Perinneals Pacific Northwest

With the sunny summer months gone, and September rolling in, several flowers in your garden will stop blooming and leave your garden looking dreary. Wouldn’t it be great if you could find beautiful plants that will bloom beautifully in the September weather of the Pacific Northwest? Well, we’ve put together a list of flowers and shrubs you can grow this September to keep your garden looking bright and colorful throughout the fall season.

  • Salvia Patens If you’re looking for a way to turn your garden into a scenic blue space this fall, then this plant is the solution. Also known as Gentian Sage, this elegant plant flaunts the deepest blue colored flowers with erect tubes that keeps shining throughout the fall season.
  • Monarda Also known as Bee Balm, this brightly-colored flower gives off an eye-catching display when planted massively. It consists of tubular flowers rooted in globular ends, and it can grow up to a height of about 30cm -120cm. It also has an enticing scent that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, which can help with pollination.
  • Japanese Maple Tree – This plant is available in a variety of species that gives your garden landscape a whole new look. With vibrant leaf colors ranging from blood red and crimson to pink and golden yellow, the Japanese maple tree is one shrub you can’t fail to plant this September.
  • Red Valerian This well-branched plant is also known as Centranthus Ruber, and is often grown for its fragrance and ornamental features. It attracts butterflies and is somewhat pest-free. Red Valerian is easy to grow and blooms right from early summer to the fall season.
  • Helenium Also called Sneezeweed; this plant is one of the best flowers to consider this September. When other perennials start to fade, Helenium springs up and splashes its brilliant yellow, mahogany, and brown colors to brighten your garden for many weeks.

These elegant plants are some of the best choices of many gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, especially in Seattle and Washington, and you should consider planting them this September. If you would like these flowers and shrubs professionally planted or need more choices to grow this September in the Pacific Northwest, Contact Levys Lawn & Landscape Today!

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re blessed with an abundance of rainfall. Seattle, alone, averages 37 inches of rain, just 2 inches below the National average. We do get our dry months, however. Many Northwesterners prefer to let their lawn go when the sun shines, knowing it will be back as soon as the rains resume. In fact, letting it go dormant can be healthier than repeatedly rescuing it from disaster. The leaves might turn brown, but the parts undergrounds stay alive for months.

However, if you’re the kind of person who likes to keep your lawn lush and green, here are a few tips and suggestions:

  • Promote root growth by watering your lawn deeply. Let it dry somewhat before the next watering. A good guideline to follow is to water 1–1.5 inches (2.5–3.25 cm) of water per week during the growing season, an increase it to 2 inches (5cm) during hot, dry weather.
  • Choose the proper time to water. Late in the evening and early in the morning will reduce evaporation from the midday sun.
  • How much sprinkler time yields 1-2 inches, you might be asking yourself? To find out, place open containers around your yard. Turn on the sprinklers for 20 minutes, allowing the containers to catch the water. Measure the depth of water in each container. Multiply the average depth by three to find the inches per hour.
  • Make sure to mow at the highest setting. Maintaining taller grass helps shade the ground. This, in turn, blocks weed sprouts and promotes beneficial microbes. Letting the grass grow taller also allows your lawn to focus on root growth, which adds disease resistance.
  • Don’t bag your lawn clippings. Leave the grass clippings on the lawn after mowing to return the nutrients to your lawn.
  • Mow in a different direction or pattern than your last mow to help the grass grow more evenly.
  • Select the proper fertilizer. Ideally, you’ll want a mixture of 30–50% slow-release fertilizer and 70–50% fast release fertilizer. This gives the lawn an instant boost, but still slowly adds more nutrients over the next few weeks.
  • Organic fertilizers are preferred over synthetic fertilizers, since they improve soil health as well.
  • In the spring or fall, make sure to aerate your lawn. (link to article on Levys)

Following these easy tips will keep your lawn in good health, providing a soothing place to relax during the summer, a great space for entertaining, or a sturdy, soft environment for the kids to play on.

If you need help with lawn care, planting a new lawn or establishing sod, adding a sprinkler system, give us a call at (360) 876-6567.

Vintage tin buckets filled with spring flowers in the garden

Most of us have an abundance of “stuff” around the house—things we no longer want or use. Before tossing these discarded items in the bed of a truck and hauling them off to be used as landfill, maybe you can take a second look—they might be used as planters for your yard and garden. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Your old canary, Petey, is long gone. What to do with his birdcage? Simply remove the top, line it with sheet moss from the garden store, and plant trailing plants, like fuchsias, or plants that sprawl, like petunias, lobelia, or calibrachoa. Replace the top and set it outside in your window planter or on the deck.
  • After a major bathroom remodel, what to do with your old clawfoot bathtub? Have the guys haul it to the garden, fill it with dirt, and plant a variety of plants inside and around it.
  • What about that old metal colander? Spray paint it, affix lightweight chains from the hardware store to three sides, and add a swivel connecter at the top to hold the chains together. Line it with moss purchased at your garden supply store, add dirt, plant petunias, and voila! You have a lovely hanging planter.
  • An old tea kettle with a few holes drilled in the bottom, makes a lovely container for herbs.
  • Take that old watering can you found in the garage and fill it with thyme or oregano.

Get creative with your unusable items. You might give them a second chance with lovely appeal, placed throughout your yard.

The deck is built, the outdoor chairs and tables have been set out for use…now what? Why not plant an edible garden?

Landscaping with vegetables and herbs is a fun and time-honored tradition. Herb gardens have adorned many a backyard, from village to the royal court.

In earlier times, herbs took on religious significance, and were credited with providing protection from evil spirits, ghosts, and even the devil. Medieval Europeans assumed all plants to have some medicinal value. In the middle ages, plans for St. Gall, a Benedictine monastery, included a large, rectangular kitchen garden with 18 beds of vegetables and potherbs and a smaller square garden with 16 beds of medicinal herbs. 15th century rural manors and townhouses often contained small square or rectangular beds arranged in a simple grid pattern in their yards.

During the Renaissance, garden makers went beyond simple grid-layout of the medieval garden, organizing the squares and rectangles into more complex patterns. According to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, “the knot, with its decorative interlacing bands of clipped herbs, became a feature of the pleasure garden. A geometric design within a square, rectangle, or circle was drawn on the ground, and each figure in the pattern was planted out with a single herb, closely clipped to maintain the design.”

Herb gardens were an important feature of pioneer homes. Placed in sunny corners near the house, they were readily available to the householders. As the population of America grew, herbs were carried aboard the ships heading for their new home. In the 18th and 19th centuries, farmers and householders usually combined vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers in a single garden.

Whether your yard is large or small, an apartment or a teeming ranch, an edible garden can add beauty and value to your home. You don’t need lots of space to plant your garden. Even containers on the back porch will do.

Here are a few of our favorite plants to add to your edible garden:

  • Gourmet Greens: Plant mixed rows of various colors and types of lettuces and greens such as arugula and kale as an outstanding border in your yard, in containers on the back deck, or in window boxes. When ready to harvest, simply snip a few leaves, leaving the rest of the plant to grow.
  • Huckleberry: A hardy 4’ evergreen, perfect for shady conditions, the huckleberries produce bright blue berries, perfect for jams, cakes and ice cream.
  • Tomatoes: Plant cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets, along a trellis, or supported by a tomato cage in your garden.
  • Beans: Sow beans directly into your planting bed or container (transplants don’t do well). Make sure to train them up a trellis or tower.
  • Herbs: Herbs make a fantastic addition to your container garden, or, interspersed throughout the garden. Thyme, basil, oregano, mint and dill are all cooking favorites.
  • Oregon Grape: The Oregon grape yields tart berries in the fall, perfect for making jams and jellies.

There are many other herbs and vegetables you can add to your garden. Our suggestions are simply a start. Have fun planting!

wedding decor, wedding landscaping levys lawns and landscaping

Any bride or groom will tell you—finding the perfect spot for your nuptials can be a challenge. Rather than search the universe for the best place, why not transform your yard?

Here at Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping, we can help you create the wedding setting of your dreams. Here are a few ideas:

  • Turn a ho-hum concrete wall into a stunning structure with patterned stones. The overall effect will wow you.
  • Transform those blocky wooden steps and faded wood deck into smooth stone and tile stairs, leading to a stone-tiled deck. Stone and tile lasts for years and doesn’t discolor.
  • Create an outdoor BBQ/cooking area against the side of the deck. Add a cedar awning over the area to protect from weather. Your guests can gather and mingle around the BBQ, sipping their favorite libations.
  • Build a walkway throughout the yard using slate stones. Imagine a stone pathway winding through your yard. Or, a trail of pavers. For a very low maintenance yard we recommend a hardscape.  This can consist of flat stone or paver pathways or patios, rock gardens, fire pits, and a combination of raised garden beds or wood structures such as arbors and pergola’s within the hardscape.  Let us design a jaw dropping landscape that will impress your guests and take no time at all to maintain.
  • A fountain or waterfall can provide an elegant backdrop for wedding pictures. Nothing wows your guests like a gorgeous water feature, pond or water garden that is the central theme of your landscape.  Waterfalls and water gardens provide a lovely aesthetic, as well as a rippling water sound that blocks out all manner of unwanted noise created by traffic or noisy neighbors.
  • Build a privacy screen. We can take a highly visible space and turn it into a private oasis by utilizing various kinds of walls and barriers from Stone, wood, trees, plants, and shrubs.  This is particularly important when in a tight neighborhood where many houses can see each other’s backyard.  By the time we finish with your yard you’ll feel like you have your own private island.  As trees and shrubs grow they provide further shade barriers and privacy screen fencing.

Give us a call if you’d like to discuss ideas for creating the perfect backdrop for your or your son’s or daughter’s weddings. Todd Levenseller, the owner of Levy’s Lawns and Landscaping, LLC has been landscaping and designing for over 30 years. Todd has a truly artistic eye for a beautiful landscape and garden design and you will not be disappointed in his design work. With enough planning, you can have a wonderful area to host the event, leaving you with lasting memories and a yard to cherish.

Record temperatures have rocked the Pacific Northwest in 2017, turning yards into deserts, and forcing some inside. Here are a few tips to help your yard and you thrive during heat waves.

  • If you spend time outdoors, tending to your garden, make sure to take frequent breaks out of the sun. Wear light-colored clothing. And, stay hydrated, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • If you’re used to watering every 2-3 days, during these wicked heat waves, water daily.
  • Give your lawn a boost with an extra 20-30 minute watering during the day. We know you’ve heard it’s not a good idea to water in the heat of midday, but watering during the day will allow the evaporation process to wick the heat off the blades of grass, cooling them down (similar to the way we perspire).
  • If you haven’t already done so, now might be the time to install a good sprinkler system throughout your yard to manage and regulate waters use and costs. Give us a call if you would like an estimate. Watering your lawn regularly will help it stay weed and pest resistant, and provide a cool oasis to your back yard.

So far, in 2017, wildfires in British Columbia, Canada, Portland, Oregon and Northern & Eastern Washington have left a sooty, smoky calling card in the air over the Pacific Northwest. The recent 10,000-acre wildfire in Eagle Creek, said to have been started by teenagers and their fireworks, has sprinkled ash over many parts of Seattle, the Kitsap peninsula, Bainbridge and beyond. British Columbia’s 1,213,287-acre fires darkened the Pacific Northwest skies for days. Children and elderly are urged to stay indoors to avoid the respiratory onslaught.

You might wonder how this sudden dump of ash might affect your garden. The good news is that it might be more beneficial than harmful. On an elementary level, the ash is nothing more than organic matter suspended in the air, consisting of most of the basic nutrients plants require.  When that ash coats your yards, gardens and fields it’s taken up by plants in the form of nutrients, including, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium. In the small quantities, your yard might be subjected to, this ash can be beneficial and act as a fertilizer.

People who live closer to the actual burn zone will receive the ash in greater proportions. As a result, they may experience effects consistent with what looks like an over application of nutrients. Additionally, unwelcome chemicals from the burning of other man-made materials could have been released into the air.

The smoky haze obscuring the sky could act as cloud cover and protect your crop or garden plants from harsh temperatures, and the direct impact of the UV rays from the sun.

Chances are good that your yard will suffer no permanent damage from these wildfires. If you do notice some damage, this area is resilient enough to recover in a short amount of time.

Do you have an area in your yard that’s subject to water retention, mud or swamp-like conditions? How about installing a rain garden? Rain gardens collect runoff from the roof, your dry creek bed feature, the sidewalk, patio or deck. The shallow depression of the rain garden, in combination with the plants you’ve added, allow the water to seep back into the soil and protect pollutants from entering waterways. Additionally, they are inexpensive and attractive additions to your yard, as well as being environmentally sound solutions to urban storm-water runoff. Instead of pushing any fertilizers or pesticides into the street and subsequent waterways, these chemicals are contained and will slowly percolate into the soil. A rain garden can benefit your yard through pollution control, protection from floods, habitat creation and water conservation. Also, some counties in Washington offer up to $1000.00 in reimbursements if it is properly done and native garden products are used.

Here are a few steps to take when building your rain garden:

  1. Make sure you have an even depression or berm in your yard, located at least 10’ from your house foundation. Tamp down the soil with a shovel or your feet.
  2. There are three zones to your rain garden. Try to use native plants in your berm. The outside zone should be planted with plants that tolerate drier conditions such as the western bleeding heart, or Beech strawberry. The middle zone should contain plants that will tolerate some standing water, like the Snowberry. In the center zone, plant ferns, sedges or grasses.

You’ll end up with a pretty, easy care garden that will be a wonderful addition.

If you live in the Seattle, West Seattle, Bainbridge Island or other vicinities of the Pacific Northwest, chances are good that A) your yard might be on or contain a slope; and B) you experience abundant rainfall. We expect and appreciate the rain and the rolling hills. What none of us likes is for our garden or lawn to slowly disappear, being washed away by the rain. Not only that, rainwater can pool in the ground below the slope, leaving a swamp or muddy mess. What’s a gardener to do?

How about adding a dry creek bed to your yard?

Your dry creek bed will be used to direct water flow to another area. Make sure you are not draining it into the road, a neighbor’s yard, or another area of your yard that can’t handle the extra water. You don’t want to create more problems than you started with. You’ll need to do some planning before installing your dry creek bed. Here are a few steps to follow:

  1. Mark the edges of where you would like your dry creek bed to be. How high up do you want to start it? Where will it end? Generally, you’ll want a meandering edge to create a natural looking feature. You might need to grade your slope before building your dry creek bed. (We’ve got all the equipment needed if you don’t want to do the job yourself.)
  2. At the top of your bed, add some boulders or plants to disguise the headwater source.
  3. End the bed in another area of your yard that is sandy or can tolerate excess water. Or, you might want to end it in a pond, rain garden or other water feature. If your only choice for ending the creek bed is the street, make sure you obtain something in writing from your local public works before starting.
  4. Measure the depth and width. It doesn’t have to be the same depth and width throughout. In fact, the more irregular, the more natural looking your dry creek bed will be.
  5. If your yard is strewn with rocks and roots, you might need professional help. Give us a call if you need us to excavate. Otherwise, you can use a shovel to excavate and build mounds at the edges as you work. Tamp down the edges.
  6. After you’ve built your trench, place landscape fabric along the entire length of the creek bed. Use fabric pins or garden staples to keep it in place. You can also pour a channel or mortar, however, if you can help it, avoid the concrete mortar.
  7. Use rocks and stones of varying sizes to create a natural appeal. Add river rocks in the center of the channel. Larger rocks can be placed along the sides.
  8. If you like, add plants along the edges. You might even place a bridge over a section of the creek. Or, some garden supply stores carry stone or concrete “salmon” to place throughout the bed.

Have fun with your new dry creek bed. You’ll get lots of compliments for your hard work.

For backyard enthusiasts, gardeners, and bird watchers alike, the idea of one or more bird feeders in the back yard tends to be a welcome idea. We often picture beautiful winged beauties, like the American goldfinch or a rare sighting of a bluebird, foraging among the lovely flowers we’ve grown. Bird feeders can attract noisy jays, nuthatches, chickadees, and a host of other birds. Attracting birds to your veggie garden may help with pest control, as well. The birds can kill insects and other pests, reducing your dependence on pesticides.

Adding a variety of bird feeders can attract different kinds of birds. For instance, goldfinches prefer a mesh sock full of small seeds, while a woodpecker will be drawn to a suet feeder.

But, are bird feeders’ good for your yard and garden? Here are a few things to think about before deciding to invest in a bird feeder:

  • Rats and other rodents – where there are seeds, there are rats, mice, and other rodents ready to feast. And, where there are rodents, there’s a likelihood they can get into your house. To keep rodents away from your feeder, try using a seed tray underneath the feeder to catch the hulls and scattered seed. Sweep uneaten food from underneath the feeder. Attach a baffle to the feeder pole to prevent rodents from climbing the pole. And, make sure your house is sealed tight to prevent rodents from entering.
  • Weeds underneath the feeder – those same seeds you use to feed the birds are also seeds use to grow plants. If you don’t want unwanted plants growing in your garden, place your feeder over the patio or walkway.
  • Make sure to keep spare seed in a tightly closed container. Once a mouse finds the food, the whole rodent neighborhood will hear about it (we know this from experience – it took us months to rid the garage of mice and rats).
  • Birdseed can spoil and mold in your feeder. Mold and mildew can be fatal to birds. Keep a close eye on your feeder for signs of moldy food. If you see some, clean the feeder thoroughly with hot, soapy water before adding more food.
  • Invest in a good quality food. Processed bread, chips, donuts and cookies are not good for birds. Cheap seed like cracked corn and wheat will simply be discarded by the birds.

Have fun with your feathered friends!