Steve Smith

Sugar beets with fresh leaves in the garden. The Red Veined Leaves of Beetroot (Beta vulgaris).

Love it or leave it: The gardener’s to-do list for August

If you do this month’s chores, you’ll no longer be referred to as a “yardener,” or a casual gardener.

 

Follow these step-by-step directions to plant all summer long and never lose one to the heat. (Getty Images)

Gardening pro shares 7 steps to successful summer planting

When a landscape contractor in the Sacramento Valley, he planted all summer long and never lost a plant.

 

reddish stain of dried needles on spruce after winter

Your yard doesn’t have to look like Death Valley for the summer

The recent heatwave burned many of our shrubs, hanging baskets and trees. Here’s what to do to reverse the damage.

 

Water the lawn three times a week with your automatic sprinklers — not everyday. (Getty Images)

Five secrets for the proper watering of your summer garden

Here’s a tip: Layers of mulch and compost will reduce the frequency with which you need to water by as much as 50%.

Water the lawn three times a week with your automatic sprinklers — not everyday. (Getty Images)
Your garden needs your attention in this heat. Here is your gardener’s to-do list for July.

Show your garden some love in July — it needs it this month

Love has always been a two-way street. The more we love our gardens, the more they will love us back.

Your garden needs your attention in this heat. Here is your gardener’s to-do list for July.

Forget hanging baskets — hardy fuchsias bloom like crazy

Their flowers keep reappearing until the frosts of October. Then they’ll come back and do it again next year.

The “Diablo” variety of ninebark, with its purple foliage and white flowers, has led to a long line of new introductions. (Getty Images)

Four new ninebarks that also have four seasons of interest

The white-flower clusters that bloom on this shrub in June are a favorite to our native pollinators.

The “Diablo” variety of ninebark, with its purple foliage and white flowers, has led to a long line of new introductions. (Getty Images)
Close up of a lawn sprinkler

Throwback: The gardener’s to-do list for the month of June

It’s time to fertize your lawn, feed your roses, plant summer vegetables and prune spring-flowering shrubs.

Close up of a lawn sprinkler
These varieties of Saliva caught Steve Smith's eye while he was roaming the Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. (Nicole Phillips)

6 salvias for NW gardens that will have you salivating

These annuals are heat lovers — they’ll languish in too much shade, flop over and be stingy with their blooms.

These varieties of Saliva caught Steve Smith's eye while he was roaming the Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. (Nicole Phillips)
The black-eyed Susan vine sports golden-yellow flowers with a dark eye in the center. (Getty Images)

Give these ‘annual’ vines a spot in your garden this summer

To clarify: They’re actually vines that gardeners treat as annuals simply because they die in winter.

The black-eyed Susan vine sports golden-yellow flowers with a dark eye in the center. (Getty Images)
Euonymus japonica is a local favorite due to its ease of growing, as well as tolerance of a range of soils and sunlight conditions. (Getty Images)

Take a look at the many faces of Euonymus evergreen shrubs

These attractive, reliable and versatile plants tend to be underutilized in the maritime landscape.

Euonymus japonica is a local favorite due to its ease of growing, as well as tolerance of a range of soils and sunlight conditions. (Getty Images)
Flytrap, Carnivorous plant. ( Dionaea muscipula ), close up

Grow a carnivorous bog garden for the weirdness factor

Alien-like plants — such as pitcher plants, cobra lilies, sundews and Venus fly traps — can do well here.

Flytrap, Carnivorous plant. ( Dionaea muscipula ), close up
Irene Koster.

Here are eight amazing azaleas no garden should be without

These deciduous shrubs have few equal for color and fragrance. Curiously, many Northwest gardeners overlook them.

Irene Koster.
Hosta leaves vary from green to blue in color, and there are tons of green and yellow variegated forms. (Getty Images)

Shade-loving hostas grown for their bold and colorful foliage

When hosta grows back, it’s blemish-free and often twice the size it was the previous year.

Hosta leaves vary from green to blue in color, and there are tons of green and yellow variegated forms. (Getty Images)

It’s time to plant peonies; here are the three main types

They take a few years to bloom prolifically, but will become a showstopper in your garden for decades to come.

Clematis armandii is just one of hundreds of varieties out there of the blooming vine. (Getty Images)

How to establish Clematis as the queen of the garden

It helps to remember this little ditty: “Hot heads and cold feet / Plant them early and plant them deep.”

Clematis armandii is just one of hundreds of varieties out there of the blooming vine. (Getty Images)
Close up of malus blossom in bloom

Six flowering crabapple trees you can fall in love with

Crabapples don’t have much of a following in the Northwest — yet. Extend the tree-blooming season with these varieties.

Close up of malus blossom in bloom
With proper selection, Northwest gardeners can actually have a rhodie blooming in their gardens February through June. (Nicole Phillips)

These four cultivars definitely aren’t your granny’s rhodies

Breeders have varieties of rhododendrons in new colors that will never cover up the living room windows.

With proper selection, Northwest gardeners can actually have a rhodie blooming in their gardens February through June. (Nicole Phillips)
How you prune hydrangeas depends on whether the flower buds are formed on new or old wood. (Getty Images)

How to prune a hydrangea without jeapordizing its blooms

Before you prune your hydrangeas, figure out what kinds you have and where the flower buds are formed.

How you prune hydrangeas depends on whether the flower buds are formed on new or old wood. (Getty Images)
A sign of rebirth: The purple-leaf plums have started to bloom with their cotton-candy pink flowers. (Getty Images)

March ramblings, by date, about the rebirth of the garden

The Earth’s spirit comes alive this month — and gardeners find themselves surrounded by its beauty and glory.

A sign of rebirth: The purple-leaf plums have started to bloom with their cotton-candy pink flowers. (Getty Images)