9th Annual Chehalis Watershed Festival in Aberdeen: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4. Live music, fresh produce from area farms, fishing pond, salmon bake and a talk by Ciscoe Morris at 3 p.m. Rotary Pavilion at Morrison Riverfront Park, Aberdeen; free (www.chehalisbasinpartnership.org).
Central Puget Sound Chapter of Washington Native Plant Society Fall Native Plant Sale and Celebration: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4, 7744 35th Ave. N.E., Seattle (www.wnps.org).
‘Gardening With Native Plants’: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 6. Lecture by Susie Egan, King County Master Gardener and owner of Cottage Lake Gardens. UW Botanic Garden — Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St., Seattle; RSVP in advance, suggested $5 donation at the door (206-685-8033 or depts.washington.edu/uwbg).
In the Garden
If you want to add color, and contrast to an area of the garden filled with rhododendrons and other shade-loving broad-leaved evergreens, consider adding an Enkianthus to the planting.
Hailing from mountain forests in Japan, these small trees are in the same plant family as rhododendron and thrive in the same conditions: well-drained soil liberally amended with moisture-holding compost, in partial shade or morning sun.
Although they are not all that common in Northwest gardens, there are three species of Enkianthus generally available at local nurseries. Species vary in height, but all are extremely slow growing, and it’s rare for an Enkianthus to exceed 20 feet, while most varieties only reach 8- to 15-feet-tall.
Enkianthus possess a unique tiered branching pattern that results in a delicate looking, highly attractive upright form that contrasts beautifully with the rounder shapes on rhododendrons and other broad-leaved shade lovers such as azaleas, mountain laurels (Kalmia) and Japanese andromeda (Pieris).
These trees provide color as well. In mid to late spring the trees produce clusters of subtle, yet beautiful, small, bell-shaped flowers. Depending on the species, the flower color varies from pure white, pink or red, sometimes with red striping.
The attribute these trees are coveted for most, however, is the glorious display that occurs when the leaves color up in fall. The foliage turns magnificent shades of orange-red, yellow-red and scarlet. Every variety colors up differently, so buy one in autumn to find a tree with the fall colors you find most attractive.
Time to prune hedges
After a summer of growth, hedges tend to look a bit ragged and uneven by this time of year, and this is the perfect time to grab the hedge shears in order to give them a little haircut.
There are two main things to keep in mind when it comes to pruning hedges this time of year. The first is true anytime you prune a hedge. Always trim the bottom slightly wider than the top. If the top is allowed to become wider than the bottom it will block the sun, and over time the foliage on the lower section will thin out, resulting in a “see-through” hedge.
The second pertains only to pruning your hedge in fall. Trim only as needed to make the hedge look neat, especially if the hedge is located in a highly visible location. Wait until spring if you need to cut back drastically to reduce height or to clear branches from a walkway.
Be extra cautious with tender evergreens as a hard pruning right before winter can prevent them from hardening off, making the shrubs more vulnerable to cold damage. Although it’s true that most plants used for hedges, such as laurels and arborvitaes, are so tough they usually can survive a hard whacking back in fall, the real problem is that cuts made at this time of year trigger little or no new regrowth until spring. Branches will remain bare and hacked-back looking until spring.
Ciscoe Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org “Gardening With Ciscoe” airs at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KING 5.