Planting outside your zone is an exciting experiment that can make your garden or yard stand out. However, zone denial requires a lot of work and is risky. The plant may not survive the Pacific Northwest climate, wasting all of your efforts.

So, instead of taking such a risk, it may be best to concentrate on growing plants likely to survive in your zone. The Pacific Northwest, which includes the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, falls in Zone 7 to 9. And numerous beautiful and edible plants can withstand the region’s climate.

Plants To Grow In Zone 7

Despite its freezing winter season, zone 7 has a relatively mild climate and supports the growth of many warm-weather plants. You can grow annuals and perennials that will thrive all year round. This includes marigolds, geranium, black-eyed Susan, salvia, aster, and clematis.

You can plant cool-weather vegetables in early February for an edible garden, such as spinach, radish, kale, cabbage, and carrots. You can plant peppers, tomatoes, squash, eggplants, and beans in the warmer season.

Plants To Grow In Zone 8, in the Seattle region

Numerous flowers such as bird of paradise, hibiscus, butterfly bush, lantana, Mexican petunia, oleander, and phlox, thrive in zone 8. You can also plant herbs like rosemary, lavender, and sage and creeping juniper and English ivy for groundcover.

Like zone 7, you can plant vegetables twice a year in zone 8. First, sow the seeds in late winter/early spring to harvest in summer. Then again, in early fall to harvest in winter. Some vegetables to plant include carrots, peas, celery, and broccoli.

Plants To Grow In Zone 9

The weather in Zone 9 is slightly milder than the other two zones, with less winter freeze and a longer growing season. However, some plants may not survive the heat during summer in the zone, especially cold-hardy plants.

Nevertheless, you can plant nearly any delicious vegetable, including beets, cauliflower, leeks, onions, cucumber, okra, potatoes, and tomatoes. Also, you can grow several flowers to fill your garden with vibrant blooms, including begonias, cannas, dahlias, irises, jasmine, and sedum.

Need help growing plants that will thrive in your Pacific Northwest garden? Contact us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscape today!

 

Every gardener has attempted (or considered) growing plants that are not native to their climate zone. You see a beautiful plant thriving outside the Pacific Northwest and think you should try growing it in your garden. It’s easy and, oh, so tempting to slip into “zone denial.” But, before you get started, read this post to the end.

What is Zone Denial?

Zone denial is the growing of plants in a climate zone outside where they usually thrive. More specifically, it involves growing plants that flourish in a milder winter climate in your Pacific Northwest garden.

Plants from outside your climatic zone likely have exciting characteristics that add an extra punch to your garden. They may have unique flowers or leaves that will make your yard stand out from all the sameness in your neighborhood.

However, zone denial requires a lot of work to get your plants to flourish and is very risky. You may nurture that breathtaking White Bat Flower through a winter or two. When you saw it on a trip to Southern California, you thought it would provide a fabulous statement piece for your garden. But, when it’s unable to withstand the climatic condition, it dies. So, if you’re considering zone denial, be prepared to adjust your climatic condition to suit the plants.

Surviving Zone Denial

To stand a chance of plants best suited for another zone surviving in your region, you’ll have to adjust your climatic conditions. This means adjusting climatic parameters like temperature, sunlight exposure, water, and even wind.

For instance, if the plant can’t withstand the cold, you can use a mulch to protect it from the freeze. If it’s from a climate that doesn’t have full sun, grow it under shade. And, for plants that can’t withstand a windy environment, consider planting them in a greenhouse.

Also, sometimes, it isn’t the climatic condition that makes zone denial fail. Other vital requirements to help the plants survive might not be provided in your area. For instance, providing the perfect soil composition. Does the plant thrive in loam or prefers heavy clay? And, how about the pH?

The bottom line is that you can overcome zone denial works if suitable conditions exist. Thus, if you’re considering planting plants that aren’t recommended for your zone, ensure that you meet all of the plant’s requirements to help it thrive. Although, keep in mind that you may do everything right, and the plant would still die simply because it’s out of its elements.

Need help cultivating a plant from outside the Pacific Northwest? Reach out to us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscape for more zone denial tips.

 

So, you want to grow an attractive garden this springtime? Azaleas and rhododendrons are perfect choices. They bloom in beautiful pink, red and purple colors that will add charm to your garden.

Also, they are not as hungry as other blooming shrubs. However, they also require specific care and feeding to blossom. For instance, the soil must be well-drained and have a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. Continue reading to learn how to care for and feed azaleas and rhododendrons in your garden.

How to Feed Azaleas and Rhododendrons in Your Garden

The first step to feeding your azaleas and rhododendrons is to test your soil. This will help you determine precisely what you need to feed your plants. You may need to adjust the soil’s pH and improve its nutrients.

Mix agriculture sulfur to the soil if the pH is above 5.5. If below 4.5, add garden limestone to increase the pH. To increase the soil nutrient, compost pine bark, and pine needles and mix with the soil. This compost mixture will also improve soil drainage.

When you notice your azaleas and rhododendrons are slow-growing, feed them with iron sulfate fertilizers. But if you’re unable to get one, you can use a balanced fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio. You can also replace fertilizers with organic mulch rich in nitrogen.

How to Care for Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Here’s how to care for your azaleas and rhododendrons to improve their growth.

  1. Apply mulch around the plant to retain moisture and protect the shallow roots. Make sure to leave a few inches around the trunk mulch-free.
  2. Apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer when you mulch with wood chips or sawdust. While these materials add nutrients to the soil, they use nitrogen to decompose.
  3. Spread the fertilizer over the root area so the plant root can absorb the fertilizer. This may extend three times the distance between the trunk and the branch tips.
  4. Water the azaleas and rhododendrons as soon as you feel the topsoil is dry. However, be careful not to overwater them to prevent root rot.
  5. Snap dead or damaged flower heads and stalks to remove them. Prune only after the Spring flowering, and only to reduce the height of your azaleas and rhododendron.

With proper care and adequate feeding, your azaleas and rhododendrons will bloom and beautify your garden. If you need help planting other colorful blooms, contact us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscaping today!

 

Yay, it’s almost Spring. The weather isn’t bitter cold and the days are longer, so you can spend more time in your garden. If you’ve done everything on your Spring garden to-do list, then you can start preparing your yard for Springtime flowers. Continue reading to find out how.

Prepare Your Soil for Springtime Flowers

The soil is the primary environment in which your springtime flowers will grow. Therefore, you must prepare your soil so your flowers can bloom.

  • Warm the soil: Your garden soil is likely still cold from the winter months. Thus, the first thing to do is to warm the soil. One way to do it is to cover the soil with plastic burlap.
  • Loosen the soil: Your garden soil would have become compacted over the winter months. Flowers can’t grow in compact soil, so you have to till the soil to loosen it up.
  • Test the soil: Test the soil pH and adjust it to support the growth of your springtime flowers. Depending on the type of soil and flowers you want to grow, you may need to make it more acidic or basic.

Prepare to Plant Your Springtime Flowers

After preparing your garden soil, the next thing to do is to prepare to plant your springtime flowers.

  • Rehab beds: Rebuild unkempt and overgrown garden beds to enable your springtime flowers to flourish. Remove debris and dead leaves, as well as rocks and gravel. Then, re-dig the bed. You may also redesign the layout to make it more appealing.
  • Add Mulch: Mulching early will help prevent weeds from growing. So, it’s important to add mulch to the soil before planting your springtime flower. You can mix your mulch with some compost for additional nutrients.
  • Set up composting area: You need a regular supply of compost to feed your springtime flowers. So, create a compost area in the corner of your yard. For instance, Azaleas and rhododendrons benefit greatly from pine needles compost.

With these, you can easily prepare your yard for Springtime flowers. If you need more help making your yard bloom with flowers this Spring, reach out to us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscaping today!

Want a flourishing garden or a beautiful yard? It starts with healthy soil. Unfortunately, the common soil types in the Seattle area are not always perfect for growing plants. Nevertheless, there are ways to improve your garden soil, which you’ll learn in this post.

Common Soil Types in The Seattle Area

Generally, the main soil types are sandy soil, clay soil and silt soil. However, the common soil types in the Seattle area are a varying combination of these three soils, with a mix of peat, chalk and volcanic ash.

The resulting soil types are challenging to grow a garden or landscape. Most are loam soil with high clay density that makes them drain poorly, and others with high sandy soil content don’t hold water or nutrients. Hence, you have to improve the soil in your yard to cultivate a thriving garden or landscape your yard.

How to Improve the Soil in Your Seattle Garden or Yard

Here are the critical steps to improving your yard or garden soil in Seattle.

First, Examine Your Soil

This will enable you to determine how and what to improve. Use a shovel to loosen the soil and grab a handful. If it isn’t easy to dig and doesn’t form clumps in your hands, then the clay content is high, and you should add some sand or peat.

On the other hand, if the soil is too gritty and runs through your fingers, you’ll have to adjust the sandy soil content by adding rich clay. The soil color is also vital, as it indicates the organic matter content. Soil that contains a good amount of organic matter will have a dark hue.

Next, Test The Soil

Beyond the physical structure of your garden soil, you also need to test its content. This is especially important if your yard has been previously cultivated. Soil pH test to determine acidity or alkalinity levels is one of the most important tests to conduct. Depending on the result, apply lime to increase the soil pH or sulfur to decrease it.

Then, Go Organic

Although chemical fertilizers can add nutrients to your soil, they are also damaging. So, use organic practices such as composting and mulching to enrich and improve your soil. Composting will add organic nutrients to your soil, while mulching can help control erosion.

 

You can find more resources on turning poor soil into super soil and improving bad soil on our blog. And, if you need more help improving the soil in your Seattle garden or yard, contact us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscaping today!

Every gardener loves Springtime. Even though the weather is still cold and probably raining daily, it’s almost spring. If you’re looking forward to the next planting season, here’s your Springtime gardening to-do list to prepare your garden.

5 Things to Do in Your Seattle Garden in Springtime

Here are five things that must be on your Springtime gardening to-do list.

1.     Clean up

Avoid wasting time come spring, and start cleaning up your garden by the end of Springtime. Put on your good pair of garden gloves and waterproof boots, and clean up the leaves and other debris blow into your garden all winter. Also, clean your garden equipment and sharpen tools, such as your mower blades, shears, hoes and shovels.

2.    Prune plants

Pruning your plants will keep them healthy and encourage growth. And because they are mostly dormant in Springtime, the pruning cuts will heal faster. So, add pruning trees, shrubs, and flowers to your Springtime gardening to-do list. However, don’t prune spring-blooming trees and shrubs, and take care not to cut off emerging buds. 

3.    Spray Ornamentals

During winter, pests and disease organisms hibernate in your garden. So, apply a dormant spray on your ornamental plants to control insect pests and prevent the spread of diseases. Ensure you use a strong dormant spray blend that can eliminate insect eggs and disease spores.

4.    Plant edibles

If you want to harvest vegetables and fruits from your garden come summer, now is the time to start planting those edibles. You can start indoor seeding cool-season veggies like lettuces, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts. Make sure to provide enough fluorescent light to help them grow indoors.

5.    Go Shopping

Shopping for gardening supplies is a must-do on your Springtime gardening to-do list. Again, you don’t want to waste time that should be spent working in your garden. So, go shopping for quality seeds and bare-root stocks. Don’t forget to pick up the garden equipment you may need.

With the things on your Springtime gardening to-do list done, you’re ready to cultivate a beautiful garden come spring. If you need any help preparing your garden for the new season, reach out to us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscaping!

 

So you grew an apple tree in your Seattle garden, and now you don’t know what to do with all the apples the tree produced. You’ve baked apple pie countless times and gifted your neighbors and friends apples, but there are still loads of apples left.

How about you make apple cider? Not only would you enjoy the warm drink during the cold winter months, but your home would also smell amazing with the sweet fragrance. Here’s an easy apple cider recipe that you can prepare at home.

Is Apple Cider Same as Apple Cider Vinegar?

No, apple cider isn’t the same as apple cider vinegar. Apple cider is a non-alcoholic drink often made from fresh apples, while apple cider vinegar is alcoholic and fermented from apple juice. To be clear, this post is about an easy apple cider recipe – the non-alcoholic drink.

Ingredients for Apple Cider

Here are the ingredients you need to prepare apple cider at home.

  • Fresh apples
  • Sweetener (sugar or maple syrup)
  • Warming spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or allspice)
  • Wooden spoon or masher
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Water

Recipe for Apple Cider

These are the steps to follow for this easy apple cider recipe

Step #1: Combine Ingredients

Slice fresh apples into four pieces and place them in a pot. Add cinnamon and other spices of choice. Then, pour in water until it covers the ingredients.

Step #2: Cook Until Soft

Cook uncovered on high heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Then, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and leave to continue to simmer until the apples go soft.

Step #3: Mash Apples

Use a wooden spoon to mash the soft apples to release more flavor. Then, leave the mixture to simmer for some minutes.

Step #4: Strain Mixture

Strain the mixture to remove the solids and drain the liquid apple cider. Remember to press down on the strainer to release any flavor in the solids.

Step 5: Serve or Store

Add a sweetener of your choice, and the apple cider is ready to serve warm or cold. You can also store some bottles in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

The hallmark of the winter season is the snow. Ordinarily, snow won’t hurt your plants. However, heavier layers of snow can impede plant growth, break plant stems, and outright kill your plants. So, it would help if you put in measures to protect your garden from the snow to ensure that your plants are covered and kept out of harm’s way. Here, we have curated a list of how you can protect your garden from snow.

  1. Apply Mulch

Adding an extra layer of mulch to your garden can help protect your fragile plants from snow. With mulching, the soil can retain optimum temperature suitable for plant growth. In addition, if you use organic materials in preparing your mulch, it will decompose and improve your soil quality.

  1. Use Dollies

If you have potted the plants in your garden, it is a great idea to keep them on dollies. With this, you’d only have to wheel them to safety once temperatures drop and it starts freezing.

  1. Cover Your Plants

As for plants, you can’t move away from the cold, covering them is an effective way to keep them protected in your garden. You do not have to break the bank to keep your plants covered, simple everyday items can be revamped for this purpose.

Some great covering material ideas include old cardboard boxes, plastic juice boxes, plastic bags, or bins. You can even optimize these items by cutting holes in them large enough to make them breathable but small enough to keep the snow at bay.

In conclusion, snows do not have to mean death sentences for your plants. With the right protective measures, you can get ahead of the freezing and be the proud owner of a blossoming garden come to Spring. Need help protecting your garden from the snow? Reach out to us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscaping.

With all the leaves blown off the tree in winter, your garden can look sparse, boring and depressing, making your home outright bland. However, winter should not automatically mean a dull, uninteresting yard. You can brighten the overcast winter weather with colorful flowers.

Interestingly, some of these flowers have pleasant scents that provide a warm, soothing ambiance. You can plant your winter plants around your walkways and entryways giving a bright finishing touch to your home. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best winter plants for Seattle residents.

  1. Sarcococca confusa

If you are a fan of strong pleasant smells, you should consider planting the Sarcococca confusa. With its deep green, glossy foliage, Sarcococca confusa gives off a strong vanilla scent, and this makes it the perfect plant around your doorway.

  1. Hamamelis Mollis

Also known as the Witch Hazel, Hamamelis is a vase-shaped plant with an abundance of rich golden or red-toned flowers. In addition to its beauty and colors, the Hamamelis has a rich, spicy fragrance. Interestingly, the Witch Hazel flower blooms last throughout the winter season after the first bloom in the fall.

  1. Coral Bark Japanese Maple

This plant is another year-round wonder. The beautiful bark of this mid-sized maple can be spotted from a mile. Once the leaves fall, you will be glad you chose a tree that looks like more than a bunch of sticks.

  1. Paper Bush

Looking for a burst of bright colors? The Paper Bush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) is your go-to plant choice. With clusters of yellow or orange flowers resembling miniature showerheads dangling from the naked limbs of the Paper Bush, it can live through the toughest winter months.

  1. Winter Daphne

One of our favorite foundation plants, it looks good all four seasons. However, late winter is when it earns its spot in our landscape designs. Fragrant blooms cover they appear in February (or even earlier), letting you know that spring is coming.

How are you decorating your yard this festive period? Show your yard the same decor-love as your home by creating a Winter wonderland in your yard or garden. It’s not that difficult. Here’s how.

 

Winter Garden Wonderland Color

Colors put the “Wonder” in Wonderland. Even though it’s winter, your Wonderland can be made colorful with flowers. Flowers like the Winter Camelia, Pansies, and Helleberos can withstand the cold temperature and add a burst of color against the stark white snowy background.

 

Also, attracting birds like the Robin redbreast can add color to your winter wonderland, as well as melody. You may also build a fire pit to illuminate your yard and provide heat, so you can comfortably spend time in your winter wonderland yard.

 

Winter Garden Wonderland Scent

Bring the smell of the festivity beyond the insides of your house to your yard with sweet-scenting plants. A perfect choice is Sarcococca, an evergreen shrub known as the sweet box, which produces a fragrant honey scent during the winter.

 

Other plants to grow in your wonderland winter yard are witch Hazel and winter honeysuckle. Witch Hazel yellow flowers emit a lovely licorice scent. Winter honeysuckle also produces a lemony fresh scent.

 

Winter Garden Wonderland Decor

Decorating your winter wonderland will bring the magic of the festive season to life in your yard. Create a stunning visual with fairy lights, and lanterns hung on fir trees and draped on your decks and sheds.

 

You can also tie festive ribbons on trees and hang wreathed around your yard. Other decor ideas to help create an attractive Christmas or festive theme include building a snowman or Santa clause and setting up a Christmas tree.

 

With these tips, you can create a Winter wonderland to bring the magic of the season to your yard.   If you need help creating your Winter wonderland yard, reach out to us at Levy’s Lawn & Landscaping.