19 Mar 2015

2015 Flower and Garden Show

Kathie Madsen, Plantscapes’ Total Quality Manager, was one of the lead designers for the WALP display at the 2015 Flower and Garden Show.

Here are some photos of the display, plus some pictures of Plantscapes volunteers putting the display together.

 

29 Jan 2015

News From Gary in Kenya

Kids at the Organics$Orphans Base in Kenya
Kids at the Organics$Orphans Base in Kenya

My time here in East Africa has been going well. We are now into the third week at the Kitale, Kenya Organics 4 Orphans base. I am assisting in teaching this month long course in the biointensive gardening & natural health.

Weather here at 6000 feet is very tolerable. Great really. Here in the dry season I am not missing Seattle’s rain. But I do miss seeing all of you (except Hedley, of course). Ha.

There are about 30 students from a half dozen countries training here in equipping Africans. Since my time here 2 1/2 years ago, I now see more clearly that this program can effect change for the better.

Went to a ‘nursery’ African style last week. Interesting how many Zone 7 & 8 plants are growing here in the tropics. You Interior folks might be awed to see interior plants there growing big time outdoors here. I have an install I am working on at the comfortable guesthouse at which I am staying. Guess I can’t get away from seeing possibilities for improvement with landscapes.

Attached is a picture of some of the local kids. They love to practice their English phrases on us ‘mahzungas’ (white folks) like “How are you?’ & ‘I am fine’ as I pass them walking to their schools and while I walk to the O4O base.

Today I learned I am invited to go to Mozambique as I had hoped to teach this course in the capital Maputo (next to South Africa). That’ll be the week after next if I can acquire a visa for Mozambique in Nairobi.Hopefully, not a problem.

Oh, a hotel/bar is going to open up their establishment for some of us North Americans here @ 2 AM Monday morning to see the SuperBowl Seahawks repeat. I am sure nobody there has been discussing this. I will be cheering from this side of the planet.

25 Jan 2015

2015 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Northwest Flower & Garden Show Display
Northwest Flower & Garden Show Display

 

This year, the Northwest Flower and Garden Show will be held from Feb. 11 through Feb. 15, 2015

The Northwest Flower & Garden Show has been heralding the start of spring since 1989, as gardening enthusiasts from around the Northwest flock to this annual celebration, held in the beautiful Washington State Convention Center for five magical days.

Kathy Madsen, Plantscapes’ Total Quality Control Manager and Secretary And Board Member of WALP, is a co-designer of the WALP display. Many Plantscapes employees will be volunteering their time helping with the construction of the display.

We’ll see you there.

09 Jan 2015

Gary Linden Volunteers with Organics 4 Orphans in Africa

Gary Linden Working with Organics 4 Orphans
Gary Linden Working with Organics 4 Orphans

Plantscapes is proud to announce that Gary Linden, a Plantscapes customer service representative, will once again be volunteering with Organics 4 Orphans in Africa. During the two months Gary spends in Africa, he will be on leave from Plantscapes. His duties and clients will be managed by Exterior Manager Dustin Madden until Gary’s return. Here’s what Gary has to say about this project:

“Plantscapes has granted me a two month leave of absence to volunteer to again teach sustainable gardening in Africa (i.e. East Africa and southern Africa not Ebola troubled West Africa).

Gary Linden Working with Organics 4 Orphans
Gary Linden Working with Organics 4 Orphans

I will be working with the Canadian non-profit, Organics 4 Orphans (O4O.org) in Kitale, KENYA to assist in training twenty some Africans in biointensive agriculture, nutrition and natural medicine.

Following this month I am planning toward flying to southern Africa to launch this program in Mozambique &/or Malawi.

If you would like to follow my adventures with pictures and stories you can find me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/gary.a.linden).

Any communications with Plantscapes regarding my areas of responsibility are being fielded by our Exterior Maintenance Manager, Dustin Madden. He can be reached by phone through Plantscapes main office at 206-623-7100 or by email at dmadden@plantscapes.com Be assured, whether you email me, Dustin or call our office during my absence, I am confident we will continue to serve your needs.”

Everyone at Plantscapes wished Gary a safe and successful journey. We are very proud of the work he is doing.

22 Dec 2014

Is Your Office Lean or Green

The December 2014 issue of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter highlighted several studies which gauged the impact of plants on workplace productivity and job satisfaction.

Here’s what they found:

chair and plant
Is Your Office Lean or Green

“A popular business belief, dating back to the 18th century, is that keeping workspaces free of clutter is a key to productivity. Many offices are thus designed with minimalism in mind. That means no photos, artwork, souvenirs, plants, or other adornments. On the other hand, the philosophy that enriching an environment-notably with plants-can increase happiness and efficiency also has deep roots. Many studies have noted both physical and psychological benefits of “green” workplaces, though the studies have had limitations.

So is it better to go lean or go green?

To find out, researchers did a series of real-world experiments in which employees, from call center workers to consultants, were assigned to either Spartan or plant-bedecked spaces. The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

In the first experiment, employees who sat at desks in direct view of at least two plants for three weeks reported improvements in con­ centration, productivity, and air quality, relative to workers not exposed to plants.

In the second one, job satisfaction went up when plants were added to the office, over both the short term (2 weeks) and long term (3Y2 months), with no changes in the no-plant control group.

The third experiment looked at objective measures of productivity. Employees were assigned to either a lean workstation (desk and chair) or green workstation (addition of plants), where they completed tasks involving information management, information processing, and vigilance. Those in the green group completed the tasks faster, without a rise in errors-boosting productivity by 15 percent.

“A green working environment is consistently more enjoyable for employees, more conducive to concentration, and more productive for business than its lean equivalent, the authors wrote. That’s because plants and green spaces, which reflect the natural World, can have a restorative effect on attention. In addition, enriched office spaces may communicate the message that employers care about their workers, which in turn, increases employee work engagement and satisfaction. Plants can also enhance indoor environments by removing some pollutants.

If your office space is Spartan, you might ask your employer to liven it up with some plants. Or bring in your own, if allowed It’s a relatively inexpensive investment that may go a long way in improving well-being at work ­ a win-win for both employee and employer”

Photo Credit
Mr.TinDC

05 Dec 2014

Caring for Your Landscape in Cold Weather

Did the recent freezing temperatures harm your landscape? Here is some excellent advice from the Irrigation & Green Industry Newsletter: The shock of below-freezing temperatures a few days after balmy weather has proven to be fatal to many residential landscapes around the country. Landscape professionals and homeowners were caught off guard by the early November deep freeze. Only time will tell the extent of these damages, but in the meantime, here are some helpful tips on how to decrease harm before and after a freeze.

Choose the Right Location

Protecting plants from freeze can start as early as planting. Finding the right microclimate is very important. Different areas of the landscape may have different environmental conditions, such as temperature and sun exposure. Brick and rock walls are wonderful at absorbing the sun’s rays during the day and provide a little extra protection during cool winter nights.

Apply Mulch

Most landscapes only receive a makeover come spring. But a mulch makeover is equally important in the fall. Freshly applied mulch lessens the likelihood of frost penetration. It keeps the water within the soil from freezing and becoming unavailable to plants. Remember to leave a few inches between trunks and mulch.

Continue to Water

Winter weather tends to dry out the soil. Water acts as an insulator, capturing warmth for extra protection during the freezing night temperatures. Moist soil holds heat better than drier soil. Watering landscapes well before a freeze is an easy way to reduce damage. If you’re unsure if the soil is dry, penetrate an old screwdriver six to eight inches into the soil. If force is needed, the soil is dry. Pay special attention to new plants or plants exposed to lots of sun and wind.

Avoid Pruning

Pruning stimulates new growth, leaving plants very tender and more susceptible to freeze damage. Be sure to prune plants at the appropriate time.

Wrap Trees

Sunscald can occur on cold, sunny, winter days. The quick drop in temperature kills the tree’s active tissue. To prevent sunscald, wrap the trunk with commercial tree wrap, plastic tree guards, or use white latex paint to reflect the sun and keep the bark at a more constant temperature. Leaving tree wrap on year-round is not recommended as it provides a good location for certain trunk boring insects to hide and cause damage. green_industry banner

04 Apr 2014

Certified Professional Horticulturists

Certified Professional Horticulturist Logo

Plantscapes congratulates Azure Allender and Gary Linden who recently became Certified Professional Horticulturists through the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association. This certification demonstrates the highest level of professional excellence