In the Garden
New Seattle Chinese Garden celebrates its opening Sunday
Ciscoe Morris, Seattle Times garden writer, talks about the new Seattle Chinese Garden that is opening at South Seattle Community College on Sunday. He recommends a talk by Lorene Edward Forkner on adding edibles to your garden and gives tips on pruning Heavenly bamboo.
Special to The Seattle Times
The Seattle Chinese Garden is poised to take its place as the newest gem in the Emerald City. The gates of the first Sichuan-style garden built outside of China will be open to the public noon until 4:30 p.m. Sunday on the campus of South Seattle Community College.
Although most of the garden awaits completion, the Knowing the Spring Courtyard is an artistic masterpiece and ready for visitors. The building surrounding the courtyard was constructed by a team of 21 master artisans from China and contains all of the traditional elements including an elaborate tile-roofed entry gate, beautiful woodwork, windows and stone paving.
The landscape within includes a water feature, trees and plants native to China, as well as magnificent river rocks shipped from China.
The garden, when completed, will cover five acres and contain water features, bridges and spectacular plants native to China. Traditional buildings will include a teahouse and an 85-foot-tall viewing pavilion with a commanding view of downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay, the Olympics and the Cascades.
The garden will be open to the public at noon Wednesdays through Sundays year-round. Closing hours will vary seasonally. Admission is free for Seattle residents, garden members and children under 5. Admission for others is $5-$6. This Sunday's opening is free to the public. Visit www.seattlechinesegarden.org for information and directions.
How to have a beautiful garden and eat it too
Find out how you can incorporate fruiting and other edible plants while making the garden even more attractive by attending the talk "Life is Good & Delicious in a Northwest Garden" by Lorene Edward Forkner. A highly respected ornamental gardener, Forkner owned Fremont Nursery and is an established author. She constantly experiments with adding edibles to her spectacular private garden in Seattle.
She'll share knowledge and lessons learned in her landscape, and show how you can use color, texture and form to create a garden that is beautiful, productive and delicious. The talk will be held Feb. 9 at the Center for Urban Horticulture. The hall opens for refreshments at 6:45 p.m. and the lecture begins at 7:15 p.m. The fee is $5 for Northwest Horticulture Society members and $10 for nonmembers (206-780-8172 or www.northwesthort.org).
Prune leggy heavenly bamboo
Nandina domestica (Heavenly bamboo) is the popular plant that resembles bamboo, with canelike stems and lacy foliage. It's exceptionally attractive when the red- or purple-tinged leaves turn fiery crimson in winter. These popular plants are actually members of the tough long-lived barberry family.
In Japan you'll often see them planted by the front door of houses. The belief is that telling your problems to the plant will take your troubles away. (It didn't work for me when I put a 2-ton rock through the side of the house.)
The problem with Nandina is that the plant often becomes leggy and bare on the bottom with foliage only on the top, causing it to get top heavy and droop. The best way to solve the problem is to cut the old, drooping canes right to the ground now before new growth in spring. Give them a shot of organic lawn food in mid-March, make sure they get adequate water, and new canes will grow up full and attractive to replace the ones you removed.
Ciscoe Morris: email@example.com. "Gardening with Ciscoe" airs at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KING-TV.
About In the Garden
Ciscoe Morris' column runs Thursdays. His show "Gardening with Ciscoe" airs at 10 a.m. on Saturdays on King 5.
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