Coming Soon: Tales from the N.W. Bloom Crew

We are super excited to share a fun little trailer we made.  Our 1st movie, about what to expect… coming soon: Video (on youtube), Newsletter (sign up here), new speaking events and employment opportunities!

New Book Release: Practical Permaculture for the Home Landscapes, Your Community and the Whole Earth

Practical Permaculture by Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein

Practical Permaculture by Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein

Early in 2012, Jessi started collaborating and working on this book Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community and the Whole Earth (Feb 4th 2015) with co-author Dave Boehnlien, Education Director at the Bullock Permaculture Homestead and founder of Terra Phoenix Design as well as the incredibly talented illustrator Paul Kearsley of Homestead Habitats!   We can’t wait to share this with the world and have many speaking/teaching engagements planned this year all over the country.  Check out the Event Page for a schedule.

 

 

PBS’s Growing a Greener World: Modern Homesteading

This week we were excited to watch a new episode on PBS’s “Growing a Greener World” about Modern Homesteading.   NW Bloom owner Jessi Bloom is one of two women featured talking about the work of raising eco-conscious families. Be sure to check out the interview below where Jessi talks about living a common-sense permaculture lifestyle, keeping chickens and making compost!

Watch here:  http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/modern-homesteading/

Jessi Bloom featured on the Modern Homesteading episode of Growing a Greener World.

Jessi Bloom featured on the Modern Homesteading episode of Growing a Greener World.

Homebrew workshop Oct 26th

We are excited to announce the first of many workshops we will be hosting:  HOMEBREWING

Taught by Nick Strauss (AKA The Homebrew Husband) of NW Edible Life!

Hops growing on a fence in Kirkland, WA

Hops for beer growing on a fence in Kirkland, WA

Over the next few months we will be focusing on building a calendar of skill building workshops – everything from what to do with all the plants  in your garden – from canning to making herbal concoctions,  then, building raingardens and natural building projects – we are hoping to teach a wide variety of skills here at the NW Bloom farm.  Please stay tuned for more classes and let us know if you are interested in any particular topics.

OCTOBER 26th – Saturday 10:30-12:30 plus tasting <$25> Registration is required/Space is limited

Homebrewing is one of America’s fastest growing hobbies, combing the popularity of craft beer and rediscovery of the do-it-yourself home. What was once an obscure (and, indeed, illegal) hobby now boasts dozens of how-to books, iPad apps, online equipment retailers, and specialty gear ranging from one-gallon mini-fermenters to complete garage breweries with five figure price tags.

But brewing is more than gear and recipes, it is about making and tasting great beer and having fun while you are doing it. It is an art and a science, a creative outlet and a source of community, a sense of satisfaction and an opportunity to learn. Disentangle the surfeit of approaches and learn the fundamentals as veteran homebrewer and professional educator Nick Strauss takes you on a quick tour of the craft – and a tasting of the kind of products that can result:

· Survey global beer styles and how they influence the homebrew community
· Sample beer ingredients to experience how a homebrewer can create distinctive brews
· Learn brewing process and the variations available to homebrewers
· Slice through the confusion of equipment and techniques so you can start brewing in a way that fits your budget and your interests
· Explore several homebrewed (and commercially brewed, depending on what’s available) beers

Nick Strauss has been homebrewing for over ten years, creating his own recipes, experimenting with different techniques, and occasionally writing on the topic at the popular gardening, cooking, and homekeeping blog, Northwest Edible Life. He homebrews to get a creative break from his day job in business intelligence and to be a part of his family’s productive home.

Audience: Prospective and novice homebrewers or anyone interested in learning more about beer and how to make it!
Duration: Approximately two hours. A complimentary one-hour tasting and discussion will follow the event.

New Raingarden Resources

We have been building raingardens for years and they are nearly always included in every one our projects, along with other Low Impact Development techniques.  We have a collection of our work on our portfolio here and here, as well as a collection of pictures for inspiration for clients on a Pinterest board.  Jessi has recently been contracted by the Department of Ecology to teach seminars to the landscape industry about upcoming regulations on the subject and has been teaching seminars on Rain Wise Gardening to the public for years due to a steadily growing interest.  Ever since the Seattle Rainwise Program launched, we have seen more and more demand for raingardens and the various ways to manage stormwater, which is fantastic!

trainor raingarden 015

This picture was taken during the construction of the first Seattle RainWise rebate project in Ballard WA.

We are happy to see this field growing and evolving, which comes along with new studies and new resources.  Just released is a brand new and beautifully done “Raingarden Handbook for Western Washington” that homeowners and industry professionals alike can really benefit from. Links:

2013 Raingarden Handbook for Western Washington

2012 Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington for professionals

We are looking forward to seeing these LID techniques implemented in all construction projects and are excited to be at the forefront of these changes. It is great to have so much support from local jurisdictions who are making it all happen, and supplying us with these great resources!

Happy Birthday to N.W. Bloom!

Thirteen years ago today, I walked into a WA State office and applied for a business license.  This was mostly out of frustration that when I applied for jobs in the industry I was offered many positions, but a pesticide applicators license was required to do any of these jobs.  My ideals were laughed at, and I was told that native plants were ugly and unacceptable and edibles didn’t sell.  I was told that expensive irrigation systems were a money maker, and that pesticides and synthetic fertilizers were absolutely necessary to have a business in this field. When I turned down positions I was told I was naive and I needed to get on board with how this green industry really worked or I’d never make it.  The first few years of business were slow, but with steady growth and I spent most of my time weeding gardens.  I remember being 7 months pregnant with my 1st son, in overalls and shoveling green debris out of a tiny trailer with a pitchfork at the recycling center nearby.  I longed for a dump truck where I could push a button to easily unload my daily collection of “waste” which was to be composted and sold back to me as mulch a few months later.  The business grew from a lot of blood sweat and tears… but never once were ethics or environmental standards compromised.

Fast forward to today — and not only do we have push-button dump vehicles (yay for making our work easier!) but we have more accolades in our office than we have wall space to hold them. We take a lot of pride that for 13 years now, we have been building ecological landscapes that are highly functional without the input of wasteful and harmful products and practices. Our gardens provide lush habitat for wildlife and the humans who use the gardens alike. We have more photos of these beautiful landscapes than we know what to do with, or have time to organize. We have wonderful base of clientele that appreciate our work and send us lots of referrals which books our schedules out several months at a time.  The industry is now thankfully recognizing these high environmental standards as best management practices.  The N.W. Bloom staff is passionate, dedicated and talented, making client relationships and education a priority.  Outside of designing/consulting, I now spend most of my time teaching seminars and workshops to large groups (from homeowner groups to industry professionals), managing media inquiries and photo shoots, plus writing books – the latest is an inspirational and practical guide on permaculture design which is approachable to the masses.

We are proud to have officially entered into the teenage years, which is actually pretty old as far as small businesses go and we are looking forward to the future and what it holds!

The NW Bloom Crew: (L-R) Zac, Carmin, Susan, Fernando, Jessi, Cruz, Tenney, Rita, Peter. Not pictured: Spanky, Willow, all the chickens, turkeys, ducks, fish and honeybees

 

Find us at the 2013 Fairs!

We have had a busy spring and are gearing up for having a booth at several Puget Sound fairs selling plants and Jessi will be speaking at a few of the events. These are all fun, educational, family friendly events and we hope to see some of you there!

May 19thCelebration of Food Festival!  Lynnwood WA Booth #47

June 1st & 2nd  – The Mother Earth News Fair  in Puyallup.  Booth# 225
Check out the
List of Workshops and Speakers!  Jessi is in the line up both days.
Hours are Sat 9am to 7pm and Sun 9am to 6pm.

June 7th, 8th & 9thSorticulture Fair! in Everett ,WA Booth # 174

July 27th  Solar Fest in Shoreline WA

One of Jessi’s seminars at the 2012 Mother Earth News Fair had standing room only!

Washington State’s NEW Sustainable Landscape Certification!

We are very excited about a new statewide certification program for landscape professionals here in Washington that is about to launch next month.  I’m personally very proud to have had a hand in helping see it come to life with a team of leaders within the green industry.  For well over a year now, a small, dedicated group of us have sat on an volunteer advisory board helping to create the BMP’s and standards for this program.  During this time, we met regularly pouring over and comparing other programs in the nation and having lengthy discussions around all of the topics at hand.  This certification has been in the making for a while and is quite monumental in that all of the organizations who have collaborated and come together to raise the bar in our industry.  Those who volunteered their time to be involved and on that board included:

Advisory Board:ACADEMIA

Affiliations

Don Marshall, CPH Horticulture instructor, Lake Washington Institute of Technology; design practitioner

Assn. of Professional Landscape Designers

WA Chapter–American Society of Landscape Architects

WSNLA

WALP

International Society of Arboriculture

Coalition of Organic Landscape Professionals

Sports Turf Management Assn.

WA Native Plant Society

UW Botanic Gardens

Building Owners & Managers Assn.

Sustainable Sites

EnviroStars

Van Bobbitt, ISA Horticulture instructor, S. Seattle Community College
PUBLIC SECTOR
David McDonald Educator, Seattle Public Utilities
Barb DeCaro Public grounds practitioner, Seattle Parks and Recreation
PRIVATE SECTOR (LANDSCAPING & NURSERY)
Jessi Bloom, CPH Residential contractor specializing in organic landscape design/build/maintenance, NW Bloom Eco-Logical Landscapes
Will Bailey, CLT, CLP, ISA Commercial contractor, Signature Landscape Services
Ladd Smith Residential contractor, In Harmony Sustainable Landscape Services
Lisa Port, APLD Designer, Banyon Tree Design Studio
Jeff van Lierop Nursery wholesaler, Country Green

Partners: King County EnviroStars, Seattle Public Utilities, WA State Nursery & Landscape Association (WSNLA), WA Association of Landscape Professionals (WALP), Cascade Water Alliance, Tacoma Water District

The first training and test is being held this March at South Seattle Community College and registration info can be found here    through WSNLA.  The registration is almost full – so pass this along quickly to anyone who may be interested!  There are links to the required reading material as well as prerequisites to register.

I am excited to be the kickoff presenter for the training and our Project Manager Zac Kopra will be among the first class going through the training.  We hope to see you there!

It’s Garden Show time!

Here we are again about to plunge into the fun and chaos of the NW Flower and Garden Show!  This year we are doing something totally different and we’re gonna have a booth in the Plant Market! That’s right, we’re selling the best, tastiest and most functional plants for our Pacific NW gardens.  Be sure to stop by and visit us at Booth #2626 we will be giving away free plants – just be sure to visit a kiosk for details.

Perennial edible plants have arrived!

Also, Jessi will be teaching two seminars both followed with book signings:

  • Easy Peasy Edibles  Plant Once & Enjoy the Harvest for Years  Thurs, Feb 21 at 9:30 am/Hood Room Join landscape designer Jessi Bloom talk about her favorite low maintenance edibles for the Pacific Northwest – all perennials! Plant them once and enjoy the harvest for years to come, plus arrange them beautifully for a gorgeous edible landscape!
  • What the Cluck?! Everything You Need to Know for Chicken Gardening Sat, Feb 23 at 12:15 pm / Hood Room  Join best-selling author and designer Jessica Bloom as she helps you master the basics of how to integrate chickens into your garden, starting with chicken raising myth busters, to designing habitat for them and you to benefit from; Jessi Bloom, author of Free Range Chicken Gardens will also share her favorite top 10 chicken garden plants!”

To see our involvement at the show over the years, be sure to check out these links for photos and recaps: 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012.   Keep an eye on our facebook page if you want to follow what is happening at the show including cool finds & great garden ideas!

The Plant Orphanage

Here at the NW Bloom nursery we have always had an “Orphanage”.  This is where all of the unwanted plants come to live and get the chance at a new beginning, in a new garden.

In the majority of our projects there are usually plants that the client wants to get rid of — for various reasons; maybe it was growing too big for the spot it was originally planted in… maybe it was the wrong color of flower.. maybe it was in a spot slated for a more desirable plant.  Regardless, we don’t believe good plants should go to waste!  Many of the plants we end up transplanting are the same – rhodies, boxwoods, roses, lilac, ornamental grasses, etc because they take to transplanting well.  Even though these are common in many landscapes, there are many projects that have no plants to start with or have a low budget, and getting more mature plants can save a lot of money!

Using her best, cheesy Vanna White impression, Jessi shows off a large orphan camellia. This large plant was being installed into a new landscape project which will provide the client instant privacy from their neighbors deck!

Hundreds, if not thousands of salvaged plants have found new homes in our garden projects.  It has been always been a common practice at NW Bloom since the business first started out!  Now, even the internationally recognized green building program LEED even gives projects points for reusing plants!