A Remembrance of Cass Turnbull, Seattle Horticulture Icon

Cass Turnbull was an imposing figure, and I was a little afraid of her. She spoke in a point-by-point, professorial way, half-tongue-in-cheek, half-seriously, but never aggressively. She seemed comfortable in her own skin and secure in her mission. In fact, she wasn’t interested in apologizing for who she was though she liked jokes and had a heart of gold. She was kind of like the … Continue reading A Remembrance of Cass Turnbull, Seattle Horticulture Icon

Stewartia pseudocamellia bark

The Ultimate Year-Round Tree

Some people buy trees for their cheery blooms or bold fall color or cool, winter bark. Sometimes fragrance. Rarely does a tree have all of these features, but stewartias do. In fact, not only do they have such traits, they also have lovely, tidy forms. Lately, my favorite has been Stewartia pseudocamellia. (Though I also love S. monodelpha in particular.) Stewartia pseudocamellia has a behaved crown, amazing orange … Continue reading The Ultimate Year-Round Tree

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

Ross Gay, a Gardener’s Poet

September is a month of transition. The warm, bright freedom of long days wanes into the chilly introspection of rainy nights. It’s a warning about the coming of the great sleep that’s winter. It’s in the morning dew on cars and yellow leaves that swirl before us as we mow the lawn. September signals that we should give up our fantasy of taking a walk … Continue reading Ross Gay, a Gardener’s Poet

Aleksy with UNO

The Writing Life is Like a Game of UNO

What I love about the game UNO is just when you think you’ve lost, the momentum changes and things start to look up. The same could be said of writing. Just when you’re about to give up, you can’t, because you never know what’s about to happen. Take my summer. It was a weird one. After spending the spring querying and entering contests and submitting … Continue reading The Writing Life is Like a Game of UNO

Why You Needn’t Plant Bamboo, Ever Ever Ever

People often use bamboo to screen out their neighbor’s yard or an ugly building across the street or those lovely, brightly colored recycled bins of Seattle. This is a mistake. Let me repeat: this is a mistake. It is not a mistake to plant bamboo because you’re a bamboo lover and study different bamboos and can think of no other plant you’d rather wake up and … Continue reading Why You Needn’t Plant Bamboo, Ever Ever Ever