In the Garden:
Pacific Northwest
February, 2007
Regional Report

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One plant I'll keep in my garden this year is the 'White Swan' echinacea that grew beautifully in my sunny flower border.

Planning a Brilliant Summer Garden

In July my mailbox is surrounded with vibrantly colored annuals. In February, it's also filled with flowers -- inside all the seed catalogs. Page upon page of cheerful offerings remind me that spring is only a dozen weeks away. It's time to get out pencil and paper and plan my spectacular beds and borders.

Selecting Some Winners
Catalog plant descriptions and beautiful photos transport me from the rainy reality of winter in the Pacific Northwest to a summer garden bursting with color and heady with fragrance. I'm especially drawn to winners of the All-America field trials. This nationwide trial program awards the best annual flowers and vegetables each year. The chosen varieties are marked with an AAS-winner label. How could any plant selected for such a distinction fail to thrive in my garden?

Plan with Purpose
Induced by an enchanting collection of seed catalogs, one can easily get carried away with wishes and dreams. That's what makes planning on paper a must. Gardening on paper means you can rearrange plants without a trowel -- something infinitely easier than slogging around in the mud on a wet, wintry day.

Selecting Bright Flowers
I'll admit I prefer flowers in bright, bold colors, but having flowers of varying shades and hues in unexpected spots makes a garden much more interesting. This year I'll devote a corner bed to plants that bloom in pastel colors. I'm planning mounds of Phlox drummondii 'Coral Reef'. It's heavy with blooms in soft shades of apricot, shell pink, and creamy yellow. For an element of surprise, I'll dot the bed with Zinnia elegans 'Envy', featuring a chartreuse-green flower.

Planting Green Flowers
Speaking of green-flowered plants, more and more are becoming available, and I think they're intriguing enough to include a few in the garden, just for fun. Some of the others I'll grow this year include nicotiana 'Lime Green', amaranthus 'Green Thumb' (Amaranthus caudatus 'Viridis'), and bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis). I'm sure you can find additional selections at your favorite nursery.


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