Pacific Northwest

June, 2009
Regional Report

Books

Sustainable Gardening: The Oregon-Washington Master Gardener Handbook.
Washington State initiated the Master Gardener program in the 1970s as a way to better serve home gardeners by training experienced gardeners to teach others through the Cooperative Extension system. The Master Gardener Extension programs in Washington and Oregon offer their training manual as a basic gardening text and resource for gardeners throughout the Northwest. The Sustainable Gardening Handbook, OREM8742, was first published in 1999, and revised in 2003. It has 536 hole-punched pages, and sells for $30.00. Order through the Bulletin Office, Washington State University, Box 645912, Pullman, WA 99164-5912. Or order online: http://cru84.cahe.wsu.edu/cgi-bin/pubs/OREM8742.html

Favorite or New Plant

Centaurea cineraria 'Colchester White'
Centaurea cineraria 'Colchester White' is the best silver-leaved plant I've seen in years, and it's great for adding frosty foliage to containers and borders. Its intricately cut leaves resemble those of the bedding annual dusty miller (Senecia cineraria), except that Centaurea cineraria 'Colchester White' produces a large, elegant arching mound of foliage 18-24" tall and wide.

'Colchester White' is related to the annual bachelor button. It bears pale lavender-blue pincushion flowers on lanky 30-inch stems in late spring. I gather these for bouquets or simply remove them, because if they're left to grow they quickly sprawl and pull the plant open at the center.

This plant is hardy only in zones 8 to 10 so I treat it as a tender perennial. When autumn frost approaches, I take cuttings, root them in perlite, and overwinter the plants in a sunny windowsill.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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