Blog

Gardening for the Bees

When our hives got opened the other week we sadly found no signs of life.bees  The jury is still out on whether or not this was the result of a normal winter die off or if there were other things at play.  Since 2006 it’s estimated  that more than three billion honey bees have died in the United States, and billions more world wide.  These deaths are somewhat mysterious and have been termed, colony collapse disorder.  While there is no definite known cause research points to the heavy use of pesticides and the loss of biodiversity as some of the major players.  Why does this matter?

  • Honeybees account for 80% of all insect pollination
  • About 1/3 of the foods we depend on  require pollination (apples, almonds, tomatoes, blueberries, coffee and many many more)
  • USDA says this die off is threatening 100 different commercial crops that depend on pollination
  • This threat to crops could result in a ten-fold increase in food prices

This is not a doomsday notice though.  There are plenty of things that you can do to help from planting a bee friendly garden, to having your own hives,  and of course, taking care of your yard in an organic, pesticide free manner.  Creating a garden that will attract and feed honeybees is a fun and simple thing to do, whether it’s in your backyard or in containers, here are a few things to consider:

  • Plan so you have things blooming all season
  • Plant native plants and flowers, at least mixed in
  • Avoid overly hybridized plants as they don’t provide much pollen to feed the bees
  • Have a clean water source available
  • Plant flowers around your fruit and nut trees to bring in bees and other pollinators

Adding to the biodiversity in your landscape and gardening in an sustainable manner will help the honeybees, as well as help your yard be bountiful and toxin free.  Of course, keeping some of these small fuzzy friends is a great contribution as well.  You can learn more, get products and take classes at some of our local shops: Keep it Simple Farm and The Bees Neez.

 

Building a Wildlife Garden

We just finished a really fun wildlife garden for some clients that adore their wild pets, especially the squirrels.  This is a great example of how even a small space can be turned into a natural oasis to share with the critters around you.

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                                                                 Mid Project

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                                                                     Finished!

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Some of the main elements we created for this sanctuary include:

  • Replacing restrictive (small) deck and concrete slab with a sandset (permeable) flagstone patio
  • Two arbors to breakup sightlines of the massive walls of neighboring homes
  • Removal of back fence to open to green belt
  • “Dry” stream bed to allow for drainage of site runoff from neighbors property and slope
  • Stone outcroppings / stairs
  • Gravel Paths
  • Bubbling stone water feature for the sound of water and a place for wildlife to drink and bath in
  • Plantings are a mix of native, edible and ornamentals

“Hi Zac, I just wanted to reiterate how thrilled we are with the way that the back garden (we can’t really call it a yard anymore!) turned out. Everyone on the team was so amazing, from our initial meeting with Jessi, to working with you on the proposal estimate, and finally watching your wonderful team take such care in turn our unappealing hill of dirt into a nature paradise. We were extremely impressed with the skill, dedication and commitment to excellence that everyone had; to say you are meticulous and perfection driven is an understatement. It was a little sad this morning when I returned from my rehearsal and there were no hardworking and smiling faces to be seen! We cannot wait to watch everything grow and mature over the seasons… “

 

 

Spring is Coming!

Last week mother nature decided to begin her tease into the spring season.  It was 60 degrees and sunny through out the Puget Sound and everyone had huge smiles plastered across their faces.  Of course we then promptly received several feet of snow in the mountains and the temperature down here plummeted back down with the onset of clouds and rain.  That’s how spring seems to always begin – teasing us with little touches of light and life.  The garden is beginning to poke its head out and those little glimpses of color keep us feigning for more.  Hang on – she will be here soon!

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The crocus are out!

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The Fuki in our greenhouse and around the pond are starting their funky blooms.

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The first rhodie flowers of the season!

rhubarb

Yummy – the rhubarb is working it’s way up too.

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We have a bunch of seeds going! Kale and some other greens as well as some artichokes and rhubarb are awaiting their larger pots.

 

 

An exciting year ahead!

It’s only February but it is already shaping up to be a busy and very exciting year.  N.W. Bloom and Jessi have been making their way into the media all over the place.  A few of our gardens are going to be featured in Better Homes and Gardens this spring, so keep your eyes open!

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We are thrilled to have our spring filling up with some fun installations that include native plantings, restoration, rain gardens and of course, edible gardens.

Fine Gard interview

Recently, Jessi got to sit down with Fine Gardening magazine’s Chief Editor Steve to talk about the importance of permaculture and sustainability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One of Jessi’s designs is in new book by Niki Jabbour, “Ground Breaking Food Gardens, 73 plans that will change how you grow your garden“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Jessi is going to be teaching all over the place this spring some upcoming highlights include:

A complete list of speaking events can be found on our speaking events page.  We hope that you are as excited as we are for this upcoming season.  Whether it’s in the field or in a classroom we hope to see you soon!

2014 NW Flower & Garden Show

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show is here and there are some inspiring gardens on exhibit, and fun vendor booths to visit, as usual.  This year’s theme is “Art in Bloom” showcases local art pieces integrated into the gardens, in all sorts of forms.  The #NWFGS offers a huge concentration of free seminars and this year they range in topics from landscape design principles to different types of edible gardening to reusing scraps for garden art.

We will not have an exhibit or booth, though Jessi will be teaching at 4:15 p.m. Saturday in the Rainier Room, which if you haven’t heard her speak, you shouldn’t miss it!  Here are some pictures to help inspire you to brave the masses and attend this awesome event.  It will be worthwhile, we promise!

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Eco Pro Certification

We are coming into the second year of the WSNLA‘s Sustainable Landscape Professional Certification, now called EcoPro.   Jessi will once again be the opening speaker and teaching sustainable design for the February training.  Zac and Jessi are maintaining their certifications through continued education, and, of course, a deeply ingrained practice of implementing sustainable practices in all of NW Bloom’s designs, construction, and maintenance.  As the industry continues to shift towards more ecological and sustainable practices it’s essential to have credibility to escape “green-washing” and continue to increase the public’s knowledge on the subject, and the EcoPro Certification does just that.

An EcoPro Certified Individual demonstrates a knowledge and practice of the following principles:

• Protect and Conserve Soils
• Conserve Water
• Protect Water and Air Quality
• Protect and Create Wildlife Habitat
• Conserve Energy
• Sustain Healthy Plants
• Use Sustainable Methods and Materials
• Protect and Enhance Human Health and Well-being

The upcoming training will be held at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood, WA. and will run February 18-21st.  You can find more information on what it takes to be an EcoPro Certified Sustainable Landscape Professional on the WSNLA’s website.  You can  also read about the process of creating this certification on a blog post before last year’s training here.  If you know anyone that would benefit from this training please let them know so that we can continue to add to the credibility of our profession and our practices.  Register Here!

Need Garden Help or Knowledge?

It may be winter but everyone’s brains are beginning to spin with ideas for what they would like to happen in their gardens this upcoming season.  It’s always time to gather more knowledge and NW Bloom offers consultations for your yard and property, which is a wonderful way to pick an experts brain and get a perspective that you may not have had with your garden before.  As spring approaches rapidly our schedule is filling up and consultations are getting harder to come by, fortunately for all of us, Jessi shares her knowledge not only with individual clients, but with the public through a variety of venues and on a large number of gardening and sustainability topics.  You’ll be able to catch her this year speaking locally here in Washington as well as the Mother Earth News Fairs in NC, WA, PA, and KA!  All of the event sponsors offer classes on all different topics, be sure to check out our speaking events page to see if there is a topic that interests you.

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We’re Hiring!

It is that time of the year again looking forward to the upcoming season and realizing we need some more help!  Currently we are looking for people to join both our landscape maintenance and construction crew as well as some one to take over as office and nursery management.  If either of those positions sound appealing to you please send your resume, professional references and a few reasons why you’d like to work with us to nwbloomoffice@gmail.com.

Landscape Technician (Full Time)

Looking for a candidate able to work with landscape construction and maintenance teams who work on a variety of interesting projects. Prefer at least 1 year of landscaping experience with knowledge of various materials and tools. Must be reliable, possess the ability to take initiative, work alone or as a team. Must be able to lift 60 lbs and be able to work in all weather conditions. Horticultural (and organics) education or knowledge preferred, but not required. Must have a valid WSDL and clean driving record. And most importantly must have an excellent attitude! 

Office / Nursery Manager (Part Time)

NW Bloom Ecological Landscapes is looking for someone to join our team as an office and nursery manager.    Ideal candidate would have 2+ years of office experience and have a horticulture background, nursery experience a plus.  Must be proficient with all MS office applications, social media, have excellent communication and organizational skills. Must be a self-starter with the ability to work independently and handle multiple priorities within a fast paced team atmosphere.  Most importantly, must have a great attitude and a passion for horticulture and ecological sustainability.

Pay: DOE and qualifications. We offer health insurance, Simple IRA, paid holidays, bonuses, training/educational opportunities and more.

The Gift of Garden Help

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Do you have avid gardeners in your family?  Or those who want to be but they need that extra helping hand?  

Winter may not seem like gardening time, but it is the best time for planning, preparing, and catching up on maintenance so that you can get the most out of your garden during the productive growing months.  Landscapes should be a source of joy, not stress, and we have some great options to give to people who might need an extra hand, some more color in their life, or some inspiration to help create the yard they want.

A Design Consultation: a gift that will give back for a lifetime!   We specialize in unique designs to fit whatever needs one might have and creates them in a way that is perennial, ecologically sustainable, and low maintenance.  A consultation is designed to help with whatever needs a client hour knowledgeable team can help with a vast variety of landscape  to-dos.  We can work with you to create a gift certificate specific to your loved ones and their gardening needs.  Here are a few of our ideas, and areas of expertise, and we are also more than willing to work with you to create a unique gift as well.

Consultation topics can include:

  • Landscape design, planning and coaching
  • Rainwise advice and guidance
  • Edible gardening
  • Outdoor living and entertainment space ideas
  • Farm planning and animal / forage integration
  • Problem area solutions
  • Much, much more!

Maintenance: let us do the heavy lifting!

  • Pruning, weeding, seasonal cleanup
  • mulching
  • compost tea
  • whatever is needed!

Containers: Add color where ever you are.

  • Your pots or new
  • Perennial and annual
  • Totally unique

If this sounds like something you’d like to do you can contact us at nwbloomoffice@gmail.com  or (425) 486-6902 and we can get a gift certificate sent to you in time for the holidays. 

Grateful for our Harvest

As we winterize our gardens and prepare our kitchens for the holidays, a lot of us have been investigating how we can locally source our feast’s ingredients.  Here at the farm we have been preserving and processing our fruits and vegetables for storage through the winter.  There is a massive bounty to say the least.  Whether you grow it yourself or do your best to buy local, it all makes a difference, and let’s face it, it’s much more fulfilling and inspiring to cook your own, or  locally bought food, rather than using a can that came from… somewhere?

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We grow many things. Including turkeys. This is not the first time that NW Bloom has raised turkeys -learn more about raising your own, use the links on this site and visiting the Mother Earth News website.

Here on the farm, from the moment the seeds go into the soil and the baby ducks and turkeys show up, everything receives the best care that we can offer.  The turkey that will be on the table here and those in a few of our friends’ homes were raised from chicks that got to bond with the other farm animals, occasionally believed themselves to be ducks, and had pretty much free range of the farm.  When feeding times came they would follow like a gaggle of children behind their teacher at school, waddling as quickly as they could behind us to keep up.  They knew they were loved and they lived fantastic turkey lives.

Not only will these turkeys provide us with  nourishment, but they have been an educational tool for all those involved.  Someone new to the process was out here at the farm for each harvest.  They got be present and help, as well as learned how to pluck and clean a large bird.  On Thanksgiving, when everyone sits down to enjoy the feast, the bird that is the center piece will give everyone that much more to be thankful for and will taste so much better because the experience has been so much further reaching than buying one frozen from the grocery store.