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moving to bellevue,wa

Posted by teeka0801 9b (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 14, 09 at 15:54

Hi, I have been in Central Florida for 3 years and we are moving to Seattle/Bellevue area so wanted to find out what zone I'd be in and what you would recommend for growing in large planters.

I particularly like foliage, but in terms of flowering trees/plants I love yellow and orange and pink bordering on purple.

Any recommendations on gardening in general in this area?

We will be renting, so planting in the ground is not an option, but will have a large cement area and a wrap-around deck that I can put lots of containers.

Thanks! teeka


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 14, 09 at 16:45

USDA 8. See publications (and web site) of Sunset Publishing, Menlo Park, especially the popular Sunset Western Garden Book. If you end up in Bellevue specifically two good resources are Bellevue Botanical Garden and Wells-Medina Nursery.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 14, 09 at 20:39

Welcome. It might take you awhile to realize what a great climate we have for growing plants you may not be used to. Also, to appreciate the crispness to the air in contrast to the heat and humidity you're used to.
My wife and daughter just got back from Orlando after spending a week there. I opted to stay home. Been there, done that. Several times. Nice place to visit though.
I'm just not a flatlander.
Botann


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

Check out the wellsmedinanursery.com website for some pictures of some plants that you can grow. Every year they do large planters designed by local designers. They sell a book of pictures of these planters on their website. It would be a great inspiration for you (put it on your Christmas list?). Their planters make great use of foliage so they might be just what you want.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

Thanks,everyone for all your tips.

I went to the botanical garden website and the medina nursery and I'll make sure to make it out there as soon after arrival.

We'll be arriving in January, yikes! Worst time of the year, right?

What can I expect on an average January day?temps?

Thanks!teeka


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 16, 09 at 22:08

Just had a cold spell but we're (Seattle area) seeing 40's and 50's at the moment. Last time I looked longer term outlook showed a clear, sunny day on Dec. 24, with a high around 40. So another cold spell may be in effect next month.

At this time of the year it is either dull and damp or clear and cold, or on the way from one condition to the other.

Spring starts in February, lasts until July. The precipitation curve is the reverse of Florida, with rainfall levels peaking in winter and bottoming out in summer.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

You will love gardening here and containers are wonderful. My advice: make sure the inside of your home is as bright and cheery as possible during the wintertime. The weeks of grey, gloomy weather get people down when they are used to lots of sunshine. But, it hardly ever gets too hot, or to cold to enjoy the outside. Welcome to the PNW.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

You may be shocked by how short our winter days are. 8 hours of daylight, if you can call it that when you can't even tell where the sun is through the heavy overcast.

Today I slept in until the crack of dawn, which is about 8 AM this time of year. If you work in an office for a typical 8 hour workday you will not see daylight from December through January.

No, January is not a bad time of year to move here! it's all up from here!

Typical winter weather is 40 degrees and raining. That can last well into June, just the days are longer, and no frost after May. Daylight in late June/July runs from 4 AM to 10 PM.

Things you can grow well here that won't grow well in Florida:

Ornamental conifers - there are hundreds of varieties with different colors and textures of foliage, as well as sizes and growth forms. If not thousands.

Heaths and heathers

Peonies

Rhododendrons

Alpine plants

Berries of all kinds - blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, strawberries, all perform fantastically here

All the traditional English cottage perennials and spring-blooming shrubs that need some kind of winter chill and moderate summers


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

We don't call it the Pacific NorthWET for nuthin'. Expect rain. Lots of rain.

We also don't call it the Evergreen State for nuthin'. Much of what's green here is moss. Learn to love it.

It's a wonderful climate for gardening. Do note that it is also a patchwork of microclimates. Many people find that some things will grow very well on the south side of their house, but not the north side. I have even noted that in the winter, the temperature can be different by almost ten degrees between my front yard and back yard. When we had our cold snap a week ago, the front yard thawed out while the back stayed frozen. I brought a bunch of small things (including some treasures from the Green Elephant) around to the front of the house to keep them from freezing solid.

What? You are not familiar with the Green Elephant? That's our 4 times a year plant exchange which is in Redmond -- the next 'burb to the east of Bellevue. Go have a look at the PNW Exchange Forum here. You can score a LOT of great plants for your new home.

But the neat thing with containers, of course, is that you can move stuff around, so the daffodils and tulips can be front and center in the spring, then when they have done their thing, you can move them out of the way, and bring in summer/fall stuff.


Wells Medina is spectacular, but can be a bit pricey. There is a most excellent nursery for the budget-minded, Julius Rosso, at the north end of Boeing Field. There are many other great nurseries in the area, as well. Squak Mountain, Sky, Molbak's, Olympic, the list goes on and on.

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Elephant


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Big stuff in containers

A couple of larger things that I have in containers: Lilac, camelia, roses, arborvitae, euonymus, and holly.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

"Budget minded" and Bellevue are a contradiction in terms IMO :-) And as a former Bellevue resident, I think I can get away with saying that. LOL!

I believe one of the reasons Wells-Medina was suggested was because of their stunning seasonal container displays, which are very appropriate to the OP's request but I haven't found them to be any more pricey than some of the other larger areas nurseries and they actually offer lower prices on many items than some I can name. And a very high quality, well-tended product.

It's been a few years since I visited Rosso's nursery so maybe conditions have changed but at that time, it was a pit -- muddy fields and walkways, no visible organization to the layout and plant selection, ill-tended stock and minimal customer service. There is nothing there that can't be found easier and in better condition at any one of a dozen other places locally. I wouldn't recommend it.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 21, 09 at 13:29

I believe one of the reasons Wells-Medina was suggested was because of their stunning seasonal container displays, which are very appropriate to the OP's request but I haven't found them to be any more pricey than some of the other larger areas nurseries and they actually offer lower prices on many items than some I can name. And a very high quality, well-tended product.

It's been a few years since I visited Rosso's nursery so maybe conditions have changed but at that time, it was a pit -- muddy fields and walkways, no visible organization to the layout and plant selection, ill-tended stock and minimal customer service. There is nothing there that can't be found easier and in better condition at any one of a dozen other places locally. I wouldn't recommend it

Yep. The display container plantings at Wells-Medina greet you as you get out of your car and walk into a nursery that has long featured an inventory that includes selections often not present at other local walk-in nurseries at the same time.

One season Rosso's had a burned-up car on display.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

You are just a brief drive across the bay to the UW Arboretum, one of the best in the USA. Take time to get over there and see the winter garden. Witch Hazel will soon be in bloom........'sometime in late January early February, and there is something in bloom somewhere from then on. A great place to find out just what thrives here . and perhaps what doesn't.

Here is a link that might be useful: University of WA Arboretum


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

teeka,

We moved here 4 years ago after many, many years in Central Florida. You'll LOVE it! The gardening is fabulous. Like boizeau said, the Witch Hazel is starting soon, and then things really start going to town--flowering bulbs and trees, roses, daylillies, peonies, daisies, just a series of beautiful blooms. We had roses until a hard freeze in late November. (Never grew roses in Florida due to all the disease--I don't even have to spray here!) And johnny jumpups bloom year 'round. You can put flowering bulbs in containers and get all those colors you like starting late January/early February. You'll be able to find container plants out the wazoo at the nurseries--I've never seen so many hanging baskets of flowering plants! Wait till you see the fuschias!

According to the Weather Channel page, average temps in January in Bellevue are 46 for the high and 35 for the low. There seems to be a pretty large standard deviation on temperatures here. We were in the single digits and barely getting above freezing 2 weeks ago; this past week we were in the mid-50's for the high (the average is about 44 for the high and 32 for the low.)

We have had absolutely NO problems with the "gray & gloomy" weather. The rainfall is completely different from what you're used to in Central Florida. It's more like a heavy mist than rain--you generally don't even need an umbrella, and driving in it isn't a problem (we've probably needed a higher windshield wiper setting than "intermittant" less than 10 times in 4 years. Nothing like the 16 inches they got in Hallendale the other day.) The ground (at least where we are) is mostly clay and tends not to drain very well, so the very light rainfall works out. No getting soaked to the skin walking out to your car, and hardly ever any lightning or thunder (when there's lightning it makes the news!) Trapped in the house for days with a low pressure system stalled over your head in central Florida was far more dreary--here you usually can get out and go in spite of the weather. It's really, really nice. We even like the short days--a good time to catch up on sleep, read a book in front of the fire, eat stew and chili, etc.

The summer has actually been a harder adjustment than the winter. The days are VERY long, and it can be hard to get to sleep at night. Then the sun comes up and you're wide awake at 4:30 in the morning. You might want to invest in some blackout drapes. There is very little rainfall, and sometimes the air quality suffers for it. BUT--clear skies, warm days, cool nights, tons of stuff to do. Since the growing season is compressed, you'll see the same amount of growth you get in a year in Florida in 4-5 months out here--especially if you're talking weeds! We were on Merritt Island (by the space center) and "gardened" on sand and shells. Now we're on clay and rocks (lots and LOTS of rocks!). Harder to dig, but the plants really thrive, and you can add organic material and it actually improves the soil instead of just burning up like it does in sand.

On average I've gotten 1 mosquito bite per year without using bug spray. And NO palmetto bugs or lubber grasshoppers!


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

You're in zone 8, but so is alot of Texas, and the two places couldn't be more different. Zone 8 just means it won't get very cold, but you won't get very warm either. And every year it seems like Winter just won't let go. Long, cool, wet springs. But alot of plants really dig that, like cane berries and peonies as were mentioned. If you like foliage plants, you absolutely have to put in hostas. They erupt from the ground in late winter and love the cool, showery, spring weather. Anything in the iris family is also a good bet.
On the other hand, the summers are practically rain free and the days quite long. So you can ripen up the fruit on your trees and the squashes in your vegetable garden.
Avoid tropical perennials, unless you're into masochism. Some can be done, but the pain is generally not worth it. Although some figs are actually doable.


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thanks!

I am really getting excited now and am looking forward to experiencing gardening in Bellevue.

No kidding, sticker shock all around...my kids' piano lessons are twice as expensive, for teacher with same qualifications! I am a bit scared now about what to expect in supermarkets and for everyday shopping.

Oh, well, we will be on our way this weekend....three kids, 10 suitcases plus carryons and flying in the middle of this winter storm....wish me luck!!

btw, where is the nearest Home Depot in/near Bellevue?? Looking at buying some potting mix as soon as my pots arrive:)

teeka


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

teeka,

Definitely more expensive here--sales tax a lot higher, too. Homeowner's insurance is a lot less without the hurricane coverage, tho, so things balance out somewhat. You're gonna love it! The current forecast looks like it will be clear this weekend for your arrival, and maybe a little snow next week (although if you check in 5 minutes the forecast will change...)

Just checked the "store finder" on Home Depot's web site--one in Bellevue, one in Issaquah, one in Redmond...all over the place. You should be set!

Congratulations, and have a safe trip.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

Welcome to the area and safe travels!

FWIW, Home Depot and the like would NOT be my first choice for potting soils. The best results with container gardening require potting soils that have significant texture and minimal fast-to-decompose organic matter.....check out the Container Gardening forum for more details. Once settled in, I'd suggest you visit some local retail garden centers (not box stores) and look for bagged potting soils with the Gardner & Bloom or Master Nursery labels (same manufacturer/supplier, different marketing). These are the best, highest quality, prepared bagged potting soils I have encountered in this area. More expensive than what you find at the box stores but well worth the investment. The other alternative would be to mix your own according to recipes found on the CG forum.

Yes, Bellevue is an expensive area :-) It and many other eastside neighborhoods are upscale bedroom communities for Seattle. During my infrequent journeys across the lake (I tend to avoid downtown Bellevue - it is heavily congested and a traffic nightmare, especially at this time of year), I am always surprised at the slightly higher costs of everything. It'll take you some time to find the places with the best deals or shopping bargains, even with groceries, but they can be had.

The Bellevue I remember when I grew up there (several...er...decades ago!) was a semi-rural community with a lot of open land and a quaint shopping center. Now it is arguably more urban than much of Seattle and with the associated crowds and congestion. But still some wonderful neighborhoods.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

We moved here 5 years ago, the same weekend. We moved from NJ. We really love it here! Compared to where we spent the rest of our lives (NY, Maine, NJ) we LOVE them mild winters here. THe rain does not bother me at all. I would like another 5 degrees or so in the summer but I've adjusted!

How old are your kids? Mine are now 13 (boy) and 9 (girl). We are 2 towns over, in Woodinville, if you ahve any questions email me through my profile and I'd be happy to help.

Hope you ahve a great trip out here!

Cathie


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

Whoa!
I second the nix on Home Depot for the potting mix!!!

Beside the ones listed above, I like Black Gold and get good sale prices occasionally at Fred Meyer stores.
(although I tend to mix and add various grits to increase drainage to all premixed soils. (pumice, perlite, sand, chick grit)


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

Teeka,

Please send me an e-mail through GardenWeb. I have useful info on piano lessons, potting soil, and other local resources.

If you need the Home Depot for other stuff, it is on 120th a few blocks south of NE 8th. It's off of the main drags, so you may need directions the first time, depending on where you are coming from.

There is also a Lowe's on 124th about a mile north of NE 8th.

I find Lowe's and Home Depot comparably disappointing in both selection and price on anything they carry. Often what I need will be on sale at one other the other. I have no loyalty.

There's an ACE Hardware at 8th and 156th, kitty-corner from Crossroads Mall.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 29, 09 at 14:03

These are all chain stores with garden departments, not real nurseries.


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

Wells-Medina isn't a real nursery either... but at least it's a top-notch plant store. (Unless I'm mistaken and they have an offsite growing area somewhere.)


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RE: moving to bellevue,wa

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 30, 09 at 17:59

"Nursery" being limited to propagating nurseries is not usual.

And some "growers" buy in rooted cuttings or liners to grow on, instead of starting their own.

As it happens Wells-Medina did operate a support facility in Maltby for some years, a woman I worked with a Flower World went on later to manage the farm.


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