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written by

Marianne C. Ophardt

WSU Extension Faculty

for the Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, WA

Next weekend is the Home & Garden Show at TRAC in Pasco. If you’re a gardener, there are opportunities to talk to local experts about flowers, trees, and gardens. Upstairs you’ll find the annual Flower Show . They’ll of course have lovely flower arrangement and plants specimens from their yards on display, but more importantly you also get the chance to talk to local garden club members who know all about growing flowers in local gardens.

Down on the arena floor, you have the opportunity to ask all your tree, shrub, and garden questions at the side-by-side booths of the Mid-Columbia Community Forestry Council and the WSU Extension Master Gardeners. If you want to know about tree selection and proper pruning, stop in at the forestry council booth.

The MCCFC is a non-profit group with the goal of educating local residents about planting trees correctly and keeping local trees healthy with proper care. At their booth, you can find information on tree selection, planting trees, pruning, and tree care. I’ll be at their booth for part of Sunday. Also On Sunday , Howard Madsen, the president of the MCCFC, and Brian Cramer, a council member representing the PUD, will be giving a seminar about tree pruning do’s and don’ts.

At the WSU Extension Master Gardener booth you’ll learn about upcoming classes for local gardeners and the three-acre Master Gardener Demonstration Garden in Kennewick. Have a yard or garden problem? An insect you need identified? A sick plant? The WSU Extension Master Gardeners will be there to provide you with free, research-based answers to your questions.

You wouldn’t believe the mountain of seed catalogs that I’ve received im the mail. I’ve already talked about some of the specialty vegetable catalogs in the pile, but I must tell you about one from Cloud Mountain Farm. It’s one of the mainstream major purveyors of mail order plants and seeds with a glossy and impressive catalog. It’s a much smaller companies that isn’t trying to woo you with pretty pictures, but by offering plants that aren’t quite so common.

This year is my first time for receiving Cloud Mountain Farm’s catalog. They’re located in Everson, Washington, which is located “along the western edge of the Cascade Mountain range in northwestern Washington ” about twenty minutes from Bellingham. The catalog is not large and it’s on newsprint paper. I thought this would be just a specialty fruit catalog with a black and white picture of an apple blossom on the cover, but there’s much more than just fruiting plants that they offer.

Cloud Mountain Farm (CMF) has some unique and tempting ornamentals to sell. They will ship quite a few plants, but if the plants being offered are too big for shipping, they must be picked up at the nursery. While they may have a more moderate climate than most of our region, they offer a number of plants that are hardy in our region too. Here’s a few that might tweak your curiosity:

Stellar Dogwoods (Zone 5): These are hybrids that are a cross between flowering dogwood and Kousa dogwood. CMF offers Aurora with white flowers and Stellar Pink with light pink flowers.

Camellia Hybrids (Zone 6-10): These beautiful flowering broadleaf evergreens prefer acid soils and partial shade, but I’ve been wanting to try one of the hardy camellias anyhow. CMF offers both spring and fall blooming types. Autumn Spirit might be a good bet since it’s reported to be very hardy and fairly sun tolerant, although partial shade would probably work best here. It produces deep rose pink flowers in October.

Dwarf & Miniature Conifers: It’s easy to find full-sized fir, cypress, cedar, juniper, and pine trees trees, but it’s hard to find dwarf and miniature versions. CMF designates dwarfs as those that grow one to six inches a year and reach a size of one to six feet in about ten years. Miniatures are Lilliputian in growth and stature, growing less than one inch a year and only reaching a height of one foot or less in ten years. These smaller plants have a niche in smaller landscapes and in rock and miniature gardens.

CMF offers a number of other unique and unusual ornamentals, as well as tree fruit, nuts, grapes, and berries. You can reach Cloud Mountain Farm at www.cloudmountainfarm or by calling 360-966-5859.

Published: 2/14/2009 11:53 AM



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