Pacific Northwest

January, 2006
Regional Report

Books

Wildlife Landscaping
Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, by Russell Link (University of Washington Press, 1999; $30), presents all aspects of gardening in harmony with nature by describing how to create gardens that nurture and protect wildlife. The book has four parts: an introduction to Pacific Northwest wildlife, wildlife habitat design, plant lists, and construction plans for nest boxes and birdfeeders. Link has brought together a wealth of information that formerly was available only through scattered sources. Follow his advice and you'll reap the rich rewards of beautiful and ecologically sound gardens.

Clever Gardening Technique

Dividing Perennials the Easy Way
Dividing perennials doesn't have to be a laborious task. If you take just a little extra care with them, many of the tougher, fibrous-rooted plants (such as daylilies, hostas, and ornamental grasses) can be cut into pieces while they're still in the ground. To do this, I use a sharp, flat-bladed spade to cut or separate the crown in two. I dig around one half of the crown and pull it free for relocation elsewhere, leaving the other half in place. Then I fill the hole with compost or topsoil and water thoroughly. Depending on the size and vigor of the plant, you may be able to cut the crown into several smaller pieces the way you would a pie.

I think this method has a few advantages over digging up the entire plant. To begin with, it's easier. You have to lift only part of the plant out of the ground. If you're working on a sizable specimen, this can save your back a lot of strain. In-ground division also spares the half left in place from much of the shock of being cut in two. While the piece you carry away may wilt and require cutting back, the piece in the ground rarely shows any signs of being divided. Give this method a try; it works well all year round.

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