A GROWING CONCERN: Trip to Europe underscores Peninsula’s fantastic gardening climate

HAVING RETURNED FROM a fabulous vacation with my charming wife and eldest son, Spencer, this World War II-themed trip through central Europe went extremely well despite the convoluted maze which is the EU’s wayfinder street sign system.

Through heated discussions between the pilot (me) and the very apt navigator (my wife), her skills always found us the intended destination — even at 2:48 a.m.

Yet among all the historical and significant sites and locations we visited, it was obvious as while crossing the Hood Canal Bridge on our way back home why we choose to live on the North Olympic Peninsula.

It is a gorgeous place climatically and geographically with outstandingly friendly people as well.

And in addition to the historic buildings in France and Germany, their world-famous art, renown scholars, theologians and kings with their architecturally famous universities, museums, churches and castles, flowers were planted everywhere.

And that really is because here, there and everywhere, everyone enjoys gardening.

Horticulture has universal appeal that is free from the slices of demographics.

So consequently, the most famous places in the world still go out of their way with great thought and planning to adorn the surrounding areas with ornamental plantings.

This is the easiest and simplest, most cost-effective way to improve ourselves, our property, our attitudes and the Peninsula.

First, never forget that our weather is the key!

We have it over almost everyone (including Europe) because of our mild weather being never too cold or too hot.

If you plant it, it will grow.

Next, I have always maintained it is not that I am so good at flowers, it is just that my competition is so poor.

This is so true of horticulture in America.

We as a whole do flowers and landscaping so poorly as compared with the rest of the world.

But we have dahlias in Forks, the lavender in Sequim, the beautiful parks in Port Townsend and the fabulous planters in Port Angeles.

So with little domestic competition and armed with the world’s best horticultural weather, why not embrace an avenue that all people from all walks of life and from all four corners of the planet will embrace?

The Andrew May 5-Step Plan to Good Gardening will bring you inner peace and world recognition.

• Bulbs

Buy and plant bulbs.

Our weather is perfect and is best for bulbs over any other category of plant.

Bulbs colonize, are hardy, perennial and can be found from Jan. 1 through the summer blooming cycles.

• Have a container

Baskets, pots, flower boxes, planters and the likes are always the sizzle on any garden steak.

Our cool evenings give us a once-in-an-area opportunity to do them better than anyplace else.

• Dahlias

They are so easy and so fantastic for August, September, October and November.

Dahlias are ideal cut flowers that get more prolific each day they are alive.

Absolutely start a collection from miniatures to flowers more than 12 inches in diameter.

• Fall foliage

Just keep planting bushes, trees and shrubs every year with fall foliage colors in mind.

Mix early later and mid season varieties and sprinkle in a few violas, pansies, kale, cabbage and grasses for an autumn botanical garden.

• Let the light shine

We do darkness so well here in November, December and January.

Get the creative juices going and use your ornamental yard to display light sculptures made out of Christmas lights.

Lights change and uplift all moods, and the Europeans oohed and awed over any photos of the Olympic Peninsula light sculptures from past Decembers. So light up the darkness.

That’s it — 5 easy steps for 365 days of delight and bedazzlement sure to at make your our area Flower Peninsula USA.


Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily news, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or e-mail [email protected] dailynews.com (subject line: Andrew May).

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