Gardening where the sidewalk ends

SAGBUTT III: The Zombie’s Revenge April 24, 2009

Filed under: bloggers' gathering — greenwalks @ 6:09 pm
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A small but friendly crew gathered this past Sunday at the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle to yak about gardening, blogging, weather, weeds, seedlings and much more. Our genial hosts, Curmudgeon and Wingnut of Weed Whackin’ Wenches, brought homemade rhubarb bars from their freshly harvested fruit and provided us with a perfect space to meet and a very relevant view out the window of  Seattle Tilth’s leaf mulch bins. They have already got a lot of stuff going in their potager (they can use that word without sounding sniffy because Curmudgeon speaks fluent French), some under cloches that are keeping the cool nights and critters at bay.

We welcomed a new member, Devon, who is a fairly recent transplant to Seattle but seems to have already put her garden into high food-production gear. She is thinking of starting a blog to document her progress – I hope she does, as I’d love to hear more about her huge variety of edibles from loads of peas to plums, hardy kiwis, cherries, peaches and blueberries.

Paula from Petunia’s Garden spoke of all her happy little seed starts and brought more pumpkin seeds to share, including mine that I’d forgotten at the previous meeting. Thanks, Paula! I’m sure she will have a great time this summer when all of her broccoli, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, lettuces and other wonders are ready to harvest.

Another new member – Dakota. I completely forgot to take pictures during the meeting, so if you want to see what she looks like, you can click here. She was the quietest one of the bunch and didn’t seem to want to share her seed-starting or other garden secrets, although she is reputed to be perfectly well-behaved in the garden and also keeps it squirrel-free. I sincerely hope she recovers soon from her painful leg problem!

Every time I go to one of these get-togethers, I learn so much and also enjoy absorbing terms I’ve never heard before. This time around, it was new to me that carrot rust fly supposedly can’t fly higher than a foot off the ground, so planting carrots in tall containers might keep them pest-free. I also heard about a new potting soil that I want to try from Gardner & Bloome called Blue Ribbon. New terms: Bush Hog (turns out it’s a brand, Paula’s husband’s friend bought some kind of ground cutter off of Craigslist, super macho power mower deal), mountain beavers (large rodents who are actually not beavers at all, see this Seattle Times article for more info, they sound a little scary), and “zombie rhododendrons” (rhodie plants that are hacked down but sprout back unkillably from the stump – the inspiration for this post’s title).

It was a little hard to take that the sun was shining and it was perfect gardening weather while we were indoors, just talking about gardening… luckily, most people had time for a walk in the surrounding gardens after our mini plant swap (I brought inexpertly potted sarcococca and Devon came with a wayward strawberry and some happy little sedums which she’d pulled out of a crack in the rockery. I got to claim two of the latter, although I have yet to plant them – here’s what they look like.)

Two Little Sedums

After the meeting, I went off to meet my family in the park but as we were leaving we bumped into the Wenches, who were still enjoying the Tilth gardens and soaking up some sun and photographing bees. I didn’t have a lot of time to stay and look at plants, but took a few quick snaps on the way to the car. I have a giant batch of Tilth photos from earlier in the spring, but I can’t find them at the moment. Maybe next winter, when I have nothing to do in the garden, I’ll happen upon them and put up another post.

Brush pile in a cage construction, beautiful detrius:

Layered Brush Pile Cage

Mauve-flowering akebia, ready to take over the universe:

Purple-Flowering Akebia Vine

Colorful coffee bean sacks like the ones Paula brought us in February, used as a weed barrier:

Coffee Bean Sack Weed Barrier

Fruit tree trained into sculptural form:

Sculptural Fruit Tree

Our next meeting is slated for Sunday, May 17 and we need someone to step up to plan and host. I’d volunteer, but am putting on a crazy princess birthday tea party for my daughter the day before and one gathering per weekend is about my max as far as planning goes! Is anyone up for it? Or should we try for June and just spend that day in our gardens?


SAGBUTT II: The Bloggers Return March 16, 2009

Filed under: bloggers' gathering — greenwalks @ 9:17 am
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Does this sound like the title of a bad horror movie sequel? (Really, is there any other kind of horror movie sequel?) Maybe so, but it’s also the follow-up to our fun initial meeting of Seattle-Area Garden Bloggers United to Talk!

This time around, Paula of Petunia’s Garden graciously organized a spot for an afternoon of yakking, snacking, and seed-swapping, along with a special International guest blogger, Matron of Down On The Allottment from the UK. Please see Paula’s post here for all the info, and feel free to leave an RSVP so she has a vague idea of how many folks might be there.

If you live within driving distance and have a garden blog (or if you’re even just considering starting one), please join us. It’s a great group of people and I think we all came away last time, or at least I did, with new knowledge, fun connections, and even some great swag (black pussy willows and jute coffee bags).

Don’t be shy, come on along. And if you’re too far out of range to attend, you can always plan a visit to Seattle for one of our future meet-ups and be our next honored guest!

March SAGBUTT Meeting

Sunday, March 22: 1-3:30pm

Bellevue Regional Library, 1111 110th Avenue NE, Bellevue, map and directions here

Seed envelopes and snacks provided – bring seeds to exchange and topics to discuss

Pre-Meeting Volunteer Opportunity

Sunday, March 22: begins at 10am

Bellevue Botanical Garden 12001 Main St, Bellevue

Help pot up and prepare plants from the Border for the Spring Plant Sale. Opportunities for all skill levels and abilities, including labeling, etc. Lunch will be provided. For questions or to let them know you will attend, contact George Lasch at

(“Picking worms from plants, Belmont girls farm LOC” – uncopyrighted image from the Library of Congress, courtesy of Flickr Commons)


We’re On! January 5, 2009

Filed under: meetings — greenwalks @ 1:12 pm
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OK folks, thanks to everyone who replied with comments and suggestions for the first-ever Seattle garden bloggers’ get-together. I think we have enough folks to make it worthwhile, so I called the Miller Library at the Center for Urban Horticulture and reserved their conference room. Here are all the details:

When: Saturday, February 7, 12:30-2:30pm
Where: Conference Room, Elisabeth C. Miller Library, UW Center for Urban Horticulture, Merrill Hall, Room 102, 3501 NE 41st Street,
Seattle, Washington 98195

Getting there: Click here for the address and directions from the library’s site

What: A chance to meet face to face with others who blog about gardening in the Seattle area. If it’s fun, we can make it a regular thing with field trips, parties, a listserv to coordinate it all centrally – whatever people want!

Bring: Just yourselves. I will try to put together a little something to snack upon while we’re talking.

If you have suggestions for what we should talk about, please leave a comment or just bring your ideas along. I wasn’t thinking that this would be very formal – just a chance to introduce everyone around and talk about gardening, blogging, and, um, blogging about gardening! The library is open from 9-3 that day, so if you want to register to be a borrower or just marvel at their array of hundreds of seed and garden catalogs, feel free to come early. Although the library closes at 3pm, the gardens are open anytime, so we could potentially end the meeting with a stroll around to look at what looks good now and can survive what so far has been an unusually extreme winter!

So far, the wonderful, varied  list of probable attendees includes these brave souls:

– Curmudgeon and WingNut of Weed Whackin’ Wenches

– Aerie-el from Gardener’s Roost

– Paula from Petunia’s Garden

– Melanthia from Garden Muse

– David from David Perry Photography

– Molly of Life on Tiger Mountain

– Lorene from Planted at Home

– and, well, me, your temporary hostess, Karen from Greenwalks

We also might be able to rope in the Cheap Vegetable Gardener, and eventually Jean from Pill Bug’s Point of View if we make it a fiesta next time.

If you can think of anyone else who might enjoy this, feel free to pass along this link. I also invited the Shibaguyz, Willi from DigginFood, and the GardenHelp gal, but haven’t heard anything yet. I think the conference room fits 15 or more, so we have room for more folks. If you know someone who hasn’t started a garden blog yet but is thinking about it, they can come on along too! Look forward to seeing the real humans behind all the great words and pics I’ve been enjoying these past few months.

If you don’t live in the Seattle area, I still encourage you to check out these blogs, as they are some of my favorites and really span a huge range of focus and interest within the general frame of garden blogging.

That’s all for now! If there are any changes or updates, I’ll post them here. Maybe it would be a good idea to check back on the morning of the event to make sure it’s still on – they did say the boardroom could be taken over if they have some kind of emergency meeting need.

Here’s another example of a face-to-face meet-up:


(Image by Randy Son of Robert, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons)

PS I was glad I wasn’t asked for an organization name to reserve the room, or I would have had to get creative on the spot. I don’t really like Associations, Societies, Clubs, Crews, Mafias, or Round-ups too much, all have negative connotations to me. I was thinking Seattle Area Garden Bloggers United to Talk (SAGBUTT) but it seemed a little too close to home after all that holiday eating… any suggestions?


Seattle Area Garden Bloggers Meet-up? January 2, 2009

Filed under: meetings — greenwalks @ 5:17 pm
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I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be fun to get together with the actual humans behind the Seattle-area gardening blogs I’ve been reading and enjoying so much in the past few months. It seems like folks in other areas (Austin, TX comes to mind) have done this, so it’s certainly not an original idea, but since it’s winter and we can’t do all that much actual gardening at the moment, maybe we could at least meet up and talk about gardening, blogging, planning for next summer, or whatever people wanted to discuss.

If this ends up happening and we decide to do it again, maybe we could pick a monthly meeting date and people could take turns “hosting.” I’m probably getting ahead of myself here, but I thought maybe the host could bring something to nosh on that either comes from their garden or is at least vaguely related (I could make thyme scones if any of my thyme survived the freeze – keep forgetting to check!). Or we could try for a field trip someday, to the Bloedel Reserve maybe or Kubota Gardens or elsewhere. We could also discuss gardening books we’ve been reading lately that have sparked our interest, or ??? Your ideas are most welcome! I’m not much of an organizer by nature but just thought I’d throw this out and see if anyone was interested.

I thought that we could try for our first meeting either the last weekend in January or the first in February, and that it might be interesting to meet at the Miller Library at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture. They have free meeting space, which I’d be happy to reserve if there’s any interest.


If it seems like something you’d enjoy, feel free to either comment here or to email me at

PS I certainly don’t mean to exclude anyone outside the Seattle area – if you live further afield but would be up for the journey, please let me know!!!

(Image courtesy of the UW Center for Urban Horticulture site)