Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Gardening

Summer 2004

Gardening on the Palouse

The area known to practically every Washingtonian as “the Palouse” is one of six large grassland communities in North America. The Palouse stretches from just south of Spokane to the Snake River valley, near Moscow and Pullman. Today, it is a fertile farmland, covered in wheat and other grain crops. But prior to the 1870s and the arrival of “new-world” settlers, these rolling hills were blanketed in perennial bunchgrasses and forbs, which had dominated the landscape for five million years. Those native plants are now found only in tiny pockets around old cemeteries, along creeks, and in other unplowable places.

Some gardeners in the area … » More …

Spring 2004

The Last Roses of Summer

Steve Smith has good news for those of us who like to satisfy more than one sense at a time. The domestic rose, bred too long for form and color only, to the detriment of scent, is regaining its fragrance. Smith ’76, the head rose gardener at Manito Park in Spokane, is showing us his charges, which in late September are still in full bloom, and we spend much of our time sniffing.

A visit to Smith’s All-American Rose Selection (AARS) display garden gives a portrait of things to come. Each year, Manito and the other 130 such gardens across the country display the new … » More …

Fall 2009

Greenscapes: Olmsted’s Pacific Northwest

Greenscapes: Olmsted’s Pacific Northwest book cover

Joan Hockaday
WSU Press, 2009

John Charles Olmsted, nephew and stepson of world-famous park designer Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. and half brother of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., spent much of his life in the shadows of his more famous relatives. Even so, on the West Coast he has had the greatest and most lasting influence of any single landscape architect.

Because of an invitation made to the Olmsted … » More …

Fall 2009

Master Gardeners

"Cultivating plants, people, and communities since 1973" is how the Master Gardeners explain themselves. The concept has worked well. Washington, where it all started, now has over 3,000 volunteer Master Gardeners, who in exchange for training in turn give their knowledge and expertise to others in their communities. These communities have now spread across the United States and Canada. » More ...
Spring 2008

The orphan flower

In a Washington State University greenhouse, on the roof of Abelson Hall, dwells an orphan. Sheltered by a translucent plastic tent that diffuses the sunlight, drenched in water that keeps the air heavy with moisture, a semitropical plant called Gasteranthus atratus unfurls its crinkly, dark mahogany leaves. Once a year or so it puts forth cream-colored, vase-shaped flowers. It doesn’t seed, however. Whether it needs another member of its species or a particular insect or bird to pollinate it isn’t known. For now, it simply grows, and waits.

Gasteranthus atratus is an orphan, because its home no longer exists. The species was discovered in the … » More …

Winter 2002

Gardening in the Inland Northwest

If you are a gardener just embarking upon the horticultural journey of growing vegetables or fruit in the Inland Northwest, this book is quite simply the best reference you can find. Tonie Jean Fitzgerald starts out with the basics that every gardener should know about the unique soils and climate of the region. Next she gets down to the specifics of planning and planting a vegetable garden, including how to raise transplants from seed and what varieties perform best in area gardens.

She follows up with a chapter on pest control from pesky insects to damaging diseases, providing sound advice on how to limit the … » More …

Spring 2006

Eat more garlic

If there’s just one thing you plant in your garden, make it garlic.

For one thing, it’s extraordinarily easy to grow. Plant it around Columbus Day. Cover it with mulch. Or don’t. Water it now and then when it starts growing again in the spring. And that’s about it.

You can start eating it at any stage, though obviously you don’t want to eat it all up before it develops heads. Thus, you need to plant a lot. You can chop the young shoots and add to a stir-fry. Pull the developing young heads and slice, using it for a mild flavoring. In early summer, … » More …

Fall 2002

Killer compost

If you use compost in your garden, you may be setting yourself up for either a bumper crop or a bummer crop.

Gardeners, greenhouse operators, and organic farmers from Washington to California have experienced crop failures on certain plants after using compost to enrich their soil and help their plants grow.

The problem begins when common composting materials such as grass clippings and leaves collected from grounds that have been treated with an herbicide named clopyralid are sent to commercial or municipal composting facilities.

Clopyralid, made by Dow AgroSciences, is used to control dandelions, thistles, and other noxious broadleaf weeds on lawns, golf courses, and … » More …