Bleeding Heart: Delicate yet Tough

Is it worth growing an herbaceous perennial if it only lasts a half-season? I used to ask myself that about Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis, now renamed Lamprocapnos spectabilis). Many gardeners know it, it’s the old fashioned perennial that shoots up in early March in the Pacific Northwest, immediately blooms in beautiful drooping, two-toned flowers, grows big and bushy, then by early June, ceases blooming, and … Continue reading Bleeding Heart: Delicate yet Tough

Don’t Be Such a Pansy! Wait, Yes, Be One.

I couldn’t find much about how that idiom came to be, but we all know it means “don’t be such a wimp.” A couple of weeks ago, as I was browsing my local garden nursery, I thought the meaning of that idiom was interesting, actually downright inaccurate, because pansies are hardy little flowers. They grow best in part-sun in cool conditions, and they continually bloom … Continue reading Don’t Be Such a Pansy! Wait, Yes, Be One.

Tiny Street Gardens Give Cheer

Was in downtown Edmonds, WA the other morning and noticed this gorgeous parking strip. Downtown Edmonds is full of colorful, nicely designed corners. I’m always impressed. It’s amazing how tiny gardens can make a brief walk from the car to a shop such a cheery experience. Even in earlyish spring. Some of the plants here are Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon,’ Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart,’ Rheum … Continue reading Tiny Street Gardens Give Cheer

Colorful Foliage for Shade

In the Pacific Northwest, many homeowners have a shady spot in their garden. An old, second-growth cedar or fir might take up an entire corner, a neighbor’s giant magnolia or purple leaf plum might create a wide, encompassing shadow. So what to do. With some fresh compost and occasional supplemental water, you can grow a lovely shade garden. And it doesn’t have to be all … Continue reading Colorful Foliage for Shade