The Yakima Area Arboretum’s “The Weekly Leaf” newsletter arrived at the same time as mid-January’s snow and ice, bearing the unlikely headline, “Which Witch-Hazels are Blooming?” Flowers blooming in the dead of winter? I grabbed a camera and my husband, and off we went to see if it was true.

Melons (C. melo) are one of the oldest crops to be domesticated, originating in Iran and India around 3000 B.C. Melons were highly valued for the protein and calories in the seeds, and the high water content of the flesh. In ancient times it was sometimes easier to transport melons, rather t…

Spring is coming, and I have proof ... the hellebores are getting ready to bloom. Skeptical? Well, they won’t be blooming tomorrow, or even next week, but trust me, the promise is there. That’s what fuels a Yakima gardener’s spirit in the long nights of midwinter.

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It’s way too early to plant most seeds outdoors, but it’s never too soon to start planning. In late January, the women in my garden club have always gathered (we’ll do it virtually this year), our favorite seed catalogs in hand. After much discussion, we’ll each settle on a few intriguing va…

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As i write this, Christmas will be here in five days. Today is my deadline for clearing the dining room table of a tangle of ribbons and wrappings, two sewing machines, piles of Christmas fabrics (who knew last March that we would be gifting Santa’s reindeer-themed masks in December), and st…

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Last year, a dear woman asked my woodworking husband to carve a cardinal for a friend in the Midwest who had just lost her husband. We thought it was an unusual gift until she explained that this scarlet bird, at home across the eastern half of the United States, has held a place in local lo…

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Yakima County residents live in an American Viticulture Area (AVA) known for growing amazing wine grapes. But with a little work and planning, you can use some of the same principles used by wine grape growers to grow your own table grapes.

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When the first frost warnings came out for the third week of October, did you find yourself frequently checking the extended weather forecast, hoping there had been some mistake? Who wants to give up fresh tomatoes and long-stemmed dahlias before Halloween, for crying out loud?

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The gardening articles you enjoy each week are written by community volunteers who are certified as Master Gardeners by Washington State University. There are currently 30 Master Gardener programs within the 39 Washington state counties. The purpose of the WSU Master Gardener program is to e…

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If you created some ornamental container gardens this summer, you may have included tender succulents. Echeverias, Aeoniums, Crassulas, Kalanchoes and Graptoverias are just a few of the types that gardeners can’t get enough of. Their brilliant colors and amazing sculptural forms are irresist…

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The changes we see in deciduous trees as we inch toward winter are so dramatic that the need to explain why they happen seems universal. Long before science could explain it, humans tried as best they could, creating epic explanations and supernatural creatures.

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Gardening is one of life’s simple pleasures, but as we age it may get more difficult to continue planting and caring for a big garden. We all know that gardening can be a source of exercise, fresh air, a place for communing with the beauty of nature and a source of healthy fruits and vegetab…

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This is the time of year when gardeners can be overwhelmed — tired of zucchini, tomatoes everywhere, and picking peppers daily. After you’ve chopped and frozen enough veggies for winter soup and stew, now what? For new ideas, the internet may be your new best friend.

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