Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

October, 2006
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Thousands of tiny twinkling lights will transform Bellevue Botanical Garden into a winter wonderland every evening during the annual GARDEN d'LIGHTS festival from November 26th through January 1st. Inspired by plants found in northwest gardens, hundreds of volunteers bundle strings of commercial-grade outdoor lights into three-dimensional flowers, shrubs, vines, and critters. In November these creations are 'planted' in the Botanical Garden and, with a flip of a switch, this unique holiday garden blooms every evening from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

There is no admission fee (the garden relies on donations) but there is a $5 parking fee. Bellevue Botanical Garden is located at 12001 Main Street in Bellevue, WA. For more info, call (425) 452-2750, or visit:

Favorite or New Plant

Variegated Redtwig Dogwood
Variegated redtwig dogwood (Cornus alba elegantissima) is a workhorse shrub, giving a great deal for the little it asks in the way of care and attention. In the spring, bright gray-green leaves emerge with a wide, irregular margin of pure white. This variegation remains vibrant and does not fade during summer. Use the shrub to brighten a shady area, or plant it in more sun and enjoy its autumnal display of gold, apricot, and rose-red. Once the leaves have dropped in late fall, its vibrant red stems are revealed, adding interest to the winter scene.

Variegated redtwig dogwood is extremely adaptable, growing in a wide range of soil types. It is one of a handful of shrubs that can take very wet soil in winter and very dry soil in summer. The stems of this shrubby dogwood are brightest red when they are young. To encourage this new growth, cut a few (or all) of the stems to about 6 inches above the ground in late winter.

Variegated redtwig dogwood is a deciduous shrub that can eventually get to 10 feet high and wide, but it can easily be kept smaller with pruning. It gradually spreads from the base, sending out upright shoots with red twigs. Once the shrub is established, it grows quickly and won't miss armfuls of branches; bring them indoors for arrangements or place them in containers and decorate them with white lights for winter festivities.


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