The Garden Journal
Winter Birds in the Garden
Saturday, December 3
$20 per person
No pets allowed Smoking of any kind is strictly prohibited on property.
“The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination.” - Terri Guillemets
We had no sooner finished with a major planting of mature trees and shrubs around our pond, as well as in our new gardens, when we unexpectedly got a windstorm on Thursday, November 17th. Our plan to move and plant peonies quickly was replaced by an emergency rescue plan to upright several newly planted trees and get them staked up. Getting hit with 60mph winds definitely wasn’t on the to do list, but when you do this type of work, you are beholden to what Mother Nature throws your way, and that day it was epic wind.
Newly planted trees and shrubs take a bit of time to acclimate to new soils. Roots need a little coaxing to move past their root ball/container to reach out into new soils and take hold. This is a delicate dance between root pruning, creating a proper habitat, adequate watering, and in the case of trees: proper staking to hold the root area in place so the roots can get settled into the native soils. We also typically use a starter fertilizer to encourage roots to reach past their familiar soils into new territory.
Imagine standing in a 60mph wind gust, holding up a tree that is 3-4x your height and weight at a minimum, and you’ve got an idea of what our team had to deal with this blustery November day. Our staff are the heroes, jumping in to hold up trees, round up stakes all over the property, and pick up all the stray bits blowing around the property and secure everything, all while being battered themselves. This work is not for the faint of heart, and takes a special kind of person to work in all the elements. Steve was our fearless leader, and just quietly got to work, one tree at a time, leading us through the storm.
I think it’s safe to say we are all looking forward to spring, and gentler weather - mostly so we can enjoy the beautiful plants we’ve worked so hard to protect through heat waves, being moved, and replanted, and after we all make it through winter together, the blooms and leaves will be the sweet reward for all the work.
Fall - Winter Garden Book List
Nature’s Best Hope, by Doug Tallamy
The Hummingbird Handbook, by John Shewey
The Flower Hunter: Seasonal flowers inspired by nature and gathered from the garden, by Lucy Hunter
Check out our Blogs!
Spotlight on dear friend and fellow gardener Marianne Binetti’s garden in Enumclaw:
Weed Control vs. Weed Management
(Excerpt from a Facebook post)
I was having a conversation the other day with a gardener from Tennessee, who was asking me about weed cloth, also known as landscape fabric, and whether we use it on the farm. I responded that we have eliminated all of it from our growing practices, and was promptly asked: “How do you control weeds then?”
Control weeds. Hmmmm. That one got me thinking.
Control is an interesting word. It’s a strong word, that implies Mastery, Power, and Influence. I wonder how the weeds feel about that…
Controlling our yards, gardens, landscapes, vegetable patches, whatever you grow, is a concept that chemical companies throw around a lot to get you to buy their products. News flash: it’s not working. We are never going to win this war.
But: we can MANAGE our weed populations, and over time, diminish the cyclical weeds that show up. Hint: It is NOT by using something in a can, bottle, or bag.
Our Pest Management Strategy (also called IPM, short for Integrated Pest Management) is twofold: first to identify the most noxious, or problematic weeds in our landscape and manage those according to their lifecycle and growth habit. Secondly, to imply a series of techniques to avoid or restrict weed growth from happening.
For us, rhizomatous, perennial weeds are the first line of defense. Hurting, or stopping their ability to spread, and seed in number one priority. These include Canadian thistle, bindweed, morning glory, Himalayan blackberry, grasses, and clover, which can choke out our plants and grow up to 30 feet in one season! These pests spread both asexually, through runners, and sexually, through seed, double whammies that can quickly take over a garden. Keeping an eagle eye on all of our growing spaces is a practice to first sight these plants, then it’s all hands on deck to pull out every bit of the plant we can, followed by frequent monitoring , and continuing to hand pull until we have eliminated the problem patch. For some of these weeds, this can take up to several years of being diligent. It’s the same amount of time, if not more, using chemicals, so we opt for pulling to not have to deal with chemicals. These weeds go into our waste bin.
Next is the annual weeds, which have their own rhythm and cycles. Hand pulling them when as small as possible is the key to minimizing soil disturbance. To me, these are less offensive, and easier to manage, as long as we get to them before they seed out. We have found a few to actually be “beneficial”, as pest insect trap crops, so we actually leave them for the aphids, and let them seed out for the following year. We can live with a few weeds that work with us.
Here are a few things you can (and should) do in your own gardens to help manage weeds:
Avoid soil disturbance. As little tilling, digging, even walking on your soils as possible Every disturbance disrupts the weed seed bank and introduces a new population of weeds.
Cover your soils. With plants, ideally. They photosynthesize, host biodiversity, capture carbon…and they can prevent wind or animal-born seed from gaining a foothold when there is no space or sunlight to germinate. Besides, plants are much prettier than weeds.
Mulch your soils. Weeds like poor soils that are lacking in nutrients. Compost your gardens. Then cover heavily with wood chips. It makes a huge difference.
As an English gardener told us in is virtually weed-free garden: “Never let a weed grow past Sunday.” Be diligent in your weeding (it doesn’t have to be hours every day) and you will stay on top of the weeds.
Wild Birds in the Garden - Dec 3, 2022
Proper Pruning Techniques - Winter 2023
Very Special Workshops are being planned for 2023
Wild Birds In The Garden
Come learn how we dig, plant and care for our peonies. Yes, this class is the end of October, but we don’t want you to miss out!
We will teach you what has worked for us, along with WHY we do what we do to get healthy plants, and massive blooms on our peony plants. We will share a full year of care on peony plants, from planting, to winterizing, and everything in between.
This is an active, outdoors class, where we will be walking and working in our peony fields. The grounds are uneven, so secure and stable shoes/boots are a must. No open toe shoes will be allowed on the grounds for safety reasons. Class is held regardless of weather conditions, we have planted peonies in sun, wind, rain and sleet. While this October has been unseasonably warm, there is a probability of some rain in late October.
Ticket link is here:
We have gained such a diversity of birds in our own gardens from adding plants, and a variety of cultural techniques, we are so thrilled to share with you how you can share your gardens and yards with our winged friends!
The Garden Shop
While the Garden Shop is now officially closed for visiting in person for the winter, we had an outpouring of support on Facebook, and decided to open for our local customers one more day: Saturday, December 3rd from 11am -4pm. If you aren’t local, or can’t make it out that day, please remember our online shop is always open! Perfect for gift ideas, we can ship anywhere in the United States.
We are working to add all of our curated and specialty shop items (not available on Amazon - and love any small business support!) to the website, in the Retail section. We will update our website, and notify via newsletter when the Shop and Gardens will reopen.
- Bring in any terracotta planters to a protected area so that they are not exposed to freezing temps.
- Cut back hosta leaves where slug eggs may overwinter
- Plant bare root roses, deciduous shrubs and ornamental trees.
- Care of Hellebores - trim off dirty & tired foliage (we take it all off)
- Hang bird feeders - keep them clean!
- Cut stems of berried winter shrubs, seasonal flowers and any evergreen plants to create indoor decorations for the holidays - leave some for the birds!
- Plants in pots may need to be moved to shelter during freezing conditions as roots are more exposed
- Mulch around tender shrubs and vines to protect from lower temps
- Plant fragrant winter shrubs in pots on your doorstep, porch, patio, or deck.
- This includes Chionanthus, Sarcococca and Daphne odora.
- Prune climbing roses between now and February.
- Hard prune overgrown shrubs and hedges while dormant.
- Check on stored tubers, bulbs and corms for signs of rot.
- Weed, always.
Stay Tuned for Upcoming Events
BOLD ITEMS are ON-SITE Events
- Wild Birds in the Garden: December 3
- Christmas Card Day: December 9
- Human Rights Day: December 10
- Gingerbread House Day: December 12
- Poinsettia Day: December 12
- National Cocoa Day: December 13
- Chanukah Begins: December 18
- Bake Cookies Day: December 18
- Look for an Evergreen Day: December 19
- Winter Solstice: December 21
- Festivus: December 23
- Christmas Day: December 25
- Boxing Day: December 26
- Kwanzaa begins: December 26
- New Year’s Eve: December 31
- Proper Pruning Techniques - Winter 2023
- Very Special Workshops planned for 2023