• Free Hummingbird Garden Seminars

    April 29, 2016

    Join us for our two free garden seminars focused on hummingbirds this May!

    Anna hummingbird on nest

    Join Robin this May to learn how to grow a garden that attracts nesting hummingbirds like this Anna.

    Spring Green Art Fest: If you’re into gardens, specialty plants, gardening seminars & garden art, don’t miss this new local event with free admission!

    Our Seminar: Robin will be sharing her tried & true ways to grow a fantastic year ’round interest garden that our resident hummingbirds can’t resist. Get ready for some seriously cute pix of hummingbird babies & gorgeous year ’round garden goodness!

    Where: Lynnwood, WA Convention Center
    Seminar Day & Time: Saturday May 7th, 1:30pm
    Spring Green Art Festival website for more information.


    Tukwila Annual Backyard Wildlife Festival: Join us for a full day of learning more about gardening for wildlife, art and the Duwamish.

    red rhododendron flower

    Join Robin’s garden seminar to learn why spring blooming rhododendrons like this might be a key component to your backyard hummingbird habitat garden design.

    Our Seminar: No computers & slideshows at this event! Instead Robin will be giving a live-materials/hands-on presentation with flowers, plants & other garden elements that you can incorporate in your backyard to help our resident & migratory hummingbirds thrive.

    Where: Tukwila, WA Community Center
    Seminar Day & Time: Saturday, May 14th at 11am
    Tukwila Annual Backyard Wildlife Festival website for more information.

  • What’s Next?

    April 22, 2016

    Many readers and clients have been asking if Garden Mentors® is still offering Seattle gardening services following our announcement last week that our home and garden went on the market.

    Yes! We’re here for our existing Seattle area clients and more.

    Nesting Anna Hummingbird

    Anna built a new nest in her garden during the week our house was on the market & crazy busy with strangers. Humans may have paid for our beloved garden & home property, but this little momma is the real owner of this space.
    We’re sure going to miss her when we’re gone!

    Seattle’s crazy-hot home selling market helped us find the perfect buyers for our home and garden in less than a week, but we won’t be relocating for several more weeks. And, when our home and offices do change, we will continue to serve the greater Seattle area* and much more!

    Beginning in early June 2016, we’ll be expanding our gardening service range to offer garden coaching, landscape design, gardening seminars and our other popular services in Mt. Vernon, Anacortes, Burlington, La Conner, Marysville, Bellingham and more. If you’re north of Seattle, give us a shout, and we’ll see what we can do for you!

    April has been an incredibly busy, life-transforming time for us. I can’t thank all of our clients, friends and family enough for their support and patience when we suddenly dropped just about everything to get through the whirlwind affair of selling and buying homes. It warms my heart to know that you guys get it. If I dropped a ball or missed a deadline this month, I apologize and appreciate your understanding.

    Great Blue Heron

    Anna may stay behind when we move, but our new garden is home to other amazing flora & fauna like this Great Blue Heron that landed on the roof as we toured our new home.
    What a blessing!

    “Where are you going?” is the next question we’re asked. For now, I’ll say that we’re moving to our dream destination, which isn’t in Seattle proper, but isn’t far from it either. Someday we hope to open our new gardens to our Garden Mentors® friends and clients, but for now, we’re keeping our new home location private.

    *While we will continue to serve the greater Seattle area, appointment days and times may be more limited, so book early! Some clients may be receiving calls and emails in the coming days to adjust their bookings due to our moving timeline. And, we will have significantly reduced offerings in areas of Seattle south of the i90 interchange. If you’re not sure if your location is in our new range, go ahead and contact us to find out!

    Thanks everyone! Robin

  • Our Seattle House & Garden for Sale!

    April 13, 2016

    Updated 4/21/2016: In less than a week our Seattle home has sold. We’ll share more news in the weeks ahead. Current clients, don’t worry! We’re still here for you!

    After almost two decades, we have just listed our Seattle house for sale. Gardening enthusiasts shopping for a new home will love that our lovingly restored Ballard bungalow comes complete with a mature garden, patios, a greenhouse and much more.

    Seattle House for Sale number

    This piece of art came with our Seattle house when we bought it. It is the one piece of garden art we will leave for whoever buys our Ballard bungalow & garden.

    Over the years, many of our clients and readers have asked about visiting our garden. We’ve had a few special tours and open garden days over the years, but mostly we’ve tried to maintain a bit of privacy at home. (Especially after coming home more than once to folks who thought it would be just fine to wander around our property without checking first.)

    Seattle house for sale with private front porch

    Who doesn’t love a home with a private, shady front porch? This is one of our favorite spots to relax on hot summer evenings while we listen to the neighborhood kids playing.

    If you’ve missed our open days — or just want a last look around — now’s the time to visit. (If you’re in the market for a new garden and home, you might want to visit with your broker soon. You’ll find more information on the listing page here.)

    Mt Rainier in view from Ballard Seattle House for Sale

    There’s nothing like waking up to a view of Mt. Rainier in the distance! Psst – it’s also in view from the back deck!

    Broker’s Open House: Tuesday, April 14, 2016 from 12pm-2pm
    Public Open House: Will be Saturday April 16 & Sunday April 17, 2016 2pm-4pm (confirm on listing)

    Garden Mentors garden trail to greenhouse

    Don’t miss this last chance to self-tour not only our Seattle house for sale but also the Garden Mentors private home gardens!

    If you or someone you know wants to view our property for purchase, contact your agent or our broker Nancy Williams at Windermere to schedule a viewing outside of open houses.

    Please don’t contact us directly for viewings. We can’t schedule them for you, but we encourage you to come visit and spread the word before it’s too late!

    Thanks, Robin & Bob

  • Plant Profile: Bleeding Hearts

    April 08, 2016

    In early spring, bleeding hearts are among some of the earliest perennials to bloom. They blend beautifully into mixed, slightly shady borders. This plant isn’t a fan of lots of hot sunshine, and even in a protected spot, its top growth may fade in summer’s heat. But, don’t worry, it’ll be back next year. Just be sure your design incorporates a few evergreens or longer-season perennials nearby to give your garden interest at other times of year.

    Dicentra spectablis 'Alba'

    Dicentra spectablis ‘Alba’ is a white flowered cultivar that’s spectacular – true to the species name!

    Bleeding hearts come in several forms. Dicentra spectablis is the large, cultivated spectacular bleeding heart species that offers pink flowers with a white “drip.” It works beautifully in large containers as well as in the landscape.  If seeing your Dicentra bleed in a truer red and add fragrance to your garden, look for Dicentra ‘Valentine.’

    Want a native bleeding heart?

    Dicentra formosa

    Native Dicentra formosa clothes the floor of woodland gardens with ferny foliage & abundant pink spring blooms

    Dicentra formosa, or fern-leaf bleeding heart, is native to the Pacific coast — where we live. It thrives in Seattle gardens, so much so that some consider it weedy. This little perennial will naturalize (aka spread) in garden beds, but it plays well with others. Plant it in a mixed woodland shade border with deer fern, evergreen huckleberry and trillium for great early spring effect. When summer’s heat kicks into gear, this little plant’s ferny foliage will begin to yellow and fade for the season.

    What about foliage?

    Dicentra ‘Burning Hearts’ has a compact form with sea-foam green foliage that’s somewhat fern shaped. If you need to brighten up your shade garden, choose Dicentra ‘Gold Heart.’ This version of the spectablis forms has golden leaves and stems, paired with traditional dripping pink blooms.

  • Spring Fever Remedies

    April 01, 2016

    This week a very serious affliction, spring fever, spread through PacNW offices like wildfire. No joke.

    Padilla Bay Nature Trail

    On days like these play hooky outdoors to get beyond the spring fever.

    Our long lost friend, that fiery yellow orb named Sun, reappeared in crystal-blue skies following a winter sulking behind dense clouds, where it had endured a winter of solitary cosmic cabin fever. Cheering Sun‘s return, cherries, pears, currants and maples burst into bloom and leaf. Perennials shot through the soil, rising several inches each day toward Sun‘s warm embrace.

    Ribes in bloom by Slough Foods in Edison

    On warm spring evenings, following a long hike, relaxing outdoors with friends, good food, flora & fauna may be the perfect ending to a gorgeous spring fever hooky day. This Ribes, behind Slough Food in Edison, WA is a bright pop of color & attracts lots of hummingbirds right to your table-with-a-view

    Bees are buzzing. Frogs are ribbeting. Birds are singing their songs of sex and love from pre-dawn hours until well past sunset. And, under Sun‘s rays, the air is warm — almost hot — chilled only when a remnant of winter’s chill blows by or a wispy cloud briefly obscures that golden ball in the sky. All of this spreads spring fever fast.

    Duck sex

    Let’s get it on! Ducks making babies in the wet muck of a Skagit Valley slough.

    Spring fever symptoms may include:

    • Inability to sit at a desk during daylight hours
    • Desire to touch the earth
    • Desperate digging through closets and handbags for last season’s hats, sunglasses & sandals

    If you have any of these symptoms, gardening is, of course, a great way to find relief. And if that doesn’t do it, sometimes giving in during the day and playing hooky works for us. (We do not recommend hooky if it’ll get you in trouble at school, home or fired from a job. We do recommend businesses, families and schools recognize and embrace the concept of getting people out in nature as a means of learning, growing and healing.)

    Earlier this week, after working at our desks from before sunup, we took off for a hike in nearby Skagit Valley for some much needed spring fever relief where we were rejuvenated by connecting with spring’s beautiful, healing renewal.

    Great Blue Heron in Padilla Bay Slough

    Great Blue Herons remind us to take it slow, touch nature & be beautiful!

    Did the hike eradicate our spring fever? Maybe for the moment. Fortunately, nature will always welcome us back for another shot of healing goodness.

    No joke.

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