Jodi DeLong from Bloomingwriter recently threw out a challenge to garden bloggers. The Garden Bloggers Geography Project challenged bloggers to tell readers about their corner of the world. We're begining our third season of gardening in the Pacific Northwest--Seattle, Washington. Originally from the east coast and the Caribbean, we've meandered our way across the U.S. spending about 15 years in the midwest with a few stints in Europe along the way. Currently we're located in the mini-microclimate known as the Puget Basin. According to Seattle Tilth, this is "A microclimate kissed by the salt water winds of Puget Sound." Our first and last frost dates are typically March 15th and Nov. 11th. This year many of our summer annuals were still blooming when we did our Jan. 1st 2008 post! While I'm throwing out stats, let's just go ahead and dispell the myth that it is always raining here. Our annual rainfall is around 36 inches which, according to a report released last May by San Francisco based Weatherbill Inc., ranks Seattle 41st in terms of U.S. cities with the highest annual rainfall.
WINTER: Washington state is known as the evergreen state. One of the things that really struck us during our first winter here was that things got greener in the winter. In the summer most people let their lawns go brown. With the first pineapple express storms in Nov. the lawns start to green up. If all the rain and the wind storms start to get to us, we head over to the Volunteer Park Conservatory and get our fix of greenery and flowers there. For those who absolutely need to get their fix of snow, Snoqualmie Pass is about an hour and 45 minutes away. Total snowfall this year is up to approximately 445 inches. Even here in the city on Dec. 1st. we had our taste of snow--if only for a few hours before it all melted away!
Around these parts peas are supposed to be sown by President's Day which was last Monday. Right now the camellias and hellebores are in bloom and the daphnes are scenting the air. The snow drops, daffs, reticulated irises are all in full bloom. The tulips are on their way. The freesia and day lilies are yawning and stretching. Typically February is very rainy, but so far we've had a week long run of dry sunny 50+ days. We hope to get the spring greens, beets and radishes sown this coming week. Since the weather has been so wonderful, we were really torn last Thursday when we found ourselves indoors at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show instead of outside working in our garden. Yesterday morning this is what we saw when we opened our front door.
SPRING: April and May weekends are filled with plant sales. Two of our favorites are FlorAbundance and Seattle Tilth's Edible Plant Sale in late April and early May respectively. Not to be missed Spring events--The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April and the blooming azaleas at the Washington Park Arboretum in May. Below is a picture of our hillside garden taken last Spring. It took us two summers before we realized there was a stone wall running along the far side. It took us a third summer to actually clear away all the blackberry and other vines to actually reach the stone wall. The hillside garden has been a major trial and error to see what will survive the winter. Last spring and summer we had hummingbirds visiting regularly.
SUMMER: Shortly after we moved here we were told that you just can't grow tomatoes, eggplants and peppers here--the summers are just too cool. The magic word of course was "can't". The first summer we used the bubble wrap leftover from our cross country move to build cloches around our container garden. We put the containers on the patio as close to the brick wall of the house as we could. We've learned to keep the cloches on the heat lovers until the end of June. Not to be missed Summer event--Sequim Lavender Festival.
FALL: Always fun gambling with mother nature on when the first frost will arrive. Last fall I picked the last batch of peppers and tomatoes mid Oct. They ripened nicely on the kitchen window sill. The first wind storms and pineapple express rain storms arrive in late Oct. or early Nov.
We're very lucky to have so much dirt in which to play. You may have heard that real estate is at a premium in our area. That includes futon real estate!
If I had to pick one image that represents for me my corner of the world, it would be the image below. This is Mt. Rainier as seen from Useless Bay on Whidbey Island. I never get tired of the views of mountains and water.