Ask the Gardener

Have a question for the Gardener? Submit your question here.


Take a look at other frequently asked questions for All Season Plants.

I have a "black thumb," so to speak.  How can I learn to become a better gardener?
Usually a person with a knack for killing their plants is one of two things:

  • Too doting: You water your plants three times a day drowning them with your love.
  • Absent: You go on a three day vacation during the hottest days of the summer assuming your beautiful "new" plants will make it through.  Unfortunately, it takes new plant materials at least one year to root in, and only 1 or 2 days of heat without water to kill it.

Another common problem is when a shrub or tree is planted in too small of a hole with no drainage. There is plenty of clay soil locally and it will hold the water like a ceramic pot. With the amount of rain we get, this pot fills up fast, drowning the plant.

My best advices for attaining the "green thumb" is to buy a gardening book for reference, hire the neighbor kid to water while you are away, and give your new plants the best start possible by digging the hole in well drained soil. (Not clay!) 

These three rules of "thumb" should get you one step closer to the "green."

How do I plant a tomato?
You bury it, of course. It feels weird at first, but to attain a healthy tomato in the garden, you bury it up to the last couple leafs at the top.

Do you have a recommendation for designers?
Yes, we have put together a list with links to the designers' websites to help you choose a designer that meets your needs. 

I would love an edible garden.  Do you have a list of edibles?
Yes. Just press the edible button on the search page and browse through the many varieties of edibles.

What is a native plant? 
Native plants are species that originated and grow naturally here in the Northwest. Examples of these are the Vine Maple – Acer circinatum, Oregon Grape – Mahonia, and some varieties of Dogwood – Cornus. If you click on the natives link on the search page you’ll get a list of Northwest natives. The advantage to having natives in your landscape is that they are already adapted to our environment.

When is the best time to prune my roses?  Mine always end up leggy.
Depending on the rose, April is usually the best time. I personally give them a slight pruning when I winterize the yard, then another hard pruning when the last frost seems to have gone. 

Roses love a fresh start, so don't be afraid to cut them way back. I once knew a lady who hated her roses so much that she finally ran them over with the riding lawn mower. They, of course, grew back more beautiful than ever.
(The one exception to hard pruning is the landscape roses. They are usually meant to fill out with brightly colored rose hips for added winter interest.)

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