U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Recently, I attended a meeting with our famous and much-loved Northwest garden guru Ciscoe Morris. There are many garden gurus of course. Ciscoe is not only knowledgeable and experienced, but very-very entertaining. We love him! Here are just several of his tips that I need to follow in my garden.
1. Dandelions - to eliminate, apply undiluted vinegar. Use only on hot sunny days. Overseed the spot when a dandelion dies (amen).
2. Tulips in containers. After flowers are wilted, remove only a spent bloom, not a stem. Let stem and foliage die, then dig out and store bulbs, replant in spring.
3. Unwanted blackberry bushes: Mow. Mow. Mow. Bushes will get exhausted, tired and die.
4. Hellebore. Don't forget to remove ugly dark leaves in winter.
5. Slugs. Use only Sluggo. Safe.
6. Euphorbia. Be careful working with it. Harmful for skin and eyes.
7. What makes a garden great? Contrast!
8. What to do with winter-exhausted, long-legged Heuchera? Cut back to an 1/8 inch above the ground. Try to plant cuttings, it can work!
9. Prune Japanese maples in June (not in spring as I did).
10. Slugs don't eat dry pellets. If it's too dry outside, wet the pellets.
There were many other subjects discussed. For example:
 -How did all these snails get to the state of Washington (from France, of course!);
-What are the easiest vegetables to grow (broccoli, lettuce, etc.);
-What disease resistant helleborus to plant (try Pink Frost);

photo: Hort Printers
-What plant will chase a deer away (try Fritillaria imperialis);
Fritillaria imperialis. Photo Wikipedia, by Sir James
 -What shrubs does Ciscoe love? (One of his favorites - Grevillea victoriae from Australia, it blooms all winter!);
Grevillea. Photo: The Desert Northwest
-For better pollination, plant a California lilac near a vegetable garden.
Blooming California lilac in my June garden
Want to know what I liked the most in Ciscoe's presentation? Attention, all the Pacific Northwest gardeners! Are you tired from the rain? Are you soaked and depressed? It 'll make you feel better! Here it is: We have a Mediterranian climate here!
 I want to read his book Ask Ciscoe: Oh, la, la! Your Gardening Questions Answered , especially after he told that reading it for 15-minutes will help you to fall asleep. This is what I need!
Oh-la-la! - is Ciscoe's signature expression. He told us a hillarious story about how it became his favorite. But, I won't retell it here out of respect for his right to tell this story. So, if you are curious, attend a meeting with him if he is in your area.
*** Copyright 2011 TatyanaS


  1. Tatyana,

    Pink Frost is the hellebore that died in the garden. Very healthy looking plant 6 weeks later the roots are gone. No sign of voles anywhere. Not at all disease resistant.

  2. Hi
    I have Grevillia Canberra and it has withstood being covered in snow two winters on the trot. Its a lovely shrub and the bees love the flowers.

    I love the tip about the dandelions, will remember that one

  3. Tatyana, As far as I am concerned, all hellebores are disease resistant. Is there something I don't know about hellebores in the PNW? 'Pink Frost' is newly introduced so I can't vouch for its hardiness. However, the breeder, Heuger in Germany, is the source for the most vigorous hellebore crosses I have ever grown. I would be surprised if it wasn't a superior plant. The experience of one plant dying is not a basis for judgment. Enjoyed your lecture summary. Carolyn

  4. I absolutely love Ciscoe! He never fails to make me laugh, and he has the best tips! I watch his show every weekend. I wanted to see him at Windmill Gardens a couple of weeks ago, but it was completely booked already when I called. I did see him give a hummingbird presentation at the Tacoma Home and Garden Show back in February.

  5. Helen, thanks! This is what we need - plants that can survive snow and cold wet winters!

    Carolyn, thank you! People asked about those ugly brown spots, and P.F was named like a plant more resistant to them.

    Alison, thanks! There is positive energy that comes from him!

  6. Hi,

    Right, the next sunny day I'll be out with the vinegar to get rid of the Dandelions!

    Some excellent tips there :)

  7. Funny! Blackberries are a weed there and I have never seen them growing here. I was just drooling over some at Wal-Mart today. I would have bought them as an experiment, but my orchard is still under 1 foot of snow. I'm a zone 3, so they probably wouldn't have made it anyway. Sounds like a fun presentation.

  8. Thanks for summing up his lecture:). He seems a knowledgeable person, your post about him made good reading.

  9. Liz, wait til it gets hot!

    BBB&B, it is ironic! Blackberry is a great berry shrub, but it grows everywhere, it's almost impossible to eliminate it, so it became a weed!

    Masha, thank you! He is something!

  10. Cisco appeared on Gardening By the Yard, didn't he? I remember how upbeat and fun he was. Thanks for the recap!

  11. Sounds like a fun guy! I just pruned one of my Japanese maples too. Oops.

  12. Ah, yes, that did remind me of my Euphorbia story. Fortunately, it wasn't far to the emergency room so I could have my eyes rinsed out pronto. But these things really are dangerous, especially the tall ones.

    Sounds like a great talk!

  13. Now, when is he going to be in my area, I want to know! You are fortunate to hear him speak. His advice sounds great. I will have to read his book.

  14. Yes, Lynn, it was him!

    Grace, you don't know him??? Oh, you are in OR, and he is in WA! I am sure you would love him!

    Mrs. Mouse, he told us a horrible story about him getting his eyes in trouble!

    Deb, I wish I had his book for him to sign!

    meemsnyc, I tried to cut back my heuchera as he told. Will see...

  15. Funny that you wrote the post in fireburst Cisco-speak. That guy exudes more energy in 5 minutes than I do all week!

  16. As everyone does who has ever gardened in the Pacific Northwest, my ears definitely perked up when I read about how to deter dandelions, slugs and blackberries! But here on the northeast coast, I have not yet had to contend with any of them like I did before. . .but if I see them I'll be ready.
    Good tip about fritilaria and deer- I'll have to try that. Horrible thing about getting euphorbia in your eyes, Town Mouse!

  17. Thanks so much for relaying his tips! I am going to print them out and check out his book!

  18. Thank you for summarizing what you have learnt.

  19. Kelly, Kate, Jenni, One, thank you so much!!!

  20. Ah, thank you for sharing the tips that snail don't eat dry pellet.

  21. What a great post, there are so many wonderful tips here! Love Cisco, gosh I have a bucket load of questions if I ever meet him.

  22. I am not familiar with Ciscoe, he sounds interesting and I enjoyed reading his list of gardening tips.

  23. I am not familiar with Ciscoe either, but it sounds like he has a lot of good advice and is entertaining too.

  24. Thank you for sharing- you definitely make me want to hear him- wonder if he ever ventures to the Midwest?
    I am definitely thankful for idea of lilac near garden- didn't know that one!


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