Winter weather is here in the northwest, and it is a blanket of white. Today, sitting in my office in Seattle, I've watched an inch accumulate on the cars parked just out my office window.
One question lingering in my mind as the snow piles up, is whether or not I should be knocking the snow off of my plants? There appear to be several schools of thought on this, but I'm going to go with what is most practical and relevant, based on the current conditions outside.
First of all, trying to knock snow off of frozen plants could easily break branches or limbs. While the snow is heavy, particularly for our region, it also behaves as an insulator for the plants, protecting them from further damage. Once the snow stops falling and begins to melt, the plants should begin to slowly recover. The snow also protects the plants from wind, particularly our evergreen and broadleaf plants, and keeps them pinned down rather than thrashing about in icy cold conditions. Since the plants are currently dormant, the lack of light shouldn't affect them.
Once spring hits allow your plants time to recover. They may be a bit slow to bounce back this year, and some of them might be saggy or misshapen, but don't get overzealous about pulling them out into you are certain there is no hope of recovery.
It is also not wise to shake the limbs or branches on larger trees to remove the snow. Be gentle! The trees are already bearing lots of weight, and could easily snap up and break off causing greater problems for the tree, as well as for you! If a limb does break, have the limb removed and the stub properly cut as the weather allows. This will ensure that your tree stays healthy moving into spring.
The main take away from this is to properly prune your plants each year to ensure that they have a strong foundation to support all kinds of weather. Clearly, it is something that we must all be thinking about during this massive snow event.
In the meantime, enjoy frolicking in the snow! Our crew is certainly getting a much needed body break during all this weather, but hopefully we'll be back at you soon once conditions improve.
Have you always wondered about what it takes to put in a raingarden or cistern? Perhaps you've heard of the RainWise Program and have been curious about the rebate process? Or, maybe you haven't heard of either and would absolutely like to find out how to get a rebate on installing these fantastic systems that help prevent and clean up stormwater overflow? Now is your chance! Come visit us in Columbia City - we'll be there to answer all of the above for you!
We are offering FREE CLASSES at CHOMP!!
August 18 - 10am - 6 pm
CHOMP! is a new kind of County Fair. Join us August 18 at King County's Marymoor Park for a day of local food, live music, green living workshops, and activities for the whole family. Meet and interact with local farmers, community organizations, chefs and musicians in a family-friendly, completely free celebration of what makes King County great!
CLASS #1: Delicious Rain Garden Plants – 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Learn From Stone Soup Gardens Permaculture Designer, Marco Downs about how to incorporate delicious and beautiful plants into rain gardens at your home or community space. Our plant palette focuses on how to fulfill our clients’ needs with edible, native and wildlife habitat plants. We will talk through our favorites in those categories and provide space for questions about how best to work rain gardens into your plan. Great class for homeowners, contractors and designers who are looking to expand their palette.
CLASS #2: Greywater 101 with Patrick Loderhose - 12:45 – 1:45 PM
Greywater, water from sinks, showers, and washing machines, is a great source of irrigation and can greatly reduce your outdoor water use. Greywater systems are especially important in times of drought. Come learn about popular greywater systems from Patrick, who is a level 3 California trained greywater installer and designer. He'll teach you about design considerations, water saving potential, costs, regulations, health and safety, soaps and products, and how to choose a system that is a good match for your home and landscape.
Can you believe it has been 80 degrees off and on already this year? Summer is suddenly upon us. We've been cracking on at Stone Soup Gardens this year, so much so that I haven't had a chance to tell you about all the cool gardens we've been creating. This one is particularly close to Stone Soup Gardens heart, as our clients just moved here from Boston to be closer to their grandchild (Little Miss Luna Klein-Harris).
The house initially had a fabulous willow tree in the front yard which was a selling point for the new owners. However, once the fall storms hit last year, the tree split in two with all the rain, and we had no choice but to remove the remainder of the tree. It was a sad day, but it left us with great potential for creating a dappled light garden in front of the house, as well as borders for all of the beds and raingarden. Sometimes, nature destroys and provides.
This project was a huge overhaul! Not only for the garden, but also for the house itself. While we were plugging away on the landscaping, the contractors added a big addition to the home to create a writing nook, as well as indoor access from the garage to the house. Not to mention an entire reconfiguration of the existing space.
Stone Soupers had their hands full as well. We created a new retaining wall around the perimeter of the yard. We interspersed mortarted stone with hand laid stone, as well as a more traditional tumbling rock wall. We built new pathways around the front yard, and added stairs from the driveway up to the entrance of the house for ease of access.
And that is just the front of the house! Along the back of the house, we installed a large cistern. On the side we built out several flower beds using the logs from the old willow tree. We also created a kidney-shaped mortared stone raised bed. Between the garage and the neighbors house we will be installing a flagstone pathway, along with a sun shaped inlaid flagstone patio in the nook outside the back door.
Pretty great, right? Here is the finished garden. We are super pleased with how it turned out. What do you think?
Article By Hannah Kett, The Nature Conservancy - Cities Program Manager
Photo by Hannah Letinich
A year ago, the parking lot at Kent Hillside Church was just that — a parking lot, with moss growing on the cracks and an almost constant stream running along the bottom of it. Today, it is hard to picture what it used to look like. Now, it is now home to 50 garden plots, four cisterns, a tool shed and blossoming community.
You want to read more, don't you?
Keep Reading Here......
Design a Rain Garden. Enjoy free food. Impact your community.
Creative and innovative middle and high school students are invited to help us design a rain garden for the amazing Paradise Parking Plots Community Garden.
FREE, but registration is required so we can plan food and material!
REGISTER HERE: goo.gl/oF7ckD
During this two-day engineering design workshop, students will work with Paradise Parking Plots Landscape Designers Jake Harris and Marco Downs from Stone Soup Gardens to answer the questions “Where are the best places to put a rain garden in order to reduce stormwater pollution?” and “What types of plants should we put in the rain garden?”
PART ONE: 1:30-3:30 Wednesday, March 28: Rain Garden Engineering
PART TWO: 1:30-3:30 Wednesday, April 4th: Rain Garden Plant Selection
WHERE: Hillside Church, 930 E James St, Kent, WA 98031
WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND:
1. Get involved with your community & earn Service Learning Hours
2. Increase your knowledge of rain garden engineering.
3. Tour the amazing “Paradise Parking Plots” Community Garden.
4. Help reduce polluted stormwater runoff in Mill Creek
5. Enjoy delicious free food.
INFO or QUESTIONS….?
Contact Cassandra - firstname.lastname@example.org
FREE, but registration is required so we can plan food and material!
REGISTER HERE: goo.gl/oF7ckD
A great big thank you to City People's Garden Store for hosting Jake Harris to talk about Raingarden plants and stormwater infrastructure in January! We had a few photos from the event that we wanted to share. Check our Education page for more great upcoming opportunities to connect and learn about plants!
Our work at Alleycat Acres Wetmore Garden project is still underway. Since this is a volunteer and community led job, we could use your help! Alleycat Acres hosts work parties at Wetmore the last Saturday of the month, which is this coming Saturday, May 27th from 10 am - 2 pm. Come on out and get your hands dirty and help create this awesome gathering space, garden plots, trails, and urban food forest.
Questions? Want to find out more? The Wetmore Community Farm is coordinated by Kyla Rudnick and community liaison Annalisa Moore. You can reach them here: Kyla@alleycat-acres.org and Annalisa@alleycat-acres.org.
Volunteer work party at Wetmore Community Gardens
Saturday, May 27th - 10 am - 2 pm
Corner of Wetmore Ave S and S Estelle St, just off Rainier Ave S. (map)
The sun has come out and our gardens are growing! Here is a look at one of our jobs last year where we installed a David Bowie mosaic flagstone patio into the garden. This was a great project with a large raingarden, we planted out the front rockery, and created a dog zone outside the front door with a gate and pet friendly plants. After all this rain, it is great to see the plants filling out, blooming, and coming into their own. Take a look at how it looked last year.
How is your garden looking? Are you in need of any early summer maintenance? Stone Soup Gardens is here to help. Let us get your garden cleaned and primed for your beautiful summer enjoyment! Give us a call, or email our maintenance lead Jesse Barber at email@example.com.
This is how Stone Soup Gardens rolls - check out our blog for current, upcoming, and past projects, events, and other super cool stuff worth mentioning.