November is upon us, shorter days, cooler weather, but the garden is cloaked in fall color. The Stewartia monodelpha in the upper garden entryway is a gradient of gold to red with its warm copper-colored trunk. It shines in the afternoon sunlight. This morning’s walk found the lower garden carpeted in golds and oranges with fresh mushrooms breaking through. The Varied thrush has returned to the garden for their winter foraging. They love the crab apples and Sorbus fruits. Hummingbirds are clamoring for the fragrant blossoms of the Eleagnus macrophyllus or Silverberry in the entryway.

Build that wall!

Wall project before



NW Sand and Gravel’s Don Delbianco


As mentioned in last month’s missive, we had 4 days of EarthCorp in the garden at the end of October. With a load of large rocks from Iron Mountain Quarry in Granite Falls and trucking donated by NW Sand and Gravel, we were set. While the wall-building project ended up being more challenging than anticipated, the crew rallied and completed a beautiful section of retention wall along the main path. It’s a beautiful beginning. Our fingers are itching to begin planting. Possible Director Wish List items? 

Another update from last month, we planted over 15oo bulbs last week with a couple of volunteers. 5oo crocus bulbs were planted in patches around the lower garden lawn areas. Narcissus are in clusters here and there, Nectaroscordum has a feature spot near the Pinus wallichiana, and Muscari here and there to complete the tapestry. It was a pleasant day of sunshine and good company. It doesn’t get much better.

Thank you to all those who joined us for the annual fall plant sale. We raised just over $4k. Plant sales go towards the support of the garden and staff. We still have a great selection of ferns, shrubs, and perennials for fall planting.

Traditionally we would begin preparing for our annual Solstice Stroll; however, this year, we are going to error on the side of caution and cancel this year’s event. As a promise to our community to keep this alive, we will light the upper garden and have the lights on until 9 pm each night.

Fall clean up is in effect in our gardens. So far, predictions are for a La Niña weather event for winter. This often means wet, warmer, and windy. It has also heralded low-land snow and cold fronts from the Fraser River Valley.  Remember that leaving leaves is beneficial on different levels. This is not to say that all the leaves are needed; however, judicious amounts will protect the soil from heavy rains, provide refuge for beneficial insects, and promote fungal activity. Using deep layers of leaves will have a negative effect as they become wet and cement together.

If you can shred or run the mower over the leaves, even better. Use leaves on unused vegetable beds to retain all your hard work of amending your soil over the summer. Pull leaves away from perennials so as not to suffocate, but to tuck them in. Not all plants tolerate being tucked in, so use gravel mulch or fine-textured mulches to protect the soil. Some leaves are thick and leathery and don’t work as well as some, so use your judgment on which leaves work in your garden.

November is the start of winter hours in the garden. From now until March, we are open Friday thru Sunday, from 10 am to 3 pm. Additionally, during windstorms and inclement weather, the garden will be closed for our guests and staff’s safety.