Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ready to March into Spring!

This isn't really a photo of my garden from 2011, but it easily could have been, given what our year has been like so far..... personally, I am really ready to see more scenes like this one, taken in early March a few years ago!

So far this year, while visiting gardens and park areas around Seattle, I have been observing a lot of plant damage that resulted from the sudden drop in temperatures, strong NE winds, and heavy snow of last November. Some shrubs that are normally evergreen have now dropped most or all of their leaves, branches have died back on some Hebe, Euonymus, and Lavender species, and more. Sounds like the same song, umpteenth verse, from the last 3 winters, doesn't it. Well, here's my "refrain to remember" when you're tempted to start pruning like mad or rip things out: be patient and wait a little longer. Many plants that are looking hideous right now will leaf out again- either from their existing branches or from their crown- and by late spring it may be hard to tell that they were ever damaged. You may still need to prune some branch tips if new leaves only emerge down below them, but this will become easy to see within a few weeks when new buds start to swell and open.

If you have a lawn, make sure to remember that freezing weather can be hard on grass too. Doing a lot of walking around or rolling wheelbarrows on it this time of year can damage it by crushing or breaking the crowns of individual grass plants, and/or compacting the soggy soil beneath it. Both can cause dead spots to form in your lawn, and result in more spring weed seed invasion. So that's one more reason to put off heavy-duty garden tasks for a little longer!


If you have fruit trees however, I do suggest pruning them very soon. Below is some great advice and info from City Fruit:
TIPS FOR GARDENERS- MARCH: It isn't too late to prune your fruit trees, but do it soon--and be cautious. The wood you take off now will encourage the tree to produce more wood (and yes, more pruning down the road). Focus on branches that are dead, damaged, or diseased. This is the time of year that many nurseries have their bare root stock on sale, if you want to buy and plant new trees. Plus, now is a good time to start preparing to put out Orchard mason bee boxes to help with fruit tree pollination. Download City Fruit’s FREE fact sheets on "Pruning Fruit Trees", "Planting Fruit Trees", and "Pollination" at www.cityfruit.org

City Fruit is also partnering with City People's Garden Store (in Madison Valley) to offer a one-time 15% off store coupon for new City Fruit members. (When you join, City Fruit will send you a coupon.) These two organizations are also co-sponsoring a series of free classes at City People's, which are all listed at www.citypeoples.com/gardenstore/workshop.html City Fruit also offers classes at other venues. For more info, visit www.cityfruit.org


If you plan on growing vegetables this spring, here are two helpful suggestions:
  1. Visit the IPMopedia website and click on the "Edible Garden Design" and "Backyard Farming" sections for all sorts of free tips, downloadable factsheets, and more. It's a wonderful resource for home gardeners, p-patchers, and professionals. I guarantee it will help you find food-growing success!
  2. Shop for organic vegetable starts, berry shrubs, and fruit trees at Seattle Tilth's “Early Start Edible Plant Sale” on Saturday March 19th from 10 am - noon, at Tilth's headquarters in Wallingford. For more info, visit www.seattletilth.org
And speaking of Tilth, the link below will take you to a very good article on pruning grapes, which is usually best done in mid-late February.... but this year I do believe that it’s a wise procrastinator who has waited until early March….!
http://seattletilth.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/february/pruning-grapes


As many of you know, over the past few years I have been doing more and more speaking engagements and classes at plant nurseries, garden fairs, community centers, etc. My specialties for these are similar to my design work: wildlife-friendly and child-friendly gardens, edible landscaping, and natural management of pests, weeds, and diseases. Most of my presentations are free, and this year I am going to be in quite a few locations around the Puget Sound area, so chances are good that I'll be in your "neck of the woods" sometime soon. You can find my entire spring schedule, including programs for children and families, by clicking on the other March 1st posting in the right hand column of this blog.


Happy Spring to one and all!
Emily

Member of the Washington Chapter of Association of Professional Landscape Designers
and the Environmental Education Association of Washington (EEAW)

Spring 2011 Speaking Engagements and Classes

Coming Soon to a City, Garden Fair, Nursery, or Community Center Near You!

Saturday March 12th from 10am-12noon
"Bird Nest Bounty" class

Magnuson Community Center, inside Warren G. Magnuson Park.

For children ages 6-10, and parent participation is welcome.

Learn who, where, and how native songbirds build their nests each spring, and build your own beautiful cedar birdhouse so they can nest in your backyard! $15 per child, all supplies included.

Pre-registration required- contact the Community Center at 206-523-1774 or register online at www.seattle.gov/parks/centers/magnuson.htm
7110 62nd Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
For more details on Magnuson Nature Programs, visit www.jrnatureexplorers.blogspot.com
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Saturday, March 19th from 9:30am-12noon

Gardening with Children: Creating Success and Sustainability

FREE workshop for adults at the Magnuson Children's Garden, sponsored by the Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods P-Patch Program.
Learn garden tips and techniques, fun and educational games and songs to do in the garden with children. Advance registration required. For more info or to RSVP, contact kenya.fredie@seattle.gov
SORRY- THIS EVENT FILLED UP IMMEDIATELY, but we hope to host another one later in the year.
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Saturday, April 2nd from 10:00-11:30am
Edible Landscapes: Vegetable Gardens and So Much More
FREE adult event at the Woodinville Water District Headquarters, Bldg. A
17238 NE Woodinville-Duvall Rd.
Woodinville, WA 98072
Learn multiple ways of incorporating edibles into your existing landscape, or adding new edible features to your garden. This presentation will be followed by a Master Gardener Clinic in the District's Waterwise Demonstration Garden. For more info, visit www.woodinvillewater.com

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Saturday April 9th from 9:00-10:00am

FREE Family Wetland Walk
Take a guided tour of the Magnuson Wetlands, with hands-on exploration activities for the whole family. Pre-registration is requested, but walk-ins are welcome. Each month's walk has a different plant and animal theme. This month: "Wetland Wake-up"!
All walks begin at the South Wetlands Entrance (off 65th St.)


Saturday April 9th from 10:30am-2:00pm
2nd Annual "Celebrate Urban Nature"
FREE event for all ages at the Magnuson Community Center Auditorium and Gym
7110 62nd Ave NE
Seattle WA
Family concert, hands-on "Nature Explorers Laboratory", environmental booths, and more, plus a grand finale nature parade down the the Children's Garden to re-dedicate the Gray Whale Garden and its brand new mosaic eye! For more details on Magnuson Nature Programs, visit www.jrnatureexplorers.blogspot.com


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Sunday April 10th from 1:00-2:00pm

FUN FOR FAMILIES: Bugs You Want to Hug
FREE in the Molbak's Garden and Home Store- Events Area
13625 NE 175th St.
Woodinville, WA 98072
Learn about butterflies, dragonflies, solider beetles, and other insects that help your garden come alive with activity, beauty and health. I'll share my tips on how to attract beneficial insects to your garden using easy-to-grow plants and organic products, and how to "bee safe" while playing outside. For more info, call 425-48305000 or visit www.molbaks.com
Also, look for my article "5 Favorites For Kids" in the Molbak's Spring Garden Guide, a huge wrap-around topper of the April 7th issue of the Seattle Times

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Tuesday April 19th-Thursday April 21st from 9:30am-12;30pm (Spring Break Week)
"Nature Explorers Adventure Camp"

Magnuson Community Center, inside Warren G. Magnuson Park.

For children ages 6-8

Enjoy a different nature adventure each day, with hands-on explorations activities, science experiments, games, and much more! Pre-registration required- contact the Community Center at 206-523-1774 or register online at www.seattle.gov/parks/centers/magnuson.htm
7110 62nd Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
For more details on Magnuson Nature Programs, visit www.jrnatureexplorers.blogspot.com

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Saturday April 30th from 10:00-11:00am
The Keys to Sustainability: Building Healthy Soil and Natural Yard Care
presentation at the Bothell Spring Garden Fair
UW Bothell / Cascadia Campus
18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell
WA 98011
This FREE, all-day, all-ages annual event is chock full of workshops, booths, and more. For the entire schedule, visit www.springgardenfair.com

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Tuesday May 3rd from 7:00-9:00pm
Natural Pest, Weed, & Disease Control
at Bellevue City Hall
450 110th Avenue NE, Room 1E-108
Bellevue, WA 98009
Learn strategies for creating a healthy garden that is naturally resistant, steps to take if problems occur, non-toxic and least-toxic management techniques, and more. This adult presentation is part of the City of Bellevue's FREE Spring Natural Yard Care Classes, and is paired with a Waterwise Gardening presentation by Howard Stenn.
Pre-registration is required- email klafranchi@bellevuewa.gov or call 425-452-6932. For directions, visit www.bellevuewa.gov/parking-directions.htm

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Saturday May 7th from 1:00-2:00pm

New Kids’ Class: Mothers Day Hummingbird Container Gardens

For children ages 6 to 12 accompanied by a parent

at West Seattle Nursery

5275 California Ave SW

Seattle WA 98136

Fee: $30.00 includes materials


Just in time for Mother's Day! Kids will learn about humming birds, their purpose as pollinators and what plants they like. This is a hands-on class and kids will leave with a potted up container full of colorful hummingbird attracting plants-a great gift for Mom on Mother's Day. For more info, call the nursery at 206-935-9276

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Tuesday May 10th from 7:00-9:00pm
Edible Landscapes: Vegetable Gardens and So Much More
at Bellevue City Hall
450 110th Avenue NE, Room 1E-108
Bellevue, WA 98009
Learn multiple ways of incorporating edibles into your existing landscape, or adding new edible features to your garden. This adult presentation is part of the City of Bellevue's FREE Spring Natural Yard Care Classes.
Pre-registration is required- email klafranchi@bellevuewa.gov or call 425-452-6932. For directions, visit www.bellevuewa.gov/parking-directions.htm

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Saturday May 14th from 10:00-11;00am
FREE Family Wetland Walk
Take a guided tour of the Magnuson Wetlands, with hands-on exploration activities for the whole family. Pre-registration is requested, but walk-ins are welcome. Each month's walk has a different plant and animal theme. This month: "Tadpoles & Nestlings"!
All walks begin at the South Wetlands Entrance (off 65th St.)
For more info on Magnuson Nature Programs, visit www.jrnatureexplorers.blogspot.com


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Saturday June 4th, time TBD
FUN FOR FAMILIES: Winged Wonders
in the Molbak's Garden and Home Store- Events Area
13625 NE 175th St.
Woodinville, WA 98072
Learn the how, what, and why of plants that attract and feed Hummingbirds and Butterflies, and create your own "winged wonders" mini-garden!





Member of the Washington Chapter of Association of Professional Landscape Designers
and the Environmental Education Association of Washington (EEAW)