Pacific Northwest

May, 2014
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Japanese Snowbell
Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonicus) is a lovely flowering tree that can add a grace note in even a small garden. In mid-May here in the Pacific Northwest, its branches are lined with hanging clusters of sweetly scented, white or pink, bell-shaped flowers. In summer the bright green leaves have a clean, fresh look; in winter the fine twigs and slender branches make a beautiful silhouette, similar to that of a Japanese maple. The Japanese snowbell's broad, rounded habit and small size (20 to 30 feet) makes it an excellent shade tree for those with limited space. This tree thrives in full sun or part shade in rich, moist, slightly acidic soil.

Clever Gardening Technique

Use Buckwheat for Deer Control
If you're plagued with deer consider planting buckwheat as a trap crop for Bambi and friends. Sow some patches of buckwheat in spots at the edge of your garden. The deer will go straight to this delectable (to their taste buds) treat and may leave your prize perennials and veggies alone. Buckwheat also has a number of other worthy attributes. It's an excellent summer cover crop, growing densely enough to crowd out weeds; it attracts droves of bees; and it has a shallow root system, making it easy to till into the soil at the end of the season. It does, however, take over a garden if allowed to set seed. The trick to growing buckwheat is to allow it to flower long enough for the bees to collect pollen, but cut it down before it sets seed.

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