Pacific Northwest Editor
Nothing beats a perfect hybrid tea rose, such as 'Perfume Delight', ready for cutting.
Bok choy grows well in my garden, ready to harvest a few months from planting.
'Zabrina' malva is an attractive perennial flower.
Before long grapes will be ready for picking.
Gardening is Patt's hobby, but also her vocation. She's fortunate enough to earn a living doing what she loves most. First and foremost, Patt is a life-long student and teacher. She's a freelance writer and photographer and has published articles in Fine Gardening magazine, Washington State University's quarterly Western Gardening publication, and has regular articles in the Bremerton Sun, Bainbridge Gazette, and Central Kitsap Herald newspapers.
Patt spent 9 years as the Community Horticulture Extension Coordinator in Kitsap County with Washington State University, where she was responsible for basic and advanced training for Master Gardener and Master Composter volunteers, as well as volunteer coordination and program development in all areas of community horticulture. She refers to this as an extended period of internship where she was able to work closely with plant pathologists, entomologists and agronomists, learning WSU's identification, diagnostic and research techniques.
Currently an instructor at Tacoma Community College, Patt teaches ornamental horticulture, greenhouse management, landscape design, grounds maintenance and floral design.
Patt first started gardening in sunny southern California. It was an idyllic apprenticeship: a handful of seeds tossed on the soil invariably grew into lush, healthy plants. She was never even remotely challenged by garden pests, and it was perpetually spring in her garden paradise.
A move to northern California presented Patt with a new home, a bare lot, and two distinct seasons instead of one. Frost killed her new plants the very first winter. She adjusted by building a greenhouse to protect her most precious acquisitions.
Now Patt gardens on about an acre of land in Manchester, Washington, surrounded by a forest of conifers and alders, with an understory of salal, sword ferns, and evergreen huckleberry. The forest extends into several acres of undeveloped area and abuts a 40-acre state park.
When she first moved here, Patt chose to retain a greenbelt on three sides of the property, thinking it would ensure privacy. What she didn't consider at the time was that 15 years down the road, her greenbelt would consist of 30-foot-tall trees growing shoulder to shoulder, effectively blocking out all but a few rays of sunlight.
She's adjusted the gardens by including more and more shade-loving plants and has recently discovered the virtue of plants with variegated leaves. Her forested thicket has become a safe haven for wildlife, and she wouldn't consider removing even one tree from the property.
In order to have a healthy, thriving garden, Patt takes full advantage of the remaining sunny sites, moving plants as necessary so they get their full allotment of direct sunshine. Patt has even been known to plant roses in tubs, place them in a little red wagon and haul them around the yard to follow the sunshine!