Thursday, May 17, 2012


So we went shopping today to find peonies that will hopefully be in bloom come Sunday for the Seattle Chinese Garden's peony event!

Notice that I'm speaking that afternoon!!  I hope you can make it!

So while we're crossing our fingers for flowers, guess who's blooming at Landwave:



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gardening: A Career to be Damn Proud Of!

I can't help but get kind of teary-eyed that I'm not anticipating a flight to the UK and taking in the Chelsea Flower Show in person this year. I think by not going, it's really hitting me that I really did it; I fulfilled a dream and experienced an aspect of my career that truly helped define it. Part of me wants to relive it very badly, but reality is setting in and, in a way, I've got to earn that next trip.

With social media in full swing at these types of events, I get updates on the progress of the show gardens and relevant links on the RHS Facebook Page.

One of those links was this awesome video they posted about how valuable and fulfilling a career in horticulture is! Yes, there are cultural differences and a long tradition of gardening in the UK, but they address some of the same issues we deal with here in the United States. Horticulture is deemed as a career for those who failed to excel in school or the image of a gardener as "a grumpy old man coughing in a potting shed".

You might remember the garden designer I profiled last year, Sarah Price. She is designing a grand garden for Chelsea (for the Telegraph) and also took part in designing landscape elements for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Here's a video of her as crunch time nears for the great flower show and the plants are kinda temperamental:



Thursday, May 10, 2012

The RHU to the BARB! A gorgeous, yet edible plant!

A few weeks ago during my excursion to Jello Mold Farm with some friends, we carpooled and met up at a home with a most cozy and inviting garden that yielded some of the best rhubarb I've ever witness in person. I say "best" simply based on appearance as I rarely eat the thing, but the bright red stems were absolutely GORGEOUS!

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 The gigantically lush, deep green foliage, which you DO NOT EAT!, were held up by their luscious ruby red stalks that were generously harvested for all of us to enjoy. The foliage contains oxalic acid which can cause kidney of bladder stones and while it takes like 10 pounds of leaves eaten in one sitting to cause death, it's still recommended that the foliage be removed prior to processing.

I've always grown Ornamental rhubarb for my perennial borders for their massive size, but the edible "pie-plant" appears just as striking, but with the added benefit that the stems are wonderful in pies, crumbles/crisps, and savory sauces. So I had to find a recipe for the bundle I was given that lovely afternoon.

Rhubarb and strawberry are a classic pair so I decided to make a pie with a oatmeal crumble topping:

Here's a recipe from that I modified a but, but it's simple and, yes, I cheated and bought a pre-made crust to make it a pie and not just a crumble.



  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 3 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup rolled oats


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix white sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, strawberries, and rhubarb. Place the mixture in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, butter, and oats until crumbly. You may want to use a pastry blender for this. Crumble on top of the rhubarb and strawberry mixture.
  4. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp and lightly browned.

Then I wanted to try something savory using a sauce to compliment roast pork or chicken. Here's a recipe from



  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1-1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 2-4 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Mix 1 teaspoon oil, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture into pork. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the pork until an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F, 15 to 17 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water; continue cooking, stirring often, until the onion is soft, 5 to 7 minutes more, adding water a tablespoon at a time if necessary to prevent burning. Stir in rhubarb, vinegar and brown sugar and cook, stirring often, until the rhubarb has broken down, about 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the sliced pork and sprinkle with chives.



Saturday, May 5, 2012


I'm always hoping for horticulture to make it in the mainstream media, but for some reason, when it does get mentioned or covered, it's always BAD NEWS like what happened to us at the UW Botanic Gardens's Washington Park Arboretum.

This was absolutely devastating. I got a call from David early last week and informed us of what had happened and immediately, we had a guess as to who may be responsible as right about the same time last year, we endured some vandalism and theft over at the Center for Urban Horticulture where I work part time.

In Defense of Camellias

A fellow "next generation gardener" in North Carolina shared this video that I just have to share with you all.

I met Brienne Gluvna at the Garden Writer's Association symposium a few years ago that took place in Raleigh. I was thrilled to meet someone that was fairly close to my age work intensely and know so much! It was refreshing and, obviously, we clicked!

She's given me tips on propagating and I've also ordered some fantastic plants from Camellia Forest Nursery. Absolutely wonderful stuff and worth having a look! Their plants are really excellent and well grown!