Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

September, 2001
Regional Report


Solve Those Problem Situations
Plants for Problem Places, Graham Rice, 1988,Timberpress, $19.95.

We all face gardening challenges. Whether it's heavy clay soil, dense shade, or an ugly view, the author prescribes a remedy, suggesting trees, shrubs, climbers and perennials to make the best of almost any situation. His advice has helped me more than once!


Homemade Stepping Stones
You can personalize your garden by creating your own stepping stones.


Portland cement, Redi-Mix or Quick-Crete



long handled hoe for mixing

chicken wire for strength

rubberized gloves to protect your hands

forms, such as disposable pie pans, stiff-sided cardboard cake or pizza boxes, or plastic rings


Mix the concrete with water until a thick slurry develops. (It takes practice to know when you have the right consistency--stiff, yet moist enough to pour.) Place your forms on a plastic-covered flat surface and pour in the concrete. If the form is very large, reinforce it by lining the bottom with a piece of chicken wire. This will prevent cracking when the stepping stone is used or moved. Once the form is filled with concrete, smooth the top and personalize your creation with colorful stones, shells, or shiny coins. You can make hand or foot prints, or imprint your stones with leaves, ferns or cedar sprigs.

Remove the forms after the concrete cures and place your stones in the garden. If you decorated them with plant material, don't try to remove it, just allow it to weather away.


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