Thursday, June 18, 2015

roost has a new web site

See examples of Roost work, credentials and more at my new web site: 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Love the ones you're with

What's the big deal with native plants? I confess that I once thought natives were boring and rangy-looking, then I followed Van Bobbitt through local forests, wetlands, parks and neighborhoods to meet them personally. 
Van teaches landscape horticulture at South Seattle College. He is a sage of living things who can identify hundreds of plants and trees and show why we need them. He would tell you many good reasons for growing natives: they are adapted to our growing conditions; they promote biodiversity and support local wildlife, and generally need less maintenance.

But I was surprised to discover their beautiful variety. Many are fruit producers with handsome foliage, including huckle-, salmon-, thimble-, elder-, straw-, crow- and blackberries. Our native ninebark has the same flower clusters and strippy bark as the cultivars. Many have delicate blooms, wonderful fragrance or flaming fall color. 
They are successful, they are here, and I'm planting them.

Friday, March 21, 2014

design with birds in mind

One bird-lover's garden is planted with heat-tolerant flowering shrubs that offer fall color and 
winter berries. Bright conifers provide cover and nesting in all seasons, and a basalt water feature 
creates a shallow spill, accessible and safe for birds to use. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

we make a difference

The July issue of Audubon magazine features a real eye-opener: ‘Food Network’ makes an even stronger case for bird-friendly yards, which compensate mightily for habitat loss, especially if we include native plants.

Doug Tallamy, professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, observed the activity of birds and their mainstay—insects—on a property overtaken with non-native plants. The insects passed up the exotics in favor of natives, which suggested that cultivars support fewer insects and therefore, fewer birds, than the native plants.

He researched this phenomenon, and found that 96% of our North American birds raise their young on insects. The plant natives / insects / birds connection was undeniable, and he wrote the book Bringing Nature Home as a call to action. He writes,

For the first time in its history, gardening has taken on a role that transcends the needs of the gardener … It is now within the power of individual gardeners to do something that we all dream of doing: to make a difference. In this case, the ‘difference’ will be to the future of the native plants and animals of North America, and the ecosystems that sustain them.

We can make a measurable difference almost immediately by planting a native nearby. A healthy yard is not really a ‘yard’ at all. It’s a habitat, a sanctuary for wildlife and for you and your family.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Miscanthus sinensis 'Rigoletto'

Miscanthus sinensis 'Rigoletto'
Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto offers a plum role for tenors: Rigoletto is a jester in the court of the Duke of Mantua, and he has dished out deluxe insults in a long career. When karma calls, he loses his beloved daughter to an act of revenge.

My Rigoletto is just maiden grass, but it’s likewise showy and bright. Its fall foliage is opera bling in every Italian stripe, asserting dramatic ivory-toned highlights and even bearing tassel-like scepters on stalks.

At about 4 feet, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Rigoletto’ is tidier than its taller cousins, with less inclination to flop in late season. The tassels mature into silvery white plumes that last well into the winter, providing great inspiration for jesters everywhere.