Discovery Garden – Skagit County WA

My errands today took me up to Mt. Vernon, WA to pick up several sheets of poly carb to replace the greenhouse roof. When I was looking at the map on Charley’s Greenhouse website I noticed that it is not far from a Master Gardeners display garden. I love places like this because the collective, creative gardening minds of Master Gardeners have been showcases, in my past garden tour experience. I was not disappointed!

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Plant heads united

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Central Valley Garden Club went on another field trip but not to a public garden. I’ve heard about Watson’s Greenhouse and Windmill Nursery for two years now but the opportunity for a shopping trip did not present itself until now. What great places: Comprehensive garden centers with very healthy plants.

20130515-170419.jpg Recently I have been interested in succulents and they have great examples.

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Carrots and tomatoes today

I’ve been really busy gardening these days, pulling stuff out, feeding the soil and planting new things. I got two “new to me” tomato plants at my garden club plant sale: Heirlooms, Moskovich and Black Cherry tomato. My tomato garden is now complete for the year. Five plants for two people!

Earlier this year I talked about carrots being a crop I was focusing on for 2013. My summer 2012 crop was acceptable, but I wanted better carrots. That is not what I have so far.

Does anyone grow Meridia carrots (from Terretorial Seeds) overwinter? The package says 240 days, overwintering Nates type, rich orange, 7-8 inches long, 1- 1 1/2 inches diameter. I planted them September 24, 2012 right after I did a quick till of the area. I decided to dig some today and was surprised they are not very orange or very big. I still have another row in the ground. Perhaps they need more time, what do you think is going on here?

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I am happy that I grow much better roses than carrots!

Tool Time 1-2-3-4

Let’s be honest now. How many gardeners in the blogesphere clean their tools on a regular basis? On a yearly basis? Ever? Last week at my garden club one really smart lady piped up and said, “Let’s have a tool cleaning party! It will be more fun to do it together.” Every one thought about the state of their tools and said Yeah! One lady volunteered her shop space. People brought pot luck lunch. Others brought cleaning supplies. Every one brought dirty, rusty tools! So, one week later we gathered. One lady watched some Ace Hardware video clips and shared how to do clean tools.

1. Use a wire brush to remove dirt and some rust.
2. Use sand paper and/or steel wool to get remaining rust off.
3. Use steel file to sharpen as needed.
4. Use spray oil to lubricate moveable parts. We also used boiled linseed oil on wooden handles.

Now we have no excuse! The first photo is my “before” pile of tools.

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This is my pile of tools after cleaning.

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Near the very end of our cleaning, the hostess showed us that she keeps a pail of sand with oil in it , that is to be used when she finishes garden work with tools. She dips the tools in the oily sand and cleans them off before storage. I need to do this to keep my tools looking good!

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I am a plant collector

I have two parts to my Western WA rose garden: miniature and mini flora roses where I have 3 or 4 copies of my favorite varieties, for exhibiting and flower arranging and the part I call my plant collection. The collection includes unique plants, favorite plants or plants that just would now have grown in Minnesota, my home of 26 years. This gallery shows some of my collection of plants.

'Polka' a climbing rose

‘Polka’ a climbing rose

Grandiflora rose

Grandiflora rose

Hybrid hulthemia and floribunda cross, by Jim Sproul

Hybrid hulthemia and floribunda cross, by Jim Sproul

'Dorothy Rose' is a single, miniature climber.

‘Dorothy Rose’ is a single, miniature climber.

Decorative form miniature

Decorative form miniature

Hybrid Tea rose

Hybrid Tea rose

Shrub rose

Shrub rose

Hybrid Tea, 1925

Hybrid Tea, 1925

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'La France' in bud. The first Hybrid Tea rose in 1867

‘La France’ in bud. The first Hybrid Tea rose in 1867

Plant your peas by President’s Day

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The local Master Gardeners say to “Plant your peas by President’s Day” and they have not lead me down the wrong path yet! But this year I decided to try different varieties and actually make two plantings, two weeks apart. I love planting (and eating) sugar snap peas. They are the beginning of the gardening season for me.

ImageI wrote the plan in January, then bought the seeds and inoculant and waited. Last week I tilled the area. I know tilling gets a bad rap in some parts of the country because of its tendency to disturb the soil structure and microorganisms but in the Pacific Northwest the winter rain compacts the soil, even in raised beds. So I covered the area with a tarp on rainy days and let is dry out on sunny days. Then tilled. Three days before planting I soaked the peas in labeled containers and rinsed the peas once a day. I lightly raked in some bone meal and alfalfa pellets for quick nutrition. Today I drained them and sprinkled on the inoculant before planting.

ImageMy dry, home made compost covered the peas. Then I watered with my Authentic Haven Brand Moo Poo Tea. Life is good!