You can grow edibles and ornamentals in containers

May 6, 2011

The grow-your-own-food revolution is in full swing for small space gardeners. Blend that with the desire for pretty container designs and you have a remarkable variety of combinations at your fingertips.

Apartments, condominiums, balconies or small-scale patios are all viable locations for growing many edibles in containers. As long as you can find a small spot of sun for the bulk of the day, you can grow quite a harvest. Choosing plants that are nutritious, delicious and beautiful is the very best way to maximize your limited space, whether it’s in a window box or several large containers.

Herbs like lemon thyme and chamomile add interesting foliage interest and texture. Contributed

A number of edibles that are highly ornamental also create horticultural drama. By adding some of your favorite ornamental annuals or perennials to your container designs, you can have the best of all worlds in one square-footage-challenged garden.

If you decide you want to grow tomatoes in containers this season, try under planting your tomato with trailing million bells or calibrichoa and sweet potato vine. The only limit to what you can grow with edibles is your imagination.

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Easy solutions to the most common garden problems

May 6, 2011

Do you have a problem? Do you find it difficult to grow the plants you love because of hungry beasts that ravage your roses down to stubs?

Perhaps the endless rainy winters have left an unexpected pond in your backyard where you wanted a cactus. Or maybe it is your neighbor’s small forest of evergreen conifers casting deep, dry shade on your side of the fence.

Let’s take a look at a few solutions for some of our area’s most common gardening challenges.


There are a lot of hungry deer in Newcastle. They will eat practically any plant, or at least try it once. And if you plant any of their favorites, such as hostas, roses or tulips, you might as well put out a neon “All You Can Eat Buffet” sign.

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As pretty as they are tasty

May 6, 2011

Be bold! Be brave! Be bountiful!

Fruits, vegetables and herbs don’t have to be relegated to a rectangular bed in the backyard. Consider integrating these beautiful plants that grace us with food into your traditional landscape. Expand your edible palette with the following plants that exhibit great ornamental appeal.



Apple, pear, plum, cherry or the more exotic persimmon, quince and fig. Dwarf forms are available as well as grafted combinations. Apple, pear and fig lend themselves to espalier (trained horizontally) to grow against a fence, side of the house or a garage. Sweet bay (laurus nobilis) evergreen is a perfect accent as a small topiary tree and also as a shrub form for hedging.

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Horticulturalist to speak at gardening seminar

March 4, 2011

Christina Salwitz, a personal gardening coach from the Newcastle Fruit & Produce nursery, will be a guest speaker March 18 at Proven Winners’ “Outdoor Living Extravaganza” gardening seminar at the Golf Club at Newcastle, 15500 Six Penny Road.

The seminar is one of four the plant distribution company is holding in the U.S. and Canada this March and April. The touring seminar also makes stops in Atlanta, Milwaukee and Toronto.

Salwitz has more than 20 years experience working at nurseries. Her presentation will be titled “Foliage — Confessions of a Leafaholic.” She will discuss how a designer uses leaves and textures to create a striking landscape.

Salwitz will only be speaking at the Newcastle seminar, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. including a catered lunch. Cost is $80 per person, and attendees will be treated to several giveaways.

Visit the company’s website,, and click “events” for more information or to register.

Newport Hills to host holiday bazaar Saturday

December 17, 2010

NEW — 4 p.m. Dec. 17, 2010

The nearby Bellevue neighborhood of Newport Hills will host its holiday bazaar from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dec. 18 at the site of the former Cy’s Hallmark and Newport Hills shopping center, 5620 119th Ave. S.E.

The event will feature merchants selling baked goods, jewelry, crafts, ornaments and other items.

Numerous Newcastle businesses and organizations will attend or contribute to the bazaar, including the Newcastle Weed Warriors, Newcastle Fruit & Produce and the Coal Creek Safeway.

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Stay home for the holidays in Newcastle

December 2, 2010

With snow falling on Newcastle even before Thanksgiving, it feels as though the holiday season started early. If you took the prematurely wintry weather as a cue to begin shopping and preparing for the season, remember to take advantage of the festive activities in town this month as well as supporting local businesses.

Although the Newcastle Rotary Club discontinued the Rotary Santa Parade last year as the club disbanded, the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce is bringing Santa Claus back, to Newcastle Fruit and Produce for free pictures from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4.

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Santa Claus is coming to Newcastle Saturday

December 2, 2010

NEW — 3 p.m. Dec. 2, 2010

Santa Claus will make a stop at Newcastle Fruit & Produce, 13013 S.E Newcastle Way, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dec. 4 for free photos with community members.

The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce is responsible for sponsoring the event and bringing the jolly — yet oddly familiar — man down from the North Pole for the day.

The chamber of commerce asks those who attend to donate a nonperishable food item.

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Splashy coral bells and stylish fall grasses complete a garden

October 4, 2010

It is not your grandma’s garden anymore. New and elegant plants are being introduced more frequently than ever.

Not many plants are more successful than the multitude of new “coral bells,” heuchera (pronounced hew-ker-uh) and the plethora of hardy grasses when it comes to adding movement and soft structure to any garden design.

Heuchera is a perennial with a multitude of foliage colors, textures and design uses. There are cultivars for every exposure from full sun to full shade, and the plant is used in a similar way to hosta.

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Keep your garden bright when it’s dreary

October 4, 2010

Dreary Northwest winters got you down? What little sunshine braves its way through the clouds does what it can, but we still crave more. “Give us more vitamin D, and color!” we cry, only to be answered by another light drizzle.

Alas, what’s a gardener to do? Cheer up! Here are a few bright and wonderful plants to bring a warm glow to your fall and winter landscape.

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Newcastle Fruit and Produce stand to open April 17

April 8, 2009

NEW — 5 p.m. April 8, 2009

It’s official: The Newcastle Fruit and Produce stand will open for another season. The familiar red-and-white big top tent was pitched Monday. Dave Franklin, the owner of the fruit stand, said he would open April 17.

The seasonal stand sells fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition, it sells plants and trees for landscaping, as well as Christmas trees and wreaths during the holiday season.

Motorists honked and waved at Franklin and his co-workers as they assembled the tent and made preparations for the opening.

People work to set up the tent for the Newcastle Fruit and Produce stand. — By Jim Feehan

People work to set up the tent for the Newcastle Fruit and Produce stand. — By Jim Feehan

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