I wanted to take a moment to post from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. This year’s show theme is “Gardens Go Hollywood.” It’s appropriate the welcoming garden for a show in the Emerald City would feature the The Wizard of Oz. Stay tuned for more photos from the show!
Even though its last day was Sunday, the warm glow of the Northwest Flower and Garden Show (NWFGS) is still burning in my imagination. I have been thinking non-stop about all the unique outdoor spaces represented in this year’s display gardens, and how I could bring something to life in my own yard. As part of Generation X, I am definitely drawn to innovative ways to connect my home’s indoor spaces to the outdoors. Although, I don’t think the urge to harmonize your home’s interior with the surrounding yard is solely a Gen X thing— from the diversity of the attendees at NWFGS last week, I’d say gardening and outdoor spaces are on the minds of people of all ages.
In real estate, curb appeal is a well-known buzz word. However, in today’s market, telling a story with your yard, patios and decks is definitely compelling. This trend made Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s #2 spot for 5 things You Didn’t Know Could Get Your Home Sold. Thoughtful environments tickle our imagination. We can envision ourselves sipping coffee on our back deck, watch birds splash in the bird bath. Day dreams about family time around the fire pit in back yard, roasting marshmallows, elicits a strong emotional reaction. Those psychological responses to staging in your yard, on patios and decks, might help buyers fall in love with your home and generate a successful sale.
However, saving landscape renovations for when you are going to list your home would be such a shame. Enjoying your yard now, with outdoor spaces that reflect your interests and personality, is such a rewarding experience. And with NWFGS being an annual Seattle event, local homeowners have a special opportunity to gather ideas, meet landscape designers and connect with garden supply vendors. As North America’s 2nd largest garden show, the caliber of garden and landscape professionals at NWFGS is definitely top-notch. The seminar schedule offers something that appeals to most gardeners and home owners. And the positive energy at the show is definitely contagious!
With NWFGS being a February event, I’m reminded that because spring is near, now is a good time to start planning my latest yard adventures. The soil in Western Washington is usually damp and soft in February, which is helpful for weed management. Trimming up hedges and edging walkways will create a pretty framework for my yard. And, to be honest, the show gets me thinking about rain barrels. I spent a lot of time as the rain barrel booth this year!
The best take-away from this year’s NWFGS was the reminder that special places in your yard don’t need to be big. My favorite points of interest in the display gardens were tiny spots, some almost hidden and ready to be discovered. Finding those little treasures, and thinking about how I could translate the idea in my backyard, gave me a lot of joy.
A sensational way to add fall color to your garden is to plant some ornamental grasses. Master gardener Joe Lamp’l wrote in his article In Fall, Ornamental Grasses are in their Glory, “In fall, ornamental grasses are in their glory as they turn shades of gold, bronze and ruby… Consider adding a few of these underappreciated plants to your yard. They’re easy to grow, attractive, versatile and beneficial to wildlife.” Ornamental grasses not only offer punches of dynamic color on crisp fall days, their texture and growing habits add visual interest to a planting. They aren’t picky— they can be planted in your garden space or in patio containers.
A majority of ornamental grasses are deer-resistant, as they can withstand the occasional nibble from local deer. The grasses also provide habitat and seeds for birds. Another bonus from planting ornamental grasses is slope stability and the enriching of soil conditions from the plants’ deep root systems.
For most people, the best reason to grow ornamental grasses is their beauty. ~ Joe Lamp’l
If your garden spaces or containers could use a fall makeover, consider planting a few versatile ornamental grasses. Their tendency to remain pleasant looking throughout the winter months make them fall garden champions! Sunset.com shares suggestions for 3 different fall container gardens to display on your patio.
Photo Courtesy of Kaye
Frost charts, soil temperature, phase of the moon…gardeners have all kinds of methods for determining the best time to plant. There are no guarantees, since Mother Nature seems to have a mind of her own, but there are some guidelines you can follow to have the best chance of success…
Transplanted vegetables and annuals: after the last hard frost
Seeds for vegetables and annuals: plant so the seeds will sprout when the last frost date is past.
Spring flowering bulbs: 6 weeks before the ground freezes; when the soil temperatures falls below 60 degrees; after the first heavy frost; usually around Halloween.
Trees and shrubs: whenever the ground can be worked; after leaf drop or before bud break.
Perennials and wildflowers: in spring after the last hard frost; in fall before the ground freezes.
Cool grasses (such as fescue and rye): early spring or fall.
Warm grasses (such as Bermuda and Zoysia): when temperatures are 70-80 degrees.
Potted roses: spring or fall.
Bare root roses: after the last hard frost.
In USDA Hardiness Zone 8, where most of the Seattle area falls, the average last frost date is March 15 and the average first frost date is November 15th. You can also check the online Farmer’s Almanac for other areas.