Give thanks, you’re a gardener in Western Washington

Happy Thanksgiving! Time to celebrate all that is great about gardening and our beautiful native plants. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world and enjoy gardens far and wide but home is where we have the most beautiful gardens in the world. No place else can gardeners choose from such a variety of plant material and enjoy the ease of growing in a mild climate with natural rainfall and year-round color. Give thanks!

So here are seven reasons to be thankful you live in Western Washington.

1. We get to experience spectacular fall leaf color and spring blooms from bulbs but (unlike on the East Coast) we don’t spend the winters shoveling snow.

2. We may have slugs and snails but they are easier to deal with than scorpions and tarantulas.

3. We do have deer that ear our roses but no kangaroos that destroy our landscapes, mongoose that devour our fruits or Grizzly bears and moose that fight for our blueberries.

4. Snakes? Yes, they can startle Western Washington gardeners as they go about their business of eating slugs and bugs but at least they are not the poisonous variety of snake that torment hikers and gardeners in arid Eastern Washington.

5. Our “sunshine” may be more liquid than the never-ending summer climate of Southern California but we do not battle as many wildfires, suffer from water restrictions or have laws that prevent us from enjoying a green lawn or enjoying thirsty fuchsias, hanging baskets and colorful beds of perennials.

6. Native plants here are lush and varied and without the sharp thorns and spiky surfaces of cacti, agave or bougainvillea. Brush up against a sword fern and you may disturb a small green tree frog. Brush up against the prickly pear cactus of Southern Italy and the spines can work themselves into your skin and cause injury and infection. I’ll take soft moss over cacti.

7. Most of all, our local nurseries and Pacific Northwest growers are the best in the world, with our amazing heucheras, hydrangeas and hellebores less expensive than the same variety you might try to buy in England, Scotland or Northern Europe. We take for granted the ease of growing these heavenly plants while the rest of the world struggles to provide the cool soil, ample rain and mild winters that heucheras, hydrangeas and hellebores need. We can also grow rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias – amazing evergreen shrubs with spectacular blooms that we often take for granted.

So this Thanksgiving, gather a few branches of shiny evergreen camelliaand mix in some berried branches or fall foliage. Notice our awesome mountain. Take the time to appreciate living in an area of exceptional natural beauty. We are all blessed to call this place home.

• • •

For more gardening information, Marianne Binetti can be reached at her Web site,

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owned by Marianne Binetti.

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