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Archive for the ‘Pacific Northwest Gardening’ Category

Yes!  They do  join us at our meal-times!

Here at Horizon House our Garden Committee was granted money to purchase Hummingbird Feeders to place outside the Main Dining Room windows for our enjoyment all winter long.  Anna’s Hummingbirds stay with us all winter…the annual flowers in our planters do not.  So, instead of the flowers, during the winter, we now can  enjoy the Hummers!!!

We have two feeders hanging.  One on the west side of the dining room (mine), and one on the north side (Carol O.’s).  They were placed carefully.  We thought of placing them where most diners could actually SEE the feeders.  The other reason was that the feeders are out of sight of each other.  As many of us know, hummers are very territorial, as well as aggressive!  So, it’s kind of an “out of sight, out of mind” approach.  If you sit close enough to watch them, you will occasionally see them chasing each other around.  Then one of them will calmly sit on a close branch to begin his “watch” again.  They do NOT share at all well!!!

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Annemarie’s photo

 

This little guy is calmly waiting for the next “invader” to approach “HIS” feeder!  I took this picture when the snow was barreling down.

This same day, the staff saw the feeders all frozen over from the night before, and (bless them) they went out and removed the feeders and “unfroze them.  Unfortunately, they were not aware that the feeders are filled with a solution of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, and instead filled them with plain water.  (A good technique is to remove the feeders in the evening, take them inside, and then re-hang them in the morning.)

The reason that it is not a good idea to use plain water, is that these are very tiny, little birds, only weighing a little more than a penny. Their tummies are pretty small, so when they don’t get any sustenance, it is hard for them to satisfy their caloric needs…which are ample.  When you watch them fly, you can just imagine how much energy they expend.

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One of Joel’s photos

Remember, ANY time you see a problem with these two feeders, you can give me, (or Carol O.) a call and one of us will be happy to deal with the issue.  The staff at the dining room also have my number.

Let’s talk a little about these fascinating birds who share our space.

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From the internet

First, know that the hummers who stay all winter long, here in Seattle are “Anna’s Hummingbirds“.  (It’s nice that they named them after my grand-daughter! Just kidding!) Do visit the link to hear them and see those grand colors in motion.

You CAN tell the difference between males and females if you are VERY observant.   Check the link to a site that gives you lots more information.

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Joel’s photo-outside our window

If you have your own little “balcony” and are curious about how to feed them properly, here’s a link that will tell you everything you need to know!

I don’t have a lot of photos, since they move a bit too fast for my little camera.  My husband is giving me a few as well, and there’s also the internet!

 

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For the last 7 years or so, my Christmas Cactus have not bloomed, except when I had just purchased them…or when I first arrived from New Hampshire.  I was disappointed.

Those of you that know me, know that I’m not really an “indoor” plant kind of person…although I’m learning to be one here in Seattle, which is VERY different from New England.

So, what’s with the Christmas Cactus?  They put out lots of green growth.  I water them according to their needs…not too much!  They look pretty, all green and shiny, but around Christmas?  No flowers!

This year however, I did a few things differently, and I think “I’ve GOT it”!  As Chair of the Garden Committee (which I just gave up) I saw to it that a rack was put outside on one of the terraces for indoor plants, to be used by anyone in Horizon House who felt their plants would benefit from a summer outside.  I took advantage of that as well.  OUT went my Christmas Cacti!

I have to say that in both Connecticut and New Hampshire, I always put my indoor plants out under a tree for the summer.  (Are you paying attention?)  When we moved here, I didn’t have a spot to park them.  If I put them in my little garden plot, the snails would have eaten them alive! So, they stayed on my window sill, inside.  I didn’t have any closet, basement or garage to put them in for an “unlit”, “cooling” period.  ALL the lighting needs were ignored.  The other thing that was ignored was the temperature.  They had to be either inside or outside, and a rack was not available for me.  So, the plants looked healthy enough, but NO FLOWERS!

Enter the rack this past year.  I got it out in June, and removed it in Mid-October.  My Christmas Cactus loved it!  The temperature was correct, as was the light.  However, they still were not chilled enough to set buds.  Next year, I will request that the rack be left out until we’ve actually had a frost…perhaps sometime in November.

Then miraculously, an opportunity appeared.  We have a non-functioning air-conditioner in our bedroom window.  We finally had it covered…with a wooden box-like structure…A SHELF!  We turn the heat down at night and open the window by the air-conditioner.  When I put the plants on that air-conditioner shelf the cacti rejoiced and set buds!!!!

Yesterday, I felt I had waited long enough, and I brought the two cactus’ that had set buds, out to the living room window sill.  There’s another one on the “cold shelf”, but it is an Easter Cactus, and I can’t expect it to flower for a few more months.  It will remain there until it set’s buds, for SURE!

At any rate, when they tell you that Christmas Cactus (and Easter Cactus) need a cold and dark period in order to bloom, BELIEVE THEM!

I continue to learn.  Gardening inside sure is different!

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Yesterday the Garden Committee sponsored a trip to Swanson’s, a local Plant Nursery.  My garden is full and my window sills are groaning with indoor plants, however, I was not lost for what to do as I prowled the aisles at Swanson’s.

I was looking for some Hummingbird Feeders to put outside the Dining Room windows here at Horizon House.

We have just removed the flowering planters that were such a colorful delight all summer long.  We needed something that might provide some enjoyment for our diners.  Why not a Hummingbird Feeder or two?Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 7.06.53 AM

We decided on two.  One on each side of the dining room.  Hummers are pretty territorial, so we wanted to be sure they could all eat in peace…so one per side!

I am sure the Garden Committee will get some comments soon!  I don’t think the feeders have been “discovered” yet.  I noticed when we went for dinner last evening, that I should readjust the placement of one of them, so it’s a bit more visible to all the diners.

The Garden Committee decided rather than have gardeners “take turns” tending the feeders, that perhaps having them be “adopted” might work better.  Already one of them has been adopted by Carol O.  I think I will adopt the other one, since I’m about to give up my chairmanship of the Garden Committee.  I’ll be looking for some “fun” endeavor to accomplish instead!  The feeders will hang until it’s time for the flowering baskets to re-appear in the spring. IMG_8277 At that point they will be removed allowing the flowering planters to provide nectar for our hummers.  We’ll hold off on the feeding until the planters come down again!

Here in the Pacific Northwest, Anna’s Hummingbirds remain all winter.  There are few blossoms for them as the weather cools down, so feeding them should encourage them to stick around OUR dining room!  Wish us luck!

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Prune spring flowering shrubs when they have finished blooming. IMG_6128 Be very careful with rhododendrons and azaleas, as it’s very easy to remove next years bloom.  If you can just leave them, it would probably be best.

Thin seedlings

Use balanced, organic fertilizers around flowers

Be sure to fertilize your annuals with liquid fertilizer. They’ll thank you for it by blooming continuously!

Stake tall perennials, like lilies, and Foxglove.

Are your tomatoes “caged”?  If not, get that done before it’s too late.

Use a pine needle mulch for blueberries

Be sure your lawn mower is set to cut the grass HIGH

IMG_7570Be sure to dead-head those iris, and remember the time to divide them comes next month.

Gladiolus corms can be planted-alternate their planting by two weeks or so.  That way they will bloom continuously.

Dead-head (prune off) spent flowers from plants and shrubs

Remove rhubarb seed stalks as they form.

Cutting back perennials such as dianthus, veronica and other similar shrubby varieties, will possibly produce a second blooming. How great would that be? They’ll also look better!

You can make softwood cuttings of shrubs this month through July.  Using a little rooting hormone would facilitate the process.

You may still plant container grown shrubs

Plant broccoli seed for fall harvest.

If you have a water garden, there’s still time to plant water
lilies.

House plants can be moved outside to a shady, protected spot.

These same houseplants can be lightly fed with half strength
fertilizer.

Mulch perennials and roses to keep down weeds and conserve moisture.

If you have an amaryllis, now would be the time to move it outside.

Pinch the leading stems of your chrysanthemum’s to encourage them to
be bushier and have more blossoms. Continue doing this every 6 inches
or so, as they grow.

If you have apple trees, hang red sticky-ball traps to control apple maggot flies. Small trees can get by with 2 balls. Larger trees should probably have 4-6 balls.

Stop cutting asparagus when the new spears get pinkie-finger thin. Let them grow into ferns instead. It will feed the roots.

Side-Dress veggies to give them a little boost

Have you got Hostas? IMG_7586Are there slugs chewing them? Try this solution, if you haven’t already.
Combine 9 parts water to 1 part common household ammonia and spray it on the hosta just before dark. When the slugs hit this, they will dissolve!

Are you remembering to turn the compost every once in a while? You should also wet it down if the hose is close by. Doing this will help it decompose quicker although it will eventually happen anyway!

Mow down any daffodil drifts that have “gone by”, if you haven’t already!

Order your bulbs so they arrive in time to plant in the autumn.

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The irises are LOVELY right now.  Some of them are VERY heavy and really need to be propped up.  There are a few that have had their tops nibbled off by some critter, or crow perhaps.  Oh, well!

As you can see by the pictures I took this morning as I cruised through the Horizon House gardens, those irises are really showing off!

 

I went from deck to deck, to see all the majesty our gardeners have wrought.  If you haven’t gone down to look, you really should!

The C deck even has some veggies, with our little friend Peter in it’s midst!

The D Level gardens are popping as well!  And the bees are happy!

Going onto the Secret Garden, there are always surprises to be found!

What do you think?  Are the gardens ready for “June In Our Gardens”?

In June the Garden Committee gives a SPECIAL invitation for everyone to visit the gardens.  Every day, we will have tours, activities, lectures, trips, parties, lunches brought to enjoy together, and just a jolly time outside.  The Garden Committee hopes you’ll participate and join us for as many activities as you can.

Remember we not only garden for us, we garden for YOU!

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MAY GARDENING CHORES FOR THE

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Know your Horticultural Zone.  Find it here!

  • Tulips should be dead-headed(remove spent flower)100_0120
  • The grass can be mowed when it reaches 3-4 inches (sorry, but it IS that time again!)
  • Hold off mulching until the soil is warm, or you’ll just keep the cold in!
  • You can now plant lettuce, beans, corn and carrots right in the soil.
  • They say that tomatoes can be planted when the lilacs bloom. Hmmm…  You might sprinkle a teaspoon of Epsom salts into the hole where they go to provide magnesium.  44252830-beautiful-tomatoes-in-the-summer-garden-natural-conceptRemember that smaller plants will establish better than the larger ones, so go for the smaller potted plants rather than the big ones.  Be aware that temperatures MAY drop on some nights, so be prepared to  protect your seedings.
  • Marigolds, zinnias and even nasturtiums are good to plant in and around your vegetables as well as the flower beds. They repel insects!
  • You can begin to plant gladiolas at 2 week intervalsimages.duckduckgo
  • You can fertilize any bulbs that are up.
  • Stake your peonies before they get too big.  This web page about peonies is from Vermont.  However, the explanations are wonderful and the pictures are very helpful!IMG_6291
  • Insert stakes for dahlias and other bulbs at planting time to avoid spearing tubers which might happen after growth has started.
  • Harvest rhubarb by grabbing it at the base of the stalk and pulling firmly away from the crown, twisting just a bit. Be sure to throw the leaves into the compost as they are poisonous!images.duckduckgo
  • You can prune your spring blooming shrubs just as soon as the flowers have faded.

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Ah, yes!  Here they come…shoots, buds, flowers, and gardeners out snipping, digging, watering and just enjoying life in our gardens here at Horizon House!

Louise A. was out the other morning taking some lovely photos that I will share with you here.  They are ALL from our gardens, Level C, Level D and of course, the Secret Garden!  Go outside and enjoy them all!

 

My little succulent (mostly) garden thrives as well.  I give it a little watering when I’m down there, but don’t really worry too much about it.  It tolerates drought just fine!  Lucky for me, I guess.  IMG_7478

What does appear necessary to accomplish is some “dead-heading”.  The daffodils and even some tulips are beginning to look a bit bedraggled.  With bulbs it’s important to allow the leaves to feed the bulbs for next years blooms.  So, when you dead-head them, place your snipper down as low to the ground on the STEM that HOLDS THE FLOWER, and snip there.  Leave the surrounding leaves!  This is one of the reasons many gardeners plant their bulbs amidst other plants that come after and do a good job of hiding the gradually retreating bulb leaves.  As they turn brown, they too can be removed if you’d like.  Here’s a link to the University of Maryland Extension Service article about bulbs and their care, as well as dead-heading.

The other evening the Conservation Committee here at Horizon House hosted Dr. David Montgomery.  He spoke about his new book “Growing a Revolution:Bringing our Soil Back to Life”.  It was a wonderful program.  We all learned a lot.  It can even apply to our little garden plots here.

Enjoy being outside!  And Gardeners-HAVE A BLAST!

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