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Crocosmia Lucifer

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

There are few plants that give a tropical feel to northern gardens. The hybrid Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ (Crocosmia x Curtonus) is one of them. In midsummer, when their brilliant red flowers come into bloom you can’t help but want to grab an umbrella and a piña colada and pretend that you’re…

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milkweed for monarchs

Milkweed & Monarch Butterflies

Calling all gardeners! Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are in trouble and they need your help! Monarch populations are divided into two regions: the eastern population who breed and live during the warm months in southern Canada and the Great Plains and then migrate to central Mexico during the winter and…

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Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

‘Autumn Brilliance’ Serviceberry

Let’s kick off the berry harvest season by talking about serviceberries! Here is ‘autumn brilliance’ serviceberry (Amelanchier × grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ ) a cultivar whose finely toothed blue-green leaves turn a brilliant orange-red in the fall. They can be grown as a large shrub or a small multi-stemmed tree. The…

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Red Columbine

Throughout the mountain west different species of columbine can be found in colors ranging from red (A. formosa) yellow (A. chrysantha) and pale blue (A. caerulea). Here in Oregon our native species is Aquilegia formosa. For some Pacific Northwest indigenous peoples this plant has special properties and is thought to…

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bee on vegetable garden borage


We sowed seeds of borage (Borago officinalis) in our vegetable garden several years ago. Now every spring new seedlings emerge on their own along the edges of the beds. These annual plants are best grown from seed as they develop a deep taproot that will anchor them through the season.…

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sunflower shining in the sun

Sunflower Power

In the cool darkness of a summer morning, I stared in wonder at the bright faces looking back at me. My young sunflower (Helianthus annuus) grove was standing like soldiers waiting to salute the rising sun. During the previous day their leaves and flowers tracked the sun as it made…

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