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Time to Start Sunflowers

Sunny Annuals Create Food for Bees and Birds in Late Summer While weeding last week, I spotted my first volunteer sunflower pushing its way through the soil. That is always my signal to start my sunflower seeds for summer planting. I’ve learned to identify the pale green bi-leafed seeding and weed around it so it… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • May 1, 2014
  • 5 Comments

Make Your Garden Bee-Friendly

“You can spoil some apples, but leave me the birds and the bees.” – Joni Mitchell (Big Yellow Taxi) Sadly, those words written by Joni Mitchell in the 1960s were not heeded well. We did get rid of DDT, but other insecticides and gardening practices, though not as devastating, have taken their toll. In 2006,… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • April 25, 2014
  • 6 Comments

Garden With Native Plants

Reason 1: Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat As our population grows, mankind encroaches on the natural world, pushing out species of both plants and animals—some to the state of extinction. There’s not a lot I can do personally to save the tiger or polar bear, but I can make sure that area songbirds have plenty… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • March 25, 2014
  • 1 Comment

The Flowers of Spring

What’s Blooming in My Garden on the First Day of Spring Celebrate the Vernal Equinox with flowers. Seattle’s climate allows for an early Spring. Warm winters can mean blossoms on the forsythia as early as Valentine’s Day. This year they didn’t bloom until early March, but I’ll take it! The daffodils and hyacinths have been… Continue reading →

  • Words by TheGreenQueen
  • March 20, 2014
  • 3 Comments

St. Patty’s Hostess Gift

Delight with this lovely native “shamrock.” If you live in the Pacific Northwest, a pot of Oxalis Oregana makes the perfect hostess gift for a St. Patrick’s Day party. This PNW native is the closest thing we have to a shamrock and grows like the “weed” it is. You can find Oxalis Oregna, a member… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • March 17, 2014
  • 3 Comments

Birdie, It’s Cold Outside!

©Andrea Leigh Ptak When the thermometer dips below freezing, my thoughts turn to my backyard wildlife—the birds that visit my feeders. They need food, water and shelter to make it through the winter. Keeping their feeders stocked with fatty treats like suet cakes, black oil sunflower seeds and Nigerian thistle is the easy part. Evergreen… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • February 7, 2014
  • 6 Comments

Easy Dried Hydrangeas

Summer Flowers All Fall! One of the perks of having a garden is free flowers. I fill my house with blooms even in Seattle’s cold and rainy fall by drying hydrangeas at the end of summer. I had been apprehensive about flower drying after reading complex instructions that involved silica and space to hang them… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • November 4, 2013
  • 6 Comments

As the Worm Turns

Clean and Easy Food Waste Composting Commercial organic compost is expensive. Kitchen scraps are free! And combined with red wiggler worms they create a rich additive for most backyard vegetable gardens. Seattle’s native soil is primarily clay, so adding organic matter is essential. We started composting with a plastic cone offered by the city. It… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • October 20, 2013
  • 13 Comments
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