt down to the Sehome Hill Arboretum down at Western Washington University. In their ‘Hundred Acre Wood’, they have an extraordinary collection of native plants, smack dab in the midst of the city. It’s a wonderful place to take a contemplative walk, and enjoy all that nature has to offer.

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mosses

mossThere’s so much to see. Both in the canopy and on the forest floor. Aren’t these mosses and lichens just stunning? As we walked down the quiet paths, it felt as though we had entered an enchanted place.

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leafAnd the view from the top of the tower on the hill is quite nice!

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Our favorite find was this intriguing mutation.

mutant fern

The play of light over leaves, path and trees inspired us to think about luminescence in our container plantings this spring. Perhaps some Euphorbia ‘Ruby Glow’, which looks spectacular in the late afternoon light will work its way into our future designs…

Warm wishes from all the Garden Spot Crew. We wonder, what are your favorite winter walks? Post some pictures to our Facebook page, and you’ll be entered into our “Photo of the Week” contest. 😉

Audra’s Adventures in Herbs

audra/garden-spot-nurseryAudra is a new employee this year at the garden store. A student at Western Washington University, we were so pleased to have her join us this spring. Recently, we asked Audra what it’s like to be new to plants and working in a garden store? What follows below is her response, enjoy!

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This job came to me by great timing and friendship, after moving from Richland to attend Western. Since working here, dormant memories have awakened, as I’ve tended to our store’s indoor plants.

The first living thing I raised was a butterfly. The pupae hung in the window of my second grade class amongst our glitter paintings. I remember my friends and I releasing our own Painted Lady butterflies, while the swarm softly floated down into the school gardens. The mysticism and enchantment of that Spring inspired us to grow. I remember my grandmothers sweated of flowers during the dog days of a southern summer. They’d beckon to me, calling me their ‘Audra Rose.’ I always knew I’d find the garden again because it stirs within my bones. And now I work among the beauty of plants at The Garden Spot!

Being a cashier here is an unlimited learning position, in terms of acquiring a lot of horticultural knowledge. I’ve overheard, engaged in, and experienced garden stories of customers and coworkers alike. The herb planters I created this past season are my prime learning tool for expanding my garden education. One thing I’ve learned about all plants is to avoid loving them too much. I planted a container of sage, garlic chives, hot and spicy oregano, herb planter/ garden-spot-nurseryrosemary, and golden marjoram. Talk about MMM!

Man, they looked great the first day I brought them home. Everyday after work, I would go admire the leaves, take snippets for my pasta, and sprinkle a little water. Aside from cutting too far into the wood of my rosemary and drowning my sage into root rot, the rest are swell. Rot root is a disease (sometimes fatal) that affects overwatered plants. I replaced the rosemary and sage and I’ve backed off on the watering. This also helps to deter the colony of fruit flies that have colonized my topsoil. My co-worker and mentor Kim taught me to cover the soil with gravel and rocks to prevent the fruit flies from producing eggs in my herbs. Within a week, they were gone!

As far as powdery mildew goes, it is the bane of my existence. White powdery mildew is difficult to get rid of and spreads rapidly. It results not only from overwatering but also from watering onto the leaves from above. My co-workers have recommended an organic fungicidal soap, less watering, and the removal of severely infected leaves. Watering in the morning also helps wet plant leaves dry off by the afternoon. Since my “mini-garden” is so small, I’ve opted out on the fungicidal soap, while remaining diligent in cutting away the infected. It’s taken a few weeks, but all my herbs are slowly regenerating back to full health. I can’t wait for another harvest!