Gardening Tips

How to Plant Trees & Shrubs

How to Plant Trees & Shrubs

Now that you’ve picked out some gorgeous plants to begin your escapade into the Mysterious World of Gardening, the first big question arises: “How do I properly plant these to give them a good, healthy start?” The steps described here focus on planting trees and shrubs, but are essentially the same for anything being planted in the ground, including smaller perennials and annuals. 

Our Favorites for Late Summer to Fall

Our Favorites for Late Summer to Fall

You can feel fall in the air, but don't worry, our gardens are far from slowing down. In fact, fall is one of the loveliest times in the Pacific Northwest garden, as foliage shows spectacular color, new flowers pop-up, and certain summer plants just keep right on performing until frost. Here are a few of our favorites for the late-summer-to-fall season.

Plants for Dry Shade

Plants for Dry Shade

Way up here in the land of tall conifers, dry shade is a common gardening challenge. I’ve had success with the following plants in the shade of conifers, and they also work well in deciduous woodlands or in the dry rain shadow of north-facing buildings and garden walls. As with any new plantings, they will require summer water for several dry seasons until they have established a root system capable of competing with existing tree roots.

Pruning Lilacs

Pruning Lilacs

We love our lilac shrubs with their exemplary fragrance in May. But almost any lilac that has not been pruned for two years or more is likely to have several trunks, some older than others, and a brood of basal shoots ("suckers") around its base. And as it blooms on branch tips, we might find most flowers up high, out of optimal sniffing range. Pruning to meet these challenges can be a different approach than with many other flowering shrubs.

Using Fruit Netting For Better Harvests

Using Fruit Netting For Better Harvests

Fruit tree netting is something I had never used or considered using until this year. I had experimented with nylon apple maggot barriers before with moderate success, but their application is quite labor and time intensive. Now that I have tried tree netting I will never go back.

Growing Warm-Season Vegetables in the Pacific Northwest

Growing Warm-Season Vegetables in the Pacific Northwest

Most warm-season vegetables - heat-lovers like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, and beans - can be grown here in the Pacific Northwest.…. If you can give them the right conditions. But with our cool, wet springs and short summers, sometimes it can seem like an uphill battle. Luckily, there are ways to ensure success for the PNW gardener, from season-extending tools to growing tips for happy plants and great harvests. 

The Truth About "Drought-Tolerant" Plants

The Truth About "Drought-Tolerant" Plants

Drought tolerant* or low water use* are terms we use often in Northwest gardening. You see them on many of our plant signs and information sheets at Swansons. More so each year, as we recognize the importance of saving water in the face of our region's growing population and potential effects of climate change. Also, we see ever more examples of how beautiful a well-designed, drought-tolerant garden can be! However, this doesn’t mean these plants don’t need water. Read on to learn the truth about helping these plants thrive.

Growing Small Fruits & Berries in the PNW

Growing Small Fruits & Berries in the PNW

Kathy Boullin, a Swansons Nursery expert, recently led a seminar on planting and growing small fruits and berries in the PNW garden. It was such a great discussion about planning, planting, and caring for small fruits and berries that we wanted to share some of her expertise with you here on the blog!

Spring Garden Preparation

Spring Garden Preparation

The end of February through mid-March is the perfect time to start garden preparations for the coming season. The risk of severe frost is low and we get a few days that are pleasant enough to tempt us out into the garden. Pruning, garden cleanup, amending soil, and mulching will get your garden off to a great start for the season.

Living with Moss

Living with Moss

Not many gardeners have a neutral opinion when it comes to moss. Either we love the impossibly green fairyland it evokes on our forest walks and aged garden or we hate the layer of slippery moisture it lays over our roof or patio, and the way it crowd out our showpiece lawn. Both camps recount legends of the virtues or evils of moss.