Pacific Northwest

May, 2006
Regional Report

Debugging Containers

When I use compost to supplement potting soil, sometimes sowbugs, earwigs, and tiny slugs will stow away and hitch a ride. These little scavengers feed on decomposing plant material, and they're great in the compost pile, but they multiply rapidly in a pot and will often nibble on my plants. I lure them at night with a cut potato wedge placed on the soil surface, brushing them off into the compost the next morning.

Underplant Fir Trees

It's difficult to find plants willing to grow and flower under the dry shade of firs and pines. I planted a colony of hardy cyclamen (Cyclamen coum) for early-spring color. Their heart-shaped leaves and dainty pink flowers provide a nice, woodsy look under the conifers.

Training Vines

When I'm working on training a vine to a frame, I store several extra twist ties for the project by attaching them to the supporting frame. Then, as the plant grows and needs more help following the form, I have the ties where I need them. What could be more convenient?

Prolonging Wisteria Bloom

I keep my wisteria blooming from May through September by cutting off as many of the faded flowers as I can reach after the first flush of bloom in the spring. A few weeks later I prune the new growth back close to the spot where it bloomed earlier. Without long tendrils to sap its strength, the wisteria develops buds and blooms again.

Butterfly Those Roots

To give pot-bound annuals and perennials the incentive to develop stronger root systems, split the root mass from the bottom halfway up the middle, then spread the two sections apart like butterfly wings. Transplant into prepared garden soil and water them well. As new roots develop, they'll explore the surrounding soil instead of remaining in a tight clump.

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