Puget Sound has a wealth of local events and resources of interest to gardeners. Here are some to investigate.
Master Gardener Clinics, Plant Sales, Classes, Demonstration Gardens, Training, and Teaching Kits
We operate nearly 40 plant clinics throughout King County. In several locations each year we host plant sales that feature vegetables, shrubs, perennials and native plants. We offer classes to the public at our Bellevue Demonstration Garden and in the Sammamish/North Bend area, as well as impromptu guidance at 13 demonstration gardens. You can locate a Master Gardener plant clinic or demonstration garden near you here: www.mgfkc.org/resources/map-of-mg-clinics-and-gardens.
Annually we train new Master Gardeners interested in serving the community through our volunteer work. Master Gardener Teaching Kits are classrooms in a box. These Teaching Kits are designed to bring environmental education to schools, community groups, youth programs, and senior centers. Our activities are funded in large part by the Master Gardener Foundation of King County, a 501(c)(3). Find out more about us at www.mgfkc.org
Almost all WSU gardening publications are available as free downloads at pubs.extension.wsu.edu. For a recommended list of home gardening publications, see our “Gardening Publications” tip sheet. For those residents without computer, WIFI or printer access, King County and Seattle Public libraries are a great resource — see their website for locations and additional information: kcls.org and www.spl.org
Plant Sales and Garden Tours
In addition to the Master Gardeners, many other horticulture and community groups host plant sales, including the UW Botanic Gardens, Northwest Horticultural Society, Arboretum Foundation, Northwest Perennial Alliance, Bellevue Botanical Garden and the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden. Many of these sales include vendors from smaller specialty nurseries throughout Washington.
Garden tours are a great way to get new ideas for your own garden. Many communities and garden groups sponsor these primarily in spring through summer. The Washington Park Arboretum botanicgardens.uw.edu/washington-park-arboretum and other public gardens offer tours year-round.
The Elisabeth C. Miller Library has an extensive event listing posted at their website, including plant sales and garden tours throughout Puget Sound, as well as parts of Oregon and British Columbia: depts.washington.edu/hortlib. The Miller Library is a gem unto itself. It is open to the public and home to over 15,000 books and 500 periodicals on gardening. They also have nearly a thousand current mail order catalogs from the United States and Canada, with an emphasis on Pacific Northwest nurseries.
The website Great Plant Picks, www.greatplantpicks.org, is a valuable resource for Pacific Northwest gardeners, where descriptions and pictures of nearly 1000 recommended plants that do well in our Northwest gardens can be found. Great Plant Picks is the primary educational program of the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden.
For five days each February, the Northwest Flower & Garden Show fills the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The popular event has heralded the start of spring since 1989 and includes many display gardens, horticulture seminars and demonstrations, and exhibitors.
Garden-Related Organizations and Non-Profits
The Northwest is home to many organizations focused on horticulture. Some specialize (e.g., tree fruit, ferns, roses, native plants); some have a broader scope (e.g., Northwest Horticultural Society, Northwest Perennial Alliance, Washington Native Plant Society, Hardy Plant Society, Arboretum Foundation). An extensive list of these organizations is available at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library website: depts.washington.edu/hortlib/resources/hort_web_sites/wp-organizations.php
Workshops and Classes
Check with your local plant nursery; many offer free classes and workshops. More advanced classes are offered by the UW Botanic Gardens, colleges and horticulture organizations. The Saving Water Partnership (Seattle and participating local water utilities) also hosts free classes: www.savingwater.org
Plant nurseries in the Seattle-area and the Eastside include Sky, Swanson’s, Molbak’s, Squak Mt., and West Seattle. In addition, there are numerous smaller and specialty nurseries to be discovered. Many of these smaller nurseries are vendors at spring and fall plant sales hosted by horticulture societies and the Master Gardeners.
County, Cities, Districts, Utilities King County, as well as many Puget Sound cities and utilities have extensive natural lawn and yard care resources available to the public. This includes information on composting, mulch, noxious weeds, and ‘waterwise’ gardening. More information can be found at their websites. Please see our “Gardening Websites” tip sheet for many of these links.
Additional Master Gardener Tip Sheets, including “Gardening Websites” and “Gardening Publications,” are available at kingcountymg.org Also see WSU’s “Gardening in Washington State” at gardening.wsu.edu and free downloads of WSU gardening publications at pubs.extension.wsu.edu
Feature image by Suzy Hazelwood.
WSU Extension Master Gardener Program * 206-543-0943 * king.MG@wsu.edu * kingcountyMG.org Center for Urban Horticulture * Box 354115 * Seattle WA 98195-4115 Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office.
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