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Landscape Shrubs With Edible Berries

Have you been looking for a landscape shrub that is not only pleasing to the eye but also produces edible berries? With a vast array of shrubs to choose from, finding the right variety can be a little intimidating. Here we are highlighting two varieties - a blueberry and huckleberry - that will delight all year round. They are both decorative as well as versatile, attracting more wildlife and producing edible fruit.

When choosing a berry-producing shrub, look for Vaccinium varieties. All berries in this group are edible with some tastier than others. These shrubs encompass a wide array of plants including blueberries, huckleberries, and cranberries, just to name a few.

These two varieties perf...

Rain Gardens Boost Water Quality

The recent surge in seasonal rainfall in the Pacific Northwest has caught everyone’s attention. Pollutants that are washed into Puget Sound are a real concern, especially because it impacts our marine wildlife.

The good news is that you can make a difference right in your own backyard. By installing a rain garden, you can help filter stormwater runoff before it reaches the Sound. A rain garden is a depression that filters and cleans rainwater as it passes through specialized soils. This article from Urban@UW refers to rain gardens as “tiny water treatment facilities”.


Many of our customers have experienced the fun of watching their rain gardens fill up during a rain event a...

The Power Of Gardens To Restore Wildlife Habitat

Due to habitat destruction, urban sprawl, climate change, pollution etc. wildlife habitat is quickly diminishing. In Washington, we currently have 46 species listed as endangered, threatened, or sensitive, and another 71 are listed as candidates. This list includes iconic wildlife species such as salmon, golden eagles, and several species of whales that visit our area. While this is disheartening, we as gardeners can affect positive change right in our own yards!

temp-post-imageTaylor’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori) - endangered in our area. Source: Thurston Talk

Gardeners have the power to create habitat by planting the right plants in the right place. We can make smart choices with our wate...

Enchanting Landscape Plant - Dwarf Strawberry Tree

Perhaps you’d like to jazz up your landscape a bit. You’re looking for a special plant that does it all: easy to grow, attracts birds and pollinators, offers privacy, and is truly enchanting year-round. Does such a plant exist?

Give your landscape a burst of joy with the Dwarf Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’). This versatile evergreen shrub has dark-green glossy foliage and offers privacy when planted as a border hedge. It maintains a dwarf habit with a dense, rounded form of 5-6 feet high. It is best grown as a big shrub but could be thinned to showcase its cinnamon-colored bark.


Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’


Bountiful white-pinkish flowers bloom from ...

Dethatching 101: All About Lawn Thatch

You’ve finally decided to take action to fix your lawn this year. But you’re wondering if it needs dethatching. What is thatch anyway, and is it a problem?

Thatch is the build-up of old grass roots and organic debris where the grass stems meet the soil. The photo below shows a layer of thatch measuring just over 1 inch. (Image adapted from the University of Maryland Extension ). Healthy lawns can have a thin layer of thatch (less than ½” thick) and still thrive. However, excess thatch gets in the way of water and nutrients reaching the soil and feeding the roots.


How do you know if you have too much thatch? To measure the thickness, first, find the brown layer just bel...

Lawns: "The Great Lawn Debate"

In an area dominated by mossy forests, it may seem like lawns require too much maintenance. It’s hard to believe that there were once 180,000 acres of native grasslands here. We’re down to 3% of their former glory, and while there are still a few grasslands to visit, our area is predominantly a lowland forest ecosystem in Western Washington.

When one thinks about beautiful, rolling, grassy fields they are so inviting:

An open expanse of sweeping brown grasslands swaying in the wind and low mountains.Source: The Nature Conservancy. Marathon Grasslands Preserve in Texas.

However, grasslands are very different from the lawns we cultivate in our yards. To highlight 2 monumental differences; in native grasslands the grass is allowed to live through its full cycle, and ...

Plants: Tree Pruning - "The Tale of 2 Dogwood Trees"

Today we'll regale you with the Tale of 2 Dogwood Trees. Years before the start of our story, a client of ours rescued these trees and replanted them in their yard in the hopes they would rebound. With some TLC they bounced back with such vigor and set the stage for us to capture proper pruning techniques for both upright and lateral growth habits. Let's leaf through the details.


These identical Dogwood trees had very different growth habits. In this photo, the tree on the left exhibited an upright growth habit and pushed a central leader skyward (referred to as an A-Form tree for Apical dominance). The tree on the right couldn’t decide which branch was going to lead the way and laid ou...

Spring Lawns - "How much should I water?"

One of our top questions is, “How much should I water my lawn?” The short answer is: Lawns need 1 inch of water per week to stay green. That is a combined total of rainwater and water from your sprinkler. The general rule of thumb is to water infrequently, but deeply.

If you are happy with that answer, you can supplement your knowledge with an article from the Seattle Times, “How much water is too much for your lawn?”

If you really want the lowdown on watering lawn grass, the answer is… “Well, it depends.” It depends on 1) grass type, 2) site conditions, 3) soil texture and structure, 4) evaporation and 5) root depth.

Let’s start by combining #1 ...


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