What Are You Up To In The Garden?

We’re always excited to learn about what our friends and customers are up to in the garden. September and October are often busy times, from planting new things to rearranging to making sure our plants are ready for the cooler weather, everyone has lots of projects and questions! Finding out what other gardeners are thinking about and doing inspires us. Conversations lead to new ideas and new ways of gardening.

What are you up to in the garden this fall? Are you contemplating any projects? Do you have questions about specific plants or about getting the garden ready for winter? Are you wondering what to plant now for a nice burst of fall color? We’d love to hear all about it!

Share the gardening projects you’ve been contemplating or working on. You can also simply share any questions you may have about fall gardening. If you post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #heyswansons from September 24-26, you will be automatically entered to win a $200 Swansons Gift Card!! See all the details here.

Our Fall Sale runs through the end of the month, so you can use your gift card in addition to receiving 30% savings on trees, shrubs, perennials, and 8” mums. Or you can save your card for a special purchase at another time. It’s up to you!

Below are just a few of the projects and questions we’ve been excited to work on with our customers recently. We hope they inspire you and maybe they will even answer some questions you’ve been asking yourself. Happy gardening!

Ideas for a Sunny, Low-Maintenance Rock Wall

#heyswansons, looking for some thoughts on low maintenance ground cover for our rock wall. The weeds aren’t quite right :)
— Ryan
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Ryan posted this photo on Twitter and asked us for some ideas for low-maintenance ground covers for his west-facing rock wall with afternoon sun. Our team created a Pinterest Inspiration Board for Ryan with tough ground covers such as Creeping Thyme, succulents, Lithodora, Kinnikinnick, and Georgia Blue Creeping Speedwell, which all do well in afternoon sun, prefer well-draining soil, and need little care.

Pinterest Inspiration Board for Ryan’s Sunny Rock Wall

Pinterest Inspiration Board for Ryan’s Sunny Rock Wall

A few of our favorites…


Kinnikinnick is a Northwest native evergreen with glossy green leaves and pink bell-shaped flowers. In the fall, it has attractive red berries ( non-edible) and the leaves also have red fall color. We suggested Kinnickinnick because it keeps a nice shape with no pruning needed.


We love Georgia Blue Creeping Speedwell for its masses of tiny blue flowers. This evergreen has leaves that turn a beautiful bronze-purple color in the winter and it’s great at suppressing weeds! It grows quickly and cascades attractively down rock walls.


What Can I Grow In A Shady Spot?

#heyswansons, what would you recommend for this 11’x7’ space beside our north-facing front steps? Neighbor’s viburnums shade on the west & our house adds shade too. We also want to plant the small potted Japanese maple here. Looking forward to your advice & shopping your sale!
— Diane

Diane has a very popular question! Many people are intimidated by shade gardening and people often think it’s difficult to find colorful plants for the shade but there are lots of colorful flower and foliage plants that thrive in shady conditions.

For Diane, we suggested plants with colorful foliage such as golden leaf Hostas and Burgundy Glow Ajuga, plus fall- and winter-blooming flowers like hardy Fuchsia, Mahonia, and Hellebore. The key was to incorporate choices that offer color, texture, and even scent for year-round interest.

Pinterest Inspiration Board for Diane’s Shady Garden

Pinterest Inspiration Board for Diane’s Shady Garden

A few of our favorites…


Burgundy Glow Ajuga is a unique ground cover with variegated white, green, and purple leaves for a colorful addition to the shady landscape. It blooms in April and May with pretty blue flowers.

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We love this evergreen shrub! In the middle of winter, it emanates the gorgeous scent of sweet vanilla from tiny white flowers. After flowering, scarlet berries appear, and the glossy green foliage looks great all year.


Plants To Attract Pollinators

#heyswansons, we just got our back slope cleared. What are some flowering bushes that would help hold our hillside together and be a favorite of our local hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees?
— Rebecca

Sometimes it’s nice to start with a clean slate. Rebecca reached out on Instagram with photos of her newly-cleared slope that had part to full sun. She told us the rest of her garden was already full of vegetables, orange and yellow marigolds, and turquoise pots. She wasn’t a big fan of pinks, preferring fiery reds, oranges, and cool blues.

Designing for pollinators is such fun! We wanted to offer beautiful flowers that attract pollinators while also helping to limit soil erosion on this slope. One idea was Dark Knight Caryopteris, which has dark blue flowers and is a favorite of bees and butterflies. We also like red and orange Crocosmia, apricot-colored Agastache, and any color of Echinacea to attract our pollinator friends.

Pinterest Inspiration Board for Rebecca’s Pollinator Garden

Pinterest Inspiration Board for Rebecca’s Pollinator Garden

A few of our favorites…


Lucifer Crocosmia offers a striking display of bright red flowers that are irresistible to hummingbirds. This perennial will slowly spread in clumps with fresh green foliage emerging in the spring and flowers appearing in summer.


Caryopteris ‘Dark Knight’ attracts pollinators with its profusion of deep blue flowers summer to fall. This compact, mounding shrub has silvery-grey foliage and grows to a size of 3’ tall and wide.


Low-Maintenance Rooftop Container Garden Ideas

#heyswansons, we have a roof deck with lots of potential (faces W with N and S exposure too) that gently slopes to a gutter. Suggestions for low-maintenance container plants to provide a bit of shade and nature around the perimeter? Cute toddler for scale.
— Meredith
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Meredith told us her rooftop deck gets lots of direct sun in summer and she was thinking of a couple of trees, and some greenery at different heights. Her family loves purple and they are open to all kinds of different plants.

We split Meredith’s Pinterest Inspiration Board into two categories: trees and shrubs for height (including Nandina, Wilma Goldcrest Cypress, and Tiger Eye Sumac) and colorful flower and foliage options such as Heuchera, Chrysanthemums, and Russian Sage. Planting in containers allows flexibility - the family can shift pots around and add seasonal color to pots with evergreens to change up the look at different times of year!

Pinterest Inspiration Board for Meredith’s Sunny Rooftop Deck

Pinterest Inspiration Board for Meredith’s Sunny Rooftop Deck

A few of our favorites…


Heuchera ‘Forever Purple’ offers spectacular, deep purple foliage and purple-pink summer flowers on tall stalks. We love having a dramatic foliage color in containers pretty much all year round.

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The leaves of Tiger Eye Sumac emerge a vivid green in the spring, slowly turning to yellow in the summer and taking on tones of red and orange in the fall. A great accent shrub that can grow to 4’-5’ tall and wide.


Remember, you can win a $200 Swansons Gift Card if you share your recent gardening endeavors and questions on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #heyswansons. Share September 24-26 to be automatically entered to win! See the details here.