It is time to give thanks and gardeners in the Pacific Northwest have plenty of reasons to get down on their knees in gratitude. While down there kneeling, you should also take the time to pull a few weeds, plant a few more bulbs and offer some thanks for the following:
1. We don’t have June beetles in western Washington, so we can grow roses without having to handpick these voracious insects each morning.
2. We don’t have rattlesnakes in our rock gardens, scorpions in our wood piles or alligators hiding in our irrigation ditches. The deer may eat our plants but at least they look nice and rarely attack.
3. Cloudy days and rainy weather are not my favorites but look out the window and I’ll bet you see green. Emerald lawns and evergreen trees fill our neighborhoods even if you don’t have a sprinkler system or pay a high water bill. The front yards in many new homes in the sunbelt states are landscaped with rock. Boulders, gravel and rock can’t even get as close as a stone’s throw to the natural beauty of our native ferns, huckleberry and conifer trees.
4. There’s a new resort designed for garden lovers in the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon Garden Resort is next to the 80-acre garden sanctuary in picturesque Sliverton Ore., called The Oregon Garden. This new resort has 103 garden-themed rooms and includes a gourmet restaurant, day spa and little extras like a garden library and free tickets to visit the Oregon Garden for each guest. Plus, there are private landscaped patios or decks for each of the Craftsman-style cottages. Room rates range from $89 to $199 but grand opening specials offer dinner for two and breakfast is always included.
Somebody designed this resort right. The restaurant overlooks the spectacular Oregon Garden with views of the Willamette Valley so even in winter you‘ll enjoy visiting. You don’t have to be a gardener to love this resort, but if you’re looking for a special Christmas gift for a garden lover, this might be the way to show your appreciation – and be thankful you aren‘t responsible for the maintenance of this show garden. Besides the fact that The Oregon Resort is just a four-hour drive from Seattle, western Washington gardeners will appreciate that the theme gardens and all plant material offer practical ideas for home gardeners. In other words, you will be able to find the plants in this spectacular garden at your neighborhood nursery. For more information, phone 800-966-5690 or www.moonstonehotels.com
Q. My elderly mother enjoys feeding the birds, especially in the winter. I heard you mentioned a new toy for bird lovers that is a camera that hooks onto your bird feeder and takes pictures of all the birds that visit. Please give me more information as this sounds like it would make a great Christmas gift.
A. Any bird-lover will love this new invention. It is called the Wingscapes BirdCam and it is a weatherproof, motion-activated digital camera that captures high-resolution photos and videos of birds while you’re away. Then you can view the images and videos on your home computer or TV screen. You can also e-mail those images or video clips to friends or family. Busy birders as well as the homebound get a closer look at animal activity without wasting film because of the camera’s built-in infrared sensor that automatically detects animal movement. You can aim the camera at a bird bath or pond or even a bird nest in the spring. The kit comes with mounting stretch cords, memory card, camera, sensors, all cables and remote control and a photo cell that turns it off at night to save batteries. The suggested retail price is $249 and it is available where high-quality bird seed is sold or at www.wingscapes.com.
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Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of “Easy Answers for Great Gardens” and several other books. For book requests or answers to gardening questions, write to her at: P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, 98022. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a personal reply.
For more gardening information, she can be reached at her Web site, www.binettigarden.com.
Copyright for this column owned by Marianne Binetti.