Archive for April, 2015

We have been allowed back into the gardens to tend and water them!  The gardeners are a happy bunch.  There are still some limitations.  A few gardens are still a bit “sequestered”, but generally almost everyone can get to their plots.

Here are some photos that show our limited access.IMG_3620 IMG_3621 IMG_3622 IMG_3623 IMG_3624 IMG_3625 IMG_3626 IMG_3627 IMG_3628 IMG_3629 IMG_3630 IMG_3631 IMG_3632 IMG_3633 IMG_3634 IMG_3635 IMG_3636 IMG_3637 IMG_3638 IMG_3639 IMG_3640On the lower level (D) the Redbud trees have been removed.  They were root/pot bound and beyond their expected, good lives.  Pretty trees  will replace them, so not to worry!

The few gardens that are still inaccessible should be available within a few days.  At least that’s what I’ve been told.  So, continue your good humor!  This too shall pass!

I took a few pictures of the Secret Garden as well.  There are pots there from folks whose balconies are being impacted while their building is draped.  I have posted some photos here of them.

Please, as you can see, someone has left a hose sprawling across the deck.  That is NOT acceptable-it is a terrible tripping hazard, and looks bad!  I put it back…it took me less than a minute to do.  PLEASE, if you use the hoses, PUT THEM BACK.  I’m sure this is not our regular gardeners, so those of you whose plants are here temporarily, DO put the hose back where it was gotten!

I also took photo’s of unlabeled pots.  They do NOT belong anywhere.  LABEL your pots PLEASE.  All of the pots moved from balconies HAVE been labeled, so these pots must belong to someone else.  Maybe it’s just a work in progress, but we do need to be mindful of others.IMG_3641 IMG_3642 IMG_3643 IMG_3644 IMG_3645 IMG_3646 IMG_3647 IMG_3648

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Here they all are!  I took a photo of every garden yesterday, so you can see how yours looks.  I stuck my finger into more soil than I’d like to admit, NEVER coming up dry!  Your plants are just FINE!  Except for one pot, which we saw to it that got hydrated!

Many of you were not able to get down to see these photos yesterday, so I thought I’d put them here on the blog and you can “check them out”!  Enjoy the “look see”.

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Most of the gardeners here at Horizon House are a bit tense these days.  With the scaffolding going up, IMG_3566and a rule forbidding entry onto the gardening terraces, gardens are having to do without water!  For any gardener, this is traumatic.  The gardens fall into that category as well, I might add.  So, what to do?

First we need to know a little about water and it’s relationship to our gardens.  Here is a wonderful article from Clemson Extension Service about water and how plants need and use it.

I remember, on my first trip from the east coast to Seattle, to visit our daughter and her family, she asked me to look at one of her shrubs.  It was sick, and knowing I was a Master Gardener, she had high hopes that I could diagnose the problem.

So, I looked, and the plant looked like it was needing water.  It appeared dry.  But, this is Seattle!  It rains all the time…and it was in February (rainy season).  What was it?  I racked my brain and couldn’t come up with any other thought.

She had gotten tickets to the Washington Flower and Garden Show here at the Convention Center, so I pocketed an affected leaf or two, and figured my first object would be to visit the Master Gardener booth, which I did.  Her comment?  “This plant is suffering from drought!”

“Come on,” I countered, “this is Seattle.  It rains all the time!”

So she patiently explained that yes, it did rain all the time, but it was a gentle rain, and it went no-where!  The rain tends to go no deeper than about half an inch.  Well, how about that?  I was right!

That micro-burst of water might be OK for annuals, with shallow roots, but the deeper roots of shrubs, trees and perennials need a deeper drenching.  And even the annuals suffer because although the roots get moistened, they too need a more satisfying drink.

It becomes a nasty cycle.  If plants are not watered deeply, their roots go where the water is…up, toward the surface.  They get a bit, but not enough water, and suffer more.

So, it is critical to water deeply, and gently so it doesn’t run off.  If the water runs too hard, it will just run off the surface and NOT down where it is needed.  Here is a photo I found on-line.  7441848-closeup-of-water-running-from-garden-hose-with-green-backgroundIt shows water running out of a hose. This is about the amount of water that should flow from your hose when you place it on the ground above the roots of the plant you want to water.  It is slow enough NOT to run off, but allows enough water to flow that your plants will be watered deeply.  It will not run off the ground, it will seep in, right where it is most needed.  Leave it to run for about 15 minutes.

Spraying water on your plants is wasteful of water.  If done at night, where the leaves will remain wet all night, it will make the plant vulnerable to disease and mold.  Most of the time, in our area, the leaves can get all the moisture they need from the air.  So, if you MUST spray, spray in the morning, when the sun will help dry off those leaves.

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The scaffolding is going up!  It’s not finished yet.  It will take the better part of this week, as well as last.  I’ve had some concerned gardeners wanting to water their gardens, but we’ve been cautioned by the construction company that we are NOT allowed on the decks until they are FINISHED erecting ALL of the scaffolding!IMG_3563 IMG_3569

As you can see, there is construction material ALL over the decks.  At the moment it is just too easy to trip over “stuff”.  They also fear for unexpected drops from above while installing scaffolding on, and next to the building.

So what do all our conscientious gardeners do?  Their plants are thirsty, and those gardeners are not a happy bunch right now.IMG_3566

Perhaps we should talk about “watering” our container gardens.  I’ll bet all of the gardeners have been doing this right along, which will help their plants deal with this big STRESS in their lives right now!

  • When you water, do you water DEEPLY, and gently?  The water should just “seep” into the soil.  This allows the water to  penetrate down to where the roots dwell.  Let the hose sit there  long enough to moisten the soil without creating puddles. You don’t want to over water either.
  • When you test to see if your garden needs more soil, do you do the “knuckle” test?  Stick your finger into the soil  If you can feel damp soil when your finger is up to the second knuckle IN the soil…it doesn’t need more water!
  • Try not to plant material that NEEDS a ton of water.  It will be just too dependent on you to get out there and water OFTEN!  Get plants that do fine with less water.
  • Try to do your watering in the morning.  The reason is that during the heat of the day, the water dries up too quickly as it is warmed by that sun.  Also, if you get the leaves wet while watering at night, they won’t dry off easily.  Those damp leaves become vulnerable to mold and other diseases, which you would like to avoid.
  • And that brings up AGAIN that it’s best to water the SOIL and not the LEAVES!
  • Last, you shouldn’t rely on the rain to keep those plants well hydrated.  I realize that comment is not too reassuring to you right now, as you are told NOT to go to your plants, but hopefully they will be fine for a few weeks.  Perhaps we’ll be lucky and the heavens will bless us with a downpour!

So, are you heeding all those watering techniques?   Once you can get back to your plants, keep them in mind.  And let’s hope for a speedy installment of that scaffolding!  🙂

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Life has decided to calm down again!  In one way, I’m happy…I can catch my breath…  But, in another way, I LOVED being surrounded by family and especially grand-children.  We did a lot; got too tired; spent too much money; ate too much; you name it, we seemed to have done it.  For two or three days after they were gone, Joel and I just collapsed and enjoyed the quiet.  Now however, we miss them all.  We miss the confusion and the turmoil.  We miss getting up and going where-ever we were going.  It was SUCH FUN!  Oh, well.  We’ll look forward to the next time!

We enjoyed the Seattle Aquarium, among other places, and will visit it again since our grand-daughter is a volunteer there as a High School student.  She loves it, and we can see why!


My book, “A Year in My New England Garden” continues to plod along.  It is fun watching it’s progress.  I hope you might take a look.  Even though it’s not written for the Pacific Northwest, the gardening vignettes definitely fit EVERY gardener’s life!  It can also be found at Amazon.  Should you have a Prime account there, the shipping will be free!

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