Garden Blog

How I Spend My Summer Vacation

by Dawn W Todd

Girls in a sprinklerIt tends to be dry around here in August. I nurture a few carefully chosen potted plants (just to give a bit of color to the graying, neglected wood of the deck) and without an irrigation system, I become a slave to watering during a normal Pacific Northwest summer. During my summer vacation, I try to keep my “hardy” jasmine alive. I am descended from a long line of mid-west women who feel strongly that a woman must produce tomatoes, so I try to do that, too, whatever the challenges in this climate. And I prune. That’s really what I want to talk to you about.

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Going Native

New England aster

by Dawn W Todd, Nursery Volunteer

On the first leg of my journey to Connecticut to see my  son graduate from his medical residency (I had to put  that in), the fellow sitting next to me was from Walla    Walla. As so often happens to me, we got to talking      about plants. He showed me pictures of his backyard, and I was impressed by his artistry. He takes old wood—torn down structures—and turns them into landscape elements. He created a patio retreat that blocked the neighbor’s view of him, and also blocked his view of their house; it made an oasis of beauty for his family. (I’m sure it didn’t hurt that his wife has studied interior design.)

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New Student Art Installed at KBG

Install!On Monday, June 2, temporary student art from Seattle Pacific University was installed by SPU students under the oversight of art professor Roger Feldman. Extension ladders, rope, screwdrivers, and many feet of fishing wire were used to install the pieces between the trees of the KBG.

The five pieces are united under the theme of Wildlife Habitat. Each piece of sculpture provides habitat for different animals in the garden (bats, insects, spiders, small mammals, bees) in an aesthetically pleasing way.  Check out the sculptures during our Wildlife Habitat Plant Sale June 6-8.

Check back soon for more details on the sculptures and their creators!


Who’s Your Mama?

Mary Cassatt painting:


by Dawn W Todd, Nursery Intern

I hope you are planning to come and see us for the 27th Annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale. For one thing, a plant makes a great gift! (If you are a mother, you should make someone else come along to buy you a plant.)

It’s our 27th Mother’s Day sale…did you know that in the United States, Mother’s Day is 100 years old? I hate to be a cynic, but I have always thought of Mother’s Day as a “Hallmark Holiday”—you know what I mean. I wasn’t completely wrong: the woman who campaigned for and finally achieved the national adoption of Mother’s Day in the United States was appalled at the commercialism of this special day.

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Natalie's Paintbrushes

Natalie Footen with native golden paintbrush hosts

by Dawn W Todd, Nursery Intern

Recently I had the pleasure of talking with Natalie Footen, a PhD student at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Her work focuses on our native golden paintbrush, or golden Indian paintbrush, Castilleja levisecta, in the broomrape family (Orobanchaceae).  

Did you know that Washington State has prairies? Did you know they are endangered? Western Washington used to have about a quarter-million acres of native prairie; now we have only several thousand acres.

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Interview With Ciscoe--Part II

green lacewing Chrysopidae from Wikipedia

by Dawn W Todd, Intern

As promised, Part 2 of my interview with Ciscoe Morris. This half of the interview focused on sustainability.

Ciscoe told me how at the age of ten he was hired as a lawn boy at his church, and worked under gardener Joe. Joe taught Ciscoe how to avoid poisons in the garden. He learned to work with nature and not against it. He had to learn about pests in order to make it easier to garden without poisons, and that had an affect on him in later years.

When he went to work for Seattle University nobody was using organic, or IPM [Integrated Pest Management] gardening. Ciscoe talked the university administration into letting him handle the pest control, and he didn’t want to go the pesticide-spraying route. He had just become a Master Gardener and had learned IPM.

Read more: Interview With Ciscoe--Part II