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  • Flora & Fauna Gift Cards

    December 01, 2016

    Gift card sets are now available!

    Take a look at some of Robin’s most popular flora & fauna photos that are now available to order as gift cards in sets of 25 for just $2/card (plus tax & shipping).

    You know you want a set! So, get in touch to learn more about ordering a set of your own or a gift set for someone you love! But, hurry up if you want them to arrive in time for the holidays.

    Pacific chorus frog fauna photo

    Tiny Pacific chorus frog (also known as a Pacific tree frog) & large glass pond float in summer.

     

    Great Blue Heron fauna photo

    A majestic great blue heron resting on the shore of Padilla bay.

     

    mushroom photo

    A bloom of mushrooms emerging from the soil in September.

     

    zinnia flora photography

    Bouquet of Skagit Valley grown zinnias & sage in late summer.

     

    Dunlin shore bird fauna photography

    Dunlin shorebirds resting on the shore of Padilla Bay, WA in November.

     

    Teasle flora photo

    Teasle growing wild along the mudflats of Padilla Bay in high summer.

     

    Padilla Bay sunset in July

    Summer sunset on the shores of the Padilla Bay shore trail in Skagit County, WA.

     

    Queen Anne's lace seeds

    Queen Anne’s Lace seed pods & wild asters blooming on the shore of Padilla Bay.

    (Each set of cards will include a selection of these images. Watermarks will not be shown over images on the cards. Images on cards may be cropped slightly differently from what you see here & color variations may occur in printing; however, cards will match vertical and horizontal crop orientations shown here. Interiors remain blank unless you request a custom message printing when you order. All cards come with white envelopes to fit. Larger quantities are available upon request. Fill out our contact form or give us a ring now at 206-781-8645 to get the ball rolling on your order. )

  • Less Words; More Action

    November 18, 2016

    This is my last every-Friday blog post.

    At least for a while.

    I’ve decided to channel my garden, food and environmental education outreach efforts in different directions going forward. Part of this change includes redirecting the many hours I have previously spent each week photographing, photo-editing, writing and promoting these blog articles. I’m beginning this week by dedicating my erstwhile blogging time to meeting up with at least one environmental volunteer group coordinator. Once my enrollment begins with this program, and I have interesting educational updates, I’ll endeavor to share them. Maybe here. Maybe not here.

    Dunlins flying on Padilla Bay

    Less time blogging will mean more time working to protect the environment for our future.

    What I will continue to do for readers on a regular basis:

    I will continue to send subscribers our monthly newsletter with updates, reminders and members-only special offers.

    I will continue to post photos on Pinterest and Instagram (and to a much lesser degree on Facebook and Twitter.)

    And, when I have the time or a compelling story to share, I will continue to add to this blog. But, it won’t be every Friday anymore.

    If you are sorely disappointed to hear that I’ll be curtailing these blog updates, please let me know via the comment section below or via a private message here. If your reasons and your voices compel me to do otherwise, I might change course. But for now, I’m dedicated to do as much as I can with my limited time and resources for our precious Earth. As we head into a very uncertain future environment, I must try my very best to be the change I wish to see in our world.

    Many Thanks,

    Robin Haglund

    Founder & President, Garden Mentors

  • Being Earth Positive

    November 11, 2016

    For many of my clients, friends and family, this week has been a helluva rough ride, and being positive is pretty tough in the face of what our future President promised and elicited in many of his followers on the campaign trail. While I appreciate that some, in fact many, Americans are happy in the immediate, post-election moment, most I work with, play with and simply love are struggling with the many stages of shock, grief, fear and anger right now. And, while there’s nothing I can do to undo the realities of this election outcome, there are a few things I can offer for hope, encouragement and perhaps inspiration.

    Dunlin on Padilla bay

    A lone dunlin, staring into the middle distance on a barren, rocky island mirrored my emotional state on Wednesday.

    When I woke on Wednesday morning, I was numb. My emotional disbelief that day can only be likened to the dull sense of denial that accompanies learning a close loved one has died. But, having gone through tragic loss more than once in my life, I knew that being outside, in nature, does more to rebuild my belief in goodness and in the future than anything else. I also recognized that the natural world I love so very much is now at dire risk of collapse under the command of the forthcoming administration.

    So, I took action.

    Before mid-day I had started the process of becoming a volunteer at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve near our home. I’m not sure yet how they’ll put me to work, but I offered to give native plant tours or classes or even just sit at the front desk as a greeter during open hours. It doesn’t matter how I help — just that I do help.

    After I’d signed up there, I took a long walk on the PBST (Padilla Bay Shore Trail) to clear my head and connect with the greater natural world. Migrating geese honked as they flew overhead. Great blue herons stood like statues in the soggy fields. And, exhausted dunlins hunkered on the rocks at the salty, windy shore. Their presence recharged me, but it was also telling to think that the forthcoming administration’s position on climate change threatens the delicacy of our Earth — not just human life, but the life of all flora and fauna. These birds that are powerful enough to fly from the tundra to the equator and back every year may soon disappear from our landscape completely. So, upon my return home, I reached out to our local Audubon chapter to volunteer.

    Great blue heron in douglas fir tree

    Like a great blue heron guarding territory, it is even more imperative that we guard our Earth in any way possible.

    By Thursday morning, I woke up angry. The fog of disbelief had begun to give way to the cold, hard truth of our future. Despite waking to a gorgeous sunset, the day felt grim, but I forged ahead. I wrote a check to the local Audubon chapter as I sat watching a pair of great blue herons battle for frog-pond territory out my office window. And, following an afternoon walk on the PBST where I smiled and said hello to everyone else on the trail, I began working on a couple of new programs Garden Mentors plans to offer to our subscribers as early as next week. We’re working on programs that we hope will empower even more people to have more positive impacts on the planet and each other in the immediate and the distant future.

    Remember, you are not alone.

    dunlins together on padilla bay

    Like this pair of dunlins, you are not alone. You may be staring off into space in disbelief or curling inward to mourn, but together we can build a better future.

    Friday morning this blog post goes live. I can only hope the new day dawns beautifully for each of you. I hope the divisiveness and hatred endorsed by our President-elect becomes the part of every candidate’s campaign promises that immediately fall by the wayside upon being elected. And, I hope he does everything possible to reunite our dangerously divided society. I hope for our nation’s unified future and our planet’s endurance. And, I hope you will join me in doing everything we can — in even the smallest ways — to ensure a strong, united, respectful, loving and peaceful coexistence for all beings in our nation and on our entire planet.

    If you wish to learn more about our forthcoming programs, I encourage you to sign up for our mailing list now.

    Sincerely,

    Robin Haglund, Founder & President

     

  • Slogging Thru

    November 04, 2016

    I find myself slogging through the days right now, attempting to navigate the morass of the 2016 election season, muddled domestic and foreign political affairs, and an equally swampy autumn.

    Great Blue Heron Slogging

    Great blue heron slogging at the shores of Padilla Bay in search of sustenance.

    Our record-breaking October monthly rainfall numbers were so high in all of Washington state that no part of the state is still considered droughty. And, where we live, it’s downright swampy. At least that gives us an excuse not to mow. But, will we ever get the last of our bulbs planted. And, if we do, will they just rot in this year’s chilly, waterlogged soil?

    Azalea flowering in fall

    Azaleas are usually considered spring bloomers, but look carefully and you may catch them putting on fragrant fall flowers like this that pop against their colorful fall foliage. What a treat!

    On these dim, wet, gray “indoor” days, it’s easy to get mired down watching the non-stop ugliness of politics unfold on television and the internet. But, here’s the best medicine I’ve found: get outside — even if you do get wet. There’s nothing like breathing fresh air while observing the natural world to liberate our hearts and minds.

    (You can support this blog by buying through our links. Purchases made through the affiliate links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors but don’t cost you anything extra. Thank you for buying and helping support us!)



    Some days I dig into the garden, planting bulbs and trusting in a future that will not only let them grow but also encourage them to thrive. Other days, I take a long walk at the shore with my pup, admiring the power and determination of migrating birds flapping into the storm — something that happens every year regardless of who we want for our next President or Senator. Always, I carry a camera in hopes of capturing a moment of the miraculous beauty of nature. These images help me get through the next downpour, the next tragedy at Standing Rock, and, of course, the political quagmire leading up to November 8th.

  • Snowberry Goodness

    October 28, 2016

    As autumn wind and rain denudes gardens of fleeting fall foliage, scrubby native snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) begins to shine in the wild and in cultivated landscapes.

    snowberry plant

    Soon this snowberry hedgerow will be bare of leaves & the bright, white berries will take center stage.

    Together with rose hips, seed pods, cones, evergreens and colorful twigs, long-lingering berries offer visual respite during the short, dim days of winter. And, while some of these provide forage for wildlife, snowberry berries aren’t very popular on most wildlife menus. So, those white, hold-fast fruits brighten the twiggy hedgerows and dark forest understory in many deer, squirrel and bird-infested gardens for many months. (But let’s be clear, some wild and domestic critters are likely to give your shrubs at least a little nibble now and then.)

    (You can support this blog by buying through our links. Purchases made through the affiliate links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors but don’t cost you anything extra. Thank you for buying and helping support us!)

    Snowberry is a scrubby, deciduous, North American native shrub that is adapted to a wide range of habitats. Growing to about three to five feet tall and wide, it thrives in dark understories as well as sunny roadsides. It plugs along steadily in damp or even dry soil. And, while its grey-green foliage may succumb to a bit of powdery mildew in the most stressful environments, it’s a tough shrub to kill through placement choices or neglect. Its diminutive pink flowers are favored by many wild bees whose pollination efforts lead to weighty clusters of fruit.

    To ensure those white winter berries really shine, give your shrubs an evergreen backdrop. Native mahonia, evergreen huckleberry or even a few sword ferns can do the trick in a shadier spot. If you’re gardening in the sun, consider mixing snowberry with wild, hippy roses — especially in a hedgerow, which offers protective habitat all year for wildlife.

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(You can support this blog by buying through our links. Purchases made through the affiliate links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors but don’t cost you anything extra. Thank you for buying and helping support us!)