Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

May, 2009
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Washington Park Arboretum
Washington Park Arboretum is an excellent destination, winter, spring, summer, or fall. The arboretum's 200 acres offer visitors a look at more than 5000 different Northwest native and introduced woody plants. Gardeners can attend a wide variety of classes or walk the grounds to look for treasures they'd like to include in their own gardens.

Washington Park Arboretum is located about 10 minutes east of downtown Seattle on Lake Washington Blvd. East. It comprises two hundred thirty acres extending from 40th Avenue East and East Madison on the south, to Highway SR-520 and Lake Washington on the north.

For detailed directions and to arrange group tours, call the arboretum at 206-543-8800 or write Center for Urban Horticulture, University of Washington, XD-10, Seattle, WA 98195. The arboretum is open daily, sunrise to sunset. Admission is free and parts of the arboretum are wheelchair accessible.

Clever Gardening Technique

Pinching to Promote Growth
Gardening is one of the best ways to learn patience, but if you don't want to wait years for a new garden or a new plant to come into its own, you can speed things along with a simple technique called pinching. In a matter of just weeks, you'll have bushier, better looking plants, and at bloom time you'll have a least double the usual number of flowers.

Pinching is the removal of the terminal bud (the growing tip) of a stem. This starts a hormonal process that forces the development of lateral (side) branches. New growth soon springs from lower nodes, or leaf axils, creating new branches and making the plant dense and bushy. You can pinch any perennial or annual plant that naturally branches or that bears flower heads at the tops of leafy stems, as well as vines and shrubs that bloom on new growth.

To pinch your plants, squeeze the tip of the stem and the topmost pair of leaves between your thumbnail and forefinger, removing the plant parts. If you're pinching a multi-stemmed plant, nip off the tip of every stem so that they all mature at the same rate. Pinch early in the season, when plants are about one-third their mature height. For even denser growth, pinch again when plants reach about one-half to two-thirds of their mature height.

Pinching delays flowering, but not as much as you might expect. If a plant is pinched early in the season, long before flower buds begin to form, it usually blooms at the same time as one left unpinched, or within a week of it. With practice, though, you can use pinching to actually manipulate bloom time.


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