Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wreath Demo Success!

Thanks to all who stopped by to say hello and check out the wreath demo at the Vashon True Value. I had a great time chatting with everyone and hearing about all the unique ideas for wreath materials and styles. I think we inspired many busy wreath makers last weekend! It's still not too late to stop by the store and pick up your wreath frame for $1.99 (!) if you still have last minute decorating or gift giving to do. And I've even included the directions for you below....
And don't forget to send us pictures of your beautiful wreaths! ( Because we forgot to take pictures of the wreaths we made to share with you - oops!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Go Native

"Why plant natives" you ask? Native plants are a great option for addressing many concerns in the landscape. For the low maintenance gardener, native plants require considerably less attention when planted appropriately for their suggested growing conditions and after they've established healthy root systems. A more serious and all too common concern facing many landowners in the Pacific Northwest is hillside erosion. One way to help ensure long term stabilization is to incorporate native plantings with a variety of root structures to help anchor, hold and protect loose and open soil to further prevent slides. Nothing is more scary then watching the edge of a steep slope creep closer to the foundation of your precious home. And for the wildlife lover, native plants are a great way to provide habitat, food and protection for your furry, feathered and slippery little friends.

Although there's so many fantastic natives to choose from, and I could go on about ferns forever, I've listed just a handful of some of my favorites below:

Photo Credit: Tim Hagan 

Photo Credit: Greg Rabourn 

Photo Credit: Greg Rabourn 

Photo Credit: Greg Rabourn 

Photo Credit: Greg Rabourn 

Photo credit: Jim Ellingboe 

For more resources on native plants you can link to the Washington Native Plant Society and the King County Native Plant Guide which was put together by Vashon's own Greg Rabourn, Vashon & Maury Island Basin Steward.

There are many native plants sales going on right now and the deadlines for orders will be right around the corner. Don't be left out in the cold having forgotten to place your order to take advantage of the great deals!  Links are provided below for a variety of plant sales in the area. Make sure to check out each sale as all provide their own unique selections offering a variety of interesting natives. Most have online forms available.

Vashon Maury Island Land Trust - Order forms have been mailed out and can also be picked up at the Land Trust building just east of the Vashon Fire Department. You can also link to the online order form by clicking on the picture below. Order deadline is January 15 and pickup will be available February 4th at the Land Trust building.

King Conservation District - Order deadline is January 27th

Pierce Conservation District - Order deadline is January 20th.

Snohomish Conservation District - Order deadline is February 8th.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gardening Demos at Vashon True Value

I'm excited to announce that we've teamed up with the fine folks at Vashon True Value to offer monthly gardening demos and discussions addressing a variety of seasonally appropriate gardening related topics in store! The first demo will be this Saturday December 17th around noon during the Vashon True Value Open House. In honor of the holiday season, I will be offering a wreath making demo using floral materials gathered from our own backyard (& friend's). Making your own wreath allows you to add your own personal touch and is so inexpensive and easy you'll wonder why you ever purchased those overpriced generic ones! So stop by and say hello, ask questions, stump the gardener and have fun!

Besides our wonderful wreath demo, there will be lots of other fun things going on in store including a book signing by Vashon authors Bruce Haulman & Jean Cammon Findlay who co-wrote "Vashon - Maury Island, Images of America". It's a fantastic book detailing the history of our unique island and includes many photos collected by the Vashon - Maury Island Heritage Association of which both authors are members of. This would be a great stocking stuffer for the history buff in your life.
Hope to see all of your smiling faces there! .

Friday, January 28, 2011

Time to Shine!

Although most plants in the garden are in a dreamy dormant state, now is the time for a number of patient plants to steal the spotlight with their showy flowers, fragrances, berries & bare branches. Below, I've listed just a few of my winter favorites. These plants are sure to add color and cheer on the grayest winter day.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold's Promise' - Witch Hazel
This is a wonderful deciduous shrub that showcases it's long lasting, yellow firework-like flowers around January & February. I love using this colorful shrub in the mixed woodland garden as it does well in partially shady exposures with well draining, organic soils. Make sure to give this Witch Hazel room to grow as it can reach 8-10' tall & wide within a short 10 year time span. You're in luck if yellow isn't your color, there is also 'Jelena' with it's coppery-orange flowers and 'Diane' flaunting a rich-red hue.

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' - Midwinter Fire Redtwig Dogwood
This uninhibited shrub turns heads after dropping it's leaves in the fall and revealing the brightly colored branches beneath. The name aptly describes the warm glow of the orange and ember red stems that radiate from the glowing yellow base. The bright colors standout against dark green conifers and it's erect habit looks great shooting above soft feathery textured grasses. And don't forget to include it when planning your winter containers. This plant does best in sun and partial shade and prefers moist, well drained soil. And another reason to love this plant is that in contrast to other Redtwigs, this shrub maintains a compact size closer to 4' allowing it to fit into almost any corner of the garden. But one word of warning: unless your garden is fenced to keep deer out, you can expect that the deer will pull up a chair and invite their friends to enjoy this delicacy - and I'm not talking about it's winter color. Bummer.

Pyracantha coccinea - Firethorn
This plant boasts long lasting fiery orange, red and even yellow berries maturing in the fall and persisting well into the winter months. They provide a great resource of food for birds as well as protective hiding in amongst the dense and woody branching structure. Although this plant has many attractive qualities, it tends to get a prickly reputation as it's often used in the landscape as a security barrier discouraging trespassers with it's long, woody thorns. This tough as nails plant tolerates poor soil, reflective heat and is drought tolerant. For a stunning display, try espaliering this plant against a brick or stucco wall.

Sarcococca ruscifolia - Fragrant Sarcococca or Sweetbox
I can't rave enough about the intoxicatingly heady fragrance of this wonderful evergreen shrub. In fact, I dedicated a whole post to it last year. Scroll down or link here.

Hopefully these showy plants will encourage you to look closer and explore your own gardens or even your native plant border and admire the berries, branches & textures of winter!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter Texture

A great reason not to trim back those grasses too early! They add so much texture in the winter especially when the frost settles in or we have a dusting of light snow. Just for fun - how many different types of grasses can you spot in this photo?

A Look Back at 2010!

Another year has come & gone and we've been busy! Here's a look back at some of the projects & accomplishments for our business in 2010.

The Website
As soon as the ball dropped, we got busy setting goals for another successful year. Top on the list - continued growth for our business. It was a no-brainer that creating a website was a solid investment to help us accomplish and continue to hit this goal. We worked closely with website designer Lisa MacLeod to create an online portfolio that truly highlights the wonderful work we do and the services we offer. It's been a huge success and not only have we gained new clients but we've also had great feedback from our existing clients, friends & family too! We'll be updating pictures soon in our website portfolio and adding a new testimonials section so be sure to check it out.

Let's take a look back at some of the projects we worked on this year!

Thanks for sending me a copy of this photo Ray!

Gardens around the Historic Dockton Trailhead

Before - Lewis Home Entry


The "Grand" Staircase at the Giller/Sorensen Residence

Detailed Herringbone Pattern

Our "Signature" Fence at the Runyan's

A new trellis for the Spangler's Potager Garden

Potager with a stunning view! at Bart & Andrea's House

Raised Beds

A sturdy trellis replacing the one the rose ate!
A collaboration by Schafer Specialty, Ian Metler & Colin Brynn - thanks guys!


More Containers.....

Even More Containers.
We could do a whole post on just the containers we've done this year - WOWZA!

What a great year it's been and we can't wait to share the projects already under way in this New Year. Keep checking back!