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Insect Alert! Azalea Lace Bugs

We want to alert you to an insect that may be feeding on your rhododendrons and azaleas. Originally from Japan and first spotted in Washington in 2008, the Azalea Lace Bug (Stephanitis pyrioides) has now become widespread in our area. In addition to your prized azaleas and rhododendrons, it can also feed on other landscape ornamentals such as mountain laurels and pieris.


The Azalea Lace Bug close up. Photo: Thomas Shahon - Oregon Deptartment of Agriculture

Despite their delicate appearance and minute size (⅛” - ¼”), their feeding habits can cause severe damage to plants. They’re often hiding out on the underside of the foliage where they insert their needle-like mouth...

Wasp Relocation Program

We’ve put together this video for a quick how-to relocate a wasps nest in a non-lethal way.

Wasps, like their fuzzy relatives the bees, are integral to ecosystems as pollinators. Some wasps are generalists, and others are the sole pollinators of specific plants. Their contribution to agriculture is valued at more than $250 billion as pollinators, but even more than that wasps help to defend crops from pests as well. It's estimated these valiant warriors are worth at least $416 billion annually worldwide as crop protectors. While these benefits are welcome in the garden, their territorial behavior can be troublesome close to home.

Our video today is for an active nest, however there are...

Summer Watering Tips

The dry, hot weather is here and it’s time to make sure our gardens stay hydrated. Our plants are happily growing, developing fruits, and getting their buds and branches ready for next year. The blessing of the summer sun spurs this growth, but without water all development can come to a grinding halt. Water helps your plants transport nutrients and is critical to photosynthesis. Additionally, a well-hydrated plant is better at fending off diseases and pests than one under drought stress.


Today we’ll be sharing general tips for watering the garden, but if you’re concerned about your lawn, we have a blog about that here. Quick tip for lawns: if your lawn has already browned ...

Controlling Apple Maggot Flies With Clay

We’ve put together this video for a quick how-to on protecting your harvest from the Apple Maggot Fly.

For those hungry for info, please see below for more details about this insect.

Washington is a veritable apple country, that may be why the Apple Maggot fly went from being spotted in 2 counties in the 1980’s, to spreading to 20 counties total. This is largely due to infested fruit being moved around by people. In Washington, there are quarantine restrictions regulating this invasive species. If you don’t mind sharing your fruit, or if these flies are native to your area, you may want to leave them be - more power to you! But as a home gardener, if you’re wondering w...

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:


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 ...


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