Designer Plants, Too Many Possibilities and the Lowdown on Liverwort

Designer Plants

Just because there are marketers out there with more money than green thumbs, we don’t have to succumb to designer labeled plants. Neighborhood nurseries and garden centers have plenty of locally grown plants that are more suitable to our climate and equally well grown. Unusual plants rarely have designer labels. Unless it’s psychologically important to have an “Armani” Aster, go for the acme version. They’re just as good and we’re supporting the little guy. New isn’t always better.

Paralyzed by Possibilities?

One of the complaints that newbie Northwesterners have about gardening in the South Sound is, “Where do we start? We have too many choices!”The best advice from longtime South Sound gardeners is to “go for a walk and ask questions”. Neighbors are usually eager to let you in on their gardening secrets and experiences. You can save a lot of time by avoiding others gardeners’ mistakes. And neighbors aren’t trying to sell you anything. As a matter of fact, they’ll probably go get pruners and a trowel to give you cuttings and divisions.

Batherapy for Plants

It couldn’t hurt. Use ½ cup Epsom salts in a gallon of water as a foliar spray for roses, peppers and tomatoes. For your efforts you’ll get more flowers, greener plants, and higher yields.Use plain old drugstore or grocery store Epsom salts ($3 for 16 oz). Even though you can sprinkle Epsom salts directly on the soil, you’ll get quicker results if you mix with water and soak the area around your plant. If you have old, worn-out soil, chances are the magnesium level is low. Epsom salts can be a miracle worker. For an added boost, spray directly on leaves and fruit.Foliar feeding is highly underestimated and underused. It’s a good habit to develop. For “more than you ever wanted to know about Epsom salts”, go to

The Lowdown on Liverwort

The South Sound has a new problem plant from the moss family. It’s Liverwort, that flat fried-green-eggs looking thing that tightly covers the top of the soil in greenhouse and nursery grown pots. Liverwort is spread by wind and water. It grows in moist, fertile soils. Watch for it in Tacoma’s north end.If you get Liverwort in a newly purchased pot or if it shows up in your yard, just scrape it off and dispose of it. This is a tough one to get rid of once it takes hold so be a Liverwort first responder and get rid of it while it’s contained. As an aside…it is perfect for terrariums and makes a great science project.

Talk about EZ!

Next to dandelions, hybrid daylilies are about as easy to grow andlow maintenance as you can get.They can change the look of any perennial garden with their fountains of strappy leaves. Daylilies are a welcome substitute for ornamental grasses when you want some upward movement and spike added to a border.Daylilies grow in any soil and in sun or shade. They crowd out weeds, don’t need to be staked and come in every color except… (could it be….blue?) Watch for a selection called ‘Buttered Popcorn’. It is disease resistant, has large buttery-gold 6-inch blossoms on 30-36 inch stems and blooms for an unusually long time, June to frost. No wonder it’s one of the All-American Selections for 2006. Want more? Go to for information.