Skip to content

It’s Pond Clean-up Weather

We had an abnormally warm and pleasant weekend — in the high 50°s. Which is practically unheard of for this time of year. It was the perfect winter weather for cleaning/weeding the pond.

Here’s the pond last summer — hidden under the grass in the lower right.


As you can see, it’s a small pond that’s been taken over by an invasive grass. We had no idea how bad it was until we drained the pond and started tugging away at weeds – some sections were over a foot deep. Yikes. Here’s the ‘in progress’ picture.


It took most of the day but it’s done — we are a concerned the grass will come back. We plan to toss the grass debris in the garbage instead of composting (I’m not taking any chances). It’s the tiny and hidden roots we’re worried about spreading again. One thought is leaving the pond dry all summer to dry up any remaining roots.

I’d prefer we fill up the pond and enjoy it. Then hand pull any new grass starts that pop-up. I’m not sure what kind of grass it is. Anyone have similar experience? Thoughts?


Thanks for your help!

NW Flower & Garden Show

The NW Flower and Garden show (in Seattle) opened yesterday and runs though the weekend. I made my annual trek to see the gardens and do a little shopping. I took a couple pictures of my favorite gardens to share.

I’ll start with McAuliffe’s Nursery. It’s somewhat close to my house and I’ve visited it often. It’s a great nursery.

A couple things I liked about their demo garden:

• they had the best plant tags. Cuts of wood painted w/ chalk paint.

• their potting bench made from salvage materials was inspiring

• I really enjoyed their plant choices and colors


The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) demo garden had my favorite plant combos. Here are a couple other things that caught my eye:

• they had a classic water feature that complimented the rest of the design

• they used a variety of plant colors and textures that I can use at home


West Seattle Nursery was also a favorite with their catchy “Birds do it…Bees do it…” garden theme. Also a great Billie Holiday song. Why I liked it:

• gave habitat ideas for birds and insects

• vibrant colors and fun plant combinations

• unique bird feeders


And the last garden I want to share was designed by Adam Gorski Landscape Inc. I liked the elegance and simplicity of this garden.

• cork plant tags – what a great idea

• large stone columns & fountain

• wine barrel chairs

• green & burgundy plants


I hope you enjoyed my garden show teaser. If you want to see more you’ll just have to visit the show.

Spring Fever

Not only is my “Jelena” Witch Hazel blooming, but the NW Flower and Garden show starts on WEDNESDAY. I can hardly wait.


I’m Baaack!!

It’s been awhile. I apologize. Life got in the way. A lot has happened since February so I’ll try to sum it up for you. 

  • I met someone amazing who fills my heart with joy and laughter. 
  • Licorice (my sweet hen) was eaten by a opossum – the opossum mysteriously disappeared. 
  • My remaining two old biddy hens and rooster are on insect and fertilizer duty. They’re locked up in the coop more than I like but it’s better than being eaten. I don’t get any eggs. 
  • I broke my leg playing soccer in early August and lost half my summer. I started walking again in late October. I got very little gardening done this year between the first bullet and this one (and the sea kayaking course I took with the Mountaineers). 


  • I’m moving! I plan to rent out my house to someone who enjoys gardening. Yes, I realize this is wishful thinking.  

That being said, I have a lot of garden chores I need to get done to prepare for the move. I need to root prune trees and bushes moving with me. I need to prepare and design my new garden space for plants being moved. And I need to decide which perennials move with me. I’m a little worried about renting out my garden so plan to take all the special plants along with me. Most are ready to be divided anyway. If you have advice on how to successfully rent out a garden, let me know. 

I’m excited about the move. I get to live with the man of my dreams and I get more garden space. Someone should really pinch me. The garden already has a great foundation of mature plants, a deck, a waterfall/pond and a fenced veggie garden. Since I’m a little bit ‘anti-lawn,’ I’ll probably start by killing some of the lawn to make a little more garden space. I like to use leaves and cover with wet cardboard and fine mulch to kill grass. It works great and creates a happy winter home for the worms. I’ll get this going in the next couple weeks. 

I also need to get going on building a new chicken coop. I was looking through my friend Jessi Bloom’s ‘Free-Range Chicken Gardens’ book this morning for inspiration. I haven’t quite decided where it’s going to live or the style of coop. We get a lot of rain so I’ll probably have a covered run and warm shed-like hen house. Then in spring I’ll get some chicks with the goal of getting fresh eggs again. I was thinking of getting French Marans for their dark brown eggs and Ameraucanas for their light blue eggs. Both breeds are hard to find.   

I also need to get my garlic planted ASAP! I’m already a month or so late. 

Lots to do! We’ll chat again soon. 

I Almost Killed My Chickens Last Night

And when I say ‘me,’ I really mean the two opossum (pronounced possum) that scared them out of the coop and scattered them around my dark yard at 3 a.m.. They will kill and eat chickens. The reason I say it’s my fault is because I haven’t been shutting the coop door at night. I mostly leave the door open so I don’t have to wear my heels through the garden to open the door in the morning (when I leave for work). How selfish.

The good news is that everyone is safe and alive. Plus, I found that my dog is amazing at locating and herding lost chickens in the dark. It’s really a funny story now that I think about it.

The Players:

Here’s how it went down.

I was awoken at 3 a.m. by the sound of my chickens squawking and flapping around in the chicken coop. I got up, flipped on the porch light and ran outside using my bedroom’s exterior sliding door.  I have a large dowel as a secondary lock for the door and that became my weapon. Keep in mind that I jumped out of bed so I’m doing all this while wearing __________. (I’ll let you use your imagination.)

I first assessed the chicken coop. There was a small opossum in the coop and Licorice was still in her little condo. I locked Licorice, my black silkie hen, in her condo to keep her safe and used the hose to scare the opossum out of the coop. I would like to point out that it was super handy to have the hose hooked up, turned on and ready to go – winterizing hoses is highly overrated. At this point I didn’t realize there was a much larger opossum out in the garden with my three other chickens.

Once I got the little guy out of the coop and got some shoes on, I went searching for the other chickens. I found Buttercup right away since he’s easy to spot – he’s my white silkie rooster. He was in the back part of the garden by the garage. His stance was very defensive and I didn’t realize why until I saw the BIG opossum just a couple feet from him. This is when the dowel became useful. I smacked the side of the wood raised bed next to the opossum (I still couldn’t hit it) until it waddled off. I grabbed Buttercup and put him back in the coop.

This is where it gets funny and Welly becomes useful. I can’t say I’m fan of wrangling chickens in the dark with predators milling about. Those of you with chickens can probably relate. Fortunately, I found Henny Penny pretty quick. She was in the path of the waddling creature so I reached down to pick her up… and she took off. Welly and I chased her around the yard for a couple minutes until we finally cornered her and I got her in the coop.

Hazel was near impossible to find. She’s my partridge silkie (speckled browns/black) and she huddles tight to the ground. What’s unnerving is that I found her inches from where I scared off the big opossum when I grabbed Buttercup. She was even harder to catch. This is when I realized how hard it is to touch a lump on the ground – in the dark – to see if it’s your chicken – to pick it up.  It would’ve been much easier if I’d gone inside to get a head lamp but I didn’t want to leave the garden.

Welly must have noticed I was having issues since he started showing me where she was hiding. What a smart precious dog.

What Hazel would do is run squawking to a part of the yard and then hug the ground for invisibility. Welly would find her and bark for me. Then, I’d get super close to grab her and she’d run off again. Repeat. At one point I had the brilliant idea to throw one of my new large French laundry baskets over her (the ones I bought to keep the chickens out of the vegetable garden) and she flew through the gap in the wire instantly. Great. At least they look good?

Finally, Welly alerted me to her new location in the front yard and I was able to grab her before she ran off again. I closed the coop door and was grateful I was home when it happened and it wasn’t a work night. From now on I close the door every night.

My chickens still haven’t left the coop this morning. I’m not sure who traumatized them more, me or the opossums.