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Originally published Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Plant Talk

'Golden Rave' tomatoes and a strategy for the Flower and Garden Show

Q: My garden grows in pots on my condo deck. Will euphorbias do OK in containers? A: Euphorbias have showy foliage that mixes well with...

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Q: Can you tell me where to buy 'Golden Rave' tomato, chocolate cherry tomato and Pepper 'Holy Mole'? Can I get these locally or send away for them? Will they do great in this area?

A: All of these new vegetables should be available in local nurseries in late spring. They're produced by wholesaler Log House Plants in Cottage Grove, Ore., so should be ideal for our climate, although how well they do, especially the pepper, depends on how much heat and sun we have over the summer. You can call nurseries near where you live, or check with the major local nurseries, to see which carry vegetables from Log House Plants. Last year I found Log House flowers and edibles at Swanson's Nursery, Wells-Medina Nursery, Bayview Farm and Nursery on Whidbey Island and sometimes in past years at Fred Meyer stores.

Q: My garden grows in pots on my condo deck. Will euphorbias do OK in containers?

A: Euphorbias have showy foliage that mixes well with other container plants. Good choices would be the pretty blue-gray and burgundy E. 'Red Wing' that tops out at 20 inches tall, and the dark purple, compact Euphorbia 'Black Bird.' Avoid the larger kinds like Mediterranean spurge E. characias wulfenii. Euphorbias do best in dry soil and sun, so pair well with plants like wallflowers, lavender, phormium and most ornamental grasses.

Q: What is the best way to see the Flower and Garden Show next week? My husband and I couldn't see everything in one evening last year. This year we plan to take a day off to enjoy it. What are the highlights?

A: Here's a strategy: Arrive right when the show opens at 9 a.m., and take in the display gardens in that first hour before it gets so crowded. Be sure to visit the Northwest Horticultural Society's "Eat Your Vegetables: Garden to Table," with live cooking demonstrations and ideas for beautiful vegetable gardening. The Washington Park Arboretum's display garden is a preview of its new Pacific Connections garden with plants from Chile, New Zealand, Australia and China. For an easy-care garden with simple, sustainable features, the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association's Swedish-inspired summer cottage display sounds intriguing.

Be sure to save time for one-of-a-kind vendors like DIG Floral and Garden, Flora and Fauna Books and Jean Emmons Botanical Art. Find a second wind and cross the skybridge to find the Great Plant Picks booth to pick up a free color poster of this year's choices, and do a little shopping at the plant market.

When you get tired, take a break at a free seminar and listen to speakers from around the world, as well as local experts. I hope it's Friday (Feb. 22) you're taking off so you can come hear me joust with Lucy Hardiman, Glenn Withey and Charles Price on the topic of color in the garden — 10 a.m. Friday in the Rainier Room.

The 20th Northwest Flower and Garden Show runs Feb. 20-24 at the Washington State Convention Center. For prices, times and directions, go to www.gardenshow.com/.

Valerie Easton also writes about Plant Life in Sunday's Pacific Northwest Magazine. Write to her at P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111 or e-mail planttalk@seattletimes.com with your questions. Sorry, no personal replies.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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