Garden Blog

Container Gardens

Maritime Northwest Native Plants Container

by Dawn W. Todd

If you have the time you can make a little piece of heaven anywhere in your yard. If you are short on time or yard, you can still have that heaven. All you need is a container and a few plants. A container (or a group of them) can separate spaces, take care of a problem spot where conditions make it hard to have a bed, or liven up a patio or yard for a special occasion. It’s a way for someone to garden who is not able to enjoy down-on-your-knees gardening.

The first thing you need to do is to think about where you will put the container. Will it be in full sun? Full shade? Morning sun only? You don’t know what to plant until you know where it’s going. Once you've figured that out, consider:

Read more: Container Gardens

Uninvited Guests

Slugs in cat food dishMy husband Howard was puttering around the backyard last weekend. He wrapped his hand around an errant clump of recently mown grass and lifted. The hot sharp jab left a stinger in his middle finger, which he carefully removed, trying not to squeeze more venom into his flesh. He never saw the insect who, no doubt, died after the attack. A week later, his finger is nearly normal.

Read more: Uninvited Guests

In the Weeds

by Dawn W. Todd

Weeds in mulchI learn more about God

From weeds than from roses;

Resilience springing

Through the smallest chink of hope

In the absolute of concrete….

~Phillip Pulfrey, “Weeds,” Perspectives


I am reading a book called My Weeds; A Gardener’s Botany, by Sara Stein. She doesn’t live around here, so it doesn’t have total application to our northwest gardens. Still, it’s a great book. She has done her research, and she writes with humor and poetry. She says that, “A weed is a plant that is not only in the wrong place, but intends to stay.”

Read more: In the Weeds

The Ancient Art of Japanese Flower Arrangements

witchhazel in bloom

by Dawn W Todd

The heady, hollied rush toward Christmas is over. One by one you took down the ornaments, and packed them away. Why is it so much more fun to put them on the tree than to take them off? The tree is in the compost bin, the leaves of the poinsettia fall like a gentle rain upon the dining room table; sans buche noel, sans pie, sans tablecloth,which was sent cranberry-stained to the laundry. You hate to do it, but that Euphorbia pulcherrima is going in the bin right next to the tree.

The cheery blink of the alternating lights is a memory tucked back in a dusty box in the basement. The living room is restored to its former—why not admit it?—dull and shabby existence. You pluck dried needles out of your carpets and gaze out your windows at the gray expanse of your frozen yard; sighing, and tossing the dog-eared seed catalogues onto the coffee table. It’s a month and a half before the NW Flower and Garden Show. Is there any point in getting up in the morning?

Yes. It’s called Ikebana.

Read more: The Ancient Art of Japanese Flower Arrangements

The Solstice, the Seasons, the Symbols

by Dawn W Todd

The Kruckeberg Botanic Garden is gearing up for its yearly Solstice Stroll. For members, it will be December 18th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and for the general public it will be December 19th through the 21st, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

You all know what solstice means. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it is either of the two times during the year when the sun is farthest from the equator, There is the longest day (summer solstice) or the shortest day (winter solstice). This year the winter solstice is on December 21st at 3:03 p.m., PST.

Read more: The Solstice, the Seasons, the Symbols

My Favorite Lasagna Recipe

lasagna with red wine bottle and glass

by Dawn W. Todd, Nursery Volunteer

I am shocked and appalled at the number of people who don’t know how to make lasagna. It’s simple, it’s easy—far easier than the alternatives—and it’s so good for you! I don’t mean the kind of lasagna you eat, of course. I mean the kind of lasagna that saves the true lazy gardener from the back-breaking toil of weeding, yet keeps the soil rich and makes your beds look cared for. It is an ancient technique, sometimes called sheet composting, sheet mulching, or cold composting. It works because weeds need love, too. At least, weeds need light and air just like other plants.

Read more: My Favorite Lasagna Recipe