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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Inspired by cats, sisters saw garden expo take root

They are three sisters and they’ve always lived in the Spokane Valley house where they grew up. They agree that their love of gardening and all things growing and green began about 18 years ago when they took in Oliver, a stray cat. Oliver had a fenced run in the backyard but not much to look at in terms of plants or wildlife. And so the planting began.

Expert shares passion for colorful gardens

Until just a few years ago plants usually came with leaves in shades of green, yellow and, once in awhile, red. We thought we were in heaven with that many choices. Then along came an amazing plant breeding magician who showed us how very wrong we were. Dan Heims has been growing unusual plants for more than 35 years, even before he finished his college career at the University of Oregon. Today he is the president and founder of Terra Nova Nurseries and the genius behind the development of the colorful heucheras and heucherellas that took the garden market by storm.

Valley tropical garden defies Zone 5 rules

From a block away I knew my visit to Jennifer and Michael Gilbert’s garden was going to be a treat. After all, when ornamental grasses and huge leaves tower above a 6-foot fence, you know this isn’t going to be your average Spokane Valley garden. Michael met me in the driveway with a shy grin that said he was a gardener who loved his garden and, thanks to the Inland Empire Gardeners, was proud to be showing it off as the August Garden of the Month winner.

Valley tropical garden defies Zone 5 rules

From a block away I knew my visit to Jennifer and Michael Gilbert’s garden was going to be a treat. After all, when ornamental grasses and huge leaves tower above a 6-foot fence, you know this isn’t going to be your average Spokane Valley garden. Michael met me in the driveway with a shy grin that said he was a gardener who loved his garden and, thanks to the Inland Empire Gardeners, was proud to be showing it off as the August Garden of the Month winner.

Friends create colorful landscape

It’s a friendship that started over a classic but dead Jaguar. Claudia Gendron and her husband had just driven it from Seattle to Spokane to deliver it to Julie Nesbitt and her husband on Five Mile Prairie. Within a block of the Nesbitts’ house, the car died. The husbands rebuilt the car and Julie and Claudia built a friendship and then a garden. Nesbitt had a passion for a beautiful garden and a very overgrown landscape while Gendron of Post Falls, had plant and landscape design knowledge and a willingness to share. Their combined efforts earned the July Garden of the Month award from the Inland Empire Gardeners.

June’s garden a natural in its rugged setting

Barbra Safranek started hauling home plants and planting them before their new house site was little more than a basalt knob with very little soil and part of a foundation on the east end of the South Hill. Five years later, Safranek’s garden is a show stopper of color, shape and interesting textures; a hidden gem that earned her the June Garden of the Month Award from the Inland Empire Gardeners.

Expect quite a show at upcoming garden tour

If you aren’t doing anything this weekend and even if you are, make some time to do the Spokane in Bloom garden tour this Saturday. The Inland Empire Gardeners have chosen “The Greatest Show on Earth” as this year’s theme, and they aren’t kidding. The six gardens in this year’s tour are in Nine Miles Fall and Colbert.

Canters turn flat backyard into a stunning oasis

It’s amazing what a little dynamite will do for a garden. Eight years ago, Donna and Stan Canter decided some of the explosives would create interesting features on their flat piece of property.

Great time to grow garden excitement

This spring has been tough on gardeners. Our chilly, wet weather has made it difficult to get gardens started and has put a damper on most gardeners’ cheerful optimism about the new growing season. The perfect cure for this is next Saturday’s Garden Expo, a free all-day event for gardeners. Put on by The Inland Empire Gardeners, it will be located in and around the Lair building at Spokane Community College.

Time has come to reassess garden goals

This was not one of our better years for growing a vegetable garden, was it? Between the slow, chilly start to our spring and the up-and-down temperatures during the summer, it was a challenge to say the least. Now that you’re putting your garden to bed for the winter, there are several important tasks to be completed:

Garden of Month honoree has a whimsical touch

Exploration is part of the art of gardening. As gardeners, we all know something about the science of growing plants; blending a plant with the right conditions. Pushing those boundaries and bending and breaking the “rules” to explore new ideas is the art of gardening. Bob Carnell does a lot of exploring in his small garden on the bluff overlooking Doomsday Hill. Disasters like losing a bunch of trees to utility pruning only served as a challenge to try something new. His efforts won him the August Garden of the Month award from the Inland Empire Gardeners.

Garden of Month honoree has a whimsical touch

Exploration is part of the art of gardening. As gardeners, we all know something about the science of growing plants; blending a plant with the right conditions. Pushing those boundaries and bending and breaking the “rules” to explore new ideas is the art of gardening. Bob Carnell does a lot of exploring in his small garden on the bluff overlooking Doomsday Hill. Disasters like losing a bunch of trees to utility pruning only served as a challenge to try something new. His efforts won him the August Garden of the Month award from the Inland Empire Gardeners.

Kaleidoscope of color offers reprieve from winter palette

This time of year, Spokane’s landscape usually has turned to shades of tan and brown. Most blooming plants have taken a hiatus with the recent heat and will come back around after it cools off. Not in Dixie and Allan LeTourneau’s yard, though. You could see the brilliant purple and pink Wave petunias a block away. Didn’t have to go hunting for that house number.

Colorful yard offers reprieve from winter’s bleak palette

This time of year, Spokane’s landscape usually has turned to shades of tan and brown. Most blooming plants have taken a hiatus with the recent heat and will come back around after it cools off. Not in Dixie and Allan LeTourneau’s yard, though. You could see the brilliant purple and pink Wave petunias a block away. Didn’t have to go hunting for that house number.