The Garden Journal

January 2023


Proper Pruning Techniques Workshop

Thursday, March 9


Saturday, March 11


No pets allowed        Smoking of any kind is strictly prohibited on property.


“January is the month for dreaming”

Jean Hersey

Public vs. Private Gardens

This question has been asked quite a bit, followed by why we charge admission to view our gardens at Laughing Goat Botanical Gardens, so I thought I'd explain the difference, and why we are private.

Public Gardens are typically owned/run by some sort of municipality, such as a state or city parks department, or through a non-profit organization.

These types of gardens have an oversight committee, either the local government that makes decisions, or an elected Board.

Public gardens are typically open year round, have set hours, and educational programming built in by a group of people hired to do just that, among other offerings.

They are also beholden to shareholders/board members, rely on public donations, charity events for raising funds, and depending on the garden, will have ticket fees, by donation, or open to the public at no cost. They have programs available to provide funding through grants to offset the costs of providing enrichment and education.

Public Gardens are allowed to use Volunteers in their work, and often work in conjunction with garden clubs, or groups that trade time working in the garden for opportunity - whether that is learning gardening and plant skills, access to education and speakers, or free plants!

Private gardens, are as implied, privately owned by a sole proprietor, couple, or family, and are ran/managed by the owners. However that looks will differ depending on number of people involved, and whether they have employees.

Private gardens, like Public gardens have employees, though not all Public gardens will have full-time employees.

Private gardens get no government, city, or state funding for their efforts, or costs in building, running and maintaining their space. There are no grants, subsidies or stipends available to private garden spaces.

Private gardens, at least in the state of Washington where we are, are not allowed to use volunteer labor: it is against the law.

As a private garden, we are building Laughing Goat Botanical Gardens on our private property which is 10 acres of farmland in Enumclaw, Washington. Every single thing we do, from hardscape, to plant material, is sourced and bought directly by us. We do not receive donations, or use volunteer labor. Our employees are paid a living wage, and we pay taxes, as a business, in the state of Washington.

As such, there are great costs associated with having people visit our property. Insurance alone has skyrocketed, and is a requirement for having guests walk onto our site. When you come here, you are not visiting a "farm". You are visiting a cultivated site that has been laid out thoughtfully, and is currently undergoing a massive upgrade and renovation to make our spaces larger, more user friendly, accessible, and able to host events.

While we move towards hosting more events, our hours will be posted on our website, as they can change depending on how the Gardens are being used. When we have private events scheduled, there may be parts or all of the gardens closed to visitors. This is why we don't have scheduled and posted hours of business on site. It's also because we have an incredibly small team, and can't currently accommodate being open all the time. Please do not rely on social media channels for up to date openings/closures, as they, not us, control what you see, and they may be highlighting outdated information. The website will always be updated and accurate.

We so appreciate your grace as we navigate some exciting changes and work towards opening up our spaces to share - we promise exciting things are coming as we move ahead.

Winter Garden Book List (Link to shop)

The Hummingbird Handbook, by John Shewey

The Flower Hunter: Seasonal flowers inspired by nature and gathered from the garden, by Lucy Hunter

Plant Partners, Science-Based Companion Planting Strategies for the Vegetable Garden, by Jessica Walliser

The Ultimate Flower Gardener’s Guide, by Jenny Rose Carey

All available in our Garden Shop

Dahlia Tuber Sales

Dahlias will go on sale in March, date will be announced via this newsletter, as well as a special mailing to subscribers, who will be the first to know when they are available. This will give our followers premium access to all of our grown right here on site and better-than-organic tubers.

Dahlias will be listed online via our website, and website sales will be shipping only. We do not have the ability to combine orders, shipping will be calculated automatically per order.

To get an idea of what dahlias we will have available, we encourage you to visit our Floral Gallery at:

We have all dahlias listed by color, and this can get you started on your wish list. Please keep in mind that not all dahlias will be available; it is dependent on how many tubers we grew, as well as how they do in storage.

Weed Control vs. Weed Management

Winter weed control should be a snap if you stayed on top of weeds through the fall, and mulched your gardens. While you should periodically spend a little time throughout winter pulling weeds when you see them, please remember the most important step:

Leave the Leaves!

This is such a crucial step for so many reasons...

1. Leaves are cover for beneficial insects and micro-organisms that need the cover/food for housing and protection from winter weather.

2. Leaves protect your precious soil from impaction when it rains, which can cause hardpans and other issues.

3. Leaves add organic matter to your soils as they break down: free mulch!

4. Leaves prevent as many weed seeds from growing - whether from darkening the soil so they can't get the necessary light to germinate, or preventing a wind blown seed from gaining access to soil.

5. Leaves are an important part of a complex ecosystem that helps regulate nutrient cycling, soil fertility and plant production.

The absolute only exception is any leaves that are noticeably diseased, as fungal spores (such as from roses) will happily overwinter and carry on next year, or have come from treated plants, as all pesticides are harmful to the insects and soils.

Proper Pruning Techniques Workshop

Our first class in 2023: Proper Pruning Techniques, is one of my favorite classes to teach. Pruning is hands down one of my favorite garden tasks, and empowering others with skills they can take home and use forever is the best.

This seems to be a topic that has a lot of people feeling like they just don’t know what to do, don’t want to do the wrong thing and hurt their plant, or don’t know when the right time to prune is. We cover all of that here, along with how to do the right type of cut for the plant you are pruning. Pruning is both science, and art.

Each participant will get a brand new set of pruning shears from our Garden Shop - to be used in the class as you hands-on practice pruning techniques on some of our plants here. These pruning snips are yours to take home and use forever - they are the best. We do not allow any outside snips to be used in our workshops for sanitation and plant health reasons

Garden Shop Hours*:

Closed for Winter, by appt. only

*Please stay tuned for Spring opening

Visit us at:

Lucy Hunter Workshop

We have a special guest workshop with our Garden Designer, Lucy Hunter, all the way from England! This is a very special opportunity to spend the day with Lucy & Amy, in the gardens, discussing her design philosophy, learning how to design in a beautiful, hand-made compote, and some styling and photography tips. Participants will be able to take home your compote designs, and will get photographs by Lucy for your own use in portfolios, social media, or just to show your friends and family how cool you are. Please email us at for more details; a full docket of information will be sent to interested persons.

Growing Lettuce Workshop

Lettuce help you debunk growing lettuce, and save money at the grocery store! Growing lettuce from seed is both incredibly easy, as well as the most economical way to get the freshest lettuce from your garden to your table.

This is both lecture and workshop, first discussing growing lettuce and all the details, along with info on what varieties we are growing and where to get them. We will then each sow a 72-cell tray of lettuce seeds to take home for your spring gardens. Participants will get all supplies for this hands-on project, and get to keep the trays for your own use. Bring gloves if you like to wear them.

Class size is limited to 20 participants on each day, so make sure you don’t miss signing up.

Details are provided in the ticket link below, there are 2 class options to choose from: Thursday, March 23rd and Saturday, March 25th. Classes are non-refundable, but are transferable to another person in the event you are unable to make it.

The Garden Shop

There are 2 main reasons I wanted to open The Garden Shop:

The first was I delighted in the specialty shops at various Botanical Gardens we visited, that had curated items and plants that were unique to that place. It was a fun way to combine visiting a garden, and supporting their efforts, while getting a treasure to bring home.

The second was to source, and offer, supplies, products and items we use and love here and in our homes. Literally, getting things we love and want to have available, that we couldn't find anywhere near us.

Consider us to be your personal shoppers: we source items from small makers across the United States. Folks that are doing things in traditional ways, bringing back old world crafts, and supporting their families and communities, while providing quality goods. These are not items you can find on Amazon (we did that on purpose) or mass-marketed goods.

We also are carrying items that we, as gardeners, actually use every single day.

While the Garden Shop is now officially closed for visiting in person for the winter, our online shop is year-round. Perfect for gifts, we can ship anywhere in the United States.

We are working to add all of our curated and specialty shop items to the website. We will update our website, and notify via newsletter when the Shop and Gardens will reopen.

Garden Tasks

  • Finish cutting back perennials, except those being left for wildlife. Prune all old leaves from Hellebores.
  • Sow Hardy Annuals.
  • Start seeds indoors - Jan. 4 is 15 weeks from projected last frost date of April 19.
  • Clean and Sharpen Garden Tools
  • Stay on top of weeds.
  • Order Seeds
  • Winter Tree & Shrub Pruning (see class)
  • Divide Perennials
  • Take a look around your garden, note any gaps in planting and make a plan to fill.
  • Rest, Rejuvenate, Read: Spring is Coming!

Stay Tuned for Upcoming Events


    • New Year’s Day: January 1
    • National Bird Day: January 5
    • National Cuddle Up Day: January 6
    • National Play Outside Day: January 7
    • National Cut Your Energy costs Day: January 10
    • National Dress Up Your Pet Day: January 14
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: January 16
    • Squirrel Appreciation Day: January 21
    • National Pie Day: January 23
    • National Seed Swap Day: January 28
    • Proper Pruning Techniques - March 9, 11, 2023
    • Lucy Hunter Workshop - March 18, 2023
    • Growing Lettuce Workshop - March 23, 25, 2023
    • More Special Workshops and Events planned for 2023

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